Located in Belgium is a town where the famous Stella Artois beer comes from. Leuven is the country’s reigning brewing capital, but that’s not all it is known for.
Nestled among the city’s beautiful architecture is KU Leuven. It is one of the oldest universities in Europe. Founded in 1425, it is just a few years shy of celebrating its 600th anniversary.
Since then, the university has grown and has 13 campuses across 10 cities. In 2022, KU Leuven ranked 70th in the QS World University Rankings 2022 and 42nd in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022.
Why choose KU Leuven?
Though KU Leuven is not the most well-known choice among international students, a closer look will change your mind. The university has so much 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.”
KU Leuven offers a wide range of academic programmes in almost every field of knowledge, with over 200 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programmes. The primary language of instruction at KU Leuven is Dutch, and most of their bachelor programmes are conducted in Dutch.
However, if you do not speak Dutch, do not worry, as many programmes are in English. The Institute of Philosophy, the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, the Faculty of Business and Economics, the Faculty of Engineering Technology and the Faculty of Social Sciences all have a bachelor’s programme taught in English.
Master’s programmes at KU Leuven are divided into two levels which are the Initial Master’s and the Advanced Master’s programmes. Each student will perform research on a topic related to their programme.
Whichever level or programme you choose, you’ll join a high-quality study programme based on top-level scientific research. You’ll be inspired by the top-level researchers who’ll be sharing their insights with you. After all, each of its 15 faculties is in the top 100 of its field worldwide.
Europe’s most innovative university
Since 2016, KU Leuven has been recognised as Europe’s most innovative university. Their researchers have produced excellent results through collaboration with other leading universities and well-known private companies. This includes the development of a panel that produces hydrogen gas from moisture in the air — up to 250 litres per day, a world record.
“KU Leuven earned its first-place rank, in part, by producing a high volume of influential inventions … At 594 years old, the Dutch-speaking school based in Belgium’s Flanders region certainly isn’t new but it’s hardly staid either, boasting a tradition of influential innovation,” wrote Reuters. “Patents filed by KU Leuven scientists are frequently cited by other researchers in their own patent filings.”
This ranking proves something students already know: that their university is not just a place for intellectual debate, research-driven education, and ground-breaking fundamental research, but a great contributor to innovation and valorisation. “These achievements benefit the university, Flanders, and society as a whole,” says Rector Luc Sels. “The first place of KU Leuven in this year’s Reuters ranking is a recognition of the wonderful work done by our researchers and by KU Leuven Research and Development.”
State-of-the-art facilities, great beauty
KU Leuven may be the oldest university in Belgium, but its facilities are nowhere dated. The university constantly invests in its infrastructure. It is home to over 24 libraries that contain some of the most extensive collections in Europe. Aside from research facilities, KU Leuven has facilities for students’ leisure and relaxation as well.
Beyond campus, there are so much cultural and natural beauty for international students to explore. The university organises day trips every academic year, allowing students to visit destinations that are hard to get to.
And if that isn’t enough, Leuven is just a two-hour train ride away from major international cities such as London, Paris, Köln and Amsterdam. International airports are located nearby, allowing students to travel and explore neighbouring countries.
Leaving home for the first time may be quite scary for international students but at KU Leuven, you’ll never feel alone. From the second students land at the airport, support is provided for them. The university has even set up a welcome desk at the Belgian national airport to help students to get to the campus.
On-campus student services are available to guide students through housing, transportation and study locations too. Doctors and psychologists are available for students’ mental and physical well-being.
What are you waiting for? Begin your academic journey at KU Leuven today. Click here to apply.