Thursday, December 29, 2011

Erasmus Mundus (MEME) Scholarships for International Students


The Erasmus Mundus Master Programme in Evolutionary Biology (MEME) is a two-year research oriented master programme for talented and motivated students who are interested in understanding evolution in all its facets. This multidisciplinary programme will address the driving forces of evolution at all levels of organismal organisation (from cells and individuals to populations and ecosystems), and it will allow students to study all kinds of organisms (microorganisms, plants, animals) in a diversity of habitats (marine as well as terrestrial). As an Erasmus Mundus master, MEME is largely funded by the European Union.

The focus of the MEME programme is not only on how evolution shaped life on our planet in the past, but also on how understanding the principles underlying evolution can provide new insights and help to cope with present-day challenges in a variety of fields, including ecology, epidemiology, physiology, immunology, genetics/genomics, bioinformatics, economics and the social sciences. The MEME programme will have a broad focus contentswise, as it aims to educate students with respect to all facets of evolution.

MEME students get a personal mentor, they are offered challenging multidisciplinary courses at the frontline of scientific research, they closely interact with leading researchers and can make use of modern, state-of-the-art techniques and facilities, and they are embedded in a high-quality international network. Accordingly, MEME will provide its students with an optimal preparation for a subsequent PhD study or for other career options in the broad variety of fields where evolutionary thinking is an asset.

Participating Universities

Four European universities (University of Groningen, Netherlands; Uppsala University, Sweden; Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, Germany; University of Montpellier 2, France) have joined forces with Harvard University (USA) as an associated partner. MEME offers students the opportunity to compose an individual study programme in evolutionary biology by combining elements from the complementary programmes that are already established at the participating universities. Students spend at least a semester at several partner universities, and they will be awarded double degrees for this. For more information about the participating universities, see below.


The MEME programme guarantees that students obtain degrees from at least two of the partner universities, dependent on where the student has actually studied. MEME aims to offer a joint degree from all partner universities to its students as soon as possible. However, this is at the moment not yet possible due to legislative issues. There are some signs that these issues will be resolves relatively soon, which could mean that the first cohort of students in the MEME programme will already obtain a joint degree. If not, MEME guarantees at least a double degree for each participating student.

Admission Criteria

The following general selection criteria will be applied to determine eligibility of a candidate for the MEME programme, as well as eligibility for scholarships:
  • Candidates must have completed a BSc in biology or equivalent, or convincingly show that they will obtain such a degree before the MEME programme starts in September 2012
  • Candidates must have sufficient background in evolutionary biology or neighboring disciplines (e.g. ecology or systematics)
  • Candidates must have belonged to the top students of their cohort during their BSc
  • Candidates must have a strong motivation to pursue a scientific career
  • Candidates must be sufficiently proficient in English (see below)
  • To participate in the edition of MEME that will start in September 2012, candidates must apply in time before the following deadline:  January 15th 2012
The application form can be found here.
Two groups of students are relieved from having to prove proficiency in English:
  1. Students that are native English speakers AND had education until secondary education (high school) in the English language
  2. Students that did their BSc for at least three years in the UK, Ireland, the US, Canada, Australia or New Zealand

The accepted tests are: 
  • IELTS (Academic) 6.5 – no less than 6.0 on each section
  • TOEFL iBT (internet-based test) 92 – no less than 21 on each section
  • TOEFL CBT (computer-based test) 237 – no less than 21 on each section
  • TOEFL PBT (paper-based test) 580 – no less than 55 on each section
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English – CAE (Certificate of Advanced English) 
Erasmus Mundus Scholarships

The European Commision will grant a number of scholarships to highly qualified students to participate in the MEME programme. The selection procedure for these scholarships will be carried out by the Admission and Examination Committee of the MEME programme. Each year, a maximum of 18 scholarships will be awarded to participating students; for instance in 2011 there were 9 scholarships for category A students and 8 scholarships for category B students. Because of an EU initiative named “Western Balkans and Turkey Window”, we were able to award one additional scholarships to students from the following countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo, Croatia and Turkey. This scholarship was awarded as a category A scholarships.
Scholarships for both categories of students will cover all participation costs for the MEME programme, including tuition fee, insurance, language courses and summer schools. In addition, scholarships include the following:
  • Category A scholarships: A monthly allowance of € 1,000 and a yearly contribution to travel and installation costs of € 4,000.
  • Category B scholarships: A monthly allowance of € 500 and a yearly contribution to travel and installation costs of € 1,500.
The EU requires that we maintain a geographical balance of admitted students that receive a scholarship: no more than two students from a single country may receive a scholarship for the MEME programme.

Letter of Motivation

  • Why do you choose for ecology and evolution as the main subjects of your Master’s programme? What does specifically interest you in this research area?
  • Why do you apply for the MEME programme specifically, rather than to other comparable programmes?
  • Why do you apply for a programme that is specifically oriented towards training in research and preparation for a subsequent PhD programme?
  • Why do you think that you are suited for such an ambitious programme?
  • How will you fit in a class of students from all over the world, all with different backgrounds but all belonging to the top of their respective cohorts?
  • What are your future plans for the time after you have got your M.Sc.?

Selection Procedure

To participate in the new edition of the MEME programme, that starts in September 2012, students must apply by January 15 2012. This deadline is now for both category A and B. All applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application before March 15 2012. The applicants that make into the second round of the application will be invited for an interview with the MEME Admission and Examination Committee. This interview will  be if possible via videoconferencing, otherwise over the phone. Dates for the interviews are still not available, but they will be posted on this website soon. Subsequently, applicants will be informed whether they will be admitted to the MEME programme, and whether the Admission and Examination committee has recommended them to the EU for receiving a scholarship. The decision on whether the student will actually receive a scholarship is then made by the EU.

Contact Detail:

University of Groningen
Nijenborgh 9
9747 AG GRONINGEN - Netherlands

Please quote on your application when applying for this scholarship

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Scholarship Team: Ph.D Scholar Krisstofferson Joniel Scholarship Adviser, PhD Scholar Vitom Chea Scholarship Adviser, PhD Scholar Rebecca T. Dalisay Scholarship Adviser, Ph.D Student Jiao Wang Scholarship Coordinator, MSc Student Dennise Maricel Scholarship Coordinator
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Scholarship Team: Ph.D Scholar Krisstofferson Joniel Scholarship Adviser, PhD Scholar Chea Vitom Scholarship Adviser and Senior Lecturer, PhD Scholar Rebecca T. Dalisay Scholarship Adviser, Ph.D Student Jiao Wang Scholarship Coordinator, MSc Student Dennise Maricel Scholarship Coordinator