KU Leuven (University of Leuven)
University Info | Exchange Student Info
- Leuven is the oldest (from 1425 !) and largest Belgian university, offering top research-based education in all disciplines (not only engineering) – yet it is a very pleasant university with the 45000 students in Leuven spread over a small town with only 100000 inhabitants.
- In the field of engineering, KU Leuven is ranked #34 worldwide in THE, and it has been chosen as the #1 most innovative university in Europe for the 3rd consecutive year in a row (2016, 2017, 2018).
- Leuven is only 20 minutes away from Brussels, the capital of Belgium, which offers many additional cultural experiences – also Belgian cities as Bruges, Ghent or Antwerp are easy to reach by train.
- KU Leuven has some worldwide firsts, such as having the world’s #1 largest independent micro/nanoelectronics research center (imec) next door, or housing the world’s largest collection of banana varieties, etc.
- The city’s Old Market square is known as the 'longest bar' in Europe with many (affordable) restaurants and pubs; Leuven is also home to InBev, the biggest brewery in the world.
The University of Leuven (KU Leuven) prides itself to be one of the leading European research-based universities, providing top-class academic education and research. Founded in 1425 and member of the LERU league, it is a comprehensive university covering all fields. With 56000 students across all its campuses, including 19200 students in the fields of exact sciences, engineering and technology, KU Leuven is the largest university in Belgium and Flanders. It is ranked 47th in the THE rankings, and even 34th for engineering and technology. In addition, the university puts a lot of emphasis on sustainable entrepreneurship, and has been selected by Reuters as the #1 most innovative university in Europe for the third year in a row! Overall 16% of the students are international from countries all across the entire world. Besides at its smaller campuses dotted across Flanders, the university has 45000 students based in the pleasant city of Leuven, a safe university town without big-city problems, yet bustling and internationally oriented. Located right in the center of western Europe, Leuven is only 20 minutes away from Brussels and only two hours from Paris and Amsterdam.
The educational system follows the European “Bologna” bachelor-master scheme, i.e. the entire undergraduate program takes 5 years and consists of a 3-year “bachelor” followed by a 2-year “master”. The university has 3 engineering Faculties (Engineering Science, Bioscience Engineering, Engineering Technology), which all open their English-taught programs (1 bachelor program and many undergraduate master programs) within the frame of the Global E3 program, for either a one-semester or a full-year exchange. Students will be able to choose programs in almost all engineering and bioscience engineering disciplines (see the links). KU Leuven will be happy to host Global E3 students from around the world, and has a long tradition in offering special services to welcome and assist incoming international students throughout their stay. At the same time, there is the possibility for incoming Global E3 students to carry out short internships at the many companies and institutes (like the world-renowned imec institute in nanotechnology) in and around Leuven. We are convinced that students will have a pleasant stay, and enrich their academic education with a unique European cultural touch in one of the leading European research-based universities.
Terms of Exchange
- Undergraduate students: Accepted
- Graduate students: Not Accepted
- Computer Science majors: Not Accepted
- Students should have a good GPA grade scale average.
- Students must be in their third or fourth year of study during the exchange period.
Language of Instruction
English Proficiency Requirements
No formal language test is required for non-degree-seeking exchange students, but Global E3 exchange students must be able to speak, read, and write English fluently (which corresponds to a level equivalent to a minimum score of 94 for TOEFL and of 7 for IELTS).
Fall, Spring, or Academic Year
Academic Calendar | Semester Dates (including exam period)
- Autumn Semester: from last week of September till Christmas, with exams till the end of January
- Spring Semester: from second week of February till the end of May, with exams till the end of June
KU Leuven participates in the Global E3 program with 3 engineering faculties: Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Faculty of Engineering Science, and Faculty of Engineering Technology.
Faculty of Bioscience Engineering:
- Human Health Engineering, Bioinformatics, Agro- and Ecosystems Engineering, Food Technology, Molecular Biology, Water Resources Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Science:
- Electrical, Material, Mechanical, Civil, Chemical, Computer, Nano, Energy, Biomedical and Architectural Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Technology:
- Biochemical Engineering Technology, Chemical Engineering Technology, Electromechanical and Engineering Technology, Electronics and ICT Engineering Technology
The available courses and the schedule (fall course versus spring course) are different for the three faculties:
All courses take place in the university’s major campus in the city of Leuven, with the extra possibility that in the Faculty of Engineering Technology projects with local industry or internships in specific topics could take place in Leuven or in any of its 6 other easily reachable campuses spread over Flanders.
Students must choose a full-semester study program (i.e. a set of courses amounting to a total of 30 ECTS credits) per semester of exchange. For all three faculties, students can choose a maximum of two courses from a non-engineering faculty as part of this program. Students can choose from among all English-spoken courses at the engineering resp. non-engineering faculties, provided that it is organized in the semester of exchange and that studies have sufficient prior knowledge to be able to attend a course (as described in the course descriptions). The entire study program must be approved by the faculty’s academic responsible.
Workload per Semester
30 ECTS credits per semester
Additional Application Materials
Exchange student candidates must provide (1) a transcript of their prior records, including courses and grades obtained, and (2) the selected engineering faculty and the proposed study program at KU Leuven (30 ECTS credits per semester of exchange).
Recommendation letter from a professor or academic staff:
- Optional for Global E3 Application. Letter of recommendation may be required by host university as part of the host university application process.
Students will receive their acceptance packet within 6-8 weeks after KU Leuven receives notice of the student's assignment.
On-campus accommodations are available to exchange students. There are a large number of off-campus student rooms available, besides a small number of on-campus rooms. Note that the city is quite small. Information about on-campus and off-campus housing options can be found at the housing link below.
Estimated Cost of Living
Office Responsible for International Exchange Students
The coordinating administrative person for Global E3 exchange students is Isabelle Benoit, who is located in the office of the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Science.
Contact email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
General information about the city of Leuven can be found at the VISIT LEUVEN website.