Structure of studies
University studies are organised in 3 cycles: Bachelors, Masters and PhD/Doctorate. The "classic" university career is completed in 2 cycles, most often in 5 years of study.
o understand the programmes and presentation of studies, it is important to know the structure and the vocabulary related to them. The Landscape Decree organises higher education in French-speaking Belgium.
The study programmes are presented in credits, or ECTS (European transfer credit system). These units correspond to the workload that each student must devote to a teaching unit within a study programme. The credit takes into account the course hours, but also the practical work, seminars, laboratories, internships, personal work, research and field work, etc.
One credit corresponds to a standard of 30 hours of learning activities and one year of study has at least 60 credits.
1st cycle: Bachelors - 180 credits
University bachelors diplomas are said to be "transitional": They do not lead to the exercise of a profession and provide access to masters programmes. The same bachelors diploma can lead to several different masters that are part of an extension of the field chosen during the bachelors, or that allow one to gain access to new materials.
2nd cycle: Masters - 60, 120 or 180 credits
Masters of 60 credits, 120 credits, and two masters of 180 credits in Veterinary Medicine and in Medicine are organised.
The 120-credit masters represent the majority of masters programmes. They include many options and modules, as well as the choice of an orientation (30 credits out of 120).
- The teaching orientation (FD) prepares for teaching in upper secondary.
- The specialised orientation (FS) prepares for a professional specialisation.
- The advanced orientation (FA) allows one to acquire advanced knowledge and skills in a field and offers training in professional research. It can also include several options.
The 120-credit masters also makes it possible to access specialised masters and to continue, if necessary, with a doctorate. A European standard, this is what offers the most opportunities at the international level: exchange programmes, internships, dual diplomas...
For certain branches, the student has the choice between a 60-credit masters or a 120-credit masters. The 60-credit masters is valuable on the labour market but consists of a general education and does not correspond to the European model.
To gain access to certain professions or to become more specialised in a very specific field of study, the student may pursue another 2nd cycle training programme: a specialised masters (at least 60 credits).
The various specialisations in medicine, European law, notary, urbanism and land-use development, entrepreneurship, financial risk management, or nanotechnology are just a few examples.
3nd cycle: Doctorate/PhD - 180 Credits
The doctorate leads to the academic grade of doctor. It is accessible after a 120-credit masters and consists mainly of preparing and defending a thesis. The PhD consists of a 60-credit doctoral programme culminating in a research training certificate. This programme is linked to the specific skills of research teams and provides graduates with a high scientific and professional qualification.
On this page, the essentials of the rules regarding evaluation.
This term is used most often to evoke the possibilities of continuing studies in a masters programme after having obtained a short bachelors diploma in a College or Graduate School of the Arts. Certain masters programmes are indeed accessible to these graduates, most often through additional credits (60 credits maximum).
Some important terms
ARES = Académie de Recherche et d'Enseignement Supérieur (Academy of Research and Higher Education)
This is the body coordinating the Academic Centres bringing together the higher education institutions of the French Community (universities, colleges, graduate schools of the arts, social promotion establishments, etc.)
Association of higher learning institutions founded on the geographical proximity of their locations. Five Centres are constituted including that of Liège-Luxembourg, of which ULiège is part. The actors of the Centre work together on subjects of common interest, in particular those improving student services (information on studies, orientation, libraries, sports and cultural infrastructures, etc.).
Division of the academic year covering approximately four months. The academic year thus has 3 trimesters. The learning activities are spread out over the first two, excepting certain evaluations or professional integration activities. At the end of each of these two first two trimesters is organised an evaluation period. The third includes evaluation periods, as well as professional integration activities or personal work.
An orientation indicates a specificity of the programme of the study cycle corresponding to a set of learning activities. This set consists of more than 30 credits (for masters of 1 year) or at least 60 credits (for master of more than 60 credits) but does not exceed two thirds of the credits of the cycle of study.
An option indicates the choice, by the student, of a set of coherent, particular learning activities of 15 to 30 credits that characterise all or part of their study cycle programme. The total of the options cannot exceed half of the credits of the study cycle.
One or several learning activities associated with common objectives.