The International MSc in Rural Development (IMRD), part of the Erasmus Mundus scholarship programme, is a joint degree which offers you the opportunity to study rural development in its diversity of international approaches and applications. The 2-year master programme (120 ECTS) is jointly organized by 12 institutes leading in agricultural economics and rural development from all over the world. IMRD offers a combination of basic and specialized theoretical and practical training in technical, economic and social sciences. This competitive master programme has a high extent of international student mobility, making it possible to learn from specialists worldwide.

  • Study at different universities and compare international views on rural development
  • Gain practical experience through a 1-month case study in Italy, Slovakia or Vietnam
  • Scholarship opportunities: VLIR UOS scholarships
  • 1/3 of our graduates start a PhD; others work at UN, FAO and in the agribusiness industry
  • Obtain a joint MSc in Rural Development

IMRD offers you the opportunity to study rural development in its diversity of international approaches and applications. Depending on the focus and mobility track you choose, you can study at one or a combination of our 12 partners in Europe, India, South-Africa, Ecuador, China or Vietnam.

Learning path IMRD International MSc in Rural Development: study 2 years at the IMRD - Erasmus Mundus programme. In the end, you obtain the Joint IMRD Diploma. Study at a combination of one or more of our partners in Europe, India, South-Africa, Ecuador or China.

Other learning paths: if you are European students interested in a more economics-focused programme you may combine the master in Rural Development with a degree in agriculture economics by following IMRD+.

Scholarships: VLIR Scholarships are available. See:

Learning Outcomes

The International Master of Science in Rural Development (IMRD) delivers experts in integrated rural development, specialized in agricultural economics, sociology, policy and decision making. Graduates will be part of a unique international network of specialists in agronomics and rural development with a focus on socio-economic and institutional aspects.


Structure of the programme:

  1. General Entrance Module - Semester I 30-35 ECTS - all students start at Ghent University
  2. Advanced Modules I and II - Semesters II and II of each 15-40 ECTS - Choose a mobility partner according to the requirements of the programme (study in at least 2 European partners, including if possible a stay at a non-European partner)
  3. Case Study - 10 ECTS - Nitra University, Pisa University (all students) or Can Tho University (for a student with a VLIR scholarship)
  4. Thesis Module - Semester IV 30 ECTS - thesis partner university
  5. Add elective internship or language courses if this fits your educational goals and after discussion with the educational coordinator

Admission Requirements

Each application file is evaluated by an admission board and has to be approved by the Faculty Council and by the Rector's office, irrespective of the diploma obtained.

  • Applicants must have at least a Bachelor's degree of min. 3 years from a university or recognized equivalent in preferably bioscience engineering or agricultural sciences, (preferably agricultural economics) with good overall scores (at least a second class or equivalent, preferably higher).
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate through their transcripts basic science training in: (i) mathematics and/or statistics; (ii) life sciences; and (iii) social sciences/sociology 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 with a minimum of 6,0 for writing
  • 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.

Partner universities

Within Europe

  • Ghent University (Belgium)
  • Agrocampus Ouest, Rennes (France)
  • Humboldt University of Berlin (Germany)
  • The Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra (Slovakia) and
  • University of Pisa (Italy)
  • University of Cordoba (Spain)

Outside of Europe

  • China Agricultural University (China)
  • Escuela Superior Politecnica del Litoral (Ecuador)
  • Nanjing Agricultural University (China)
  • University of Agricultural Sciences Bangalore (India)
  • University of Pretoria (South Africa)
  • Can Tho University (Vietnam)


  • Programme Cost for Partner Country students is set at 9.000 € per academic year. In general, the partner countries are the non-EU countries.

  • Programme cost for Programme Country students is set at 4.500 € per academic year. In general, the programme countries are the EU countries.

For a detailed list of which countries are to be considered Partner or Programme Countries for the Erasmus+: Erasmus Mundus programme.

  • Living & Accommodation expenses: € 750 – 850/month
  • A possibility of VLIR-UOS Scholarships

Consortium website:

More info:

Program taught in:
  • English (US)

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Last updated November 4, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
2 years
4,500 EUR
EEA students per academic year. Non-EEA students: €9000 per academic year. VLIR Scholarships available
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March 1st (for EAA students) and June 1st (for non EEA students).
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