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International Master of Science in Rural Development

Degree awarded
Joint Master Degree

Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, 9000 Gent, Belgium

Type of course
Full-time (120 ECTS)

Length of course
2 years (120 ECTS)

Language of tuition

Date of commencement
End of September 2021

Application deadline
28 February 2021 for non-EEA students and scholarship seeking students (EEA or non-EEA)
31 May 2021 for non-scholarship seeking EEA students

Class size
45 students

Cost / fees
• 4,500 euro per year for Programme Country Students (all EU countries + Iceland, Liechtenstein, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Turkey, UK)
• 9,000 euro per year for all other nationalities (‘Partner Country Students’)

Student grants / Financial assistance
Erasmus Mundus Scholarships available - All nationalities can apply
- Includes

• Tuition fee is waiver
• Monthly allowance: 1,000 euro per month (to pay all living costs, including housing)
• Travel costs: up to 7,000 euro for non-European students
• All-in insurance
- Up to 49,000 euro for the 2-year programme
- No administration/application fee
- Detailed scholarship calculation EACEA

VLIR-UOS Scholarships
- Limited nationalities can apply:
- Includes
• 1150 euro per month allowance
• 850 euro installation fee (computer and study materials)
• Programme related travel costs and travel to and from Belgium
• Logistical allowance
• Tuition fee waiver.
- Detailed scholarship guidelines:
- Limited nationalities:


Exchange partner schools
The 15 partner institutions of the IMRD consortium are:
Inside Europe

  • Ghent University, Belgium
  • Agrocampus Ouest, France
  • Universidad De Cordoba, Spain
  • Università Di Pisa, Italy
  • Slovak University of Agriculture, Nitra, Slovakia
  • Humboldt Universität Berlin, Germany
Outside Europe
  • University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengalore, India
  • University of Arkansas, USA
  • Can Tho University, Vietnam
  • Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral, Ecuador
  • China Agricultural University, China
  • Nanjing Agricultural University, China
  • University of Pretoria, South Africa
  • Seoul National University, Korea
  • Korea University

Student profile
1. Ratio of National / International students: 4% national - 96% international
2. Ratio of Men / Women: 48% male – 52% female
3. Age range: 21-38

Admission requirements
See opposite / below

Programme Director
Prof. Dr. Stijn Speelman

Contact details for application
Applications office, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, 9000 Gent, Belgium

Ghent University, Belgium (Coordinator)
Agrocampus Ouest, France
Universidad De Cordoba, Spain
Università Di Pisa, Italy
Slovak University of Agriculture, Nitra, Slovakia
Humboldt Universitaet Berlin, Germany

International Master of Science in Rural Development (IMRD)

IMRD: because

In a bio-resource based economy, food and bio resource production are gaining importance and are becoming more internationally oriented. The International Master of Science in Rural Development (IMRD) responds to this need through comparative study and international exposure which are central in the programme. The 2-year master programme (120 ECTS) is jointly organized by 12 institutes from all over the world and results in a joint degree.

During the master programme you will be able to specialize in rural development linked to one of the three focus areas: Economy, society and environment contained within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). You will experience a high extent of international student mobility, making it possible to learn rural development practices in different countries from specialists worldwide.

IMRD: become

The master of Science in Rural Development will prepare you to become:
  • A trained specialist that can alleviate poverty, manage natural resources and develop value chains in the agro-food sector through policy and project implementation
  • A master of science with unique theoretical knowledge in development and agricultural economics, theories and policies, combined with a practical-based comparative knowledge of different approaches to rural development
  • Part of a global network of specialists in rural development
IMRD: benefit

The Master of Science in Rural Development offers:
  • The possibility to study at different universities and compare international views on rural development
  • Specialization in one of the three SDG focus areas: Economy, Society or Environment
  • Practical experience through a 1-month case study
  • The option to gain work experience during an internship
  • An intercultural learning environment with a strong focus on peer learning
  • Good job prospects, with 1/3 of the alumni pursuing a PhD and many working for international organizations like FAO or the UN, in the agribusiness industry or for NGO’s

Admission requirements

Academic requirements

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree of minimum 3 years with good overall scores (at least a second class or equivalent, preferably higher) from a university level or recognized equivalent.

Candidates are expected to have basic science training (demonstrable in the transcripts) in the following fields: (1) mathematics and/or statistics, (2) agronomy and/or biology and/or environmental sciences and (3) social sciences and/or rural development. Candidates who cannot present a combined training of these fields will be evaluated on their aptitude, based on experience and knowledge of these fields, as demonstrated by CV or other evidence.

Language requirements

The applicant must be proficient in the language of the course or training programme, i.e. English. 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)

About the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University

The faculty of Bioscience Engineering is one of the 11 faculties of Ghent University.

The faculty is strongly dedicated to international education, welcoming an average of 350 international students from 100 different nationalities each academic year, on a total amount of almost 3000 students. The focal research topic of the faculty is the living matter in all its diversity.

The research domains are clustered around Natural Capital, Sustainable Primary Production, Food and Health, Green Chemistry, Bio-Economy, Clean Environmental Technology, Biotechnology and Data-Analysis. Our research excellence is the basis of top-quality education and high international rankings.

The faculty of Bioscience Engineering of UGent is top 12-ranked for Agricultural Sciences (QS Ranking, NTU Ranking, Shangai Ranking) and positioned 51 for Life Sciences according to the Times Higher Education Ranking.

Alumni of our international master programmes get a broad range of career options as entrepreneurs, policy makers and research experts.

The faculty is located in the city of Ghent: a charming, medieval, multi-cultural city with 300.000 inhabitants and home to 77.000 students. 45,000 of those are students of Ghent University, of which our faculty is part.

The city centre of Ghent is a low emission zone with car-free parts and Ghent is a worldwide forerunner in the promotion of sustainable food.

Other courses offered by Ghent University

  • Master of Science in Aquaculture
  • Master of Science in Environmental Science and Technology
  • Master of Science in Health Management in Aquaculture
  • Master of Science in Nutrition and Rural Development
  • Master of Science in Physical Land Resources for Sustainable Land Management
  • Master of Science in Soils and Global Change
  • Master of Science in Sustainable and Innovative Natural Resource Management