Higher education in Wallonia-Brussels

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Belgium is a federal country with three official languages (Dutch, French and German). The French Community of Belgium is one of the federal entities with full competence over higher education. The French Community refers to itself in official documentation as the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles[1].

Types of institutions

There are two types of higher education institutions:

  • Universities
    At universities, all programmes are structured in two cycles
    • the first cycle (or 1st cycle of transition) leads to the academic degree of Bachelor;
    • the second cycle (or 2nd professional cycle) leads to the academic degree of Master after one year (60 credits) or two years (120 credits) at least.
It leads to a Medical Doctor degree after four years at least (240 credits) and to Veterinarian Doctor after three years at least (180 credits).
The Master degree (120 credits or more) includes at least 30 optional credits which give this training one of the following objectives: (1) teaching objective which includes specific pedagogic education; (2) in-depth study objective preparing for scientific research; (3) specialization objective in a particular discipline.
  • Non-universities
    At non-university level, the higher education provided is of either short- or long-type.
    • Short-type programmes are organised in a single professional cycle sanctioned by the academic degree of Bachelor, including 180 to 240 credits.
    • Long-type programmes are of a university level. The degrees awarded have therefore the same effects as the degrees awarded by universities.

Types of programmes

Wallonia-Brussels has a three cycle degree structure: Bachelor - Master - Ph.D

The third cycle is exclusively organized by universities through the Academies (associations of universities). The third cycle is accessible to holders of master's degrees or any equivalent training of 300 credits at least. The third cycle corresponds arbitrarily to 180 credits but lasts generally over 3 years. It includes, on one hand, a doctoral training (60 credits) under supervision of teams associated in a Graduate College and leading to the research training certificate; and, on the other hand, the work related to the preparation of the doctorate thesis. The academic degree of doctor is conferred after the public defence of a thesis demonstrating the doctoral candidate’s capacities of creativity, of undertaking scientific research and distributing its results.

Overview degree structure

Degree structure in Wallonia-Brussels.gif

External links


  1. Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Community_of_Belgium,