The Joint International Master of Science in Rural Development (IMRD) - Erasmus Mundus

February 28, 2022

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Location (s):

  • Belgium
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
Ghent, Rennes, Berlin,Pisa, Nitra-Chrenová, Cordoba


The goal of IMRD is to train professionals that contribute to solving socio-economic, natural resource and agricultural challenges in Rural communities. The multi-disciplinary approach, the comparative study of EU and non-EU models, a flexible study programme and the unique mobility requirements stimulate students to gain a wide perspective of Rural Development and build an international network.

It is a master programme covering four semesters (2 years) and 120 ECTS. It is jointly organised by 6 core European partners and 9 associated partners from outside Europe.


IMRD Structure

IMRD consists of 5 modules and an optional internship. Depending on the track you follow, mobility requirements may differ.

General entrance module (semester 1)

A study period with theoretical formation in basic agricultural economics, development theories and methodologies. Its courses represent a general training into basic competence domains.

Advanced module I (semester 2)

Specialisation in one of the competence domains comprising a range of obligatory and optional courses, which can be complemented with elective courses for broadening specific knowledge or to improve language/cultural knowledge and skills.

Case Study

A practical experience in a commonly organised study. Students with different backgrounds are confronted with the rural development reality through a more active learning method for sharing visions and discussing opinions. Basic knowledge and assessment methods are applied. Students need to work in groups and are confronted with rural work realities, have field visits and work meetings with local stakeholders.

It is organised in July or August, between the second and third semester. Annually the Management Board selects between two and four different locations for the Case Studies. At least one European, and one non-European Case Study is available each year.

Advanced module II (semester 3)

Specialisation in one of the competence domains comprising a range of obligatory and optional courses, which can be complemented with elective courses for broadening specific knowledge or to improve language/cultural knowledge and skills. During this module the skills learned will be applied to the preparation of the master dissertation.

Master Dissertation (semester 4)

An original dissertation (thesis) is based on own scientific and practical research with guidance of a supervisor and is written in one of the disciplines of rural development. Students must demonstrate their ability to conduct scientific research at an academic level.

Completing a Master Dissertation requires the fulfillment of three activities: research, writing the dissertation, and giving an oral and public defense of the dissertation.


The internship gives students the opportunity to carry out practical specialized work in a domain of their interest. The subject of the internship placement has to have a link with rural development, agricultural economics or rural sociology. This can be both in an academic or a professional environment. The internship allows students to apply skills learned during the programme in a real world context to better prepare them for the job market.

IMRD mobility tracks

Students can obtain the IMRD degree through one of mobility tracks:


  • Erasmus Mundus track
  • VLIR-UOS track

Following one of the IMRD tracks leads to the awarding of a joint degree: International Master of Science in Rural Development.


  • ATLANTIS track: A double degree programme with the University of Arkansas
  • EKAFREE track: A double degree programme with Korea University and Seoul National University
  • EERUDEV track: A double degree programme with Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral

Following one of the IMRD+ tracks leads to the awarding of a double degree. The joint degree: International Master of Science in Rural Development. And a second degree in Agricultural Economics (University of Arkansas or Seoul National University), Economics (Korea University) or Rural Development (ESPOL).

IMRD student mobility

All IMRD students are required to spend at least one semester in a minimum of two EU partner universities. Depending on the track followed certain additional mobility requirements may be necessary. Consult the specifications per track below. For a more detailed overview please consult the student handbook in the student portal.



Opportunity is About:


Candidates should be from:

Description of Ideal Candidate:

Admission Requirements

You have at least an academic bachelor's degree of min. 3 years from a university or recognized equivalent in preferably bioscience engineering or agricultural sciences with good overall scores. Students in the last year of their bachelor studies can also apply, provided that they will obtain their degree before the start of the IMRD programme.

You must be able to demonstrate through your transcripts basic science training in:

(i) mathematics and/or statistics;

(ii) life sciences;

(iii) social sciences and/or rural development and/or economics.

Language requirements:
The English language proficiency can be met by providing a certificate (validity of 5 years) of one of the following tests:
-    TOEFL IBT 80
-    TOEFL PBT 550
-    ACADEMIC IELTS 6,5 overall score
-    CEFR B2 Issued by a European university language centre
-    ESOL CAMBRIDGE English CAE (Advanced)
Language of instruction is not accepted anymore, except applicants who are nationals from or have obtained a bachelor and/or master degree in a higher education institute with English as mode of instruction in USA, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland or Canada, and in the latter case a certificate that the mode of instruction was English has to be submitted.


Deadline: February 28, 2022

Cost/funding for participants:

Full Erasmus Mundus scholarships are now available for students from all nationalities!

The scholarships cover your tuition fee, 1000 euro monthly allowance and a 7000 euro contribution to be used for travel and installation costs during the programme.

Each year a minimum of the top 15 applicants are selected for these scholarships! 3 European students and 12 non-European students.

In addition to these 15, the Management Board may decide to award additional scholarships to applicants from specific regions.


VLIR-UOS scholarships focus on developing and transition regions, awarding scholarships to applicants from eligible countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America to attend one of the selected master's programmes taught in English at a Flemish university or university college. It is a full scholarship, covering the tuition fee, travel costs and a monthly allowance of €1150.

Erasmus + student exchange

Under the framework of Erasmus+ student exchange, students enrolled in IMRD can apply for financial support during the second year of the programme if they spend this time at another European University (not Ghent University).

This is not a full scholarship, and students may only apply once they are already enrolled in IMRD. Monthly allowance is between € 235-285 depending on which country you go to.

Application deadline: January 31st during the first year of the programme

Top-up grant

Ghent University provides Top-up Grants to selected candidates from countries on the OESO-DAC list. Top IMRD applicants are nominated for this scholarship.

This is not a full scholarship. The tuition fee is partially waived, and students receive a monthly allowance amounting to €654.

External scholarships and funding

On the website of the International Training Centre you may find a list of external scholarship opportunities not linked to the IMRD consortium. These opportunities are not managed by IMRD. You need to apply separately for the scholarship(s) according to their requirements and deadlines. Check the website for more information.

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