Study in Belgium

Study in Belgium

Last edited on 22 Jun 2024

Hi! Welcome to Belgium! 

Home to the European Parliament, the European Commission, the European Council, and other European Union institutions as well as international organizations such as the NATO, Belgium has a friendly, cosmopolitan, and international society right in the heart of Europe. Belgium, one of the founding members of the European Union, also hosts world renowned higher education institutions. No matter you plan to study in Belgium a Bachelor's, Master's or PhD degree, or enroll in a summer study abroad programme, the Belgian educational system is designed to provide students with a wide range of subjects and study opportunities. While the usual languages of instruction are Dutch and/or French, you will also find many English taught degrees.

The country prides itself on its medieval art cities such as Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent, Liège, Mons and Tournai. Due to its central location and its excellent transport system the other megalopolises of Western Europe such as London, Paris, or Amsterdam, are only a one or two hours train journey away. The capital Brussels is one of the world’s great super diverse cities, home to the main institutions of the European Union, with a very high number of embassies, international organisations and multinational companies, and a large and diverse expat community.

In short, here are the reasons to study in Belgium: world-renowned universities, excellent opportunities for international networking, famously multicultural and multilingual cities, a host of regional cuisines and specialties, beautiful countryside, overall high quality of life, and, of course, those fantastic Belgian waffles.

Higher Education System

Belgium’s educational institutions, of which some date back to the Middle Ages, are known worldwide for their outstanding academic reputation. They offer the broad range of study programmes from bioengineering to fine arts, from aeronautics to nuclear medicine. There are three types of higher education institutions in Belgium: universities, universities of applied sciences and postgraduate training institutions. In the Flemish Higher Education system Schools of Arts are integrated in the universities of applied sciences and arts. An ever growing number of institutions of higher learning provides programmes in English, mainly at master level, but also at bachelor level. The higher education system in Belgium is part of the so-called European Higher Education Area and comprises three ‘cycles’:  the first encompasses Bachelor programmes, the second, Master programmes, and the third, PhDs.

A student who has obtained a Bachelor's degree can immediately supplement it with a second ‘cycle’ of studies, i.e.  a master's degree, consisting of at least 60 and in many cases 120  ECTS credits. Master's programmes entail interaction between teaching and research and aim to provide students with advanced knowledge and competences in a specific field. An Advanced master's degree involves acquiring a specialised professional qualification. Advanced Master's programmes are worth at least 60 ECTS credits.

Meanwhile, a Postgraduate programmes aim, within the framework of further vocational training, to broaden and/or consolidate the skills acquired following a bachelor's or master's programme. A certificate is issued after a programme comprising at least 20 ECTS credits. Lastly, a PhD is the highest qualification awarded by universities in Belgium. As well as preparing for their thesis, PhD students take a PhD training programme in a doctoral school in order to acquire additional competences that could be useful in their subsequent career in academia or elsewhere. Belgium is a popular destination for International students. Educational standards in Belgium are high, and 8 Belgian universities recently featured in the Global Top 400 of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022, of which 3 Flemish Higher Education institutions are in the Top 200 – the highest of which are KU Leuven ranked 42 and Ghent University ranked 96.