Postgraduate Certificate in EU policy making

Programme and curriculum

The Brussels School of Governance at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) offers a Postgraduate Certificate in EU Policy Making, a European studies degree designed and instructed by EU and e-learning experts. This academic programme, launched in 2013, is worth 25 ECTS and combines 5 EU Modules online courses (20 ECTS) with either a Winter School or a Summer School (5 ECTS each), in an innovative blended learning fashion. The postgraduate certificate is an excellent choice for students and young professionals who wish to broaden their knowledge on the history and functioning of the European Union, the intricate European decision-making process and the roles of the various actors involved. Students are offered the flexibility of taking this programme in a 1-year or a 2-year track.

Even though this programme is largely taught online, we aim to offer a personalised approach to each student enrolled in it. In order to ensure the quality of the programme, we therefore limit the number of enrolled students in this programme to a maximum of 30 per academic year.

 

Academic Calendar

The programme follows the academic calendar of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). The first day of classes of the 2022-23 academic year is 26 September.

 

Online courses

The 5 EU Modules are taught entirely online using enquiry-based learning as guiding method, by placing the students at the core of the learning process while the instructors’ role is to present them with puzzles and guide them throughout the process. The programme involves self-study, written assignments, group discussions, communication with peers and tutors, support, and continuous feedback. All students get access to the online courses for a period of 12 months, the entire duration of the programme.

Students must follow each of the three compulsory EU Modules below. In addition, they must choose two elective EU Modules from the list of four below:

COMPULSORY COURSES:

ELECTIVES (CHOOSE TWO):

 

 

Winter / Summer school

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Winter / Summer school

Students must choose to take either the Winter School or Summer School as an integral part of the 25 ECTS Postgraduate Certificate programme. These Schools have a similar curriculum and play a complementary role to the 5 EU Modules, in that they offer an in-depth analysis of the institutional set-up and decision-making process in the European Union. Moreover, they provide students with the opportunity to simulate the negotiation process in the EU institutions, which is an excellent exercise that prepares students for a career in and around EU affairs. The Winter and Summer Schools are organised in a synchronous format, meaning that students must attend them 'live' at the moment when they are taking place (virtually in case of Winter School, face-to-face in case of Summer School).

The Summer School’s focus is on civil rights, touching on policy discussions related to human security, migration, anti-discrimination, and diversity. The intensive two-week programme is held on-site, one week in Brussels and one week in Vienna.

As regards the Winter School, which Postgraduate Certificate students can take as an alternative to the Summer School, other than being taught fully online, the second main difference with its ‘Summer sibling’ is the focus area of the Winter edition, which is digital rights and diplomacy, touching on policy discussions related to freedom of expression, data protection, disinformation resilience, and platform responsibility.

 

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Programme Director

Success stories

  • “The human aspect of the programme really impressed me. Even though the classes were online, there were many occasions to interact with fellow students and the lecturers were understanding when other responsibilities took precedence. The cherry on top is definitely the summer school where we had the chance to meet each other, to share our knowledge and experiences as well as to network.”

    Evelyne Beaupain (Belgium)
    Postgraduate Certificate alumna (2019)
  • “I enrolled in the Postgraduate Certificate to supplement my legal background with a stronger understanding in EU affairs. The program delivered as expected – I am very satisfied.”

    Michael Ristaniemi (Finland)
    Postgrad Certificate alumnus (2019)
Admission requirements & How to apply

Academic requirements

A university degree equivalent to an Undergraduate degree in Social, Economic or Political Sciences, Business, Law and/or Contemporary History consisting of a programme of at least 180 ECTS. If your degree is not within these disciplines, relevant work experience in these or related fields may qualify.

 

Language requirements

The language of instruction for the Programme is English. Non-native English speakers must provide proof of proficiency in English:

  • Proof that you have studied or work in English
  • TOEFL-test [min. score 233 (computer-based) min. score 90 (internet-based) min.score 577 (paper-based)]
  • IELTS: 7
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English – CPE
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English – CAE (grade B)
  • ITACE (at the VUB) – C1

 

How do I apply?

To apply, please click the ‘Apply here’ button at the top of this page, which will take you to a page on a website dedicated to this programme, on which you will find the application form, as well as a checklist of the documents and information we require from you to assess your application.

 

What are the application deadlines?

For enrolment in July (starting with the summer school):

  • Early-bird deadline: 15 March
    Candidates applying by 15 March will receive a 10% Early Bird discount provided that they are accepted and pay by 31 March.
  • Application deadline: 1 May

For enrolment in September (starting with the EU online courses):

  • Early-bird deadline: 1 August
    Candidates applying by 1 August will receive a 10% Early Bird discount provided that they are accepted and pay by 15 August.
  • Application deadline: 1 September

Please note that even though this programme is largely taught online, we aim to offer a personalised approach to each student enrolled in it. In order to ensure the quality of the programme, we therefore limit the number of enrolled students in this programme to a maximum of 30 per academic year. Given the increased interest in this Postgraduate Certificate in recent years, we advise you to apply and enrol early, to ensure your place in the programme.

Planning

You have the choice between two starting dates for this Postgraduate Certificate programme:

  • July (application deadline 1 May): starting with the Summer School.
  • September (application deadline 1 September): starting with the online studies part (5 online EU modules).

The Summer School on EU Policy Making is a face-to-face course that takes place in July for two weeks, one week in Brussels and one week in Vienna. The next Summer School will take place from Monday 4 to Friday 15 July 2022.

Moreover, as of 2021 we offer our students the possibility to replace the Summer School (July) part of the programme by its Winter School on EU Policy Making (February) equivalent.

Students have the possibility to study this Postgraduate Certificate programme in a one-year or two-year track. Below is the planning for these tracks:

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1-year track -
starting in July

1-year track -
starting in September

2-year track

July: Summer School*
Brussels & Vienna
(online in 2021)

Sept-Dec: Online Courses 1 & 2

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1st semester: European Union Institutions

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Sept-Dec: Online Courses 1 & 2

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Jan: Exam Session 1

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Jan: Exam Session 1

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Jan: Exam Session 1

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Feb-Apr: Online Courses 3, 4 & 5

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2nd semester: European Union Decision Making and Law

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Feb-Apr: Online Courses 3, 4 & 5

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May: Exam Session 2

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May: Exam Session 2

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May: Exam Session 2

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Jul: Summer School*

Brussels & Vienna
(online in 2021)

3rd semester: History and Theories of European Integration

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Jan: Exam Session 3

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4th semester: European Union Foreign Affairs / European Union Public Policy

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May: Exam Session 4

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4th semester: Summer School*

Brussels & Vienna
(online in 2021)

 

* Students taking the 2-year track can also take the Summer School in July prior to their 1st semester, or in July between their 2nd and 3rd semester. Students of both the 1-year and the 2-year track can opt to replace the Summer School by the Winter School (February). 

 

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Tuition and scholarships

Your tuition fee for this Postgraduate Certificate depends on (1) whether you take the 1-year or 2-year track, and (2) whether you opt for the Winter School or Summer School as part of the programme. The following is the tuition fee structure for the academic year 2021-2022:

1-year track:

  • 3500 EUR for students opting for the Summer School if the latter is organised physically
  • 3000 EUR for students opting for the Summer School if the latter is organised online (due to Covid-19 health situation in Belgium/Austria)
  • 3000 EUR for students opting for the Winter School

2-year track: 

  • 2100 EUR for year 1 and 1800 EUR for year 2, for students opting for the Summer School if the latter is organised physically
  • 1600 EUR for year 1 and 1800 EUR for year 2, for students opting for the Summer School if the latter is organised online (due to Covid-19 health situation in Belgium/Austria)
  • 1600 EUR for year 1 and 1800 EUR for year 2, for students opting for the Winter School

What does the tuition fee cover?

How can I apply for a tuition fee waiver?

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What does the tuition fee cover?

The tuition fee covers the students’ enrolment in the postgraduate certificate programme, including their participation in the 5 online EU modules and the Winter or Summer School.

If students opt for the Summer School, it also includes daily breakfast in Brussels, daily lunch in Brussels and Vienna, the flight from Brussels to Vienna on the Sunday at the end of the first week, as well as the study visits. It does however NOT cover accommodation, breakfast in Vienna, evening meals and flights to Brussels and from Vienna.
The Summer School organisers can recommend accommodation both in Brussels and in Vienna. The participants are however free to take care of their own accommodation arrangements.

 

How can I apply for a tuition fee waiver?

Every academic year, the school can grant a very limited amount of tuition fee waivers, amounting to reduced tuition fees. Please note that the share of the overall tuition fee that can be waived will be 700 EUR maximum. Although these waivers are in general, but not exclusively, granted to prospective students from economically less advanced countries, they will be attributed on the basis of merit and motivation. If you think you may be eligible for such a reduction, you will need to provide:

  • a clear motivation letter (to be handed in together with your application)
  • a copy of your academic record (transcripts of records,…)

Only candidates that have not been recipients of consistent scholarships in the past are eligible to apply for a waiver.

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FAQ

Which entity awards the degree of this programme?

Are lectures in this programme to be attended ‘live’?

Which teaching and exam regulations are applicable?

What are the cancellation terms?

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Which entity awards the degree of this programme?

The Brussels School of Governance is an alliance between the Institute for European Studies of the VUB and Vesalius College. The degree for this Postgraduate certificate in EU policy making will be awarded by the VUB.

 

Are lectures in this programme to be attended ‘live’?

No, the lectures in this Postgraduate Certificate are organised in an asynchronous format, meaning that they can be followed by the students at their preferred time, no matter which time zone they are in, or whether they are available to follow lectures during the day.

 

Which teaching and exam regulations are applicable?

The VUB Teaching and Exam Regulations apply, complemented by a set of regulations specifically applicable to programmes organised by the Institute for European Studies / Brussels School of Governance. The latest version of the VUB Teaching and Exam Regulations can be consulted here (in Dutch) and here (in English). The latest version of the VUB Teaching and Exam Regulations with Institute for European Studies / Brussels School of Governance complements can be consulted here (in Dutch). Please note that English versions of Teaching and Exam Regulations are made available for information only. They are not official documents and no rights can be derived from them.

 

What are the cancellation terms?​

The applicable cancellation policy depends on whether a student starts this Postgraduate Certificate programme with the Summer School (in July), or with the online courses (in September):

  • For students starting the programme with the Summer School (July), the cancellation policy of the Summer School applies. This policy diverges from the September cancellation policy, as Summer School preparation includes the booking of flights, accommodation, etc.
  • For students starting the programme with the online courses (September), the following cancellation policy applies: In case of cancellation before the start of the academic year, an administrative fee of €350 will be charged. Cancellations after the start of the academic year but before 1 December will result in an administrative fee of €350 and a reimbursement of 50% of the total tuition fee. Cancellations after 1 December will not be reimbursed.
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Have a question about this programme? Ask our alumni...

If you want to know more about our Postgraduate Certificate programme, who better to ask than the people who have recently finished it? The alumni below are available to provide you with their honest, first-hand feedback!

Year of graduation: 2019
Year of graduation: 2018

...or get in touch with us directly!

I have already applied and have a question about my application.

 

If you have not submitted an application yet, use the Contact Form on this page, or
one of the other contact options below.

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