Founded in 1834
Ranking: QS World universities 2017 - 216/900
8,580 International Students
Partner with Housing Anywhere since: September 2013
Prime location in Brussels
The Université libre de Bruxelles has several campuses and also operates at other sites. Below, you can explore their itineraries and find out their locations.
The university’s main location is the Solbosch campus, which is home to facilities and services, as well administration offices and groups. The majority of the university’s Faculty of Human Sciences, as well as its library, can be found here, along with the Faculty of Applied Sciences. This is also the location for the university’s museums: the Contemporary Art Centre and the Zoology Museum.
Just a mile away from the Solbosch campus is the Plaine campus, situated at less than a mile from the Solbosch site. This site houses the Faculty of Pharmacy, the Faculty of Sciences and many other science departments.
Also close by is the Erasmus Campus, which also accommodates many different departments. These include the Faculty for Motor Sciences, the Erasmus Hospital, the Health Pole and the School of Nursing, which is actually co-administered by the ULB and Haute École libre de Bruxelles Ilya Prigogyne.
Located at the Charleroi Airport, Biopark Charleroi Brussels South houses most programs related to biology and medicine. These include: the Institute for Molecular Biology and Medicine (IMBM), the Laboratory of Vegetal Biotechnology (LBV), the Institute for Medical Immunology (IMI) and the Center for Microscopy and Molecular Imaging (CMMI). This location also accommodates Wallonia Biotech SA and Immune Health, which is a research centre that is highly regarded due to its independent research programs centering upon immune responses and industrial collaborations.
Located in Charleroi, the Parentville campus is the hub for most of ULB's activities in the area of Wallonia. It is the prime location for the Education Centre, the Science and Technology Museum (CCS) and various research times. It is here that you will also find Wallonia-Brussels Academy's administration.
At the Treignes site, explore the afternoon away at the Ecomuseum of the Viroin region.
If all of this isn’t enough to keep you busy, be sure to read more in our Brussels City Guide.
The academic year is divided into two very distinct periods (the first and second semesters), beginning in September and ending in June. Both semesters end with exams in either January or June. Studying in Belgium ends in a bit of a crash course commonly referred to as "The Blocus," which refers to the two weeks before the exam. With the exception of these two weeks, university life in Belgium consists of a lot of activities and parties.
The academic programme
Following what is known as the European harmonisation for higher education institutions and universities, there is a three-cycle system that is in line with the French-speaking courses.
The first cycle is made up mostly of generalized courses of study that last for three years (180 ECTS), resulting in a Bachelor (BA) degree. The second cycle includes more specialized courses, which last one to two years (60/120 ECTS) and results in a Master (MA) degree. For veterinary studies, expect three years (180 ECTS) of courses, and for medical programs, expect four years (240 ECTS).
Be sure to take a look at the list of courses for a Masters degree, either fully or partially instructed in English.
After the second cycle is complete, studies leading to a specialized Masters can begin. These courses typically last for one year and result in the Master after Master (MAM). These are offered in certain specialized fields, with the end objective for students to obtain a professional qualification.
The third cycle of university studies pertain solely to doctorate programmes, resulting in the writing of a doctoral thesis (PhD).
The Université libre de Bruxelles proudly offers 12 faculties that combine many programmes consisting of both research and academic input. Students may choose between nearly 40 undergraduate programmes and 247 graduate programmes, as well as explore partnerships with at least 20 Doctoral learning institutions, boasting a current progress count of almost 1,600 PhDs.
A good portion of the Master programmes offered at ULB have a base in transdisciplinarity. However, equally as important are international relations (multilingualism) for those students wishing to achieve European Master degrees. Therefore, if you are hoping to become an international student in Brussels, be sure to read our informative Brussels City Guide.
At ULB, one of the primary goals is to ensure that students take away the ability to utilize critical thinking, along with the ability and the drive for research. Be sure to look over the entire course catalog by clicking this link. ULB also takes steps to ensure the in-class learning experience for students is engaging and modern, with lecturers and professors using interactive technologies like wooclap.
L’Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) is the largest French-speaking learning institution in Brussels. It welcomes over 26,000 students to its multiple campuses each year, with over 33% being international students. With its 12 faculties, the ULB takes part in many international programmes and is involved in numerous research projects, earning four Nobel Prizes, with one in 2013 by François Englert, Physics Nobel Laureate.
Due to its notoriety for being a French-speaking university, a majority of the courses are taught in the French language. However, as time progresses, more and more Master degree programmes are taught in English. And as a bonus, the university offers French language courses to help international students in learning to speak French fluently during the time at the ULB.
Arriving at Solbosch campus by car
To use public transportation:
Arriving at the Plaine campus (Ixelles district) by car
Arriving at the Erasme campus by car
When using public transportation:
Arriving at Parentville Campus by car:
If you want to learn more about how to get around to other places in Brussels, be sure to check out our complete Brussels City Guide!
Known for its lively restaurants, hip cafes, exciting bars and high-end shops, Ixelles/Elsene is by far one of the most popular areas in Brussels. With a pleasing array of distinct neighbourhoods, this is the main hub for nightlife and culture. Toison d’or and Porte de Namur is an area known to attract hordes of shoppers to their many stores hosting some of the most recognizable brands in fashion. As that this area is so popular, public transportation makes going to and from this neighborhood a breeze. The prices to rent one of its large townhouses are a bit on the pricey side, but it is still very popular with students.
St. Gilles is also a popular locale in Brussels, due in part to its diversity and vibrancy. Many areas have lovely Art-Nouveau buildings with summer terraces, amidst cafes and other local hot spots. This is definitely an up-and-coming neighborhood, especially if the rise in local business is any indication. The Parvis St. Gilles is a colorful square that hosts markets full of fruits, vegetables and delicacies from food trucks. This area is also close to the city centre, with plenty of transportation options.
For more information on the neighborhoods of Brussels, read over our Brussels neighborhood pages.
The university does offer dorm rooms and resident halls, but the space is extremely limited. More often, students live in shared housing called "Kot". The cost for this type of accommodations generally runs between 400€ – 500€. The best way to locate housing in Brussels is via the internet, utilizing Housing Anywhere and its many helpful options.
For those wanting to obtain leadership skills, be sure to check out AIESEC, which is an international non-governmental not-for-profit organization. AIESEC also offers cross-cultural international internships and exchange student encounters, making young people ready to leave a positive mark on today’s society.
When you are in Brussels as an exchange student, you will be a part of a student organization called "Express". They will ensure that you enjoy your time in Brussels by organizing activities, helping out with information and offering support. Keeping in mind with the university’s stance on free thinking (libre examen), the association hosts debates and other forums for self expression.
While the student organizations offer plenty to do, branch out into Brussels and explore. Be sure to check out our Brussels City Guide’s "Things to Do" area.
Visit the city centre (Saint-Géry), Flagey or Cimetière d’Ixelles to relax with a good ale or a perfectly concocted martini. Plus, you can always find the bars open late, even seven days a week! Place du Luxembourg is the place to be on Thursday nights, where students from all over the city meet for drinks and conversation.
But if you’re looking for something a bit more lively, try the outrageous party called TD, happening every evening at the university. This is a great place to experience the ULB student culture and learn how to party like a Belgian!