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Erasmus Masters Funding - An Introduction

If you’re looking for funding to study a Masters abroad, you could receive support from the Erasmus programme. Since 1987 Erasmus has been Europe's flagship funding initiative for international academic collaboration, exchange and study mobility.

The current version of Erasmus is the Erasmus+ programme, running from 2014 until 2020. It funds short international placements, offers scholarships for special Joint Masters Degrees and provides new Erasmus Loans for students to study a Masters in another European country.


Erasmus+ Funding - Key Details
Duration 2014 - 2020
Budget €14.7 billion
Students 2 million
Joint Masters Scholarships up to €42,000 each
Erasmus Masters Loans up to €18,000 each

What is the Erasmus programme?

The term ‘Erasmus’ stands for ‘European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students'. It’s not the world’s most elegant acronym, but that’s OK - the name actually refers more specifically to the famous renaissance scholar, Desiderius Erasmus. Erasmus’s career saw him travel and study in countries across Europe and is held to embody the principles of international scholarly exchange that the Erasmus programme celebrates and encourages.

As a student enrolled in the Erasmus programme you’ll be much more than just an international postgraduate. You’ll be part of a proud tradition of international scholarship, intellectual conversation and collaboration.

What are the advantages of Erasmus funding?

The Erasmus programme has one obvious source of appeal for Masters students - it could fund all or part of your degree!

But it's not just about money.

Unique opportunities

Studying abroad with Erasmus funding can make a Masters degree even more rewarding, with the opportunity to access unique study and training opportunities.

For some students studying abroad is essential. After all, it’s pretty hard to carry out fieldwork on coral reef ecology in Yorkshire, or examine ancient Etruscan architecture in Kent!

There’s the ‘research climate’ to consider. Another thing Yorkshire and Kent lack is Mediterranean sunshine. The same can’t be said of Spain, Portugal or Greece!

Personal development

Erasmus is also renowned for promoting cultural exchange and supporting students' personal - and professional - development. Participants are encouraged to engage with their host nation and take up opportunities to develop language skills and gain international perspectives.

The ideal is for an Erasmus student to gain than just an academic qualification.

Enhanced prospects

You'd expect the opportunity to benefit from unique training and personal development to have a positive impact on your CV. And you'd be right.

Research suggests that Erasmus students are more employable with improved career prospects after graduation.

What is Erasmus+?

Erasmus funding is organised into phases, with specific budgets, objectives and initiatives. Erasmus+ is the name for the current phase, running from 2014 to 2020.

Many existing activities have been 'inherited' by Erasmus+. These include the Joint Masters Degrees previously offered under the Erasmus Mundus programme. Erasmus+ has also introduced new postgraduate funding opportunities. The most exciting is a system of Erasmus+ Masters Loans.

Erasmus+ and Erasmus Mundus - what's the difference?

Before 2014, the main source of Erasmus funding for Masters degrees was the Erasmus Mundus scheme.

Erasmus Mundus operated by setting up collaborations between different European universities. These offered Joint Masters degrees referred to as Erasmus Mundus Masters Courses (EMMCs).

Erasmus+ incorporates Erasmus Mundus, rather than replacing it. Many existing EMMCs will continue to offer scholarships during the new funding phase. New university consortia have also been established, with their own joint degree programmes.

All such opportunities are now referred to as Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees (EMJMDs). You can read more about them in our guide.

What kind of Erasmus+ funding is available for Masters students?

There are several types of Erasmus+ funding for Masters degrees. Some initiatives fund complete programmes. Others provide partial funding for shorter periods of study abroad.

Erasmus Mobility Grants

If you wish to study or train abroad during part of your degree you may be able to receive an Erasmus+ Mobility Grant.

These don't fund full Masters programmes. But they can allow you to enhance your studies and access extra opportunities or training.

Erasmus+ Mobility Grants

Mobility Grants are ideal for short periods of study or training abroad, as an addition to your existing Masters programme. Find out more with our guide.

Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters Degrees

These are one of the Erasmus programme's flagship initiatives. Originally part of Erasmus Mundus, these opportunities are now incorporated into Erasmus+.

Joint Masters Degrees are offered by consortia of two or more international universities. The universities combine their expertise to create unique courses that wouldn't otherwise be available.

Students move between partner universities at appropriate stages of their programme. They also enjoy instruction and supervision from academics at all participating institutions.

Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters Degrees

Joint Masters Degrees combine unique international study opportunities with full scholarship funding. Find out more with our guide.

Erasmus Masters Loans

These are the newest - and most ambitious - feature of the Erasmus funding portfolio. Mobility Grants only fund short study periods and EMJMDs only fund specific courses. But Erasmus Masters Loans are potentially available for any international Masters degree.

They fund students to study an existing Masters course in a new country.

Unlike other student loans, Erasmus Masters Loans are offered by banks, not governments. This means the programme is being rolled out gradually as more banks choose to take part.

As of 2016, loans are available in Spain, France and the UK.

Erasmus Masters Loans

The new Erasmus Loans can provide funding to complete any existing Masters programme in another country - perfect if you're looking for funding to study abroad. Find out more with our guide.

Which countries are part of the Erasmus programme?

There are two groups of countries involved in Erasmus funding and exchanges. Programme Countries include EU members, EU candidates and EEA members. Partner Countries include other non-EU nations.

Erasmus Programme Countries & Erasmus Partner Countries

The following table lists current Erasmus Programme and Partner Countries:


Erasmus+ Countries
Programme Countries Partner Countries
Austria Albania
Belgium Algeria
Bulgaria Armenia
Croatia Azerbaijan
Cyprus Belarus
The Czech Republic Bosnia and Herzegovina
Denmark Egypt
Estonia Georgia
Finland Israel
France Jordan
Germany Kosovo
Greece Libya
Hungary Lebanon
Iceland Moldova
Ireland Montenegro
Italy Morocco
Latvia Palestine
Liechtenstein Russia
Luxembourg Serbia
Macedonia Syria
Malta Tunisia
The Netherlands Ukraine
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
Turkey
UK*

*The UK continues to be an Erasmus Programme Country following the EU Referendum in June 2016. This will apply during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 academic years, but may change following Britain's exit from the EU.


The participation of the two groups in different Erasmus+ Masters funding activities varies:

  • Programme Countries take part in the full Erasmus programme. Their universities can host Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters Degrees. Their banks may also offer Erasmus Masters Loans.
  • Partner Countries take part in some parts of the Erasmus programme. Their universities can support Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters Degrees, but not host them. Their banks cannot offer Erasmus Masters Loans.

Brexit & Erasmus

Erasmus funding won't be immediately affected by the result of the UK's EU referendum in June 2016. UK students are still eligible for funding in 2016-17. You can read more about the impact of Brexit on postgraduate students on our blog.

Who can apply for Erasmus Masters funding?

You can receive Erasmus funding if you are a citizen of a participating country. Needless to say, you must also study all or part of your degree abroad.

Further eligibility criteria depend on whether you are a citizen of a Programme Country or a Partner Country:

  • Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters Degrees are available to students from Programme Countries and Partner Countries. However, a certain proportion of scholarships are reserved for students from Partner Countries.
  • Erasmus Mobility Grants are available to students from Programme Countries and Partner Countries. The latter have slightly more limited access.
  • Erasmus Masters Loans are only available to students from Programme Countries.

For more information on eligibility criteria for Erasmus funding, use the links above to view our detailed guides.

Last updated - 09/11/2016

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