Education for the higher educated

European Microfinance Programme

Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management

  • Description
  • Overview

Launched in 2005, the EMP (Master Complémentaire Conjoint en microfinance) has been designed by microfinance experts to offer a unique blend of theory and practice. Since 2007, students graduating from the EMP obtain a full Master degree (European Master in microfinance).

The purpose of the programme is to develop future professionals in microfinance who will contribute to the strengthening of microfinance institutions worldwide, in accordance with the highest international standards.

The EMP provides students with a professional, multi-disciplinary approach to the challenges the microfinance sector is facing today, through:


  • a solid theoretical foundation, taught by professors from four European universities in Belgium (Université libre de Bruxelles; Université de Mons), France (Université Paris Dauphine) and the Netherlands (Wageningen University)
  • insights into the latest techniques used by international micro-finance institutions, provided by practitioners from the NGO partners ADA, BRS, CERISE, PlaNet Finance and SOS Faim
  • opportunities to participate in seminars and confer-ences addressed to microfinance experts
  • an organized two-to-fourth-months internship in a developing country to obtain the necessary knowledge of daily realities of micro-finance on the field

With more than 60% of students coming from the South, 27 nationalities and experts from all parts of the world, the EMP is a particularly international Masters programme, which allows to create and keep new (professional) networks.

Candidates applying for the EMP via the Académie Universitaire Wallonie-Bruxelles (Master Complémentaire Conjoint en Microfinance), should read the General information document (PDF file, 68 KB).

All candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

 Academic degree

  • To have a Master's degree (or "Licence") issued by a Belgian University
  • To have a Master's degree (second cycle diploma, 5 years), i.e., a diploma equivalent to 300 ECTS

Diploma should have been obtained at recognized academic insitutions in the disciplines of development cooperation, economics, agronomy, management or finance. Exceptionally, other qualifications may be accepted. Good academic grades, relevant professional experience and field experience in developing countries are highly valued.


 English language proficiency

As the EMP is taught in English, candidates must prove their spoken and written command of English. Qualifications accepted as evidence of English proficiency are:

  • Native speakers: (USA, UK, AUS, NZL, IRL, CAN (Engl)): no proof needed

  • Applicants from anglophone countries: candidates having completed their studies in English must provide a confirmation by their University.

  • All other candidates:


If candidates from developing countries fulfill all admission requirements but can only provide a B1 English level (according to the CEFR), the EMP Jury will take these applications into account.

If a candidate is not able to provide any official language proof:

In this case the EMP Jury asks the candidate to complete either:



The results obtained by the candidate must be mentioned in the EMP Application Form 2013-14, section II. Otherwise, the application cannot be taken into account.

The EMP delivers a professional education that combines academic excellence and real-world experience and aims at broadening our understanding of development and the role that microfinance can play in fighting poverty.


Topics covered by the European Microfinance Programme:


  • General management and governance of microfinance institutions;
  • Development issues and their link to microfinance
  • Tools for financial analysis
  • Contracting and microfinance products
  • Macroeconomics and regulation of microfinance
  • Organizations and markets structures
  • Rural and urban microfinance issues

Accessibility through three different Master programmes:


  • A one-year programme: European Master in Microfinance (Master Complémentaire Conjoint en Microfinance, Académie Universitaire Wallonie-Bruxelles): for candidates having already obtained a Masters Degree.


  • Second year of the Master en Développement durable applique (Université Paris Dauphine)


Please be aware that the internship on the field is compulsory, as part of the programme, and that the EMP does not provide any financial support for the expenses related to that internship. However, students have the possibility to look for grants and financial support from foundations, associations, etc.

Level University
Incompany No
Open enrolment Yes
Costs (indication) No entry
Titles No title
Required language skills English
Country Belgium
Completion Diploma