Educational institutions and study programmes in the Flemish Community

Below, we explain what types of educational institutions and study programmes there are in the Flemish Community of Belgium. We also explain how we check whether these are recognised and/or accredited. We check the and/or to make sure that the quality is sufficient. We give the necessary information per educational sector.

Secondary education | diplomas

You can find more information about Flemish secondary education on the website Onderwijskiezer (in Dutch only).

Higher education | educational institutions

The Flemish Community has various types of higher education institutions:

  • universiteiten (universities); and
  • hogescholen.


Universities offer university education. This is academic (research-oriented) education that may lead to an Bachelor, Master or Doctor (PhD).


Hogescholen offer non-university education. This is profession-oriented education. There are 2 exceptions:

  • The Hogere Zeevaartschool (Higher Maritime Academy) and the hogescholen that offer art programmes also offer academic bachelor's and master's programmes (in addition to profession-oriented bachelor's programmes).
  • The HBO5 Verpleegkunde programme (HBO5 Nursing degree programme) is offered by schools for secondary education (in cooperation with hogescholen).

More information about different types of higher education institutions can be found on the website of the Flemish government (in Dutch).

Checking the recognition of higher education institutions

Flemish higher education institutions need to be recognised. The Hogeronderwijsregister (higher education register) includes an overview of recognised higher education institutions.

Higher education | study programmes

The Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO) monitors the quality of higher education programmes taught in the Flemish Community. Recognised higher education institutions are accountable for the quality of their study programmes.

Accreditation of recognised educational institutions

All institutions that have been recognised as universities or universities of applied sciences (hogescholen) bear responsibility for the quality of the study programmes they offer. Recognised universities and universities of applied sciences are required to undergo assessment by NVAO once every 6 years. This is the so-called institutional review.

Accreditation of study programmes offered by non-recognised educational institutions

All other non-recognised institutions must follow NVAO's procedure for programme accreditation.

New study programmes

If a formally recognised university or university of applied sciences wishes to offer a new study programme, it must follow the following NVAO procedure: initial accreditation. If a non-recognised institution wishes to offer a new study programme, it must undergo extensive initial accreditation.


Once a degree programme has been accredited, it is included in the Hogeronderwijsregister (higher education register) for a period of 8 years. This means that the registered degree is recognised by the national government, in this case the Flemish Community.

If the verdict of the assessment is negative, the study programme loses its accreditation and is removed from the register. As a consequence, the institution may no longer offer the study programme. However, an institution may apply for a temporary accreditation for a recovery period of between 1 and 3 years.

Checking the accreditation of study programmes

  • Accredited study programmes are registered in the Hogeronderwijsregister (HOR), available in Dutch only. You can use different search criteria to find a study programme, such as:
    • Opleiding, field of study;
    • Soort opleiding, the type of study programme;
    • Instelling, the name of the higher education institution.
  • Is the study programme not listed in the HOR? Then open the NVAO register. Sometimes a study programme is not listed in the HOR, but it is listed in the NVAO register.
  • Under ‘Besluiten en rapporten’, click on ‘Vlaanderen’.
  • Below that (next to 'Resultaten'), enter details of the study programmes, such as the name of the educational institution at ‘Instellingen’. Then click on ‘Zoeken’.
    • Is the study programme listed in the search results? Then the study programme is accredited.
    • Is the study programme not listed in the search results? Then the study programme is not accredited.

Study programmes in figures

On its website, the Flemish government also maintains an overview (in Dutch) called opleidingen in cijfers (study programmes in figures). You can find information on more than 600 study programmes. For example, about their and the institutions where students can follow these degree programmes. But there are also figures about how many students attended a study programme and obtained a diploma.