There are 2 types of higher education in the French-language region of Belgium:

There are different types of higher education institutions that offer professional and/or academic education.

Higher professional education

    In the French-language region, higher professional education is called enseignement supérieur de type court (higher education of the shorttype). Students can follow professional programmes at:

    • hautes écoles;
    • écoles supérieures des arts;
    • établissements d’enseignement de promotion sociale (institutes for adult education).

    In professional higher education, students can obtain the following degrees:

    Brevet de l’enseignement supérieur

      Students in enseignement supérieur de promotion sociale (adult education) can pursue a 2-year study programme, with which they can obtain the Brevet d’enseignement supérieur (EQF/NLQF 5).

      • Duration: 2 years (120 ECTS).
      • Content: profession-oriented education, practical subjects, internships.
      • Admission requirement: at least 18 years of age, possibly an admission test.
      • Diploma: Brevet de l’enseignement supérieur.

      Grade de Bachelier (professionnalisant/de type court)

        Grade de Bachelier professionnalisant (professionalisant/de type court) programmes prepare students for a particular profession. Once they have completed such a degree programme, they are ready to enter professional practice straight away.

        • Duration: 3 years (180 ECTS), but 4 years (240 ECTS) for obstetrics (sage-femme) and nursing (soins infirmiers).
        • Content: profession-oriented subjects and possibly an internship.
        • Admission requirement: the Certificat d’enseignement secondaire supérieur.
        • Diploma: Grade de Bachelier (professionalisant/de type court).

        We compare a Grade de Bachelier (professionnalisant/de type court) to an HBO bachelor’s degree.

        Bachelier de spécialisation

        After obtaining the Grade de Bachelier (professionalisant/de type court) , students can obtain a 2nd bachelor's degree. Bachelier de spécialisation degree programmes offer students the opportunity to specialise further in their field. The programme does not lead to a higher degree. Students obtain a bachelor's degree equivalent to the Grade de Bachelier (professionalisant/de type court).

        We compare a Bachelier de spécialisation to an HBO bachelor's degree.

        Academic education

          In the French-language region, academic education is called enseignement supérieur de type long (higher education of the long type). Students can follow academic programmes at:

          • universités;
          • hautes écoles;
          • écoles supérieures des arts;
          • établissements d’enseignement de promotion sociale (institutes for adult education).

          In academic education, students can obtain the following degrees:

          Grade de Bachelier (de transition/de type long)

            The bachelor's programme is an academic degree programme which leads to a bachelor's degree, Grade de Bachelier. The main objective is to prepare students for transitioning to an academic master’s degree programme. Therefore the academic bachelor's degree programme is also referred to as Bachelier de transition or Bachelier de type long, to indicate that the degree programme is not finished until after completion of the master's degree programme.

            We compare a Grade de Bachelier (de transition/de type long) to a WO bachelor's degree.

            Exception: Grade de Bachelier (de transition/de type long) as HBO bachelor's degree

            Bachelor's programmes of ‘the long type’ are always focused on theory andacademic research. In terms of level, we therefore compare Belgian bachelor's programmes with bachelor's programmes in Dutch university education (WO).

            There are a few exceptions. In terms of content, some Bachelier de type long programmes (e.g. in the area of visual art or music) are, however, more similar to Dutch HBO bachelor's degrees. In those cases, the bachelor's diploma is comparable to a Dutch higher professional education bachelor's degree (HBO).

            Grade de Master

            The master’s degree programme is based on academic research and leads to a master’s degree, Grade de Master.

            • Duration: 1 year (60 ECTS), 2 years (120 ECTS), 3 years (180 ECTS) for the medicine/veterinary medicine degree programme.
            • Content: 3 different specialisations are offered in the 2-year Master (120 ECTS) programme: the professional specialisations (la finalité spécialisée);
              the study programme for teachers in secondary education (la finalité didactique); the preparation for academic research (la finalité approfondie).
            • Admission requirement: Grade de Bachelier (de transition/de type long), in a relevant field. There is also a transition programme (passerelle) for students holding a Grade de Bachelier professionnalisant (type court).
            • Diploma: Grade de Master.

            We compare a Grade de Master to a WO master's degree.

            Master de spécialisation

            After obtaining a Grade de Master students can pursue another master’s degree programme: Master de spécialisation. It is an opportunity for students to further specialise within their field. The programme does not lead to a higher degree. Students obtain a master's degree equivalent to the Grade de Master.

            • Duration: 1-2 years (60-120 ECTS).
            • Content: in-depth study within a field.
            • Admission requirement: a Grade de Master in a relevant field.
            • Diploma: Master de spécialisation.

            We compare a Master de spécialisation to a WO master's degree.

            Exception: Grade de Master as HBO master's degree

            In Belgium, higher professional education master's degree programmes are not offered. A master's degree programme is always focused on theory and academic research. In terms of level, we therefore compare Belgian master's programmes with master's programmes in Dutch university education (WO).

            There are a few exceptions. In terms of content, some Belgian master's degree programmes (e.g. in the area of visual art or music) are, however, more similar to Dutch HBO master's degrees. In those cases, the master's diploma is comparable to a Dutch higher professional education master's degree (HBO).

            Grade de Docteur

            The doctoral programme takes place at universités (universities).

            • Duration: at least 3 years (180 ECTS).
            • Content: academic research, writing and defending a thesis.
            • Admission requirements: a master's degree and possibly other requirements depending on the institution and specialisation.
            • Diploma: Grade de Docteur.

            Types of higher education institutions

            In the French-language region, there are 4 types of (funded) higher education institutions that are allowed to award nationally-recognised degrees:

            • universités;
            • hautes écoles;
            • écoles supérieures des arts;
            • établissements d’enseignement de promotion sociale (adult education).

            All recognised higher education institutions are listed on the website of the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles.