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Credit accumulation system of study progress (CAS)



Bachelor and Master structure

After signing the Bologna Declaration the Flemish Minister of Education started a process to reform the Flemish higher education system. The Flemish Parliament adopted a new Higher Education Act on 4 April 2003. The degree structure based on three main cycles constitutes the core of the Act, which introduced this new structure for all programmes in the 2010/11 academic year. The higher educational system consists of professional bachelor's degrees and two-tier academic bachelor's and master's degrees, followed by a doctoral degree.

Degree structure

Bachelor's degree

  • Professional bachelor's programmes
  • Advanced bachelor's programmes
  • Academic bachelor's programmes

Bridging programmes may provide a route into master's programmes for holders of professional bachelor's degrees.

Master's degree

  • Master's programmes
  • Advanced master's programmes

Flexible learning

Higher education institutions in Flanders operate a credit system based on ECTS (European Credit Transfer System). Each course counts for at least 3 credits, with a maximum of 12 courses per 60 credits. One credit represents 25 to 30 hours of a student's workload. Students have three options building a study programme. First, students may start a diploma contract, a traditional programme of circa 60 ECTS credits a year, aimed at acquiring a diploma. Students may start a credit contract, chosing courses as independent building blocks for which students may enrol according to their own preferences and timetable, with due consideration for the semester system and evaluations. Students may start an exam contract, aimed at taking exams without attending classes. Students can be exempted from a course based on credits acquired elsewhere (another programme or institution), and on competencies acquired outside a formal learning context (i.e. prior experiental learning). These competencies are assessed by the associations.


Bachelor's degree

After successfully earning at least 180 ECTS credits students obtain a bachelor's degree. Professional bachelor's degrees prepare students for specific professions in industry, education, commerce, agriculture, health and rehabilitation, social work, information technology, applied arts or the media. Courses are therefore practice-oriented and include periods of work placement. These degrees are exclusively awarded by the university colleges. Our university college also offers advanced bachelor programmes, which are profession-oriented specialisation programmes for holders of a professional bachelor's degree. These subsequent bachelor's programmes cover at least 60 ECTS credits. The institution board will stipulate which bachelor's degrees give access to these profession-oriented specialisation programmes. Academic bachelor's degrees prepare students for studies at master's level.

Master's degree

Master's programmes are characterised by the integration of education and research and a master's dissertation. They cover at least 60 ECTS credits. Depending on the field of study some programmes last longer (e.g. medicine, law, psychology, engineering). Advanced master's programmes are organised at universities, university colleges in the framework of an association and at postgraduate training institutions. A master's degree is an admission requirement for an advanced master programme.


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