Lots of people embark on their journeys around the world to fulfill their desire of traveling and learning. This is apparent for international students taking their Master’s Degree abroad, as they can kill two birds with one stone. A reputable and attractive place for international students to consider taking their postgraduate studies is Belgium. Yet, why Belgium?
Belgium is a melting pot of various European cultures, surrounded by strong nations such as Germany, France, and the Netherlands – with the United Kingdom ways across the ocean bordering them. This makes them a substantial asset within international relations and transatlantic relations, further solidified by being the host country of the European Union (EU) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
This makes Belgium a fine place for students to learn about Europe, and the different cultures surrounding it. Belgium being a hub for different people and cultures allows its economy to grow to great heights, securing job opportunities for international students who finish their postgraduate studies. Here you will understand how you can join this journey, and how you can apply for your master’s degree in Belgium as an international student.
Application Requirements for Applying for Master’s in Belgium
If you’re going to study a master’s program in Belgium, most universities will ask you to submit the basic requirements such as Curriculum Vitae (CV), Proof of English Language Proficiency, Motivation Letter, Letter of Recommendation, Official Transcript of Records/Diploma, and translated versions or copies of said records.
It must be noted, however, that universities will differ in the required minimum academic achievement acquired by the applicant who is qualified using the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS).
Furthermore, sometimes the amount of ECTS credits will not be strictly required – but still be assessed. Instead, it may be replaced by another item.
At the University of Hasselt (UHasslet), a master’ Degree in Interior Architecture will require a portfolio and a diploma instead. The same university may instead require a degree in business economics and a thesis published for admission to Master of Management instead. Sufficient knowledge in certain fields may also be required if tests are part of the application process such as medicine Masters’ Degree programs in the University of Antwerp (UAntwerp).
Master’s Degree Language Requirements for Belgium
Belgium has three national languages – Dutch, French, and German. This means that the language of teaching will differ according to various factors – university, program, or curriculum. Most universities will have language requirements depending on the language included in the program, the language used to teach the program, and the policy of the university with the specific program.
Most universities use Dutch, English, and French as their teaching mode and German seems to only be a part of study in language and linguistic programs when being used. Fortunately, most programs are taught in English with Dutch and French options, or mixed. The abundance of English taught programs does not mean fully taught Dutch and French programs are scarce, there are still lots of them.
As said before, programs that relate to linguistics or language may require knowledge of Dutch, French, and German languages because of the curriculum requirement.
English proficiency certifications from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), and Cambridge (CAE/CPE) are accepted by most universities such as Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven), Vlerick Business School, and University of Antwerp (UAntwerp). Other certificates may be negotiated with the university, and they may allow other proof if it is certified by an internationally recognized English proficiency testing organization, if the applicant came from an institution that taught in English, or has passed the English proficiency exam by the university.
Dutch proficiency may be proven by certificates from – but not limited to – De Interuniversitaire Taaltest Nederlands voor Anderstaligen (ITNA), Certificaat Nederlands als Vreemde Taal (CNaVT), ‘Nederlands als Tweede Taal’, and any B2 certificate of a Belgian or Dutch university language center or even the university itself – through its own testing system. Schools such as Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Ghent University, and LUCA School of Arts fully teach programs in Dutch, and therefore, require their students proof of Dutch proficiency.
French proficiency may be verified by certificates from the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), a diploma from the Academy of Research and Higher Education (ARES), and sometimes by a proficiency test conducted by the university itself. Some universities that require these are UCLouvain Saint-Louis Brussels, University of Liège, University of Mons, and the University of Namur.
As a final note on the language requirement needed in taking a master’s degree in Belgium, some universities offer mixed-taught Dutch programs but will not require the student to show proof of Dutch proficiency. Instead, they offer opportunities for learning Dutch – like Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven).
Check Also: Programs in Europe for International Students
How to Apply for Master’s Programs in Belgium
Applying for a university may require different documents to be prepared, but rest assured the basic requirements mentioned before will be there.
1. Prepare the required documents for the application
The first step in how you can study for a master’s program in Belgium is preparing your application along with the requirements. Make sure you have the basic requirements stated above and any additional documents the university may ask from you or the specified program requires you to have. Some universities will ask for some documents that other universities will not.
2. Accomplish Online Registration; pay the application fee if needed
Head over to the university website and find their application form: email, online application, or student portal. Make sure to input all data required as well as upload or send the documents you prepared.
Some application processes will have an application fee. If there is, then please simply comply. Application fee price may vary from one university to another such as Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven) with EUR 75 for the processing fee, and the University of Liège with EUR 200 for the administrative fees involved in the application. If this scares you, fret not as not all universities will have application fees such as Ghent University, and the University of Antwerp (UAntwerp).
3. Await Response from University
The university may take some time before responding. If there are any inquiries or follow-ups to be made, then make sure to check for contact details of the university or their admission department to be specific.
4. Enroll and Apply for Visa when Accepted
Assuming you have been accepted, the applicant is there no more and the international student is officially present.
Applicants from outside Belgium will need their passport ID and visa. The kind of Visa they should apply for is the Long-stay visa – Belgium Student Visa as this will let them stay until their studies in Belgium are finished. They can also apply for a residence permit for an extended or permanent stay in Belgium after they graduate.
As you can see, the application for getting a master’s degree in Belgium is simple and direct. Just make sure to take note of their application dates so that you can study in your preferred year or term.
I hope that this article on how to study Master’s in Belgium was helpful! Make sure to also check out the Available Programs in Europe!