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KU Leuven

Oude Markt 13 Leuven,
Belgium View map
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COVID-19 Information : Please check the Admissions tab

Founded in 1425, KU Leuven has been a centre of learning for almost six centuries. Today, it is Belgium’s highest-ranked university as well as one of the oldest and most renowned universities in Europe. As a leading European research university and co-founder of the League of European Research Universities (LERU), KU Leuven offers a wide variety of programmes in English. These programmes are supported by high-quality inter disciplinary research carried out at both the university and its internationally acclaimed hospitals. Boasting an outstanding central location in the heart of Europe, KU Leuven offers a truly international experience, high-quality education, world-class research, and cutting-edge innovation. 


High-quality Education

Excellence in education and excellence in research go hand in hand. KU Leuven’s study programmes are research-based, which ensures that students acquire academic competences while also developing a critical and research-oriented attitude. Flexibility and state-of-the-art technology are integral to each study programme. A KU Leuven degree offers a significant competitive advantage and is highly valued around the world. The ECTS quality label guarantees that all credits obtained at KU Leuven are transparent and fully transferable.


A Global University

18% of the university’s 56,842 students come from abroad. Together, they represent over 150 countries. KU Leuven is, thus, home to a vibrant community of international students and staff members, spread across its various campuses. The university also works with a select number of top-level partner institutions worldwide, and stimulates purposeful international mobility and intensive research cooperation. It continuously strives to integrate the local and international student and research communities on all its campuses through a variety of programmes and activities. Internationalisation is key in the policy of the university’s board. KU Leuven and its faculties have concluded partnership agreements with a large number of universities and research institutions around the world. These agreements facilitate both student and staff mobility, create and stimulate cooperation in research and education, and enable capacity building and university development cooperation.

World-class Research

As a comprehensive university, KU Leuven pursues curiosity-driven and strategic frontier research, as well as targeted and demand-driven research in an interdisciplinary environment. KU Leuven has a strong record of securing funding from the most competitive research funds, including the prestigious ERC Grants awarded by the European Research Council. KU Leuven is the sixth-ranked university when it comes to the number of projects under the EU Horizon 2020 Programme, only preceded by Cambridge, Oxford, University College London, Copenhagen and Imperial College. The university’s research output consistently ranks among Europe’s best. Since 2014, KU Leuven has acquired 238 projects and around 132 million euros in funding from Horizon 2020.

Cutting-edge innovation and R&D

KU Leuven is a leading institution when it comes to the valorisation of research and innovation. The technology transfer office KU Leuven Research & Development (LRD) was one of the first in Europe. LRD has a long and productive tradition of patenting, licencing, collaborating with the industry, and creating of spin-off companies. KU Leuven is the only non-American university in the Reuters top 5 of the world’s most innovative universities (2017). One of the main reasons for this strong position is the high number of publications,  citations, collaborations with industry and patent filings.

In order to consolidate its position as most innovative university of Europe, KU Leuven continues to invest in its infrastructure. After all, the importance of high-tech facilities is recognised by researchers from all domains. The following examples are only a selection of KU Leuven’s current and future facilities and underline the university’s efforts and investments.

During their studies, students can participate in various welcome and leisure activities. Whenever they need it, they can also count on the support of Student Services.

Welcoming activities:

- Welcome Desk -

Each year, the KU Leuven Welcome Desk at Brussels Airport welcomes new international students. This desk is set up two weeks before the start of the Orientation Days in September and is open from early in the morning until late in the evening. Staff members and volunteers help the students get to campus, make sure they know their way around and help them with any other urgent questions.

- Orientation Days -

To help new international students get settled during their first days and to help them learn more about the university, Student Services offers a special orientation programme before the start of every semester. The programme of these Orientation Days includes tips and tricks, guided city tours, visits in and around Leuven, information and enrolment sessions and lots of opportunities to meet fellow Belgian and/or foreign students from the different faculties.

- Buddy Programme - 

International students can request a personal buddy. This is a KU Leuven student or staff member who volunteers to introduce them to the Belgian way of (university) life. The Buddy Kick-Off helps the pairs get off to a good start, while buddy workshops throughout the semester encourage them to stay in touch.

- Student Welcome -

The academic year officially starts at the end of September. During the first weeks, there are numerous welcome activities for and by students, such as the Student Welcome: a festival with performances, stands, ...

Leisure and living

- Culture - 

KU Leuven has a broad offer of cultural activities for its students to enjoy. There are discounts for museums and performances, for example, and students can also  articipate in student initiatives.

- Sport -

KU Leuven students can practice over 70 sports in the sports centres, and/or join a sports club. The 24-hour Relay Race, for instance, is the biggest sports event for  students at the university. It has been organised every year since 1972 by the student association LOKO.

- Pangaea Intercultural Meeting Centre - 

In the spirit of hospitality and intercultural understanding, Pangaea aims to create a home-away-from- home for Belgian and international students, and wants to support collaboration within the Leuven university community. Coffee and board games, lively debates and lectures on intercultural topics, a wide variety of social activities, volunteering opportunities: all organised by and for students.

Student Participation

- LOKO - 

LOKO represents students in all student-related matters, from housing, food, mobility, diversity, and culture to sustainability, health, student services and student life.

- STURA - 

The KU Leuven Student Council represents all students of KU Leuven at university level. It contributes to the Education and Examination Regulations, study counselling and quality of education, among other things. Apart from educational matters, the council is also involved in other relevant policy domains of the university such as sustainability, diversity, internationalisation and IT.

- International Student Associations - 

A lot of international students participate in associations to give students from their country a warm welcome, share their culture and background with the university community and organise activities where students can meet. These associations can be linked to specific countries or can be centred around a certain theme.

- PHD Society -

The PhD Society is an international interfaculty organisation of doctoral students that aims to promote interaction and cooperation between Belgian and international doctoral students.

Student Support

- Places to study, do some research or read -

The University Library is strongly aware of its responsibility in providing educational support. Its efforts towards the integration of information skills in bachelor’s and master’s programmes are just one example of this, as is providing adequate infrastructure for students.

- Student Services -

Student Services offers a unique and comprehensive support system where students can ask for help on anything related to living and studying. The system features an in-house medical centre with GPs and psychologists, professional career guidance by the Student Career Centre, an extensive housing database with student-friendly housing, counselling in case of social or financial problems, expert legal advice and extra support for specific target groups, e.g. students with a disability.

COVID-19 Information

  • What is the status of planned campus admission open days/tours? 
    All events are cancelled and are replaced by online open days. The first one is on 1 April, more will follow

  • How can applicants contact the university about their application?
    The ways that our applicants can contact the university, haven’t changed: our programme staff is still available to answer any questions people might have about our programmes, admissions is still reacable by chat or e-mail, Facebook, …

  • How is the university handling applicants whose exams have been cancelled?
    There haven’t been any cancelling in exams. 

  • What advice is the university offering to applicants unable to take an English-language test due to centers being closed?
    Applicants that cannot complete their application file due to the closure of test centers, are requested to contact Admissions asap.    
  • Is the university still accepting applications? Are there any restrictions being placed on international applicants?
    No changes there!

  • How are applications for university accommodation being handled?
    There is no change in that procedure either.

  • Is the university making any changes to entry requirements (i.e. test results, required documents)?
    No, we’ve chosen to not change our entry requirements.


Graduate study programmes at KU Leuven are divided into three categories: initial master’s programmes, advanced master’s programmes, and doctoral studies. Degree requirements vary by category and programme.

> In most cases, to qualify for admission to an initial master’s programme, you must hold an appropriate undergraduate degree (usually a bachelor’s degree) consisting of at least  three years of full-time, university-level studies.

> To qualify for admission to an advanced master’s programme, you are expected to hold a master’s degree.

> To qualify for admission to a doctoral programme, you must hold a master’s degree and have a doctoral advisor (in Dutch, a ‘promotor’) willing to supervise your doctoral studies.

Final admission decisions are made on a per-programme basis by the board responsible for that particular programme. Students must meet the admission requirements specific to their chosen programme of study. 

Students are expected to be proficient in English. All non-native English speakers are required to submit proof of English proficiency. KU Leuven currently accepts TOEFL (iBT) and , IELTS and Cambridge English Examination results. Minimum language requirements vary by programme, so it’s best to consult the language requirements specific to your chosen programme for more information.


Programs available

Undergraduate Faculties/Departments and Programs

Postgraduate Faculties/Departments and Programs

International Office

University Highlights

Total students - 46,615


International students - 7,548


Total faculty staff - 2,615


Total students - 46,615


International students - 7,548


Total faculty staff - 2,615

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English language requirements

This institution accepts IELTS!
Find your nearest test centre and test dates.

Please check the specific English language requirements for your chosen course with the university.

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