Universities in Belgium

Belgian universities

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If you want to study in Belgium, this guide lists the main colleges and universities in Belgium, with information on their curricula, background and graduate programmes.

If you're looking to study in Belgium, there are a range of unversities in Belgium to choose from. There are universities in both the Dutch and French-speaking regions of Belgium with the governance of each coming under the remit of the respective Flemish or French communities.

K U Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

K U Leuven is located near Brussels, in the city of Leuven, in Flanders - the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium. Founded in 1425 Pope Martin V, it is the oldest university in the Low Countries and the oldest existing Catholic university in the world. From the beginning it quickly became one of the outstanding intellectual centres of the Western World. Throughout the centuries the University of Leuven has continued to be an important centre of higher learning and scientific research. Today the school is ranked 58th on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, scoring particularly highly for innovation.

The year 1968 saw one of the most important steps in the Belgian federalisation process, as the University of Leuven was split into two independent universities. The French-speaking Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) moved in 1970 to a new campus in Louvain-la-Neuve, while the Dutch-speaking Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (K U Leuven) remained in the historic town of Leuven.

Today K U Leuven is Belgium's largest university, consisting of 14 faculties, covering the complete range of scientific disciplines in: humanities, natural science and technology, bioscience and medicine (excluding veterinary medicine). These faculties provide high quality interdisciplinary teaching and university education to more than 40,000 students, of which around 12 per cent are international students from approximately 120 different countries.

Most of the study programmes are organised in Dutch. However, some 50 international study programmes are taught in English, to cater for a growing international student audience.

The university's world-famous library (with its 30 subsidiaries) has more than four million books, and about 15,000 periodicals.

Even though the accent is on fundamental research, significant efforts are made to meet the needs of industry and society. More than 4,000 externally funded research projects are currently being carried out. Many of these projects directly involve industrial partners.

The University's interface for technology, K U Leuven Research & Development, stimulates and mediates the birth of spin-offs, and fosters young starters in its Campus Innovation and Incubation Centre.

K U Leuven's concern for public health is finds a presence in five university hospitals, containing approximately 2,000 beds and employing around 7,000 staff. The university hospitals are also affiliated with three others.

International students are facilitated by a range of associations and offices:

  • Office for International Students and Scholars – administration of applications and student grants awarded by the university;
  • Student Services - housing, social problems, employment, legal advice, medical help, and student restaurants;
  • International Contact Club – contacts with foreign students and visiting professors;
  • Pangaea for cultural and social activities for foreign students and staff;
  • Portulaca – association of foreign students;
  • Study Advisory Service for study information, counseling and career guidance;
  • Research Co-ordination Office for information on current research.


The deadline to apply for a study program is April 1st or the last Monday of September, depending on nationality.

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Office for International Students and Scholars
Oude Markt 13,
B-3000 Leuven (Belgium)
Tel: +32 16 32 42 71
Fax :+32 16 32 37 73
Email: admission.office@dsa.kuleuven.ac.be

UCL Université Catholique de Louvain

UCL is one of the oldest universities in Europe, founded in 1425. It combines the traditional with the modern, attracting some of the most qualified students, researchers and teachers from Belgium, Europe and beyond. UCL has a student body of approximately 21,000, around 20 percent of which are international, spread across 122 nationalities and five continents.

When, for political reasons, the UCL was forced to move to a French-speaking area of Belgium in 1970, it took up the challenge with enthusiasm. The Faculty of Medicine was set up in Brussels, in Woluwé-Saint-Lambert, where it works closely with the Cliniques Saint-Luc. Other faculties were established 20 minutes from the capital, in Louvain-la-Neuve, a new town created to meet the needs of the university.

The university offers a number of well-known courses including: diploma in European Studies, Master's Degree in Common European Management Studies (CEMS) – awarded jointly by twelve European universities including UCL; and the European Master's Degree in the Science of Work.

Research is one of the pillars of the university, the focus of approximately 200 units. Several centres of excellence have strong international reputations, such as the International Institute of Cellular and Molecular Pathology (ICP) founded by Professor Christian de Duve, winner of the Nobel prize for medicine, and the Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) created by Professor Jacques Drèze. A large science park on the edge of the University is home to high technology companies wishing to take advantage of the University's infrastructure.

UCL Université Catholique de Louvain
Place de l'Université 1
1348 Louvain-la-Neuve
Tel: 010 47 89 35
Fax: 010 47 25 31

Information on UCL courses in Brussels
Tel: 02 764 50 94
Tel: 010 47 27 06

Information on admissions procedures for foreign students in Brussels
Tel 02 764 50 24
Tel: 010 47 40 09

ULB Université Libre de Bruxelles

Founded in 1834, it is a university with seven faculties and institutes including several university hospitals. In addition it also manages industrial zones devoted to research. With its 24,000 students, three Nobel Prizes (Jules Bordet for Medicine in 1919, Albert Claude for Medicine in 1974, and Ilya Prigogine for Chemistry in 1977), and its worldwide reputation, the ULB has achieved an outstanding status in the academic world. The ULB is now the Belgian University with the highest rate of foreign students – constituting fully one third of the student population.

In 1990 ULB launched the UNICA network, a partnership of universities from across Europe’s capitals and now comprising 45 universities and more than one million students.

Industrial research and development, as well as transfer of technology, represent an increasingly important part of the university's research activities. In the last few years the budget devoted to the cooperation between the university and various industries has tripled. In the heart of Europe, close to the European Community headquarters, the ULB occupies a strategic position in the close-knit network of research centers and top industries. Thirty percent of its research contracts are undertaken with international partners. To respond to the needs of the industry university collaboration, the ULB has created its own interfaces and manages scientific zones in Nivelles, Evere and Anderlecht.

The school also co-finances a continuing education program for adults, "EPFC." It has a reputation for its language courses for foreigners but also offers courses in commerce, business, public relations and accounting. It is also a founding member of the International Forum of Public Universities (IFPU) and works in partnership with both the University of Oxford and University of Cambridge amongst other leading international schools.

ULB Université Libre de Bruxelles
Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 50
1050 Brussels
Tel: 02 650 21 11
Fax: 02 650 42 57

Universities of Antwerp

Rijksuniversitair Centrum Antwerp
Groenenborgerlaan 171
2020 Antwerp
Tel: 03 265 32 11
Fax: 03 265 34 44

Universitaire Faculteiten St. Ignatius

Prinsstraat 13
2000 Antwerp
Tel: 03 220 41 11
Fax: 03 220 44 20

Universitaire Instelling Antwerpen

Universiteitsplein 1
2610 Antwerp
Tel: 03 820 20 04
Fax: 03 820 22 49

University of Ghent

University of Ghent was the first Dutch speaking-university in Belgium when formed in 1930. There are 36,000 students in total across 11 different faculties. It offers advanced degree programmes, many of them in English. Disciplines include: arts & philosophy, law, sciences, engineering, economics & business administration, agricultural and applied biological sciences, pharmaceutical sciences and veterinary medicine. The school is currently ranked among the top 100 universities worldwide, scoring highly for innovation.

University of Ghent
Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 25
9000 Ghent
Tel: 09 331 01 01

University of Liège

The University of Liège, founded in 1817, is the public university of the Walloon Brussels Community and is part of the Wallonia-Europe University Academy. It offers a complete course of studies at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels and there are 20,000 students across nine different faculties. Its research potential is based on 2,000 teachers/researchers.

Resolutely international, around 20 percent of students are foreign students, representing around 80 different nationalities from five continents. More than 20 percent of its research funding comes from international sources and the university maintains close ties with over 200 institutions in Europe.

The science park located on the large wooded campus (760 ha), houses many high-tech enterprises, including the 20 spin-offs that were created from university laboratory research. Based on pluralism and humanism, ULG offers an open environment in which all ranges of thought can be freely expressed and where human development is promoted. These values are illustrated by the personalities, on whom it has recently conferred the degree of Docteur Honoris Causa, including Nelson Mandela, Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres and Salman Rushdie.

University of Liège
Place du 20 Août 7
4000 Liège
Tel: 04 366 21 11
Fax: 04 366 50 08

Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School

The history of the Vlerick Leuven Gent Management Schoolbegan in 1949 is the only Belgian school to hold triple accreditation: from Equis, AMBA and the American AACSB label. The school has alliances with more than 40 international business schools.

Every year there are about 6,450 participants attending postgraduate management and executive development programmes, and about 380 students. The alumni are spread over 100 countries and include CEOs from several global companies such as Sara Lee, Telindus and Omega Pharma.

Some 53 years ago, Professor André Vlerick laid the foundations of what became Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School. The school now has three main sites: Leuven Campus and Ghent Campus in Belgium and a third campus in St Petersburg, Russia.

Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School
Tel: 9 210 97 11
Fax: +32 9 210 97 00
Email: info@vlerick.be

VUB Vrije Universiteit Brussel

VUB is the Dutch Language University in Brussels. It was formed as a part of the French-speaking Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) before becoming a university in its own through legislative changes in 1970. Many courses are available in English, including Masters and PhD degrees in Management, International and Legal Cooperation, Industrial Location and Development, Medical and Pharmaceutical Research and Fundamental Applied Marine Ecology. The school also hosts Vesalius College, an undergraduate American-style liberal arts and Sciences College with all instruction in English. More than 11,000 students attend the university each year with around 15 per cent being foreign students.

VUB Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Pleinlaan 2
1050 Brussels
Tel: 02 629 21 11



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