Rural Development (IMRD)/ Agricultural Economics

European UnionBilateral cooperationVLIR-UOS


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 each semester at a different university and compare international views on rural development
  • Gain practical experience through a 1 month case study in Italy or Slovakia
  • 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
  • European and US students can combine this degree with a MSc in Agricultural Economics (University of Arkansas, US) and obtain a double degree at the end of the programme. Choose the ATLANTIS learning path.
  • European and South-Korean students can combine this degree with a Master of Science in Economics (Korea University, Seoul National University). Choose the EKAFREE learning path.
  • Study in Europe, the US, South-Korea, India, South Africa, Ecuador or China, depending on the learning path you choose.

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, the US or South-Korea.

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

Learning path ATLANTIS >> MSc in Rural Development and MSc in Agricultural Economics: European and US students can combine this degree with a MSc in Agricultural Economics (University of Arkansas, US) and obtain a double degree at the end of the programme.

Learning path EKAFREE >> MSc in Rural Development and MA in Economics: European and South-Korean students can combine this degree with a Master of Arts in Economics (Korea University, Seoul National University).

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, include if possible a stay at a non-European partner)
  3. Case Study - 10 ECTS - Nitra University or Pisa University
  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

Course programme

All course details can be found in our programme catalogue.

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) agronomy and/or biology and/or environmental 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.

Application Procedure

Complete the IMRD-form before 1 March 2018 to be taken into account for a scholarship!

Apply for admission to the consortium and a scholarship by registering here and completing the application form here. For all questions in relation to the scholarship procedure and other questions regarding tuition fee, accommodation, visa matters, etc. please contact

After having submitted your application file in EConsort, your academic admissibility to the programme will be assessed. In case the outcome is positive, you will have to complete your file by sending legalised copies of your Bachelor degree and Transcripts of Academic Records, as well as a valid language certificate to our offices. You will be informed throughout the application process on how to proceed.

Please note that without legalised documents your file cannot be processed. More information about the legalisation procedure.

Practical Information

Partner universities within Europe

Partner universities outside of Europe


  • 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
  • Possibility of VLIR-UOS Scholarships

Contact & Info for all questions in concern to your application process.
IMRD Secretariat 
Coupure Links 653, 9000 Ghent, Belgium