Professional Bachelor Programmes prepare students for specific professions in industry, education, commerce, agriculture, health and rehabilitation, social work, informatics, applied arts or the media. Courses are therefore practice-oriented and include periods of work placement. These degrees are only awarded by the university colleges. Some university colleges offer profession-oriented specialisation programmes for holders of a Professional Bachelor Degree. These Advanced Bachelor Programmes cover at least 60 ECTS credits. Academic Bachelor Programmes prepare students for studies at master's level. These degrees are awarded by universities and some university colleges.
Master Programmes are characterised by the integration of education and research and a master's disertation. They cover at least 60 ECTS credits. Depending on the field of study some programmes last longer (e.g. medicine, law, psychology, engineering). Advanced Master Programmes are organised at universities, university colleges in the framework of an association and at postgraduate training institutions.
Doctor is the highest level of specialisation in scientific research. It is based on an original research project that takes at least two years, resulting in the public presentation of a doctoral thesis. This degree is only awarded by universities.
For flow chart: see pages 6 and 7 of the Study in Flanders brochure.
Higher education institutions in Flanders operate a full-fledged credit system based on ECTS (European Credit Transfer System). Each course counts for at least 3 credits, with a maximum of 12 courses per 60 credits. One credit represents 25 to 30 hours of a student’s workload. Courses are independent building blocks for which students may enrol according to their own preferences and timetable, with due consideration for the semester system and evaluations. They can opt for a traditional course of circa 60 ECTS credits a year, a half-time course or an individual course adjusted to their specific needs. Students can be exempted from a course based on credits acquired elsewhere (another programme or institution), and on competencies acquired outside a formal learning context (i.e. prior experiential learning). These competencies are assessed by the institutions.
The Flemish diploma supplement is made up according to the recommendations of the Council of Europe, UNESCO and the European Commission. It is an important tool to improve the international transparency and fair recognition of qualifications in the European Higher Education Area from 2010. A diploma supplement is awarded to all students regardless their programme. It is free of charge and delivered in Dutch and, at a student’s request, in English.
A double degree consists of two single degrees awarded within the framework of a double degree agreement. Such agreement can be established between two partner institution if they agree that there is sufficient similarity in the goals and learning outcomes of two of their individually accredited study programmes. As a result, if a student enrolled in such programme successfully attends a mobility period at the partner institution involved, he / she will be awarded the degree of this institution, next to the degree of the home institution.
In some cases a double degree is also referred to as a dual degree. A combination of more than two separate degrees is called a multiple degree (see also below).
A joint degree is a single degree awarded upon successful completion of an integrated joint degree programme. Such programme is jointly developed, implemented and administered by two or more higher education institutions, with goals and learning outcomes defined separately from any local study programme. Student mobility among partner institutions is a fundamental and usually obligatory component. The single joint degree is generally awarded in name of all institutions involved in the joint degree programme, regardless of the individual mobility track of each participating student, thereby reflecting the integrated character of the joint programme.
Some joint degree programmes still result in the award of double or multiple degrees, or even a combination of a joint degree with a double degree. Most often this is related to the legal framework of one or more of the partner institutions involved, in which the award of a joint degree is not allowed.
picture, © KATHO University College