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Going outside the EU borders: the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree

Why is it so special?

Here we are back with another opportunity abroad! I am, as always, Dino and in this article I will illustrate the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree (from now on we will refer to it with its acronym EMJMD), which is a joint programme delivered by an international consortium of higher education institutions. Which is conceived to allow a student to enroll a master’s degree within the EU’s borders.

With this article, we will go into the depths of the opportunities within the Erasmus+ programme. Before starting, if you want you can read my article about Erasmus+ in Amazonas Solidarity Blog to have a broader understanding of this amazing EU action!

Anyways, this article will be divided in two parts: the first part will tackle the history of the EMJMD, its scopes and how to participate in it. In the second part I will give you some information about the financial support for participating in the EMJMD and find out if it is worth participating in it!

The rising of the EMJMD and its aims

The EMJMD came into life in 2004 thanks to the EU’s intuition that it was paramount to find different paths from the traditional joint programme education system: seen until then as a means to integrate and internationalise curricula, expand international academic collaboration and provide a further opportunity of studying abroad.

Indeed, thanks to the Bologna Process, the EU understood that joint programs, and especially joint degrees, could be enriched in order to recognize advanced studies, promote quality and mobility across borders, and extend graduate employability.

In fact, employability has been the main driver of the EMJMD, but also including the compatibility of degree systems and study recognition, integrating and internationalisation of curricula, strengthening international collaboration, promoting and attracting international talents, encouraging mobility besides the EU’s borders.

It is clear that the EMJMD was designed to become a prestigious, integrated and international study programme! Indeed, the EMJMD is one of the main tools to enhance academic cooperation between the EU and the rest of the globe, this thanks to the collaboration of students, teachers, and researchers.

Today’s EMJMD has matured strong ties with the work world through internships, career guidance and partnerships with industries. In addition, the programme has demonstrated that EMJMD’s alumni have a higher employment rate than other graduates. This is of course possible thanks to the exclusivity and challenging process of selection and education, which enables the joint programme to choose the most talented students.

Each EMJMD programme is a uniquely designed educational experience: it means that this singleness comes in the form of different disciplines, institutions, countries, international students, and professors. At the same time, the students’ experience will differ from one another according to their expectations: somebody is willing to participate in the EMJMD programme to get the scholarship and some other to have the chance to live in the EU.

In any case, it is clear the EMJMD, alongside with other EU opportunities, gives a unique and prestigious experience of growth and education to whomever is enough motivated to compete for one EMJMD’s scholarships!

Maintaining high quality standards

Another cornerstone of the EMJMD programmes is the one related to the quality of the experience. Indeed, when the EMJMD came into force in 2004 it was quite difficult to grant an effective joint degree due to the national legal framework. But along the years, as the programme was developing so did also the legal frameworks. Granting, consequently, the joint degrees, even though there are still some obstacles.

As both EMJMD and national frameworks were adapting to each-other, it was also necessary that the EMJMD programme could maintain and improve its quality: this means coordinating the different efforts for the quality assurance and accreditation systems. Therefore, in 2015, the European Council decided to support joint programmes in overcoming national standards and criteria that may otherwise affect high-quality goals.

Thus, it is clear how the EMJMD is tense to guarantee the highest quality standards possible both for the national institutions and participants.

Why is the EMJMD experience considered different?

At this point you are for sure wondering what are the main features which make the EMJMD programme so special and why it is worth applying. Besides its history and the attention of the EU’s institutions for maintaining a high-quality standard.

The first thing to know is that the programme foresees for its future participants an intense learning that occurs both within an international classroom and outside of the classroom. This with the aim to lead the student to mature academic knowledge and intercultural competences.

Further, it is possible to guess already that the EMJMD has a wider scope of interactions instead of the Erasmus+: of course it is a programme that enlists a student to go abroad, but it is not meant for just a short period abroad. Indeed, it is conceived to give deserving students from all over the world the chance to conclude an entire cycle of master’s degree abroad.

Another relevant aspect of this programme is that it is truly international oriented because it aims to attract talented students from all over the world and not only, as the Erasmus+ programme, from the European countries and its partners.

Moreover, an ulterior feature of the programme is that, beyond that the students are enrolled in a full master’s degree cycle, is that the participants are required to conclude at least two (2) study periods in two (2) countries (other than the one of residence). This is possible thanks to a wide range of proposed academic courses.

It is therefore by no means surprising, why the EMJMD is something that goes besides the traditional period abroad like the Erasmus+ or the European Solidarity Corps (ESC) — if you want to find out something more about the ESC you can find the related article always on Amazonas Solidarity Blog.

How to participate to the EMJMD programme

As already said, students from all over the world can participate to the EMJMD programme. And it can last from a minimum of twelve (12) months to a maximum of twenty-four (24) months. It goes without saying that the programme is only addressed to students who have or are finishing a bachelor’s degree — keep in mind that you can apply for the programme even if you are still in your last bachelor’s year, the important thing is to achieve the degree before starting the join programme!

In addition, if you have obtained a bachelor’s degree outside the European area, be sure that your degree is recognizable in the country/institution in which you are applying. If not recognizable, under penalty of exclusion from the selection process!

Keep in mind that this programme enlists the eventual winner to get enrolled in a master-level study programme of 60, 90 or 120 ECTS credits.

If you are wishing to participate in this joint programme call and you have the necessary requirements, you will have as first duty to consult the EMJMD’s catalogue which lists the masters offering an EMJMD’s scholarship. Of course it is possible to filter the list regarding the field of study, country, university, year of intake, ECTS credits and year of enrolment.

Usually, the calls are issued for October and January, therefore the aspirant EMJMD student has almost four (4) months to send its applications. In addition, the single participant to the call is allowed to choose up to three (3) different programmes. Likewise, each summer, a new batch of master courses is added to the list, making consequently numerous and very varied study opportunities!

Further, once you have chosen your master’s programme, it is advisable to contact the related consortia offering the master courses and get all the relevant information as well as application and selection procedures.

But what happens if there are candidates with special needs? Do not worry, the EU’s programme presented here takes this matter seriously into account: indeed, the Commision has foreseen the “Equity and Inclusion” section of the Erasmus+ Programme Guide which lists all the rights and efforts to make as inclusive as possible the EMJMD opportunity! In addition, there is always a Coordinator of the EMJMDs which the candidate with fever opportunities is interested which is designed to solve any kind of difficulty.

Once applied, you will have to wait for the selection process. Each consortium has their own selection procedures. If your application has been successful, you will be immediately informed by the receiving university!


That is all for this first part! We have found out when the EMJMD programme, how it works, and how to apply. And also which are its main characteristics which drive this amazing opportunity for the students.

In the next part of the article, which you will find always here on Amazonas’ Solidarity Blog, we will strain the economic amount of the scholarships at disposal, and the additional costs in participating in the EMJMD programme.

Once explained the economic characteristics I will also give you my personal point of view on this programme and which are its cons and pros!

So, stay tuned and remember: Play. Learn. Evolve.!