MA Preparatory Programme

Programme and curriculum

The English-taught MA Preparatory Programme is aimed at students who already hold an undergraduate university degree, have conditional acceptance into a Masters’ programme, but lack the general academic requirements. This programme provides the best possible academic and practical preparation for a subsequent Masters’ programme or an international working environment.

This bridge programme further supports second language users of English, including Chinese students, to ensure their advancement into a university graduate programme, such as the MA programmes at the Brussels School of Governance, the VUB, and other Belgian universities. It provides a framework of selected courses consisting of research methodological and academic writing courses, as well as academic foundation courses to assist in building a knowledge framework for your future Masters’ programme. For instance, a student may hold a diploma in International Affairs but does not have enough working knowledge of the European institutions.

To ensure the best possible academic performance, students will benefit from small classes, dedicated professors, and career advice services. Further, students will be assigned an academic advisor who will closely monitor their learning process and provide support in academic and administrative matters.

The Brussels School of Governance is an alliance between the Institute for European Studies (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and Vesalius College. This MA Preparatory Programme is organised by Vesalius College.


Academic calendar

As the MA Preparatory Programme offers courses on the BA level, this programme follows our BA academic calendar. Students can start their studies in our MA Preparatory Programme in the Fall semester only. The Fall 2023 semester for this programme starts on 17 August with the orientation and registration activities; the first day of classes is 21 August. Click here for a detailed overview of the applicable 2023-2024 academic calendar.


Learning objectives

  • Gain the subject-specific knowledge and skills required to embark onto graduate studies
  • To strengthen academic English writing and reading skills
  • To acquire understandings of methods for collecting and analyzing data
  • To acquire core organizational skills on how to study effectively
  • Enhance ability to work in a multinational environment and diverse teams



STEP approach

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Students take 6-9 mandatory courses, and can choose 1-4 electives.

Mandatory courses
NDTHES1 Introduction to Research Methodology I
NDTHES2 Introduction to Research Methodology II
SCC271G Intermediate Qualitative Research Methods*
SCC272 Intermediate Quantitative Research Methods*
POL201G Comparative Political Systems
POL212G Theories of International Relations
POL303G Advanced International Relations Theoriesµ
POL391G Capstone in IA
If the student has already undertaken rigid methodological training, the two courses indicated with ‘*’ can be changed into electives. If the student fails to demonstrate any quantitative training, the STA101G Introduction to Statistics course will be made mandatory.

Elective courses
Students can enrich the MA Preparatory Programme with 1-4 elective courses, they can be freely chosen from the list below. Other courses that the student would like to include in their curriculum (language classes for example) can be accepted if approved by the Programme Director. In any case, the choice of electives needs to be agreed upon by the Programme Director.
BUS216G Strategic Management
BUS222G Corporate Financial Management
BUS262G Social Entrepreneurship
CMM211G Persuasive Communication
ECN201G Macroeconomics
ECN202G The European Economy
ECN211G Microeconomics
HIS203G International Relations Between the Wars
HIS261G/262G Regional History (Africa or Asia)
LAW201G Humanitarian Law
LAW202G Legal Aspects of Migration
LAW203G Criminal Law
LAW222G EU Constitutional Law
LAW303G Human Rights
LAW322G EU Law of the Internal Market
LFR231G French for International Affairs
POL214G Western Democracy in Crisis
POL223G Ethnic Conflict, Reconciliation and Reconstruction
POL225G Global Terrorism, Counter-terrorism and (De-)Radicalisation
POL227G Security, Migration and Cultural Diversity in Europe
POL231G European Union Politics
POL233G The EU’s Approach to Democratisation and Human Rights
POL244G The United Nations and Global Governance
POL311G International Political Economy
POL343G Global Economic Governance


STEP approach

At the BSoG, we offer our students a unique educational experience, based on what we call the STEP approach to teaching and learning: our programmes are Student-centered, have a solid Theoretical knowledge base, their educational Excellence is guaranteed, and they are strongly Practice-oriented. It makes our School a prominent hub for the study of European and global challenges, from the BA right up to the PhD level. Find out what STEP can offer you.

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Programme Director

Success stories

  • "Studying this MA Prep programme was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The courses have really helped me to build the foundations for enrolling in the Master's programme.  The professors were approachable and always ready to help with whatever question I had. What made all the difference to me is the encouragement of critical and analytical thinking. I also very much appreciated the combined help of all the staff and the amazing learning facilities on campus."

    Yen Hai Nguyen (Vietnam)
    MA Prep student (2019)
Admission requirements

Language requirements

Non-native speakers of English must provide proof of proficiency in English (Not required if students graduated from an English-speaking programme):

  •  TOEFL IBT: 90/120
  •  IELTS Academic Module: 6.5/9.0
  • Duolingo 110/160
Deadlines and application process

Places are limited so we encourage students to apply well in advance to their semester of choice.  

EEA citizens 30 June
Non-EEA citizens 31 May


Students unable to meet the above-mentioned application deadlines, should contact the Admissions Office.  

A non-refundable application fee of 50 EUR must be paid when a student submits his/her application.  The application fee will be deducted from the tuition upon registration. You can pay this application fee by card or by bank transfer:

  • By card: the school accepts MasterCard, Visa and Maestro. Payment by card can be made online. Please CLICK HERE to make a payment.
  • By bank transfer:
    ING Bank, Pleinlaan 2, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium
    Account number: BE 64 3631 0290 8552
    Swift code: BBRU BE BB
    Account holder: Vesalius College vzw
    (Please make sure that in the comments section of your payment you mention ‘MA Prep application fee’ + your name)
    For international transfers, the main office of the bank is:  ING Bank, Pleinlaan 2, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium.

Please allow two to three weeks for payments from abroad to arrive. It is important to retain proof of payment. Students are liable for all bank charges, including exchange costs.

Students whose payments are not in order are not allowed to take examinations or to receive official documents or grades.


Please complete your application by sending the following documents: 

  • A completed application form (available HERE)
  • Your university diploma (Master’s or Bachelor’s)
  • Official university transcripts
  • A copy of your passport
  • Proficiency in English e.g. TOEFL/ IELTS (Not required if students graduated from an English-speaking programme)
  • 1 letter of recommendation
  • Personal essay

NOTE: Completion of this programme does not guarantee acceptance to MA programmes at other universities

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.

Cancellation charges

The Brussels School of Governance reserves the right to cancel the Preparatory Programme if an insufficient number of students enroll. In case of cancellation, a full refund will be made.

Tuition fee

The fee for this one-year programme is 15.000 EUR.


How to apply for a visa?

What happens after I applied?

When do I get a VUB student card?

Is accommodation provided by the University or should it be arranged individually?

Can I combine work and studies?

Where can I find more information about campus and facilities?

Is there a possibility to follow language courses at the VUB?

What are the cancellation terms?

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How to apply for a visa?

As you will undoubtedly want to travel during your stay in Brussels, we strongly recommend that you ask for a long-stay Schengen Visa, or ‘Type D’ Schengen Visa, which will allow you to travel hassle-free to any of the countries within the Schengen region and to make multiple entries into Belgium. This type of visa is not issued by all embassies/consulates. Please contact the Belgian embassy or consulate nearest to you for details on specific procedures and requirements. Click here for more information about visa regulations.


What happens after I applied?

We aim at providing you with a decision within three weeks from receiving your complete application AND your payment of the 50 EUR application fee.  You will receive our decision by e-mail. In case of acceptance to the programme, this e-mail will contain practical info about the next steps (pre-registration fee / tuition fee payment, cost of living, etc.).


When do I get my VUB student card?

Upon your registration with the academic administration, you will get a VUB student card.


Is accommodation provided by the University or should it be arranged individually?

Due to a limited number of rooms on campus, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel cannot provide housing for all international students and scholars. Hence they are advised to find other means of accommodation in Belgium, preferably prior to departure.
The Brik organisation aims to create a network of safe, reliable housing. The landlords and the accommodations linked to Brik, must meet criteria set by Brik and in case of problems between the landlord and the tenant, the Brik organisation can intervene.

Prearranged housing is only available for VLIR-UOS scholars who are registered for one or two year master programmes. All other students and scholars are advised to seek transit, short term or long term housing prior to departure. It is recommended that the search for accommodation is started as soon as the letter of acceptance or invitation has been received.

For more information, please visit:



Can I combine work and studies?

The LLM is a full-time daytime programme and attendance at classes is required. Therefore, studying the programme at the same time as working part-time is strongly discouraged and allowed only in exceptional circumstances, with the permission of the Programme Director. To be granted the right to work part time while studying, we also require a letter stating that your employer gives you permission to attend the courses.


Where can I find more information about campus and facilities?

The School is located on the campus of the Vrije Univeriteit Brussel (VUB), a green campus in Etterbeek in Brussels. Modern sports facilities with sports halls, tennis and squash courts, and a swimming pool can all be found on site. Monthly gym subscriptions are available at Basic Fit, a modern and well-equipped gym right on campus. The student restaurant offers a large choice of meals and snacks at self-service counters. The campus is easy to reach by train, tram, bus or metro from the city centre or the outskirts of Brussels. Also the school offers the opportunity to attend career seminars and individual coaching sessions and psychological counselling (free of charge) as well. Click here for more informations about campus life, services & facilities and Living in Brussels



Is there a possibility to follow language courses at the VUB?

Yes. There are two possibilities:
BRUSSELS EDUCATION CENTER C.V.O – Day and evening language courses: VUB Campus – Pleinlaan 2 – Building D (Room D.1.33)
phone : +32 (0)2/629.39.08
website :


ITO : University Language Institute – Pleinlaan 5 – 3° floor
phone : +32 (0)2/629.26.07
e-mail :


What are the cancellation terms?

  • The pre-registration payment (1.000€) is non-refundable unless cancellation in a programme is due to events beyond the control of the applicant (otherwise known as force majeure).
  • Cancellation before the start of the academic year/semester: any tuition fees already paid will be reimbursed, except for the 1,000€ pre-registration fee.
  • Cancellations within 8 weeks of the start of the academic year/semester: 50% reimbursement of the tuition owed.
  • Cancellations after 8 weeks of the start of the academic year/semester: not eligible for any refund. 
  • If only partial payment has been received on date of withdrawal, the student remains fully liable for the difference.
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Have a question about this programme? Get in touch with us!

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
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