Université libre de Bruxelles

The Université libre de Bruxelles (French; Free University of Brussels), abbreviated ULB, is a French-speaking private research university in Brussels, Belgium.

Université Libre de Bruxelles
Seal of the ULB, created in 2013.
Latin: Universitas Bruxellensis
MottoScientia vincere tenebras
Motto in English
Conquering darkness by science
TypeIndependent/Partly state funded
1970 (split)
PresidentPierre Gurdjian
RectorYvon Englert
Administrative staff
Students34,756 (2019)[1]
CampusSolbosch, Plaine, Erasme, Gosselies
Atomium Culture

ULB is one of two institutions which trace their origins to the Free University of Brussels, founded in 1834 by Belgian lawyer Pierre-Théodore Verhaegen. This split along linguistic lines in 1969 into the French-speaking ULB and Dutch-speaking Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), both founded in 1970. it is one of the most important Belgian universities. A major research center open to Europe and the world,[2][3] it has about 24,200 students, 33% of whom come from abroad, and an equally cosmopolitan staff.[1] In 2019, ULB was globally ranked 201th-250th by The Times Higher Education, 151th-200th by Shanghai Ranking (AWRU).


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.


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.[4]

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.

November 20, called Saint Verhagen (often shortened to St V) for Pierre-Théodore Verhaegen, is a holiday for students of both the Université Libre de Bruxelles and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.


The ULB comprises three main campuses: the Solbosch campus, on the territories of Brussels and Ixelles municipalities in the Brussels-Capital Region, the Plaine campus in Ixelles, and the Erasmus campus in Anderlecht, beside the Erasmus Hospital.

The main and largest campus of the university is the Solbosch, which hosts the administration and general services of the university. It also includes most of the faculties of the humanities, the École polytechnique, the large library of social sciences, and among the museums of the ULB, the Museum of Zoology and Anthropology,[5] the Allende exhibition room and the M. De Ghelderode Museum.

The Plaine campus hosts the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Pharmacy. There are also the Experimentariums of physics and chemistry, the Museum of Medicinal Plants and Pharmacy[6] and student housing. This site is served by the metro station: Delta.

The Erasmus campus houses the Erasmus Hospital and the Pôle Santé, the Faculty of Medicine, the School of Public Health and the Faculty of Motor Sciences. There is also the School of Nursing (with the Haute école libre de Bruxelles - Ilya Prigogine), the Museum of Medicine[7] and the Museum of Human Anatomy and Embryology.[8] This site is served by the metro station: Erasmus.

The university also has buildings and activities in the Brussels municipality of Auderghem, and outside of Brussels, in Charleroi on the Aéropole Science Park and Nivelles.

Faculties, schools and institute

International Privileged Partnerships[10]

University of California, Berkeley, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Université de Montréal, Waseda University, Université Pierre et Marie Curie - Paris VI, BeiHang University, Universidade de Sao Paulo, Université de Lausanne, Université de Genève, University Ouaga I Pr. Joseph Ki-Zerbo, University of Lubumbashi

Faculty or InstituteBachelor's degreesMaster's degreesComplementary master's degrees
Faculty of Architecture ArchitectureArchitecture
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 ArchaeologyArt History and Archaeology (1 or 2 years)
Art History and Archaeology: MusicologyArt History and Archaeology: Musicology (1 or 2 years)
French and Roman Languages and LiteratureCultural Management
Information and CommunicationFrench and Roman Languages and Literature (1 or 2 years)
Modern Languages and LiteratureFrench 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)
PhilosophyInformation and Communication (1 or 2 years)
Religious and Secular StudiesInformation 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 LawCriminologyEconomic Law
LawInternational Law
Public and Administrative Law
Social Law
Tax Law
Faculty of Psychological Science, and of Education Psychology and Educational SciencesEducational SciencesPedagogy in Higher Education
Psychology and Educational Sciences: Speech TherapyPsychologyPsychoanalytic Theories
Speech TherapyRisk Management and Well-being at Work
Faculty of Sciences
(recently absorbed the Institute of Environment Gestion (IGEAT))
BiologyActuarial ScienceNanotechnology
ChemistryBiochemistry and Molecular and Cellular Biology
Computer SciencesBioengineering: Agricultural Sciences
Engineering: BioengineeringBioengineering: Chemistry and Bio-industries
GeographyBioengineering: 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: BioengineeringBioengineering: Agricultural SciencesConservation and Restoration of Immovable Cultural Heritage
Engineering: CivilBioengineering: Chemistry and Bio-industriesNanotechnology
Engineering: Civil ArchitectBioengineering: Environmental Sciences and TechnologiesNuclear Engineering
Civil Engineering: ArchitecturalTransportation Management
Civil Engineering: BiomedicalUrban 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 SciencesBiomedical Sciences
Veterinary Medicine
Institute of Pharmacy Pharmaceutical SciencesBiomedical SciencesClinical Biology (for pharmacists)
Pharmaceutical SciencesHospital Pharmacy
Industrial Pharmacy
Faculty of Social and Political Sciences Human and Social ScienceAnthropology
Political ScienceHuman Resources Management
Sociology and AnthropologyPolitical 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 EngineeringBusiness EngineeringIndustrial Management and Technology
EconomicsEconomics (1 or 2 years)Microfinance
Institute of European Studies European StudiesEuropean Law
Interdisciplinary Analysis of European Construction


University rankings
ARWU World[11] 151-200 (2019)
Leiden World[12] 424 (2019)
THE World[13] 201–250 (2020)
USNWR World[14] 190 (2020)
QS World[15] 251 (2020)

Notable alumni and faculty

Nobel Prize Winners

See also


  1. https://www.lacapitale.be/489703/article/2019-12-13/un-record-de-35000-inscriptions-lulb. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-06-09. Retrieved 2019-12-14. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. "Université Libre de Bruxelles". QS Top Universities. Retrieved March 17, 2017.
  3. "ARWU World University Rankings 2016 | Academic Ranking of World Universities 2016 | Top 500 universities | Shanghai Ranking - 2016". www.shanghairanking.com. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  4. "A University born of an idea". Université Libre de Bruxelles. Retrieved 2016-08-04.
  5. "Muséum de Zoologie et d'Anthropologie". www2.ulb.ac.be. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  6. "Université Libre de Bruxelles - page 3". www2.ulb.ac.be. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  7. "Musée de la Médecine de Bruxelles". Musée de la médecine. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  8. "Musée d'Anatomie et d'Embryologie humaines - page 2". www2.ulb.ac.be. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  9. "Home". www.iee-ulb.eu. Retrieved 2018-06-25.
  10. "Les relations internationales de l'ULB". www.ulb.ac.be. Retrieved 2018-06-25.
  11. "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2019". ShanghaiRanking. Retrieved 2019-11-21.
  12. "CWTS Leiden Ranking 2019". Retrieved 2019-11-21.
  13. "World University Rankings 2020 - Université libre de Bruxelles". Times Higher Education (THE). Retrieved 2019-11-21.
  14. "Best Global Universities 2020". U.S. News Education (USNWR). ). Retrieved 2019-11-21.
  15. "QS World University Rankings 2020". Top Universities. Retrieved 2019-11-21.


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