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Universities in Brussels, Belgium

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Brussels is famous for the Art Nouveau architecture found throughout the city.

Brussels is the capital city of Belgium, a European country with excellent urban lifestyle facilities, a vibrant and sizable immigrant community, and top-ranked universities. People from over 180 countries reside in Brussels today, and you will enjoy the best that European culture and history has to offer alongside world-class educational facilities in top-ranked Brussels universities.

French is the most commonly spoken language in Brussels, but you can enrol in plenty of undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses taught in English at top-ranked Brussels universities. International students will also be pleased to know that because of Brussels’ major international airport as well as the city’s ideal location near major European cities including Paris and Amsterdam, travelling from your home country straight to your top-ranked Brussels university will be a simple task.

Top Universities in Brussels

Brussels is home to as many as five top-ranked universities which offer courses taught in English for international students, alongside multiple institutes offering degrees in a range of specialisations.

KU Leuven

Situated an hour away from downtown Brussels, KU Leuven is Belgium’s top-ranked university for international students. Founded over 6 centuries ago in 1425, KU Leuven has an extremely long-standing reputation for excellent academic facilities and world-class courses taught in English.

In addition to its primary campus in Leuven, KU Leuven also operates institutes in Brussels itself. KU Leuven focuses on encouraging its international students to perform innovative research across subject areas. KU Leuven currently has nearly 47,000 students enrolled, of which nearly 7,500 or 16% are international students making up a vibrant and welcoming community from over 150 nationalities.

KU Leuven’s focus on research is highlighted by the fact that it is a co-founder of the League of European Research Universities (LERU), a group of top-ranked European universities with a shared commitment to world-class research and innovation.

KU Leuven offers courses for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in 15 faculties, some of which are:

  • Faculty of Architecture
  • Faculty of Science
  • Faculty of Engineering Science
  • Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Faculty of Law
  • Faculty of Economics and Business
  • Faculty of Social Sciences

Ghent University

Although Ghent University primarily offers courses in Dutch, English language courses are also offered to international students at the top-ranked university in specific subject areas.

Founded in 1817, Ghent University is home to nearly 4,000 international students as part of its 36,000-strong overall student body. Located in the city centre in the nearby town of Ghent, the university also operates the Ostend GreenBridge Innovation & Incubation Centre, built to advance research on sustainability and ocean resources.

International students interested in a multi-continental education will be delighted to know that the top-ranked Ghent University also offers you the option to pursue degrees in molecular biotechnology, environmental technology and food technology at the Songdo Global University Campus (SGUC) in Incheon, South Korea.

Ghent University offers courses in 11 faculties which include:

  • Faculty of Arts and Philosophy
  • Faculty of Law and Criminology
  • Faculty of Sciences
  • Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
  • Faculty of Engineering and Architecture

Université Catholique de Louvain

Often referred to as UCLouvain, the Université Catholique de Louvain is one of the oldest Catholic institutions in Europe and the largest French-speaking university in Belgium. Alongside world-class faculty and course offerings on the subject of religious studies, UCLouvain is well-known for its top-ranked courses in philosophy, the arts, and social sciences.

UCLouvain is also home to a large number of international students; nearly 20% of its 26,000 students are international students. UCLovain has begun to offer more and more courses in English alongside French, for the benefit of international students. One of UCLovain’s primary campuses is in Brussels, and courses at UCLouvain are offered to international students in 14 faculties, some of which are:

  • Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
  • Faculty of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences
  • Faculty of Motor Sciences
  • Faculty of Public Health
  • Faculty of Bioscience Engineering

Université Libre de Bruxelles

Situated in the heart of downtown Brussels as well as on a large campus on the outskirts of the capital, the Université Libre de Bruxelles is a privately-operated research university with a large student body of nearly 25,000 students, including over 7,500 international students.

The Université Libre de Bruxelles offers nearly 300 courses, and most of the master’s level courses are taught in English to international students. Courses are offered at the Université Libre de Bruxelles in 13 faculties, and the top-ranked university is especially known for research-focused courses in areas such as Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, Business & Management, and Nuclear Engineering.

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

While the Vrije Universiteit Brussel is a comparatively small-scale university with a total enrolment of only about 13,300 students, every fourth student is an international student at the top-ranked Brussels university, guaranteeing you the everyday support of a diverse community of fellow international academics. Over 60 courses are taught in English at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

Well-known for the high quality of its research, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel offers courses in eight faculties:

  • Law and Criminology
  • Social Sciences & Solvay Business School
  • Psychology and Educational Sciences
  • Arts and Philosophy
  • Science and Bio-Engineering Sciences
  • Medicine and Pharmacy
  • Engineering
  • Physical Education and Physiotherapy

Brussels Universities World Ranking 2025

Below is a list of the top Brussels universities in 2025, according to QS world rankings and Times Higher Education:

UniversityQS World Ranking 2025Times Higher Education Ranking 2024
KU Leuven=6345
Ghent University=169115
Université Catholique de Louvain=203=168
Université Libre de Bruxelles=230201-250
Vrije Universiteit Brussel=278201-250

The presence of 5 top-ranked Brussels universities in the worldwide top 300 for both QS and THE World Rankings shows the excellent educational reputation and infrastructure that international students will enjoy in Brussels.

List of other top-ranked Colleges & Universities in Brussels

In addition to the five top-ranked Brussels universities, the city and its nearby towns also offer international students plenty of top-ranked institutes and additional universities with work-study degrees and English-language courses. Additionally, Brussels is also home to a couple of top-ranked overseas universities’ foreign institutes, such as a business school operated by the prestigious UK-based University of Kent.

  • Vlerick Business School
  • United Business Institutes
  • University of Antwerp
  • Hasselt University
  • University of Liege
  • LUCA School of Arts
  • Saint-Louis University Brussels 
  • EPHEC University College
  • Erasmus University College Brussels
  • European Institute of Innovation & Technology

Tuition and Living Costs in Brussels

Depending on whether a degree is postgraduate or undergraduate, the specific courses selected and the top-ranked university chosen, international students can expect to pay between 1,500 to 9,000 US Dollars annually in tuition fees.

Courses taught in the English language, in general, will be slightly more expensive than courses taught in French or Dutch at top-ranked Brussels universities.

On the matter of living costs for international students in top-ranked Brussels universities, you should budget between 800 and 1,200 US Dollars for monthly expenses. This includes between 400 to 600 US Dollars for shared accommodation, about 400 dollars every month for food expenses, 100-120 US Dollars for utilities and emergency expenses, and at least 50 US Dollars monthly for transport expenses.

Life in Brussels for International Students

Brussels offers an exciting and endless list of attractions and entertainment venues for you to enjoy during your time away from the classroom at top-ranked Brussels universities.

International students pursuing political and history-oriented degrees will love a weekend trip to The Hague, a nearby town which is home to the International Court of Justice as well as multiple other important international institutions. Meanwhile, science lovers in Brussels will enjoy a visit to the Atomium, the iconic steel sculpture which shows the structure of an atom.

Below are a few more of the can’t-miss destinations for international students at top-ranked Brussels universities:

  • Grand Place
  • Manneken Pis
  • Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium
  • Royal Palace of Brussels
  • St. Michael Cathedral
  • Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert
  • Parc du Cinquantenaire
  • Comics Art Museum Brussels
  • Musical Instruments Museum Brussels
  • Mont Des Arts
  • Museum of Natural Sciences Brussels
  • Musee du Magritte Museum 
  • Royal Museum for Central Africa
  • Royal Greenhouses of Laeken
  • Brussels Town Hall

On top of this wealth of cultural attractions within Brussels and nearby areas in Belgium, international students can easily make weekend trips to western European cities including Paris, London and Madrid, all of which are within two hours’ flight time from Brussels International Airport.

Top-ranked Brussels universities give international students a combination of excellent value for money, safe and secure urban lifestyle, and a vibrant and enriching experience outside the classroom.

See all universities in Belgium.

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