Master of Science in Rural Development (IMRD)

  • Application for 2021-22 is closed.
  • Application for 2022-23 opens early October 2021.



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 and Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree 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. There are six different focus areas within IMRD, depending on whether you follow the Erasmus Mundus of VLIR track. For more information on the different tracks and focus areas visit: visit the programme website.

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 a combination of one or more of our partners in Europe, India, South-Africa, Ecuador or China.

Other learning paths: if you are a 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+.

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, Pisa University (all students) or Can Tho University (for 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

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.

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)

Language of instruction is not accepted, 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 application form before 28 February, 2021 if you wish to be taken into account for an ERASMUS Mundus or a VLIR scholarship!

Apply for admission to the consortium and a scholarship via the eConsort online platform.

  1. First you need to register to the platform,
  2. You will then receive an email with a link where you can complete the application form.

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.

Partner universities

Within Europe

Outside of Europe


  • Programme Cost for Partner Country students is set at 9000 EUR per academic year. In general, the partner countries are the non-EU countries.

  • Programme cost for Programme Country students is set at 4500 EUR 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:  850EUR/month
  • Possibility of full VLIR-UOS Scholarships covering the tuition fee, travel costs and a monthly allowance of 1150 EUR
  • Possibility of full Erasmus Mundus Scholarships covering the tuition fee, 1000 EUR monthly allowance and a up to 7000 EUR contribution to be used for travel and installation costs during the programme.

Contact & Info

Check the IMRD website for more information

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