Across Europe, higher education institutions (HEI) successfully bid for 42 Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree (EMJMD) projects in 2018. The University of Glasgow is co-ordinating four of the five projects granted to UK-led consortia.
An Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree (EMJMD) is a prestigious, integrated, international study programme, jointly delivered by an international consortium of higher education institutions, which aims to:
- foster excellence, innovation and internationalisation in HEIs;
- improve the level of competences and skills of Master graduates and their employability; and
- award scholarships to excellent students worldwide for their participation in one of these EMJMD programmes.
The University of Glasgow (UoG) has been very engaged in the development of EMJMDs over the last seven years, as part of its Internationalisation strategy. Three of the four courses that it successfully bid for this year are new (Tourism Development & Culture; Children's Literature, Media & Culture; and South European Studies) and one was a renewal (Adult Education for Social Change) which will support a total of 300 scholarships and a similar number of self-funded students.
Thanks to its recent success, UoG now leads on seven EMJMD Consortiums with partners from 16 different EU countries and four non-EU countries. The university also has key associate partners for summer schools based in Canada, Malaysia, Germany, Portugal and the Netherlands.
Developing an EMJMD Glasgow-style
All the EMJMDs led by UoG have at least four degree-awarding partners, offer three mobility periods in Europe and access to a placement experience. Each is built on a two year/four semester model of 120 European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) credit points and has, on average, 20 scholarships funded by the European Union, for each intake of students. There is usually an equal number of self-funded students that make up each intake.
Angela Melley, International Development Manager for the College of Social Sciences at UoG, said: “Developing the structure, writing a funding application as well as building and submitting the Education, Audiovisual and Cultural Executive Agency (EACEA) application e-form takes about two years. We estimate this to be around 600 hours in total which has been built into our workload models.”
The work is shared between a lead academic and a project manager with support officers who cover activities such as consortium meetings; programme approval/accreditation; administration and finance; academic regulation alignment; legal text development; expertise documentation; consortium’s research and funding history; and student advice and guidance (visas, accommodation, induction, etc.).
Benefits for the University
For the university, the benefits have been multi-layered across many areas, including:
- the development of joint and multiple degrees;
- helping to increase student recruitment, mobility and placements;
- attracting a greater diversity of students and of exceptional quality;
- changing the dynamics of classroom interaction and contributing to the internationalisation of the curriculum; and
- consolidating academic networks - leading to an increase in joint research along with higher citation rates.
Collaboration with partners has also helped to raise the UoG’s profile within Europe and with non-EU funding bodies as well as enabling professional development through staff mobility and joint/multiple degree design.
Professor James Conroy, Vice Principal Internationalisation, said: “Erasmus Mundus programmes respond directly to the multiple mobility and cultural experiences that an increasingly globally aware student body is seeking and to increasing students’ employment opportunities on graduation.
"The programmes are also in the vanguard of our broader European engagement, which includes the Erasmus+ student and staff mobility scheme. As such they contribute directly to Glasgow’s international strategic objectives (mobility for both staff and students, access to placements, student recruitment) and enable us to work with European HE partners in a truly collaborative manner. "
"These exciting initiatives, led by outstanding and committed colleagues, create a win-win environment that raises the profiles of all EMJMD partners and offers a significant return on the time invested in consortium building and programme design."
Benefits for students
Between 2012 and 2018, 518 students have taken part on four EMJMD programmes.
“The quality of students and the diversity of the intakes is exceptional and students get access to multiple language learning environments,” said Angela Melley. “It is an opportunity to study in other countries and be exposed to difference cultures; experience different learning and teaching cultures and methodologies as well as having access to placement opportunities, employment connections and networks that can last a working lifetime.”
Erasmus Mundus programmes respond directly to the multiple mobility and cultural experiences that an increasingly globally aware student body is seeking
Sarah El-Menawi, Egypt (2016-18), who studied Russian, Central & East European Studies, said: “The programme was an eye-opening experience for self-exploration. It doesn’t just provide its students with the learning experience they needed, every course contributes to our knowledge and the focus of the subjects vary widely, giving us more options and flexibility to discover our research interests.”
Benefits for staff
The benefits for staff at UoG have included the ability to visit and experience teaching in universities in other countries; consolidate networks; deepen research relationships and make new connections.
Dr Clare McManus, the International Masters in Russian, Central and East European Studies (IMRCEES) Convenor until 2016, said: "Winning Erasmus Mundus recognition in 2011 was a transformative experience.
“Leading a Consortium of 10 universities from very different educational cultures was both challenging and rewarding and certainly an invaluable experience in terms of developing my own leadership and management skills. For me the most rewarding part of my experience as Academic Director was getting to know the students. We attracted an average cohort of 30 students annually from all over the world.
"Our very positive experience in running an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree led us to apply for re-recognition in 2017. Taking into account feedback from five intakes of EMJMD students and other stakeholders as well as developments in the field of study, we significantly restructured the programme, giving it the new title of International Master in Central and East European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (CEERES). And I’m pleased to report we were successful!”
HEIs interested in taking part in an EMJMD and other centralised activities can find out more in our news story.