The university academic year begins on 1 October and finishes on 30 September of the following calendar year. Most universities apply a system of semesters, which means that the academic year is divided into two separate teaching periods or semesters. The first semester comprises first 13 weeks of educational and study activities, concluded with 2 weeks of autumn vacation. Then there is 1 week of individual study and 3 weeks of examinations, followed by 1 week of vacation. The second semester comprises also 13 weeks of educational and study activities, but is interrupted by 2 weeks of Easter holiday. The 13 weeks are followed by 2 weeks of individual study, 3 weeks of examinations and 1 week of deliberations. The summer break of 6 weeks is followed by the second examination period, which consists of 3 weeks of examinations. Some courses need 4 weeks of examinations; in that case the summer break takes only 5 weeks. The examinations are followed by 1 week of deliberations. Between the end of the deliberations and the beginning of the new first semester one free week remains.
Registration fees and financial aspects
For Belgian and European students, higher education is financed to a very large extent by the public authorities. Every year, students must pay a registration fee. The amount of this fee varies depending on the higher education establishment and the type of programme followed. For an academic year, the registration fee for Belgian and EU students is set at around EUR 800 for universities and around EUR 400 for long-term extra-university programmes. Other items may be added to this registration fee. Foreign students from non-European Union member countries will have to pay additional registration fees whose sums vary in accordance with the type of study. Information concerning the total amount of fees to be paid may be obtained from the registration services of the educational establishments.
Student living costs are dependent on a number of factors linked to the type of programme followed by students, type of accommodation chosen, way of life, etc. It may be considered that students will need a minimum of ?700 per month, without however taking into account the various registration fees. Information may be obtained from the welfare services of the establishments or from establishment websites.
Foreign students (from outside of the European Union) who wish to study in Belgium must in principle file a student visa application with the Belgian diplomatic or consular representation in the country of origin. Information may be obtained from the said representation or from the Foreigners Office in Belgium.
New procedure for students from the P.R. China
From the academic year 2007-2008 onwards all students from the P.R. China will have to obtain a certificate of academic screening issued by the Academic Evaluation Centre (APS) at the German Embassy in Beijing before being allowed to enroll at any higher education institution, language course or other preparatory course in the French-speaking Community of Belgium. The APS certificate is also required for obtaining a student visa to Belgium. Students planning to study in the French-speaking Community of Belgium in 2007-2008 are advised to contact the Academic Evaluation Centre in Beijing, e-mail: email@example.com as soon as possible in order to make the necessary appointments and this before applying for a visa at the Belgian Embassy.
Students from a European Union Member State must carry a national identity card in order to come to Belgium.
Within eight days following their arrival in Belgium, students (including those from the European Union) must register with the local administration of their place of residence in Belgium.
2nd AND 3rd CYCLES
Students who hold a foreign higher degree and who wish to sign up for a master must file a request with the establishment in which they want to register. They will eventually valorise credits acquired after the first cycle abroad and so reduce the duration of their master programme.
Students who hold a foreign degree and who wish to sign up at a university for an advanced master or postgraduate studies (doctorate) must either obtain a valuation for their degree of at least 300 credits from the university panel or full equivalence of their degree with a master or advanced master from the Ministry of the French Community.
Foreign students wishing to register for an initial cycle of higher education in an Institute of Higher Education or College of the Arts or for one of the years of the 1st cycle of studies organised by the Universities or Higher Institutes of Architecture must obtain a certificate of equivalence for their secondary education qualifications versus the corresponding qualifications issued in the French Community of Belgium.
For certain areas of studies, foreign students must, in the same way as Belgian students, pass an entrance examination (art college, engineering sciences) or an examination on completion of their first year of studies (medicine and dentistry studies). Furthermore, access to certain 1st cycle programmes of study is subject to quotas for foreign students not resident in Belgium.
The majority of higher education establishments are located in urban centres that are easily accessible by public transport (train, tram, bus, underground). Students benefit from a whole range of infrastructures (shops, swimming pools, sports centres, cinemas, theatres) and from a variety of catering options. Students are able to participate in numerous extra-curricular activities (cultural and sporting activities, student parties, conferences, etc.) organised by the establishments or by student associations (« cercles étudiants »).With respect to accommodation, some establishments offer students rooms at very reasonable prices. Students can also search for accommodation via estate agents or individuals. The minimum price for accommodation may be estimated at between 200 and 300 euros per month.
Founding EU member
The Kingdom of Belgium (Dutch: Koninkrijk België; French: Royaume de Belgique; German: Königreich Belgien) is a country in northwest Europe bordered by the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg and France and is one of the founding and core members of the European Union. Belgium has a population of over ten million people, in an area of around 30,000 square kilometres (11,700 square miles).
In Belgium, possessing a Master's degree means that you have completed a higher education (usually university or college) programme of 4 or 5 years. Before the Bologna process most university degrees required 4 years of studies (leading to a licence), but some programmes required 5 years of study. An example in the field of education in business/management was the 5-year programme of "Handelsingenieur" (Dutch/Flemish) or "Ingénieur de Gestion" (French) (English: "Business Engineer") with an important amount of mathematics and sciences, and which corresponds to a M.Sc. in Management. This degree co-existed with an undergraduate degree in business economics (4 years) named "Licentiaat in toegepaste economische wetenschappen" (Dutch/Flemish) or "Licence en sciences économiques appliquées" (French) (English: "Licence in applied economics").