There are approximately 74 higher education institutions in Belgium. Higher education institutions (HEIs) in Belgium include universities, university colleges (Haute écoles), research universities, theological seminaries, military schools (only in the French part) and institutes. Moreover, these can be either public, funded by the government, or private, funded through private tuition. Higher education in Belgium is divided and coordinated separately by the Flemish and French communities as these are the two official languages. Belgium is open to international students as a quarter of its student population is composed of foreign students. Of these international students, approximately 85% are European and the rest are non-European. For more information, please refer to the official government website: http://www.enseignement.be/index.php.
The higher education system in Belgium follows the traditional path of a Bachelors, followed by a Masters and a Doctorate. Bachelor degrees can be subdivided into two categories: academic Bachelors and professional Bachelors. An academic Bachelors is designed for students who will later pursue a Masters degree and has a more academic angle to its teaching whereas professional Bachelors include more vocational elements designed to prepare students for work. Both generally take three years to complete. Masters degrees take one to two years to complete. Bachelors and Masters degrees may be awarded by any of the higher education institutions which offer them, however Doctorates may only be awarded by universities and take approximately three years depending on the topic of research.
There is no centralized body of administration when applying to Belgian universities as each student must apply to their higher education institution of choice individually. However, students must pay attention to whether their university of choice is in the French Community or the Flemish Community as these have varying requirements for certain specialized degrees to be accepted. Overall, any equivalent of a secondary school leaving certificate is accepted by HEIs, such as A levels and the French Baccalaureate. In the Flemish Community, students applying to dentistry and medicine programs must pass an additional test organised by the Ministry of Education. Students applying to artistic HEIs must also pass an admission test which is set by each school individually. Students applying to schools within the French Community for applied sciences courses must also pass an additional entrance examination. Moreover, there are many courses in English, though most of these are Masters programs. Students applying for Bachelors degrees often must prove their proficiency of the Dutch or French language in order to be accepted.
Tuition fees in Belgium for EU/EEA students is approximately 850€ per year. For international students outside the EU, fees are approximately 4000€ per year.
Information for International Students
Student accommodation varies greatly depending on the university, whether it has a campus and where it is located. Some universities do offer student housing whereas others do not so students are required to rent a room or an apartment though there are many opportunities catered to student needs. The main languages are French and Dutch, though there are many English and German speakers within the country.