Study and find schools in Belgium
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Cities to study in Belgium
Belgium, also known as the Kingdom of Belgium, is a picturesque and culturally rich country in Western Europe. Home to the headquarters of the European Union, of which it is a founding member, Belgium has a total land area of nearly 12,000 square miles, on which 11 million of its residents live, work and recreate. From the 16th century until 1830—the year of the Belgian Revolution and eventual independence—Belgium was officially part of the Netherlands. During that time, many significant European battles were fought on Belgian soil; so many, in fact, that the area came to be known as “the battle ground of Europe”—a title that continued to hold true during both World Wars.
Belgium is very culturally and ethnically diverse. Its two largest regions are Flanders, a Dutch-speaking community in the north of the country, and Wallonia, a mainly French-speaking region to the south. The Dutch and French account for 99 percent of the total population, but there is also a small German region in the eastern part of Wallonia. Dutch, French and German are all considered official languages in Belgium, but most official matters of the state or conducted in Dutch and French, depending on the region. The country’s capital city is Brussels, and while the city is officially located in the Flemish region, the predominant language of Brussels residents is French. Belgium also has three official religions: Christianity (mostly those of Roman Catholic and Anglican faiths), Islam and Judaism.
Education in Belgium
Belgium is one of the most educated countries in the world. It has an estimated 99 percent literacy rate among adults, and the world’s 3rd highest percentage (42%) of 18-21 year old students participating in post-secondary education.
Children in Belgium are required by law to attend school from age 6 to 18. Education is divided between public, secular education and religious education, the latter offered primarily by the Roman Catholic Church. Each region—Flanders, Wallonia and the German community—is responsible for its own system of education, and that system is governed and funded by the provinces and municipalities within each region. Schooling takes place at both the primary and secondary levels, and consists of grades 1-8 and 9-12 respectively. At the higher-secondary level, typically grades 11 and 12, students have the option of continuing on a general educational track, with advanced instruction in academics, usually leading to university admission, or a vocational track, through which students receive valuable instruction and training in specific career-related fields and technical occupations.
Higher education in Belgium is open to any student possessing a regular or general academic diploma. However, certain programs of study, including those leading to careers in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine and engineering, may require students to take and pass an entrance examination prior to admission.
Recently, universities across Belgium converted to a systemized credit and degree structure, consisting of three distinct tiers of education, leading to one of three academic degrees: Bachelor Degree, the initial phase that usually spans 3 years; Master’s Degree, which takes an additional 2 years to complete; and Doctorate or PhD programs, which span an additional 3-6 years depending on the field of study. This structure, which is a product of the “Bologna Process,” is now in place at the majority of universities throughout the European Union, and is designed to help facilitate student transfer between universities in all participating countries.
The cost for university education is set and regulated by the national government, and financial aid is readily offered to students on a case-by-case basis according to individual need.
Map of Belgium