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Université libre de Bruxelles

Université libre de Bruxelles
Latin: Universitas Bruxellensis
Motto Scientia vincere tenebras
Motto in English
Conquering darkness with knowledge
Established 1834
Type Independent/Partly state funded
President Eric De Keuleneer
Rector Didier Viviers
Administrative staff
Students 24,236 (2012)[1]
Location Brussels, Belgium
Campus Solbosch, Plaine, Erasme, Gosselies
Affiliations EUA, AUF, ENTREE, IMCC, T.I.M.E., UNICA, Atomium Culture

The Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) (French for Free University of Brussels, though rarely translated, the official name of the University is Université libre de Bruxelles) is a French-speaking private research university in Brussels, Belgium. It has about 24,200 students, 32% of whom come from abroad, and an equally cosmopolitan staff.[2]


  • Name 1
  • History 2
  • Campuses 3
  • Faculties, schools and institutes 4
  • Rankings 5
  • Notable alumni 6
  • Notable faculty 7
  • Nobel prizes 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • Notes and references 11
  • External links 12


There are two universities, the French-speaking Université libre de Bruxelles ULB, and the Dutch-speaking Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), so the English translation of Free University of Brussel is ambiguous and not used by the ULB or the VUB communities.

The main building on the Solbosch campus.


The history of the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) is closely linked with that of Belgium itself. When the nine provinces that broke away from the Kingdom of the Netherlands formed the Belgian State in 1830, there were three state universities in the country: Ghent, Liege and Leuven. Even though Brussels had been promoted to the rank of capital, it still had no university.

For this reason, in 1831 a group of leading Brussels Masonic figures in the fields of the arts, science and education set themselves the objective of creating a university for the city. They had the choice between a state university and, failing that, a private institution, since the Belgian Constitution, the most liberal in Europe, allowed for this possibility.

Finding the financial burden of the three existing universities too onerous, the Belgian government showed little enthusiasm for yet another state university. However, when in 1834 the episcopate decided to found the Catholic University of Mechlin, things began to happen very quickly. The liberal professions and Freemasons, led by Pierre-Théodore Verhaegen and Auguste Baron, who were promoting the Brussels university project, stepped up their efforts, with the result that the Free University of Belgium, as it was originally known, inaugurated its first academic year on 20 November 1834.

From 1836 it was to be called the Université libre de Bruxelles, but although the geographical term may have changed, the adjective "free" remained. This was a key point.[3]

The school's football (soccer) team won the bronze medal at the 1900 Summer Olympics.

Pierre-Théodore Verhaegen, who helped make the university, is the symbol of the creation of the university. November 20, called 'St V', is a holiday for students of both the Université libre de Bruxelles and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

Since 1935 some courses have been taught in both French and Dutch, but it was only in 1963 that all faculties held courses in both languages. Shortly after the language dispute at the Catholic University of Leuven, in October 1969 the French and Dutch entities of the ULB separated into two distinct universities. With the act of 28 May 1970, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the Université libre de Bruxelles officially became two separate legal, administrative and scientific entities.

Campus Erasme

In 2010 ULB, for its excellence in co-operation projects with the corporate world in Belgium, was chosen to be a part of the BBNM Group. Today, they are represented among the BBNM Member schools.[4]


The clocktower at the Campus du Solbosch in the City of Brussels

The ULB comprises three main campuses: the Campus de la Plaine with faculties such as the faculty of pharmacy in Ixelles, the Campus du Solbosch, which is the main and biggest campus of the university, on the territories of Brussels and Ixelles municipalities, in the Brussels-Capital Region and the Campus Erasme (faculty of medicine) in Anderlecht beside the Erasmus Hospital but the university also has buildings and activities in Charleroi on the Aéropole Science Park, Parentville, Treignes and Nivelles.

Faculties, schools and institutes

  1. Interfacultary School of Bio-Engineering
  2. School of Public Health
  3. High institute of Physical Education, and Kinesitherapy
  4. Institute of Work Sciences
  5. Institute of Statistics and Operational Research
  6. Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics
Faculty or Institute Bachelor degrees Master degrees Complementary Master degrees
Faculty of Architecture Architecture Architecture
Faculty of Philosophy and Letters Ancient Languages and Literature:
1. Classic orientation;
2. Oriental orientation
Ancient Languages and Literature:
1. Classic orientation (1 or 2 years)
2. Oriental orientation (1 or 2 years)
African Languages and Cultures
Pedagogy in Higher Education
Language Sciences
Art History and Archaeology Art History and Archaeology (1 or 2 years)
Art History and Archaeology: Musicology Art History and Archaeology: Musicology (1 or 2 years)
French and Roman Languages and Literature Cultural Management
History Ethics
Information and Communication French and Roman Languages and Literature (1 or 2 years)
Modern Languages and Literature French and Roman Languages and Literature: French Foreign Language
Modern Languages and Literature:
1. General orientation
2. Germanic orientation
3. Oriental orientation
4. Slavic orientation
History (1 or 2 years)
Philosophy Information and Communication (1 or 2 years)
Religious and Secular Studies Information and Communication Sciences and Technologies
Modern Languages and Literature (1 or 2 years)
Modern Languages and Literature:
1. Arab orientation
2. Germanic orientation (1 or 2 years)
3. Oriental orientation (1 or 2 years)
4. Slavic orientation (1 or 2 years)
Multilingual Communication
Performing Arts
Philosophy (1 or 2 years)
Religious and Secular Studies
Faculty of Law and Criminological Science Law Criminology Economic Law
Law International Law
Public and Administrative Law
Social Law
Tax Law
Faculty of Psychological Science, and of Education Psychology and Educational Sciences Educational Sciences Pedagogy in Higher Education
Psychology and Educational Sciences: Speech Therapy Psychology Psychoanalytic Theories
Speech Therapy Risk Management and Well-being at Work
Faculty of Sciences
(recently absorbed the Institute of Environment Gestion (IGEAT))
Biology Actuarial Science Nanotechnology
Chemistry Biochemistry and Molecular and Cellular Biology
Computer Sciences Bioengineering: Agricultural Sciences
Engineering: Bioengineering Bioengineering: Chemistry and Bio-industries
Geography Bioengineering: Environmental Sciences and Technologies
Geology Bioinformatics and Modeling
Mathematics Biology (1 year)
Physics Chemistry (1 or 2 years)
Sciences (Polyvalent first year) Computer Sciences (1 or 2 years)
Environmental Sciences and Management (1 or 2 years)
Geography (1 or 2 years)
Geology (1 or 2 years)
Mathematics (1 or 2 years)
Organismal Biology and Ecology
Physics (1 or 2 years)
Tourism Sciences and Management (1 or 2 years)
Faculty of Applied Sciences/Polytechnic School Engineering: Bioengineering Bioengineering: Agricultural Sciences Conservation and Restoration of Immovable Cultural Heritage
Engineering: Civil Bioengineering: Chemistry and Bio-industries Nanotechnology
Engineering: Civil Architect Bioengineering: Environmental Sciences and Technologies Nuclear Engineering
Civil Engineering: Architectural Transportation Management
Civil Engineering: Biomedical Urban and Regional Planning
Civil Engineering: Chemistry and Material Science
Civil Engineering: Computer
Civil Engineering: Constructions
Civil Engineering: Electrical
Civil Engineering: Electro-mechanical
Civil Engineering: Mechanical
Civil Engineering: Physicist
Faculty of Medicine Biomedical Sciences Biomedical Sciences
Dentistry Dentistry
Medicine Medicine
Veterinary Medicine
Institute of Pharmacy Pharmaceutical Sciences Biomedical Sciences Clinical Biology (for pharmacists)
Pharmaceutical Sciences Hospital Pharmacy
Industrial Pharmacy
Faculty of Social and Political Sciences Human and Social Science Anthropology
Political Science Human Resources Management
Sociology and Anthropology Political Science (1 or 2 years)
Political Science: International Relations
Population and Development
Public Administration
Sociology and Anthropology (1 year)
Work Science (1 or 2 years)
Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management Business Engineering Business Engineering Industrial Management and Technology
Economics Economics (1 or 2 years) Microfinance
Institute of European Studies European Studies European Law
Interdisciplinary Analysis of European Construction


University rankings
ARWU[5] 2-4
ARWU[6] 101-150
QS[7] 168
Times[8] 176

Notable alumni

Notable faculty

Nobel prizes

See also


  • Despy, A., 150 Ans De L‘Ulb Universite Libre De Bruxelles, Brussels, 1984
  • Noel, F, 1894 Universite Libre De Bruxelles En Crise, Brussels, 1994
  • The ULB, a university born of an idea
  • ULB, at a glance

Notes and references

  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^

External links

  • Official home page

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