International Master of Science in Rural Development

Course content

The joint International MSc in Rural Development (IMRD) offers the opportunity to study European visions on rural development and rural economics in their diversity of approaches and applications and to make comparative analyses of EU and non-EU agricultural and rural development strategies and agricultural policies. IMRD is amongst others supported by the Erasmus Mundus and EU-Atlantis Ekafree programmes of the European Union. The objective is to train students from European and non-European countries, from developed, developing and transition countries to become specialists in Integrated Rural Development with focus on socio-economic and institutional aspects. This is done through a two-year master’s programme jointly organised by 16 worldwide European leading institutes in Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, in collaboration with several partners from Belgium, Italy, Slovakia, The Netherlands, Germany, France, the United States, China, India, South Africa, South Korea, Vietnam and Ecuador. A detailed list and the specialty disciplines of the partner institutes can be found on the website.

The International MSc in Rural Development provides students with:

  • Awareness of the multifunctional role of rural areas and agriculture and an integrated vision on development of rural areas;
  • Knowledge of different approaches to Rural Economics and Development and ability to apply these in diverse situations in developing, developed and transition countries;
  • Ability to apply adequate instruments, methods and innovative tools to analyse, evaluate and solve problems related to Agricultural Economics and Policy, Food Systems, Rural Development and Countryside Management;
  • Ability to develop innovative tools and instruments for the multifunctional development of rural areas;
  • A general formation in both technical and social sciences disciplines and advanced competence in at least two Rural Development related disciplines;
  • Ability to dialogue with different actors of the socio-professional world as a consequence of their pluri-disciplinary training;
  • Critical reflection skills and the necessary communication skills for integrated team work for dealing with Rural Development challenges.

Course structure

The methodology consists of a combination of basic and specialised training in technical, economic and social sciences, divided over three study periods, a case study of one month in the European summer period and an individual master’s dissertation research project in the fourth study period. The programme includes a high extent of student and scholar mobility, making it possible to learn from specialists within and outside of Europe. Non-European students study mainly in the European Union, European students have opportunities to study within and outside the EU.

Each two-year programme consists of one basic module (one semester), two specialised training modules (two semesters), a case study in the European summer period and a final semester dedicated to the master’s dissertation research and writing. The basic and specialised modules offer training in Agricultural Economics; Rural Economics and Management; Institutional and Resource Economics; Sustainable Territorial Approaches to Rural Development; Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Sociology. An absolute condition to obtain the master’s degree is to fulfill the mobility requirements of the programme, i.e. to study in at least two of the Partner Institutes and to participate in the case study. The IMRD has a policy of equal distribution among partners offering courses in the same period. The Erasmus Mundus track provides several mobility trajectories within and outside the EU and is offered to both European and non-European students. For this track scholarships under the EU Erasmus Mundus programme are available. The Atlantis track allows comparative analysis of EU and US rural development and agricultural economic problems and policies and is offered to European and US students. The Ekafree track likewise focuses on a comparative analysis of EU and South Korean rural development and agricultural economics topics and policies.

All tracks are also open to self sponsoring students or students with other scholarships. For all tracks specific scholarships are awarded each year by the IMRD consortium.