Study in Belgium
Higher education in Belgium is characterised by high quality and great diversity. Our country hosts some of the world oldest universities.
Studying in Belgium offers several advantages: Belgium’s institutes of higher education have gained international recognition for their academic rigour and quality while tuition fees remain affordable. Foreign students highly appreciate Belgium’s quality of life, with campuses often located in the centre of the country’s historical cities. Finally, living in Belgium offers the students in addition a window to the rest of Europe, allowing them to understand the growing importance of the European Union.
Belgian institutes of higher education are divided into two groups: universities and higher education schools. The former are more academic and research oriented, the latter more practically oriented, preparing students directly for professional and technical careers. While the distinction in appellation still holds, the difference in focus between the two types of schools has somewhat faded.
In Belgium, the Communities are responsible for the education. The Flemish Community is therefore responsible for education in the Dutch-speaking part of the country whilst the French Community is the competent authority for the French-speaking part of Belgium, and the German-speaking Community for education in German.
- Studying in the Flemish Community
You will find a comprehensive overview of all possibilities on the website Study in Flanders.
Higher Education in Flanders in contains a brochure in pdf format. This brochure lists and explains the various degrees and diplomas which can be obtained from Flemish educational institutes. It also provides information on the range of study options in Flanders. The brochure also provides financial information on all types of studies (e.g. on grants).
- Studying in the French Community
On the website Venir étudier en Belgique you can find an overview of opportunities for studying in French-speaking Belgium.
The Service Equivalences deals with the equivalence of foreign primary and secondary education certificates. To find out if a foreign university degree receives the same recognition in the French Community, you can visit the website of the French Community.
Allocation d’études provides useful information on how to submit an application for a student grant or student loan.
- Studying in the German Community
On the website of the German-speaking Community, you can find an overview of opportunities for studying in German-speaking Belgium.
Following the “Bologna-structure” agreed upon by most European member states, bachelor, master and advanced master as well as PhD are degrees granted by Belgian higher education institutes.
At the bachelor’s level, students typically study a wide range of subjects, equipping them with a solid knowledge base that is essential in a rapidly changing world. In some higher education schools, this will be the final degree of a 3 year programme (professional bachelor’s degree), while in others schools and at universities, it is considered an intermediate degree (academic bachelor’s) that allows access to the master level.
The master’s level is where specialisation comes in. Students can often choose their courses from a wide range of options. The master is typically obtained after a total of 4 or 5 years of study (including bachelor studies). The advanced master’s level in general offers separate one year graduate programmes, such as MBA-programmes. Some require previous work experience.
PhD-programmes consist mostly of independent study and the writing of a PhD-thesis.
In general, foreign students studying in Belgium are supported by scholarships or by their own resources.
Foreign students wishing to enrol for the initial cycle (bachelor degree programme) must obtain a certificate of equivalence for their secondary education qualifications.
The section on development cooperation presents a list of institutes that provide scholarships for short-term training and higher studies. The governmental development cooperation grants each year a few dozen scholarships for Belgium. The programme gives priority to those studies related to the priority sectors of the Belgian development cooperation in Vietnam. Short-term trainings in Belgium allow addressing the specific and urgent needs of Vietnam in the field of the development of its human resources.
The Belgian communities have their own scholarship programmes that are characterised by their specific interests. The Vlaamse Universitaire Raad and the Conseil Universitaire de la Communauté française de Belgique are among the most important actors in this area.
Each year more and more foreign students visit Belgian educational institutes with their own resources. The websites Study in Belgium and Top Study are perfect gateways to a general overview of what Belgium has to offer as far as higher studies are concerned.
- Entry requirements for Belgium
If you are a national from a non-member state of the European Union, you may need a visa to enter Belgian territory. For questions regarding visa and related matters, you should contact the Belgian Embassy or Belgian Consulate in your country or a neighbouring country. You can already read more about visa procedures on our website.
Once you have arrived in Belgium, details of your country's embassy or consulate may also be useful.
Many schools and universities have rooms available for students or provide lists of rooms which are available to rent locally. As such, it is advisable to contact your educational institute to find out more about this.