05 - Belgium - Types of institution


education is organised in institutions with university or assimilated status. In the French Community there are three full universities: the University of Liège (ULg), the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) located in Louvain-la-Neuve, and the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB); one university, the Université de Mons-Hainaut (UMH), which is limited to certain faculties (science, economics, psychology and education science, medicine and pharmacy); and five university institutions: Faculté Polytechnique de Mons (FPMs) offering applied science, Faculté Universitaire des Sciences Agronomiques de Gembloux (FSAGx), Facultés Universitaires Saint-Louis (FUSL) in Brussels, Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix in Namur (FUNDP), and the Facultés Universitaires Catholiques de Mons (FUCAM).

Each full university has at least five traditional faculties, i.e. philosophy and humanities, law, science, medicine, applied science. Additionally, each university has a variable number of faculties, schools, or institutes, which teach other disciplines such as agronomics, art history, archaeology, Orientalism, business and economics, social and political science, criminology, psychology, education science, etc.

In other university institutions, instruction is limited to a certain number of disciplines and, for some of them, to just the first cycle of studies, which leads to a bachelor diploma:

  • The Facultés Universitaires Saint-Louis offer first-cycle courses in law, economics, social science, political science, philosophy, history, languages and humanities;
  • The Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix offer first-cycle courses such as law, philosophy, history, languages and humanities, art and archaeology, political science, social science, veterinary medicine, medicine, and pharmaceutical science, as well as second-cycle courses in economics and science;
  • The Faculté Universitaire Catholique de Mons offers commercial engineering courses (1st and 2nd cycle), and master and doctor degrees in economics and political science.

The French Community is the pouvoir organisateur for ULg, UMH, and the Faculté de Gembloux. The ULB is a private grant-aided non-denominational institution. The FPMs are public grant-aided institutions. The four others are private grant-aided denominational institutions: UCL, FUNDP, FUSL, and FUCAM.

Other, less extensive institutes also offer university education:

  • The Faculté Universitaire de Théologie Protestante in Brussels, which offers bilingual (French/Dutch) university education that confers master’s and doctor's degrees in protestant theology;
  • The Foundation Universitaire Luxembourgeoise (FUL), founded in 1971, whose mission is to stimulate and co-ordinate interdisciplinary applied scientific research (land administration, water management, etc.) and certain forms of postgraduate education in environmental science in the Province of Luxembourg and the areas bordering the neighbouring countries, in liaison with universities and assimilated institutions. This all-inclusive institute is part of the private grant-aided non-denominational réseau. Seven universities participate in its administrative and scientific management.

Two or more universities may associate to form an ‘academy’. An academy may establish partnership relations with other higher education institutions. Each higher education institution may not belong to or form a partnership with more than one academy. Any task relating to teaching, research or service to the community may be delegated to the academy at the request of the university institutions.

In July 2004, the ‘Louvain’ academy was formed. It is made up of the Catholic University of Louvain, the Facultés universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix of Namur, the Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis of Brussels and the Facultés universitaires catholiques of Mons.

In early 2005, two more academies were formed: the ‘Wallonie-Bruxelles’ academy, made up of the Free University of Brussels, the University of Mons-Hainaut and the Faculté polytechnique of Mons; and the ‘Wallonie-Europe’ academy, made up of the University of Liège and the Faculté universitaire des Sciences agronomiques de Gembloux.

Hautes Écoles

107 non-university higher education institutions have been consolidated to form 29 hautes écoles in five geographical areas (Brussels Capital Region/Walloon Brabant, Hainaut, Liège, Luxembourg, Namur). These hautes écolesare administered by the three réseaux: there are French Community schools, public grant-aided schools administered by provinces or municipalities, and both Catholic and non-denominational private grant-aided schools. pouvoir organisateurmay merge it with another college of the same or a different réseau. Failing merger with another institute, the pouvoir organisateurproceeds to progressively wind down the school until it can be closed.

Art colleges

Artistic higher education, with the exception of architecture, is provided by 17 art colleges. These institutes propose both short-type and long-type higher education. They prepare students in all artistic disciplines in four study domains: plastic, visual and spatial arts; music; theatre and vocal arts; performing arts and communication and broadcasting techniques.

The accreditation of the 17 art colleges defines for each cycle and each site the study programmes that each institute may organize.

Collaboration and cooperation agreements can be made with other Belgian or foreign educational institutions.

When the number of students eligible for funding remains for two consecutive academic years under 50% of the reference population defined by the decree (article 54), the art college loses its autonomy on the first day of the following academic year. Its pouvoir organisateur may merge it with another college of the same or a different réseau. Failing merger with another institute, the pouvoir organisateur proceeds to progressively wind down the school until it can be closed.

Architecture colleges

long-type higher education is provided in 4 architecture colleges: the Institut supérieur d’architecture de la Communauté française - La Cambre; the Institut supérieur d’architecture intercommunal (I.S.A.I.), the Institut supérieur d’architecture Saint-Luc Bruxelles, and the Institut supérieur d’architecture Saint-Luc de Wallonie.

Some of the architecture colleges comprise 2 or 3 separate campuses

Eurydice - the information network on education in Europe

Date: 2009
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