Leuven is a city that has it all – research-driven institutions, a dynamic international community and architecture steeped in centuries of history.
Comparable to bigger European cities such as London, Prague and Paris, this Belgian city brims with scientific discoveries too. In fact, it was the birthplace of the Big Bang theory.
In 1931, Father Georges Lemaître produced his hypothesis about “the day without yesterday” which is about the beginnings of the universe. He had first trained as a civil engineer before pursuing mathematics at the Catholic University of Leuven (known today as KU Leuven).
Since then, the university has continued excelling. It has grown, with 13 campuses across 10 cities. The university is also ranked among the best – 76th in the QS World University Rankings 2023 and 42nd in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023.
It’s been an illustrious journey. Today, KU Leuven is much loved by its students, graduates and staff. Here’s why:
A great city
Leuven is a region that is filled with innovation. From its start-ups and research centers to the many applications in the fields of health and climate, these features explain how it won the title of the “European Capital of Innovation 2020.” The award is given to a city that makes the best use of innovation to improve the quality of life of its inhabitants.
For students, it’s a great place to live. English is widely spoken, parties are frequent and support for non-locals is plenty. During the week, you’ll be able to explore pretty old buildings in perfect condition, parks and cultural places as faculties are spread all over the city. Take a bike and you’ll get anywhere in a few minutes. Walk if you prefer a scenic stroll.
On weekends, you can explore the rest of the country thanks to Belgium’s well-planned train system. For an affordable fee, you can take trips to go anywhere inside Belgium or even to neighbouring cities like Luxembourg, Amsterdam, Maastricht, and Berlin.
A home away from home, a student-centric community
KU Leuven is currently home to over 150 nationalities that make up a dynamic and diverse campus community. Here, students from various backgrounds learn, live and thrive together in a home away from home.
The university has a lot to offer, from excellent academic programmes to many research and job opportunities.
“In a way, KU Leuven is a bit like Belgium itself. We are the underdog,” says Herman Van Rompuy, former Belgian Prime Minister, former president of the European Council and graduate of KU Leuven. “It’s probably not the first country or university to come to mind, but once you take a closer look you’ll notice that we have so much going for us.”
Students leaving their home for the first time shouldn’t have to worry about finding their way at KU Leuven. Support is available every step of the way, from the moment they land at the airport to their mental and physical well-being on campus.
World-class education with state-of-the-art facilities
KU Leuven offers over 200 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programmes. Though the primary language of instruction at KU Leuven is Dutch, there are also over 100 programmes in English and in every field of study for international students, seven at the bachelor’s level and 97 at the master’s level.
From science to engineering and technology to the humanities and social science, each of its 15 faculties is in the top 100 of its field worldwide. Whichever course you choose, innovative research is at the core of it.
Despite being the oldest university in Belgium, it’s always looking ahead. The university constantly invests in its infrastructure, ensuring that students have access to the latest facilities and tools. Not only is it home to over 24 libraries that hold some of the most extension collections in Europe, but the campus is also equipped with facilities for research and students’ leisure.