Université libre de Bruxelles

Not to be confused with Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
Université libre de Bruxelles
Latin: Universitas Bruxellensis
Motto Scientia vincere tenebras
Motto in English
Conquering darkness with knowledge
Type Independent/Partly state funded
Established 1834
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
Website http://www.ulb.ac.be/

The Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) (French for Free University of Brussels, though rarely translated) 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.[1]


Brussels has two universities whose names mean Free University of Brussels in English: the French-speaking Université libre de Bruxelles and the Dutch-speaking Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). Neither uses the English translation, since it is ambiguous.

The main building on the Solbosch campus


When the Belgian State was formed in 1830 by nine breakaway provinces from the Kingdom of the Netherlands, it had three state universities, in Ghent, Liège and Leuven, but no university in the new capital, Brussels. Since the government was reluctant to fund another state university, a group of Freemasons and intellectuals led by Pierre-Théodore Verhaegen and Auguste Baron planned to create a private university, which was permitted under the Belgian Constitution. After the Catholic Church sponsored the foundation of the Catholic University of Mechlin in 1834, the Université libre de Belgique (Free University of Belgium) opened on 20 November 1834. In 1836 it changed its name to Université libre de Bruxelles.[2]

As part of its commitment to academic freedom, ULB closed down in 1941 rather than collaborate with the Nazi occupation of Belgium.[2]

Since 1935 some courses have been taught in both French and Dutch. Beginning in 1963 all faculties offered courses in both languages. In October 1969, shortly after the language dispute at the Catholic University of Leuven, 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

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

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


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, the main and largest 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. The university also has buildings and activities in Charleroi on the Aéropole Science Park and in Parentville, Treignes and Nivelles.

Faculties, schools and institutes

Faculty or Institute Bachelor's degrees Master's degrees Complementary master's 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 ScienceNanotechnology
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
GeologyBioinformatics and Modeling
MathematicsBiology (1 year)
PhysicsChemistry (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 SciencesBiomedical Sciences Clinical Biology (for pharmacists)
Pharmaceutical SciencesHospital 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[3] 2-4
ARWU[4] 101-150
QS[5] 168
Times[6] 176

Notable alumni and faculty

Nobel prizes

See also



  1. 1 2 "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-06-09. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
  2. 1 2 "A University born of an idea". Université libre de Bruxelles. Retrieved 2016-08-04.
  3. "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2016: USA". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  4. "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2016". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. 2016. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  5. "QS World University Rankings® 2016/17". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 2016. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  6. "World University Rankings 2016-17". THE Education Ltd. Retrieved September 21, 2016.
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