A new diverse cohort joins the vibrant graduate network of the J-PAL/UC Diploma in Impact Evaluation

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A group of people stand together, holding diplomas.
The graduation ceremony of the 2023 Diploma class. Photo credit: Instituto de Economía | UC Chile

In January, a new diverse class graduated from the Diploma in Impact Evaluation of Public Policies and Social Programs organized by the Instituto de Economía (IE) of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC Chile) and J-PAL Latin America and the Caribbean (J-PAL LAC). Forty-one students from ten Latin American countries and one European country are now part of a vibrant network of professionals with the tools to design and understand the results of rigorous program evaluations. 

In a hybrid ceremony, IE director Tomás Rau, who also lectures for the Diploma, welcomed the new graduates. J-PAL affiliate, UC Chile Professor, and the Diploma’s Director Jeanne Lafortune highlighted the international diversity of the group, which enables them to create an impact that goes beyond borders. During the event, two students shared their thoughts on the impact of the Diploma in their professional lives.

Discover the class of 2023 

Statistics of Students in 2023Illustration: J-PAL

The Diploma students of 2023 are from seven countries in South America, three in Central America, and one in Europe. Their undergraduate studies range from economics to social sciences, business, health, humanities, and engineering, and more than half have completed or are pursuing postgraduate degrees. Most work in government, foundations, and the education sector. Women make up 49 percent of students. 

This year, the generous support of Fundación Colunga, Fundación Olivo, and Fundación Mustakis, covered a portion of the tuition for six incoming students. Additionally, the Ministry of Finance of Paraguay covered the tuition of a group of civil servants. Receiving this kind of institutional support allowed for more students to join and benefit their organizations with their learnings.

Characteristics of the Diploma

The Diploma in Impact Evaluation of Public Policy and Social Programs is a highly regarded program among its students. It is taught in Spanish by UC Chile academics, J-PAL affiliates, and J-PAL LAC staff. Since 2021, classes have been synchronous, meaning that learners attend class sessions virtually at the same time as their instructor and classmates. This has allowed participants around LAC to be part of and engage in this training more easily. 

The program provides students with a deep dive into the theory and practice of impact evaluations, equipping them to design and apply impact evaluations and become advocates of evidence-informed policy. It consists of three courses: Impact Evaluation Methods, Evidence and Policy, and Implementation of an Impact Evaluation. Students also develop an impact evaluation proposal for one of their organization’s programs.  This year, the cohort presented eight evaluation projects, in which they worked on an experimental impact evaluation proposal for real social programs in sectors such as education, labor markets, health, and family.

Since its beginning in 2016, the Diploma has reached more than two hundred students across seventeen countries worldwide, most of them in LAC. 

Beyond the Diploma

The vibrant network of the Diploma program expands its reach every day. Alejandro Carlos Sierra Campodónico, a Chilean engineer and graduate of the 2017 Diploma class, recently finished his PhD: “The Diploma sparked my interest in economics and, ultimately, was decisive in my decision to enter a doctorate program in economics.” 

Similarly, Yadiraah Iparraguirre, a Peruvian economist and graduate from the 2022 Diploma class, will start a Master's program in economics this year: “After completing the Diploma program, I was encouraged to apply for the Master of Economics program at UC Chile. I was admitted to the program and have received a discount for academic excellence. With great satisfaction, I also received a Peruvian National Scholarship (Pronabec). My classes start in March 2024 and I am excited to start this new stage of my career.”

The Diploma can be a stepping stone to an impactful career in shaping social policies. We are grateful to know that our alumni network continues to grow the Diploma's impact by advocating for the generation and use of evidence across LAC.

Join the Diploma

Interested in enrolling in the Diploma in Impact Evaluation of Public Policy and Social Programs this year? You can fill out a form here. You can also email [email protected]

If you are a former student, join our network of graduates on LinkedIn.

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