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Graduate Semester Abroad

Université libre de Bruxelles

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Founded in 1834, the Universite libre de Bruxelles (ULB), or The Free University of Brussels, is located in the city center, providing the right mix between study and leisure. ULB offers a diverse range of coursework for students studying International Relations with more specialized courses in International Economics, Political Science, Peace and Conflict Resolution and Security. Coursework is primarily taught in English through ULB's Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences.

Students studying at at ULB will join an international community, where nearly one third of enrolled students come from abroad. ULB's commitment to research and its central location, close to the headquarters of the European Union and NATO among other multinational organizations and NGOs, provides AU graduate students with opportunities to engage with students and professionals from around the world. 


Semester Exchange Program:
Graduate students from AU can enroll at ULB for one semester. Students must take a full course load at ULB and can earn up to 9 credits towards their AU degree. Most courses at ULB are worth 5 ECTS.

Credit Conversion: 2 ECTS = 1 Credit at AU

Subject areas at ULB include:

  • International Relations
  • Political Science
  • International Economics
  • European Studies
  • Peace and Conflict Resolution
  • Security

One-Year Exchange Program

Students wishing to study at ULB may also choose to pursue a one-year exchange which allows students to earn an MA in International Relations from ULB. Students will spend one semester as an exchange student, applying up to 9 credits to their SIS degree, while the second semester would require students to complete a thesis, required by ULB. This one-year program is still being finalized and students who are interested in this opportunity should contact for more information.


Students can select courses in English or French. For those who do not have French proficiency, they must enroll in only courses taught in English and complete all of their coursework in English. 

Students wishing to enroll in courses taught in French should be able to prove intermediate to upper-intermediate proficiency prior to the start of classes. Exchange students will also have the opportunity to take a French language course for no additional cost while enrolled at ULB. Students in the One Year Exchange Program must take a French language course as part of the ULB degree requirements. 

For students wishing to study at ULB and take courses in French, there is also the opportunity to enroll in an intensive language course one month prior to the start of the semester.

N.B. No credit from a French language learning course (study of the French language) can be used towards your degree requirements at AU. 


Mid-September to Mid-January (with a two-week holiday break in late December)
Late January to Mid-June


Students are registered through the SIS Office of International Programs for up to nine (9) AU-ULB exchange credits (SIS-XXX). These exchange credits cover the Program credits only; research and/or internship credits are registered under normal AU guidelines.

NB: Students must carry a full course load of 9 AU credits while studying at ULB.

  1. Students are required to meet with their AU academic advisor and obtain formal pre-approval for courses they wish to take through the Program before enrolling at ULB. This ensures that credits earned on the Program can be applied toward the student's AU degree. Students can complete this part of the application component by using the SIS Graduate Academic Advisor approval form.
  2. Students pre-registered for ULB courses online approximately two months prior to the start of classes.


Semester Exchange Program:
Students pay regular tuition, emergency international health insurance, and technology fees to AU. Students do not pay the student activity fee, sports center fee, or SIS fee while studying at ULB.

Fees for All Students:
Students are responsible for any incidental costs, such as library fines and lab fees, incurred at ULB during the program. Students are responsible fro all personal expenses including housing and transportation.

Students are required to submit a non-refundable $50 application fee at the time of submitting their application to SIS Abroad. 


Students are responsible for making their own housing arrangements and for all housing costs. Upon official acceptance, ULB will provide resources to help students find housing during their stay; however they do not provide any direct support.


Students studying in Belgium for more than 90 days will need to apply for a visa. More information will be provided at the time of acceptance into the program. For the most up-to-date visa information for Belgium please visit the Embassy of Belgium's Website.


During the semester prior to the start of the Program, the SIS Office of International Programs will conduct a mandatory pre-departure meeting. Topics covered include administrative, logistical, security and cross-cultural issues. ULB will also host a mandatory Welcome Meeting upon arrival in Brussels. This meeting will cover various topics including housing, academics and cultural adjustment. Students will also have the opportunity to meet other visiting exchange students.


  1. Complete and submit the ULB Application to the SIS Office of International Programs (OIP) by the specified deadline for the semester in which you intend to study abroad. Applicants are required to submit a non-refundable $50 application fee. Payment details are included in the online application. Students may not apply directly to ULB.
  2. After all applications are received and reviewed, students will then be notified by e-mail from OIP with a decision regarding their nomination for study abroad.
  3. Once nominated, you will be instructed to complete the ULB application which requires a series of forms and materials that SIS OIP will assist each student with.
  4. SIS OIP will email your application materials directly to ULB for review.
  5. ULB makes the final admissions decision and corresponds directly with Program participants regarding all admissions and enrollment matters.

The Program is competitive, and applying does not guarantee admission.

Contact Us


Twitter: SISStudyAbroad


Application Deadlines

Semester Exchange & Double Degree: March 15, 2017

Apply Now!

ULB Grad Exchange Application

Academic Advisor Approval Form

Additional Information

Information for International Students at ULB

Travel information about Brussels from Lonely Planet and Wikitravel

Belgium Consular Information Sheet from the U.S. Department of State