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The European Commission has announced the 2016/17 selection results of the Erasmus Mundus scholarships. This year’s round will support a total of 1 345 masters students, representing 128 different nationalities, to pursue a joint or double degree at two of more higher education institutions, strating from the 2017/18 autumn semester.
The ‘class’ of 2017/18 will be hosted by a pool of 100 Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s Degree programmes, involving 513 intstitutions across six continents. Almost a third (75%) of scholarships are to be received by students from Erasmus+ “partner countries”, the top student-sending nations in the programme being Brazil, India, Iran, Bangladesh and Mexico. The new round of students will also be able to join the Erasmus Mundus Student and Alumni Association (EMA), which provides a supportive network before, during and after the Erasmus Mundus mobility period. All participating Master’s programmes will also provide EU grants to guest academics, supporting teaching and research endeavours. Looking towards the next round of selections, the programme range will be extended with about 40 new Master's programmes in the Erasmus Mundus catalogue.
With a total of 21 000 students benefitting from scholarships since the programme was launched in 2004, the Erasmus Mundus scholarships have undoubtedly grown in numbers and success. In its first year of operation, 140 students received scholarships and could study in 19 programmes. By now, the programme’s budget has increased by ten times, while the number of study programmes has multiplied by five times. The number of scholarship applications received for the academic year 2017/18 (selection results 2016/17) has slightly decreased compared to the previous year, from 25 990 applicants to 24 271 applicants respectively. Nevertheless, the programme remains highly selective, the success rate for the current year being 5.5%., in line with the programme’s objective of funding top-level students to study in Europe.
The annual Graduate Impact Survey (GIS) of the 2014/15 student cohort, that reflects expectations, levels of satisfaction and development levels of Erasmus Mundus Master’s course students, generally reported high satisfaction levels of programme’s grantees. The evaluation also lists the scholarship element as the number one motivation for students to apply, but at the same time, the study showed gaps between expectations and reality. The new students expect high benefits in career development, which not always matched the actual experiences of Erasmus Mundus alumni. Ersamus Mundus graduates identified a lack of contacts with potential employers and of practical experiences during the course. Nevertheless, graduate employability results were good, with 65% of graduates having found a job by the time the survey was issued, most of whom (55%) in less than two months after graduation.
We exepect that further attention will be paid to these elements in the future of the programme.
For students wishing to pursue an Erasmus Mundus Master in autumn 2018, the application period is scheduled to be open from October 2017 until January 2018.
European Commission – press release
Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees - Scholarships allocation by nationality and gender 2016/17
Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees –Scholarships allocation by nationality and gender 2015/16