Studying in BelgiumSee All Uni Advice Articles
Known for its high-quality education and modest tuition fees, Belgium could be the perfect country for prospective students to study. When it comes to a second language, Belgium offers Dutch, French or German, however, students need not panic over their language skills as the majority of the population is fluent in English.
The country has a rich cultural history and students can find themselves exploring castles or travelling to Paris, Amsterdam and London as they are all less than two hours away from Brussels via train.
The Education System in Belgium
Belgium’s education is based on linguistics and there are three official communities speaking French, Dutch or German. These three communities each have separate governments and parliaments and due to this, the education system differs depending on where students are studying:
The Flemish Community
This community is known for speaking Dutch and is merged with one of the three Belgian federal regions, Flanders, which is situated in the North. The education system is made up of:
- Registered institutions of higher education that are accredited and provide degree courses on specialist subjects.
- University colleges that offer vocational professional bachelor degree courses, along with advanced bachelor programmes.
- Universities that provide academic bachelor degree courses which can prepare students for continued learning as well as a profession.
The French Community
Made up of Belgians who speak French, the majority of its citizens live in one of the three federal regions, Wallonia. The education system is made up of:
- Universities offering degrees that tend to be split into two cycles, the first cycle consisting of a bachelor’s degree lasting three years and the second which is a two-year master’s degree. The third cycle is only available to students with a master’s degree and leads to a PhD (Doctorate).
- Hautes Ecoles, which is similar to university colleges, combine academic and practical learning and generally lead to professional work. Subjects offered are teaching, economics and translation and usually take three or five years to complete.
- Ecoles Supérieures des Arts which offer degree courses in artistic disciplines and either last for three or five years.
The German Community
The majority of whom are German speakers and is made up of approximately 77,000 people. Some citizens of the German community speak French, and most tend to enrol in either French or Flemish institutions or study in Germany.
What do I need to study at a Belgian University?
Each individual institution holds its own entry requirements, regardless of the community it belongs to. Prospective students can contact the university they are interested in to find out more about entry requirements and the application process.
The majority of universities will accept UK qualifications, but some courses may require students to speak either French or Dutch. Specific degree courses also will require admission tests.
How much will it cost me to study in Belgium?
EU nationals are able to pay the same tuition fees as Belgian nationals, however, due to the different communities in Belgium, the course fees and costs will vary greatly. Belgium is known for its low tuition fees in comparison to the UK and many universities charge a registration fee on top.
Will I get funding to study in Belgium?
EU students are eligible for grants and scholarships, however, they are assigned based on an individual’s circumstances and some require qualifying students to have lived in Belgium for at least two years prior to application. Non-EU students and international students also have access to funding options, which is assessed on a case-by-case basis. Potential students can read up on the different scholarships available in Belgium here (Scholarships and Internships).
Will I need a student Visa to study in Belgium?
EU citizens are allowed to study and live in any country which is a member state of the EU providing they; have proof of enrolment from an approved university or educational institution, have evidence of income and financial support (which can be from a job or savings) and have sufficient health insurance (which can include the EHIC card and/or extra health insurance coverage), it’s important that you know what European student paperwork you need.
Cost of Living
Prospective students need to research the cost of living in Belgium to ensure they will be able to support themselves financially. Here is a list of everyday items and their average price to help get students started.
Dining out: 13.00 euros/£11.43 per meal
McDonald’s: 7.50 euros/£6.60 per meal
Beer: 3.00 euros/£2.64 per pint
Coke: 1.93 euros/£1.70 per can
Water: 1.75 euros/£1.54 per bottle
Milk: 0.43 euros/£0.38 per pint
Bread: 1.50 euros/£1.32 per loaf
Bus ticket: 2.00 euros/£1.76 per one way
Bus ticket: 49.00 euros/£43.09 per month
Utilities: 150.00 euros/£131.91 per month
Internet: 55.00 euros/£48.37 per month
Cinema: 9.00 euros/£7.91 per ticket
Rent: 925.00 euros/£813.42 per month
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