PhD training FAQ

How do I apply for admission to the PhD ?
How do I choose an adviser ?
Is it possible to have co-advisers, with or without a dual degree ?
What are the steps involved in a PhD ?
What is the academic calendar ?

In terms of the PhD programme, the graduate colleges organize a range of activities throughout the year. If you need to take further training, however, it must be completed within the University’s official academic year. The start of the new academic year is in mid-September (this is the only time students can start). Classes are spread over two terms (from September to December and from February to May) and there are three examination sessions: in January, June and August. Further information >

Do I need to know french ?

Almost all PhD programmes can be done in English. However, most lectures at UCL are given in French. If you wish to improve your knowledge of French, you may register to take French courses at the Language institute of the UCL (ILV). Further information >

How much does it cost to enrol for a PhD at UCL ?

UCL is a private university but is subsidized by the government of the French Community of Belgium, which is why its course fees are relatively low. To enrol for a PhD, students pay €835*(full fee) the first year and €66*(administrative costs) the next years. Course fees are the same at all subsidized universities in the French Community of Belgium. *Prices 2016-2017  Further information >

What budget do I need ?

A single PhD student should plan on an annual budget of around €9,500 (excluding tuition and other fees). Shared households should assume an additional budget of at least €3,000 for each dependent. This estimate includes settling-in expenses, accommodation, food, transport, healthcare, leisure, etc.

How can I fund my PhD ?

There are many options available for funding doctoral studies. Some examples include an assistantship, a grant provided by UCL (e.g. the Special Research Fund, FSR) or by an external (e.g. Fund for Scientific Research - FNRS) or even international funding provider, funding as part of a research project for a company, income from your current employment, etc. In any case, it is essential that you think about how you will fund the years of research required so as to ensure optimum progress and a successful outcome. Current legislation does not allow students to finance their studies through student jobs alone.

What are the opportunities for mobility ? 

Researcher mobility is a priority for UCL, as setting up scientific and technological partnerships and long-lasting networks between various research teams can only advance the pursuit of knowledge. UCL therefore offers a range of tools and measures that enable PhD students to meet other researchers, exchange information with them and take part in short or longer-term research projects.

How do I apply for my visa ?

If your request for admission is accepted, the University will send to you by mail an admission letter (“Autorisation d’inscription”). You can use this document to ask for a visa at the Belgian Embassy or Consulate. If you are a citizen of one of the 28 countries of the European Union or of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway or Switzerland, you don’t need to apply for a visa but you have to register (within eight days upon arrival) at the Municipal service (aka Administration Communale) of your residency. Further information >

What kind of accomodation is available ?

UCL offers a large selection of furnished accommodation reserved for its students. A list of private accommodation is also available on the various university campuses. Further information >

Do I need health insurance?

To ensure that you have health insurance cover, there are certain procedures that must be followed (either in your home country or in Belgium); these will depend on your status and nationality (EU/non-EU). In any event, in Belgium it is compulsory to have basic health insurance to cover part of your medical expenses (treatment and medicines). You can also take out non-compulsory, “complementary” health insurance, which covers some or all of the costs not reimbursed by compulsory health insurance. Further information (in FR) >

Does UCL only welcome catholics or christians ?

No. Many religions coexist at UCL and no religious commitment is requested from its members.