The 3rd cycle is the highest level of university studies. Students who have a Masters degree have access to it  under certain conditions.

General access conditions for the doctorate

The doctorate includes :

  • doctoral training, leading to the certificate of research training
  • work related to the preparation of a thesis and its defence, resulting in the academic grade of doctor

Access to 3rd cycle studies is reserved to holders of a Masters degree obtained after 5 years of study (300 credits/ECTS).

However, students who have obtained a 2nd-cycle diploma in 4 years before the introduction of the "Bologna" decree may also be admitted to a 3rd cycle programme.

We also advise you to consult the general regulation of the doctorate.

The access conditions to 3rd cycle studies are governed by articles 115 and 116 of the decree of 7 November 2013 defining the landscape of higher education and the academic organisation of studies.

You have access to the 3rd cycle (doctorate) if you have the following:

  • either an academic grade of master in at least 120 credits
  • a similar academic grade issued by an institution of higher learning, in the French Community or not , by virtue of a decision of the academic authorities and under the additional conditions that they set
  • a recognised foreign academic grade equivalent to those mentioned in litteras 1 and 2 in application of the decree of 7 November 2013, of a European directive, of an international convention or other legislation, under the same conditions
  • a second-cycle title, diploma, grade or degree, whether in the French Community or not, that does not give one access to third cycle studies under litteras 1 to 3, but for which the set of successful studies can be evaluated by the jury for at least 300 credits
  • by derogation, of a title, diploma, grade or degree issued outside the French Community that, in this system of origin, gives direct access to doctoral training programmes or studies and work related to the preparation of a doctoral thesis, even if the studies demonstrated by these titles or grades are not organised in distinct cycles or done in at least five years. This admission must be exceptional and duly motivated on the basis, notably of formal and authentic proof of this capability to pursue doctoral studies in the system of origin

Additional condition

No one may obtain the grade of doctor if they have not successfully followed corresponding doctoral training.


Specific cases

Conditions for students from the european union (outside Belgium)

Conditions for students from outside the european union

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