To participate in the new edition of the MEME programme that starts in September 2014, students must apply by January 3, 2014. This deadline is for both Category A and Category B students. Applications arriving after this deadline will not be taken into consideration. After the deadline all incomplete applications will be discarded (unless the student has made special arrangements for one or two missing pieces of evidence). Subsequently, the Admissions Office of the University of Groningen will check whether an applicant is eligible for the MEME programme, that is, whether the degree obtained is comparable to a BSc (or higher) obtained at a European research university, whether the applicant has sufficient background in evolutionary biology or related fields, and whether the criteria for proficiency in English are met.
All eligible applications are subsequently evaluated by selection teams at the four partner universities. Every applicant receives four marks ranging from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest) for the four evaluation criteria: academic background, motivation, grades obtained, references. The sum of these marks lead to four rankings of applicants (one per partner university). These rankings are then combined into an overall ranking. Typically the four local rankings agree very well with each other, but some candidates may be ranked high by one university and low by another. To remove such discrepancies, the applications of these candidates are counter-checked by the MEME coordinator. In the end this first round of selection will result in a consolidated ranking based on the application package.
The highest-ranked 40 to 50 applicants in the first round will be invited for a Skype interview. For this second round of selection, the members of the MEME Admissions Committee meet at a central location in order to interview the remaining applicants. Each interview consists of a brief Powerpoint presentation prepared by the applicant on a scientific topic of their choice, a brief discussion of this presentation, and a couple of questions on background, knowledge, and motivation. Again, the applicant receives several marks for aspects such as presentation ability, ability to handle questions, and breadth and depth of knowledge. The interview scores are combined with the scores of the first round of selection (both scores having equal weight), resulting in a final ranking of candidates. Again, the committee carefully checks whether the numerical scores were assigned in a fair and comparable manner. Based on this ranking, the committee decides on whether an interviewed candidate can be admitted to the MEME programme and whom to recommend for an Erasmus Mundus scholarship.
The time line is as follows: The first round of selection will be completed in the fourth week of January. Applicants to be invited for an interview will be notified about this by email in late January/early February. The second round of selection will be completed around mid-February, and all applicants will be notified about the outcome as soon as possible. However, since the selection procedure is quite involved and has to be executed with extreme care, we cannot guarantee that applicants are notified about the outcome before the second week of March. This notification will specify whether an applicant will be admitted to the MEME programme and also will give an indication on whether the Admissions Committee has recommended the applicant for an Erasmus Mundus scholarship. The EU will eventually decide on who will actually receive a scholarship. This decision will typically be known in late April/early May.