Erasmus Mundus Master Scholarship in Evolutionary Biology, Europe and USA

Deadline: 15 January 2012
Open to: Candidates must have completed a BSc in biology or equivalent, sufficient background in evolutionary biology or neighboring disciplines (e.g. ecology or systematics), proficiency in English
Scholarship: Covers all participation costs for the MEME programme, including tuition fee, insurance, language courses and summer schools plus monthly stipend 1000/500 EUR/month


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.

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.


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”, it is now possible 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.


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 (click here)
To display the requirements in details, please click here.

How to apply?

In order to apply, you need to fill in the PDF application form (can be downloaded here), Use Acrobat Reader version X to fill in the form . After that prepare an electronic application package, containing the following documents in PDF format (for details on how to name the files , please see the Summary Section below):

  • Completed PDF application form. On the form (page 1) you can indicate what you are applying for (tick all boxes that apply to you): 1. MEME programme, 2. scholarship, 3. partial tuition fee waiver (if you are interested to follow the MEME programme with your own funding if not selected for a scholarship, tick this box).
  • Copies of certified documents of academic credentials, including diploma and (if available) diploma supplement (including a certified translation if these documents are not in English, French or German). If you do not yet have a diploma, you must provide us with a copy of a certified document that convincingly proves that you will complete your BSc degree before the MEME programme starts in September 2012.
  • Academic and professional CV
  • Letter of motivation (very important, criteria can be displayed here)
  • A valid copy of the first page of your passport
  • Certification of proficiency in English (please add a scan of the test results to the Application package)
  • Send the PDF reference form (download), to at least two, but preferably three qualified referees, and make sure that they fill it in and send it to, including the name of the candidate in the title of the e-mail.

For a complete overview of the MEME programme, download the MEME information guide. Send the complete application package to Make sure you receive a confirmation e-mail within 7 days (otherwise, contact the university again). 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. 


Prof. Dr. Franjo Weissing
Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Studies
Theoretical Biology Group
University of Groningen
Nijenborgh 7
9747 AG Groningen
The Netherlands
+31 (0) 50 363 21 31

The Official Website


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