The university academic year begins on 1 October and finishes on 30 September of the following calendar year. Most universities apply a system of semesters, which means that the academic year is divided into two separate teaching periods or semesters. The first semester comprises first 13 weeks of educational and study activities, concluded with 2 weeks of autumn vacation. Then there is 1 week of individual study and 3 weeks of examinations, followed by 1 week of vacation. The second semester comprises also 13 weeks of educational and study activities, but is interrupted by 2 weeks of Easter holiday. The 13 weeks are followed by 2 weeks of individual study, 3 weeks of examinations and 1 week of deliberations. The summer break of 6 weeks is followed by the second examination period, which consists of 3 weeks of examinations. Some courses need 4 weeks of examinations; in that case the summer break takes only 5 weeks. The examinations are followed by 1 week of deliberations. Between the end of the deliberations and the beginning of the new first semester one free week remains.
Foreign students (from outside of the European Union) who wish to study in Belgium must in principle file a student visa application with the Belgian the country of origin. Information may be obtained from the said representation or from the Foreigners Office in Belgium.
New procedure for students from the P.R. China
From the academic year 2007-2008 onwards all students from the P.R. China will have to obtain a certificate of academic screening issued by the Academic Evaluation Centre(APS) at the German Embassy in Beijing before being allowed to enroll at any higher education institution, language course or other preparatory course in the French-speaking Community of Belgium. The APS certificate is also required for obtaining a student visa to Belgium. Students planning to study in the French-speaking Community of Belgium in 2007-2008 are advised to contact the Academic Evaluation Centre in Beijing, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible in order to make the necessary appointments and this before applying for a visa at the Belgian Embassy.
Students from a European Union Member State must carry a national identity card in order to come to Belgium. Within eight days following their arrival in Belgium, students (including those from the European Union) must register with the local administration of their place of residence in Belgium.
2nd AND 3rd CYCLES
Students who hold a foreign higher degree and who wish to sign up for a master must file a request with the establishment in which they want to register. They will eventually valorise credits acquired after the first cycle abroad and so reduce the duration of their master programme.
Students who hold a foreign degree and who wish to sign up at a university for an advanced master or postgraduate studies (doctorate) must either obtain a valuation for their degree of at least 300 credits from the university panel or full equivalence of their degree with a master or advanced master from the Ministry of the French Community.
Foreign students wishing to register for an initial cycle of higher education in an Institute of Higher Education or College of the Arts or for one of the years of the 1st cycle of studies organised by the Universities or Higher Institutes of Architecture must obtain a certificate of equivalence for their secondary education qualifications versus the corresponding qualifications issued in the French Community of Belgium. For certain areas of studies, foreign students must, in the same way as Belgian students, pass an entrance examination (art college, engineering sciences) or an examination on completion of their first year of studies (medicine and dentistry studies). Furthermore, access to certain 1st cycle programmes of study is subject to quotas for foreign students not resident in Belgium.