Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB)

Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB)

A free spirit since 1834
Doctoral students
Different Nationalities
Annual research budget
Nobel Prizes
Welcome to ULB!

The Université libre de Bruxelles is a multicultural university with more than a third of its students and researchers coming from abroad. Internationalism is a daily reality at the Université libre de Bruxelles, where students live and work on campus in the image of Brussels, one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world.

ULB in a nutshell
The L stands for ‘libre’, or ‘free’. What does this mean for us? It refers to an attitude of free inquiry, as adopted by a free wo-man, who bows down to no dogma and no totalitarian idea of any sort. It signifies our moral commitment to always keep our freedom of conscience. This means that through their teachings, our University’s professors will develop your critical thinking skills and train you to engage in free inquiry.
As a multicultural university with one third of students and researchers from abroad, international relations is a daily reality for the Université libre de Bruxelles, just like the city of Brussels itself, one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities. Its outward-looking position with regard to Europe and the world has resulted in a number of agreements, collaborations and special partnerships being set up with some of the world’s top universities.
Four scientific Nobel Prizes, one Fields Medal, three Wolf Prizes are further evidence of the University’s longstanding tradition of excellence. The Université libre de Bruxelles is an active member of the Research Area: ULB has received HR Excellence in Research award from the EU (EURAXESS) and also EU funding to hire post-doctoral researchers (COFUND program), for example.
The Université libre de Bruxelles has 12 faculties that cover all the disciplines, closely combining academic input and research. It partners 20 Doctoral schools, with almost 1,600 PhD in progress. One of the University’s main aims is to give its students a solid foundation in critical thinking as well as a taste for research, while at the same time catering to the needs of new publics.
As a French-speaking university, most of the courses at the Université libre de Bruxelles are delivered in French. However, a growing number of Master degrees are partly or entirely delivered in English. The University offers a wide range of French courses, prior to and during the academic year, to help its international students improve their language skills.
Ever since its creation, our University has been cultivating the flame of freedom. It has constantly demonstrated its independence and its commitment to the great struggles for democracy, individual liberties and human rights. Based on the principle of free enquiry that postulates independent reasoning and the rejection of all dogma, the University has retained its original ideals as a free institution that is firmly engaged in the defence of democratic and human values.
ULB is driven by its desire to deploy an institutional policy in favor of gender equality. In so doing, it is demonstrating its commitment to its values. Hence, ULB has launched the “Cascade initiative ”, which ensures that the gender balance among promoted staff members is at least equal to that observed at the lower level of career progression.
Being a researcher at ULB

Lecturers, researchers, assistants, PhD students, post-doctoral researchers, etc.: all told, there are more than 3,600 researchers active across ULB’s campuses in Brussels (Solbosch, La Plaine, Erasme) and Charleroi. Over half of them are working on a PhD thesis, and some are also graduates of master programmes hired with a research contract.

Being a researcher at ULB means…

  • Working in an international environment
  • “HR Excellence in Research” Award
  • A university with a strong social commitment
  • Free research
  • Gender equality

Find out more about being a researcher at ULB here

Life in Brussels and at ULB
ULB has subsidised pre-school childcare (“crèches”) on two of its campuses where the amount paid by parents depends on their income. Free schooling is provided in Belgium as from the age of 2 years 6 months/3 years. Many schools offer additional language support for children who do not yet speak French or Dutch. In addition, if you receive a salary or fellowship from the ULB or another Belgian institution, you are entitled to receive monthly child benefit (allocations familiales) for dependent children living with you and also a fixed amount on the occasion of the birth or adoption of a child.
Belgium has one of the best healthcare systems in Europe. All residents are required to register with a social security organisation, known as a “mutuelle”, at a reasonable price to receive medical care. You will be covered for medical/dental expenses, sick leave, maternity and paternity leave, physiotherapy and other benefits. In addition, the ULB offers supplementary health insurance, which covers all hospitalisation costs and many related expenses.
The campus is very dynamic and holds various services, such as university restaurants, medical and multidisciplinary health services, sports, cultural and social activities and, of course, libraries in all scientific domains and multiple scientific conferences.
The cost of living in Belgium is not exactly low but it is still cheaper than other EU countries, despite being home to the EU headquarters. The rental market is fast-moving and there are many options available at various prices.
If you are willing to improve your level of French, ULB Langues offers free language courses all year long. Conversation tables are also organised in different languages (French, Dutch, English, Italian, German, Spanish).