The structure, in brief

One year of studies for a full-time student is 60 credits (i.e. 1,800 hours of work on average). Initial training programmes are divided into two tiers: the first tier, consisting in 180 credits, leads to a bachelor’s degree. This basic education offers a general approach to the discipline, and lets you develop the abilities involved in academic training: self-reliance, critical thinking, creativity, etc. This programme is not geared towards a professional activity. the second tier consists in 120 credits and leads to a master’s degree (except in the fields of medicine and veterinary medicine, where the second level consists in 180 credits, and in other areas where 60-credit masters are offered). During the master’s programme, you will expand the knowledge you acquired during the bachelor programme, and pick a specialisation. The master’s programme may involve a specific focus: teaching focus, if you plan to work in education; research focus, if you want to work in scientific research; and professional focus, if you intend to work in the private sector. This programme involves writing a master’s thesis, which is a personal final project worth 15 to 30 credits.
A bachelor’s degree grants you direct access to the corresponding master’s programme, but you may also enrol in other programmes at the end of your bachelor’s. A wide range of new programmes will be available to you.

How does it work?

The academic authorities define a curriculum for each bachelor’s and master’s programme. This includes required courses and, possibly, optional courses of your choice. Each course (also referred to as a Course Unit or CU) is worth a certain number of credits, which represent the student’s workload.
At ULB, all CUs are worth either 5 or a multiple of 5 credits, except for courses organised by non-University partners. For every course you pass, you will be awarded the appropriate number of credits.
When you have accumulated enough credits (180 for the bachelor programme, 120 for the master’s programme), the exam board will meet and award you the corresponding degree.
With this credit system, the courses you take in a given year will consist in the CUs that you have not passed and must take again, and the CUs that are available to you based on what you have already learned (the progressive nature of learning means that certain CUs must be completed before the next one may be taken).

Generally speaking, your programme for a given academic year consists in a list of CU worth a total of 60 credits; this number may be lower if you are in your final year, or if you were granted a programme reduction by your exam board.
Please note that when you enrol for the first time in a bachelor programme, your first year’s course load must consist in the 60 first credits of the bachelor programme, unless you are granted a programme reduction. Only when you have passed at least 45 credits of the first year’s programme will you be able to take second-year courses.

What's next?

Once you have completed your studies and hold a master’s degree, you may seek further qualifications by enrolling in an advanced master’s programme (at least 60 credits minimum, open only to students who have previously earned a 120-credit master’s degree).
Students who so wish may complete their education with doctoral studies.

Updated on October 8, 2018