Imagine spending several semesters in different European universities, learning from the best professors in your field, making friends and expanding your professional network with people from all over the world while getting a scholarship that covers all your expenses. This dream can become reality!
The Erasmus Mundus programme offers high-level study programmes for master studies with scholarships that cover the tuition fee, insurance, travel and living allowance. And most interestingly, you get a chance to travel around Europe and study not in one, but in several universities, as your mobility trajectory should include at least two institutions. Here are more details that may help you to make the best of the opportunity, and some tips from an Erasmus Mundus scholarship holder.
Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters is suitable for candidates of any nationality, age and previous background. However, you must have a bachelor’s degree or be in your last year of bachelor’s studies and graduate before the programme starts. Depending on your background, interests and future career goals, you can choose from around 175 different programmes in the Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters Catalogue — from forestry to digital communications. For example, International Master on Wine Tourism Innovation, European Master in Clinical Linguistics, International Law of Global Security, Peace and Development, Japan-Europe Master on Advanced Robotics – choose the perfect programme for yourself! You can apply for the programme even if it does not fully correspond to your previous education. In such cases, though, your motivation must be clearly explained in the cover letter. You can apply for up to three programmes. The programme’s website will take you through all the steps of the application process. Don’t hesitate to contact directly the relevant university if you have further questions.
The programmes are offered by a consortium of higher education institutions. Usually, the consortium consists of 3 to 6 European universities. The programme requires you to study at least two of them. In addition to the EU, studies may also take place in other programme countries as far afield as Brazil or Japan. The duration of the master’s varies from 1 to 2 academic years (60, 90 or 120 ECTS credits). Upon graduation, you will be awarded either a joint degree (i.e. one single degree certificate issued on behalf of at least two higher education institutions) or multiple degrees (i.e. at least two-degree certificates issued by two higher education institutions of the consortium).
The best-ranked applicants are awarded scholarships, which cover the cost of a student’s participation in the programme, travel and a living allowance as well as insurance. Each programme annually offers around 20-25 scholarships. The amount of the scholarship is €1,400 per month (for max. 24 months). Ukraine is in the top 20 countries with a high number of successful applicants. In my opinion, the most important criteria are your academic achievements and motivation. You should persuade the selection committee that the master’s programme is a logical continuation of your previous studies and that you know to use obtained knowledge in your future career. Relevant professional or research experience and volunteering or social action are not obligatory but can become a competitive advantage. Remember that you don’t have to be superhuman to get accepted, just explain why you think you would fit into the programme.
In order to apply, first of all, visit the programme’s website (which you can find in the Catalogue) and learn more about the conditions, requirements, and deadline. Most consortia will require applications to be submitted between October and January, for courses starting the following academic year. Note that almost all programmes require a language certificate, and you usually need a few months to get one. Pay attention to the deadlines! Fill in the application form and prepare a package of documents in accordance with the requirements. Usually, you have to submit a CV, motivation letter, references, transcripts, language certificate, copy of passport for travelling abroad, photo and several other documents. Some programmes require the official translation of documents and their notarisation. After completing the application, you might be invited for a Skype/Zoom interview, but most programmes do not have an interview stage. And be patient, you will probably know the result only around June.
Accommodation and Student Life
Once you’ve been accepted, it’s a good idea to plan your accommodation as soon as you can. Note that you will most likely need an accommodation contract to apply for a visa. The best place to start is the first university on your mobility track – ask them to help you find a suitable place. Most universities in Europe offer accommodation in student residences. If you want to improve your language skills and participate in social life, that would be the best option for you. There are usually common areas, such as a lounge room, a study room, a library, a kitchen, a gym, a garden etc., where you can meet fellow students, so it’s a great way to make friends. Also, some residence halls have canteens offering meals at lower prices.
You could also rent a place on your own, or share an apartment with other students. Your university can recommend private accommodation options to you, as they may have a list of reputable property companies. When booking private accommodation, double-check everything thoroughly before you sign and pay.
Many student unions have websites to help you find rooms too. Moreover, they usually offer nice networking opportunities for incoming students and organise interesting events. You can find such organisations easily on social media or university websites. In particular, the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) has local sections all over Europe, and the ESN card provides you with many discounts (for example, for Ryanair tickets).
I graduated from the faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics at the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv in 2021. Now, I am a student of Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree (EMJMD) QEM – Models and Methods of Quantitative Economics. My mobility trajectory is at Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia (Italy), Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (France), and Warsaw School of Economics (Poland). I have always stayed in student residences (Camplus in Venice, Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris, Sabinki dormitory in Warsaw), and never regretted this decision. I truly enjoy my studies even though sometimes they are extremely demanding. No pain – no gain!
This time could be the best time of my life, but of course, I cannot fully enjoy it when there is a full-scale war in my country. Anyway, it’s a life-changing experience, and here are some lessons I learned so far:
I hope this was useful for you, and here is a brief Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters Summary:
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