Master of Science in Biology: EMMC Tropical Biodiversity and Ecosystems


TROPIMUNDO is an EC-funded and excellence-labeled Erasmus Mundus Masters Course in Tropical Biodiversity and Ecosystems. We bring together expert Higher Education Institutes (HEI), with long-standing worldwide expertise in tropical rainforests and woodlands and in tropical coastal ecosystems. TROPIMUNDO students are able to concentrate on botany, zoology and integrative ecosystem approaches in institutions worldwide in 2 Master years, of which an entire semester is spent in the tropics.

Specialisation is possible on the evolution of tropical flora and vegetation, on faunistic assemblages, on informatics tools to treat and manage biodiversity data and databases (biogeographical, genetical, geographical information systems) including the management and conservation of historic collections such as herbarium sheets, on the study of diversity, dynamics and evolution of tropical and subtropical ecosystems (with a focus on four related systems, namely tropical rainforests and woodlands, mangrove forests, seagrass beds and coral reefs, including the interactions between flora, fauna, man and the environment within and between each of these adjacent ecosystems), on conservation and restoration ecology of natural habitats and their biodiversity including competences in sustainable management and governance of biodiversity, and finally, on tropical ethnobotany, exploitation and valorisation of natural resources and conservation of traditional ecological knowledge.

Each Trajectory is divided in 4 semesters. Students start their program at the European university of their choice in Semester 1 (S1). The courses in S1 are divided into basic and specialised courses leading to equivalent competences in all three European study poles. During the second period (S2) in situ field experience and courses will take place in one of the universities in the tropics. During S3 specialisation will be sought at a European university different from that where the respective student started. During S3 the courses between the three study poles are very different. Finally, in S4 the student returns to where she or he started from for thesis research.

Participating institutions


  • Université Libre de Bruxelles - ULB (Belgium)
  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel - VUB (Belgium)
  • Université Pierre et Marie Curie - UPMC (France)
  • Musée National d'Histoire Naturelle - MNHN (France)
  • Università degli Studi di Firenze - UNIFI (Italy)

Non- EU:

  • Universtié de Guyane - UdG (Guyane)
  • Université des Antilles - UdA (Guadeloupe)
  • Université d'Antananarivo - UNIVANTA (Madagascar)
  • Université de Dschang - UDsch (Cameroon)
  • University of Hong Kong - HKU
  • Universiti Malaysia Terengganu - UMT (Malaysia)
  • University of Queensland (Australia)

For more detailed information, take a look at the TROPIMUNDO website.



Step 1:

Online application providing us with all the necessary information about your previous studies and results, your motivation, letters of recommendation, proof of your language skills, personal information,... . You have to upload PDF-copies of official documents (diploma, marks list,...). Keep in mind that if you receive a green light to continue registration you have to provide us with the original documents. If you receive documents from your university under closed envelope (e.g. marks list) please ask for 2 copies; one to be used now for uploading and one to be send in later (unopened).

Step 2:

The TROPIMUNDO Selection Committee, the different university authorities and the European Commission will decide soon after the application deadline who can proceed with registration. As we have a limited amount of places available there are four options:
(A) you are given permission to be admitted and you obtained a scholarship (conditions may apply),
(B) you are given permission to be admitted but you did not obtain a scholarship
(C) your file is admissible, but there are no more vacant places and you are put on the waiting list stating clearly your position on the list (1st, 2nd, 3rd,...),
(D) you are not given permission to be admitted.
If one or more of the students from category (A) decide not to proceed with enrollment they will be replaced by students from (B) and likewise for students from (B) being replaced by students from the waiting list in (C) taking into account the ranking order. To give applicants an idea, in 2013-2014 we had 45 available places of which 18 were funded by an Erasmus Mundus scholarship. Only 4 students from the B group eventually made it into the A group. This means that the first 4-5 students on the B list have a fair chance to be upgraded, but the rest of the B group and the C group need to consider self-funding or obtaining an external scholarship.

By submitting an application, the applicant accepts that decisions of the Selection Committee, the university authorities and the European Commission are final and irrevocable.

Step 3:

Enrolment. You will enrol at the three or four EU universities that are part of your Trajectory covering the full 2 year period. You will be asked to send in the necessary administrative documents which underpin your application. These documents will be officially authenticated diploma's (officially translated if necessary), transcripts of academic records, proof of proficiency in English (TOEFL or the like), statement of financial resources, APS Certificate for Chines applicants, etc.. . The exact documents which are required depend on the university where you enrol. It is only after the screening and approval of these documents by the registering university that you are officially accepted to the course.

For more detailed information, take a look at the TROPIMUNDO website.

As a Master in Biology, you will find work in many sectors. Most Biology masters play an active role in research, in universities as well as in the business world (medical and pharmaceutical industry, agro-industry). In addition to this, as a Master in Biology, you can also perform policy and governance work at the municipal, regional, federal or international levels.

Biologists also find their way into education (secondary, higher and university) and into the educational sector (nature and environment, among others). In each job, the knowledge and skills that you have acquired during your education at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel will be an important trump card.

Career guidance? VUB Career Center is your one-stop shop!

The VUB alumni are known to be critical, independent and open-minded people. Even then your first steps on the job market are not always easy. The VUB Career Center gives you that extra push you need to make it work. They offer individual advice on career opportunities and can help you to pimp your cv, or prepare for your first job interview. And you don't have to wait until after graduation. Pay them a first visit during your studies to find out what the job market has to offer you.

Student life

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel, a dynamic and modern university with three campuses in the Brussels-Capital region. The main campus in Etterbeek offers high-quality education and research in a green and stimulating environment. With all fields of study being represented there, you can go above and beyond your own discipline. At our student restaurant, you will easily find an engineering student standing next to a future philosopher trying to decide together between a pasta meal or the vegetarian selection of the day.
Our students do not feel like they are just a number in a long row of unknown students. They have good relationships with their lecturers and assistants who have an open-door policy where students with questions are always welcome. Small group workshops are also used to ensure close interaction and hands-on experience. Educational assessment conducted annually indicates that our students are “satisfied” to “very satisfied” with 90% of their courses.

Lecture halls and laboratories are furnished with the most up-to-date equipment. Modern sports facilities, including gymnasiums, fitness rooms, tennis and squash courts, and a swimming pool, can be found on campus.

For more information on student life in Brussels and at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, go to


City life

Brussels is the capital of Europe, but it wasn't always. Actually, Victor Hugo was amongst the first pro-Europeans who redeemed Brussels' geographical location ideal to be the capital of Europe.

You will encounter a strange mix of skyscrapers and small curving streets, of bourgeois and bohémien, of oui and non. It will get you lost, but it does so with everyone.

Brussels gives you what you expect from a real city: high buildings, busy traffic, an underground art scene, eccentric old ladies dressed in drag, bars on every corner, and a lot of love from the locals. Brussels is officially a bilingual city, which means that everywhere you go you'll see signs in French and in Dutch (and very often in English too). However, you'll find that most people in Brussels are native French speakers rather than Dutch speakers.

Here, in our belle Bruxelles you'll discover one of the greatest cities in Europe...

Brussels is a challenging city which you can explore endlessly, but you have to take some time to discover its true face. For a push in the right direction, take a look at the following pages: