Evaluating Social Programs

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Evaluating Social Programs

J-PAL's Evaluating Social Programs course is tailored to the needs of policymakers, practitioners, and researchers from NGOs, governments, and foundations from around the world.

Person explains equations on a chalkboard
Photo: Crystel Hadley | J-PAL

Applications for Evaluating Social Programs in Cambridge, Massachusetts in June 2020 are now open! Visit the event page to learn more.

About the Course
Upcoming Dates
Concepts Covered
Take a Closer Look
Participant Profiles

About the Course

This five-day, in-person training provides an in-depth look at why and when randomized evaluations can be used to rigorously measure social impact, methods and considerations for their design and implementation, and how findings can inform evidence-based policies and programs.

Taught by J-PAL affiliated professors and senior staff, the course is tailored to the needs of researchers, policymakers, and practitioners from NGOs, governments, international organizations, private sector companies, and foundations from around the world.

The course gives participants a thorough understanding of randomized evaluations and how they are designed in real-world settings. Participants will engage with coursework designed to help them apply learning at their home organizations through real-world examples and practice exercises.

To receive email updates on upcoming courses, subscribe to our Course Announcements newsletter.Upcoming courses can also be found on our Events page.

Upcoming Dates

Links to learn more and apply for upcoming Evaluating Social Programs courses will be added to the table below as they become available.

Host Course Dates Location Language
J-PAL Global and J-PAL North America June 8-12, 2020 Cambridge, USA English
J-PAL/CLEAR South Asia July 2020 New Delhi, India English
J-PAL Africa July 2020 Lagos, Nigeria English
J-PAL Southeast Asia August 2020 Jakarta, Indonesia Indonesian
J-PAL Europe October 2020 Brussels, Belgium English

Concepts Covered

Participants will be introduced to the following key concepts and topics:

  • Why and when a rigorous evaluation of social impact is needed
  • Key components of a high-quality randomized evaluation
  • Foundational tools like needs assessments, logical frameworks, and theories of change
  • Common threats and pitfalls to the validity of experiments
  • Techniques for incorporating randomized experiments into existing program designs
  • How to determine an appropriate sample size and measure outcomes
  • Techniques for data analysis and interpretation of results
  • Strategies to maximize policy impact and assess the generalizability of research findings
Take a closer look


Download the Evaluating Social Programs Brochure >>

Click to expand the sample course agenda below:

Sample course schedule for Evaluating Social Programs

Participant Profiles

Click below to learn more information on previous participants in the Cambridge Evaluating Social Programs course.

Cambridge course participants (2018-19):

Organizations of previous participants include:

Arnold Ventures Girls Who Code McKinsey & Company
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Google Save the Children USA
BRAC Interamerican Development Bank Stanford University
DFID International Labour Organization UNHCR
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation Virginia Department of Social Services
Food and Agriculture Organization King Khalid Foundation World Bank Group


Fees for the course vary depending on where the course is hosted. Click below to see course fees by host region.

J-PAL Global and J-PAL North America (US)

Organizations headquartered in high-income* countries Organizations headquartered in low and middle-income* countries
For-profit, Foundation, or Intergovernmental organization $3,500 $3,500
Academic or Research Institution $3,500 $2,500
National government $3,500 $2,500
State, county, or municipal government $2,500 $1,500
NGO (operating budget < $10M) $2,000 $1,500
NGO (operating budget > $10M) $2,500 $1,500

World Bank Income Categories

J-PAL Europe

Organizations headquartered in high-income* countries Organizations headquartered in low and middle-income* countries
For-profit/Foundation EUR 3000 EUR 2000
Academic/Research Institution EUR 3000 EUR 1500
Intergovernmental Organization EUR 3000 EUR 3000
Government EUR 3000 EUR 1500
International NGOs EUR 3000 EUR 3000
Local NGOs EUR 3000 EUR 750

World Bank Income Categories

J-PAL Latin America

Organizations headquartered in high-income* countries Organizations headquartered in low and middle-income* countries
For-profit/Foundation USD $2000 USD $2000
Academic/Research Institution USD $1500 USD $1250
Intergovernmental Organization USD $2000 USD $2000
Government USD $1500 USD $1500
International NGOs USD $2000 USD $2000
Local NGOs USD $1200 USD $950
Students USD $950 USD $500

World Bank Income Categories

J-PAL South Asia/CLEAR

Organizations headquartered in high-income* countries Organizations headquartered in low and middle-income* countries
For-profit/Foundation INR 120000 INR 60000
Academic/Research Institution INR 120000 INR 45000
Multilateral, bilateral, and intergovernmental organizations INR 120000 INR 120000
Government INR 120000 INR 45000
NGO INR 60000 INR 35000
Graduate student INR 35000 INR 35000

World Bank Income Categories

Note: Service tax extra as applicable.

J-PAL Africa

Organizations headquartered in high-income* countries Organizations headquartered in low/middle-income* countries
Multi-national/For-profit/Foundation USD 2,000 USD 2,000
Academic/Research Institution USD 2,000 USD 1,000
Government USD 2,000 USD 700
NGO USD 2,000 USD 500
Graduate student See note See note

World Bank Income Categories

Note: Determined on a case-by-case basis.


Continue reading below to view frequently asked questions about the course, or reach out to us at [email protected] with further questions.


Who is a good candidate for this course? 

This course is designed for a range of participants, from policymakers and monitoring and evaluation personnel, to research or management staff working in governments, international organizations, foundations, and NGOs. The typical participant is a mid-career professional with an understanding of basic statistical concepts and an interest in incorporating randomized evaluations into their work.

What can I expect to gain from the course? 

Participants will:

  • gain a thorough understanding of randomized evaluations,
  • learn how to generate rigorous evidence to inform decision-making,
  • engage with renowned academic researchers and experienced J-PAL staff members, and 
  • join a community of practice with other decision makers who can provide support in the design and use of impact evaluations during and after the training.


How often is Evaluating Social Programs offered?

Evaluating Social Programs in offered annually by several J-PAL offices, usually in June, July or August. We also offer a free online version of the course, J-PAL 101x: Evaluating Social Programs, and a longer online course, J-PAL 102x: Designing and Running Randomized Evaluations. To stay informed on our upcoming courses, subscribe to our Course Announcements newsletter.

When can I expect to hear back about the outcome of my application? 

Admission decisions will typically be available within one to two weeks of the application closing date. While the review process may vary by host office, we encourage applicants to apply as early as possible.

Do you offer visa support?

Yes, we can provide a visa support letter for accepted applicants upon request.

When do I have to submit my payment for the course?

We typically require payment at least one month before the course date.


What is covered under the course fees?

Course fees cover tuition and typically also include breakfast, lunch, beverages, and snacks for the duration of the course, as well as a reception. Travel and accommodation are not covered by the course fees.

Are there scholarships available for the course?

The number of scholarships available is very limited, but we do offer fee reductions based on region and area of work, as detailed below.