Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I apply for an Erasmus Grant for my first semester in IMBRSea?

    Yes, this is possible in case you obtained your bachelor degree at one of the participating IMBRSea Main Partner Universities. Explore with your international office when and how to apply. Keep in mind that in this case you cannot study your first semester at this university.

    Do Erasmus mobility Grants restrict my mobility possibilities?

    In some cases they do! In case you wish to study at the same university in semester 1 and semester 3, you will not be able to apply for an Erasmus Mobility grant for the third semester. 

    What is the amount of the grant?

    The exact amount depends on the university where you apply for a grant and depends on the university you plan to go to. Grants are normally awarded for 1 semester (3 months). Amounts range between 200 and 400 euro per month.

  2. What are thesis research lines?

    A research line is considered as a broad research field in which you would be willing to accept students for specific thesis projects. Based on the research lines, students will contact you to negotiate an actual topic.

    Research line at Institute A: Marine Microbial foodwebs in Soft-Bottom habitats
    This research line may lead to several student-specific thesis topics after negotiation with the students interested.

    The advantage of a research line is that it can be open on the Matix platform for students for several years (if desired).

    Are there financial compensations foreseen?

    When accepting a student from the IMBRSea programme for thesis research, no financial compensations are foreseen. Insurance during the thesis research activities is covered by Ghent University.

    More information about the thesis module of the IMBRSea programme can be found here. Also, above the FAQ, you will find a link to the thesis guidelines on pdf.

    When does the thesis take place within the IMBRSea programme and how much time is foreseen?

    • Students can start with the preparation of the thesis (for example literature review, introduction, or sampling) during the second and third semesters (2019). However, this must not interfere with the students' other courses in these semesters.
    • The fourth semester (January 2020 to June 2020) is fully available for the thesis work and submission. Activities during this semester have to be supervised by the thesis promoter/supervisor.
    • The students will be encouraged to organize their thesis work in a way that enables them to submit the thesis in the first session exam period (June 2020). Only with motivated exceptions is thesis submission possible in August 2020.

    Can an institution which is not an associate partner offer thesis research lines?

    This is possible! However, before the thesis topic can be approved the institution should become an associate partner, by registering on the IMBRSea Consortium. This membership will be approved by the IMBRSea management board and regulated through a signed bilateral agreement.

  3. Until when can I change my Specialization Track?

    During the selection process you indicate your preferred specialization track within IMBRSea (choice 1 and 2). You will receive an e-mail from the coordination office confirming your track. In specific cases and with a good motivation, you can still change this track until September 1st, taking into account the availability in the tracks. After this date, you can no longer make changes to the specialisation track since the track is mentioned on the final diploma and diploma supplement.
    The specialization track defines your pathway throughout the programme in terms of mobility and course selections. You basically remain in the same 'coulored band' during the entire programme.


    Do all universities offers the same transferable skills?

    No. The transferable skills depends on your first semester university choice. Each university offers different courses options for the students to take as their extra course (3 ECTS), you should check each university to choose the best option for you. 

    Is the summer school only 10 days and we have the rest of the summer off?

    Yes. The summer school usually takes place in August for 10 days. IMBRSea students have summer vacations for the whole month of July and depending on their third semester and summer school options, few more days between the summer school and the beggining of classes. 

    Are there limits as to how many students can be selected for a certain track? If conservation is the most popular track will there be more competition for those spots?

    Yes, there are limits on the number of students for each track. They will be chosen based on their application ranking and then allocated on their first or second track options.  

    Will you be able to switch tracks if a track is full?

    No. Only if there are still available spots at the university from the track you want to change your second semester to.  For example, you were in the conservation track going to Ghent University on the second semester and you want to change to the management track, and go for University of Oviedo. If there are still spots open on the management track and for Oviedo then, only then, you can change your track before the deadline on October. 

    Are students given separate or one Diploma having all the names of the universities after the program?

    After graduating, the students will have one Diploma with all the 10 Universities from the Joint Degree and the name of the track you chose. 

    Are students taught different languages apart from the official language of instruction?

    No. All courses are taught in English, no matter in each Country the University is located at. The same goes for the Summer School.  

  4. Which documents should I send to the coordination office?

    When you are admitted to the programme, you will receive an instruction e-mail explaining that you have to send the following documents:

    • A legalised copy of the basic diploma and its transcripts.
      • Instructions are given here:
      • In case you have not received your degree yet, you should send a statement from your university proving that you have been enrolled in the current academic year including the expected date of graduation.
      • if your degree needs to be translated, you have to send us the legalised copy of the certified translation.
      • It is not needed to send the original degree.
    • A print of your IMBRSea application form (= the pdf you received when you submitted the application form, being a summary of your application)
    • A copy of your language certificate (if applicable. e.g. native English speakers no not need to send this certificate, but just add a note that they are native speaking)


    Can I change items in my application form once it is submitted

    In principle no! Once an application is submitted, the reviewing process will start. In case you uploaded a wrong document or you have an additional supporting document relating to your studies, you can still send it to the coordination office ( with mentioning clearly your unique application number. 

    Can I defer my admission to the next academic year?

    Theoretically it is possible. If you are academically admitted to the programme and wish to start later, you will be asked to submit a new application in the relevant year, indicating that you had been admitted previously. If needed, consult the coordination office for further advice.

    Can I re-apply for a scholarship in my second year of the master programme?

    Unfortunately, the Erasmus Mundus scholarship is awarded for two years and students who could not secure a scholarship and are enrolled in their first year do not qualify to re-apply for a scholarship only for the second year.

    Can I submit English Test results after the application deadline?

    While the selection board clearly prefers complete application forms, a slithgly later submission of the language test result will be accepted e.g. if the test dates do not coincide with the application deadline. Please contact the coordination office if you predict that your language certificate will not available before the application deadline.
    In such case, upload a proof of the booked test, and send the digital test result to as soon as you receive it.

    Acceptance to the programme remains conditional until valid language proof is submitted

    Am I eligible to apply if I do not have my Bachelor’s diploma (or equivalent education certificate) at the time of application?

    In case you have not received your degree yet, you should send a statement from your university proving that you have been enrolled in the current academic year including the expected date of graduation.

  5. Should I send the paper documents before March 1st to be considered for the Erasmus + scholarship?

    When you apply for IMBRSea through the online application tool and you choose to try for an Erasmus+ scholarship you are already considered for it. The online application deadline is indeed March 1st. But, you only need to send the hard copies of documents such as your Diploma and transcripts after being approved by the program 

    How many scholarships are offered annually?

    It varies from year to year, but usually there are a around 20 Erasmus+ scholarships annually. Being 3-5 scholarships for EU/ EEA and Switzerland students and the rest 13-16 for students coming from outside the Europe.  

    Is the scholarship more heavily weighted on academic standing or motivation?

    Academic records weights heavily on being well ranked to get an Erasmus+ scholarship.

    Is there is another scholarship to get funds for this particular program?

    The Mobility grants from each of the 5 beggining partners universities (University of Algarve, University of Oviedo, Ghent University, Sorbonne University and University of Western Britany) are available for students that do not obtain the Erasmus+ scholarship. Students should apply at their beggining universities at the end of the first semester, to obtain scholarships for the third and possibly fourth semesters. 

    Also, students are encouraged to persue different scholarships and available funds, specially for their thesis, which is done on the fourth semester.

    How are the scholarships awarded?

    Students are first sorted for elegibility or not to persue the IMBRSea. The ones that are elegible, are ranked according to their academic records, motivation letter, referee's letters and professional experience. The best ranked students get the scholarships. 

  6. I have an unrelated degree, but am very interested in your programme. Can I apply?

    IMBRSea is a specialization programme in Marine Biological Resources on Master level. You need to have the sufficient background in certain topics (ecology, statistics, genetics,...) in order to be able to follow this programme. If your degree is not listed in the requirements above, but if you feel you have a solid academic background, we encourage you to apply. The selection board will assess your files to check your eligibility.

    In my country the ECTS credit system is not used and the grading system is different from Europe. How will my previous education be evaluated?

    There are indeed a large number of different grading systems used in different countries. The IMBRSea selection committee consists of people who have sufficient background in evaluating the diverse grading systems.

    Can I learn local languages during the programme?

    Language diversity provides an added-value to studying and living in Europe. IMBRSea students have the opportunity to learn a language within the transferable skills course in semester 1.

    Can the English proficiency certificate be sent after the application deadline?

    While the selection board clearly prefers complete application forms, a slithgly later submission of the language test result will be accepted e.g. if the test dates do not coincide with the application deadline. Please contact the coordination office if you predict that your language certificate will not available before the application deadline.
    In such case, upload a proof of the booked test, and send the digital test result to as soon as you receive it.

    Acceptance to the programme remains conditional until valid language proof is submitted.

    Do native English speakers have to provide proof of proficiency?

    No. In this case, indicate 'native speaker' in the application form, and upload a note or your ID card again under the field for 'certificate of test'.

    Is there an estimate of the percentage of applicants who get accepted? Is there a limit on non-EU applicants?

    For the 2018 and 2019 cohorts, over 300 students applied and 110 students were accepted. So, around 1/3 of applicants get accepted. There is not a limit for students from outside the EU to be accepted or any limits for different countries. 

    What are you looking for in applicants?

    IMBRSea is focused on training the next generation of marine scientists that will tackle the issues concerning oceans health and promote Blue Growth. For the selection, the academic records, motivation, referee's letters and past experieces are important. We are looking for motivated, intelligent and innovative students!

    If my referee submits his report on the deadline day, will that affect my application?

    No. We understand how busy can be some referees and the applications are only analyzed after the deadline is over. 

    Does my referee need to be a academic professor or can it be someone from my workplace?

    Your referee can be a teacher, a boss or someone that worked with you. The important thing is that they must know how you are at class or work environment, your behavior and character. 

    Will we get a notification when the referee completes the form?

    Yes. You can check if the referee has completed or not the form on your application page. 

    I live in a different continent. I already sent all my documentation electronically, do I have to send them again via mail?

    Not for applying. You only need to send your documents as hard copies to Ghent University after you are approved. They need to be legalized and properly translated before sending it to Ghent, but not for applying. 

    If I have studied at an English speaking University, is it enough to submit my transcripts to prove my English proficiency?

    Yes. For English proficency purposes is enough to prove that you have persued a higher education diploma in English for more than one year. 

    If I am applying for another program under the Erasmus+ scholarship, does it affects my chances to be selected?

    No. But if you already have received an Erasmus+ scholarship in the past, before applying for IMBRSea, you will not be eligible for obtaining another one. 

  7. Can I pay the participation fee in installments?

    As a self-funded student you will be able to pay the fee of the first year in two installments (first installment in May, second before August). After completion of the first academic year you will be invited to pay the fee for the second year. This second year fee should be paid in one installment.

    When do I pay the participation fee?

    After being accepted to the programme, you will receive the request to pay the first part of the participation fee of year 1 of 1000 euro. Only after payment of this part your place in IMBRSea at the starting university will be secured. The second part of the participation fee should be paid by 1 August of the year in which you start the programme.

    The fee for the second academic year should be paid prior to 1 August again, once you have succesfully completed your first year.

    Does the cost of the tuition cover expenses on food or accommodation?

    No, the tuition only covers the cost of the courses. If you are a self-paid student you need to pay yourself for your accomodation, food, health insurance, plane tickets and other costs for each country. The only exceptions are during the Annual Symposium and Summer School, where food and accommodation are provided for everyone. 

    How much does it costs to live in each country during the studies?

    If you do not obtain a scholarship and are a self-sponsered you will need to cover not only the tuition costs, but also costs related to traveling between countries, visas, food, accomodation, health and other costs. Take that in to consideration before applying! For each of the partner universities you can find information on evarage costs for each country, check them

  8. Will my UGPA insurance be extended automatically for the second year or not?

    For scholarship students, renewal of this insurance for the second year goes automatically. For self-funding students this does NOT go automatically. You need to inform the IMBRSea coordination office in case you would like to extend your insurance by using the same form as for the initial insurance request (see

  9. Is the Joint School Obligatory

    Yes, the school is obligatoy for all students. It counts for 6 credits of the total 120 credits.

  10. At which University am I enrolled during thesis work?

    During your thesis you are enrolled at Ghent University. Depending on where you studied during your third semester, you may also be enrolled at the third semester University. Thesis insurance is covered via your enrollment at Ghent University.

    Is there an availability to focus on research methodologies like next generation sequencing and transcriptomics to study biology of infection?

    In the first semester every student must take genomics as one of the courses from the Fundamental Modules. Depending on the track and University you take for the Thematic Module, you can also go deeper on this area. As an example, on the Management track you have a course called: "Molecular techniques applied to resource evaluation and management". 

    Furthermore, there are many partners that works with genomics where you can study further the subject during your Professional Practice and Master Thesis.