BA in International Affairs

Programme and curriculum

The English-taught BA in International Affairs (180 ECTS) is a long-standing programme (since 1990) based in Brussels (Belgium) that equips students with the broad-ranging tools and skills to understand, analyse and assess the most pressing issues in national and global politics. The interdisciplinary curriculum is built on the disciplines of politics, economics, law and history and enables students to understand the complex dynamics, core debates, processes, institutions and major challenges of European and international relations.

In addition to being taught by dedicated professors, students benefit from the first-hand experience of senior European and international policymakers, diplomats and practitioners. Our International Affairs graduates are well-prepared for various successful career paths, including in international organisations (such as the United Nations, EU and NATO), ministries of foreign affairs, lobby organisations, NGOs and think tanks. Careers of our recent graduates include: diplomacy, politics, research, European administration, political advising and journalism. Graduates from this BA programme can continue their postgraduate studies in a wide range of fields, including in international relations, European studies, public policy, environmental law, international studies, migration studies, business administration, communications, leadership and management. Our graduates who majored in International Affairs have successfully completed graduate studies in a number of prestigious universities including Oxford University, Columbia University, Brown University, the London School of Economics, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), Georgetown University, the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, the University of Edinburgh, Boston University, and many more.

The Brussels School of Governance is an alliance between the Institute for European Studies (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and Vesalius College. This BA in International Affairs is a programme of which the degree will be awarded by Vesalius College.


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Key Features

  • Interdisciplinary curriculum (politics, economics, law and history)
  • Policy-makers, academics and diplomats bring their experience to the classroom
  • Prestigious internship opportunities
  • Small, interactive classes with practical focus (incl. Capstone project)
  • Brings together students and faculty of truly diverse international backgrounds
  • Fall & Spring intakes
  • Supported by the extensive expertise of our Office for Teaching, Learning and Innovation to accommodate sophisticated blended teaching methods
  • Individual career advice sessions offered to students throughout their academic experience and beyond


Academic Calendar


Course catalogue

Internships and Careers

Study Abroad Programme

STEP approach

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Academic Calendar

Students can start their studies in the Fall or in the Spring semester. 

  • The Fall 2023 semester starts on 17 August with the orientation and registration activities; the first day of classes is Monday 21 August.
  • The Spring 2024 semester starts on 11 January with the orientation and registration activities; the first day of classes is 15 January.

Click here for a detailed overview of the 2022-2023 academic calendar of our BA programmes
Click here for a detailed overview of the 2023-2024 academic calendar of our BA programmes.



To complete this Bachelor’s degree at the Brussels School of Governance, a minimum of 180 ECTS (credits or study points) is required. Most students complete the intense and rigorous study programme within 3 years of admission to the school. 

Core courses

Students start with the core curriculum, a set of courses that develop the relevant skills, knowledge and abilities essential to the school’s distinctive undergraduate programme.

  • Intercultural Communication
  • Introduction to Academic Writing and Critical Thinking
  • Global Ethics
  • Introduction to Statistics
  • Global Ethics, Leadership and personal Development I
  • Intermediate Qualitative Research Methods
  • Intermediate Quantitative Research Methods

Major requirements

In addition to the core curriculum, students take major requirement courses. 

  • Introduction to Economics
  • Global History since 1945
  • Introduction to International and European Law
  • Global Politics
  • Introduction to Comparative Regional Studies
  • Political Communication
  • International Relations between the Wars
  • Regional History of International Relations: Africa or
  • Regional History of International Relations: Asia
  • Human Rights
  • Comparative Political Systems
  • Theories of International Relations
  • Advanced Theories of International Relations
  • Capstone in International Affairs
  • BA Thesis in International Affairs – Seminar I 
  • BA Thesis in International Affairs – Seminar II 

Major electives

Any of the 200- or 300- level POL, HIS or LAW courses that are not listed as major requirements may be taken as major electives, including courses from the Undergraduate Summer Programme. In addition, students may choose the following options in other majors:

  • Women and Leadership: A Global Context

  • Global Communication

  • Lobbying in the EU

  • Global Advocacy

  • The European Economy

  • Internship

  • French for International Affairs

Major electives include the courses that are offered as part of the minors. Below is a list of minors currently being offered by our school. This list is subject to change for future academic years:

Communication | Digital Economy | Family Business | International Finance | International Management and Governance | European Peace & Security Studies | European Union Studies | Global Governance | History | Business Law | European Law | International Law | Humanitarian Law


Free electives

Students also choose free electives from any of the Bachelor-level courses offered by the school or one of its partner institutions previously mentioned.



Click here for a full overview of BA courses and course descriptions offered by our School.



Course catalogue

Click here to access the 2022-2023 course catalogue of our BA programmes.


Internships and Careers

The School offers a variety of internships to students. Our internship partners are prestigious and internationally renowned organisations and companies, ranging from European institutions to small startup businesses, from think tanks to international corporations. Click here for more information on our BA internship programme. To assist BA students with life after college, we offer students in their final year the opportunity to attend career seminars and individual coaching sessions. 


Study Abroad Programme

Our Study Abroad programme offers students a unique academic and cultural experience through the opportunity to earn credits towards their degree at partner universities around the world.


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

  • "This BA in International Affairs provided me with excellent academic skills and in-depth understanding of both theory and practice. Based in the heart of Europe, Vesalius (now: Brussels School of Governance) has a lot to offer to those passionate about the EU and the world – through various assignments, extensive extra-curricular guest lectures and internship opportunities. Following this experience, I pursued an Master's in Global Governance and Diplomacy at the University of Oxford and then started working for the European Commission in the field of EU external relations."

    Barbara Benuskova (Slovakia)
    BA alumna (2014)
  • “I graduated from Brussels School of Governance in 2021 with a major in International Affairs. The education I received at BSoG helps me in my professional career every single day. Currently, I work at the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia in the Human Rights Protection and Investigation Quality Monitoring Department as an Inspector of especially important cases. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the whole faculty of International Affairs as the professors I had supported me to excel in my career interests.”

    Sophio Butikashvili
    2021 Graduate

News about the programme

Admission requirements

The Brussels School of Governance seeks students who are able to meet the challenges of our academic programmes and are willing to participate fully in the intellectual and social life of the school in a spirit of openness and tolerance. Admission to the school is selective and holistic. We accept only students whose records indicate that they possess the qualities needed to achieve academic success in the degree programme of their choice. We will review not only the student’s academic records and test results, but will also put a strong emphasis on the essay and extracurricular activities. 

Diploma requirements

SAT or ACT requirements

Language requirements

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Diploma requirements

Applicants for admission must have graduated from a secondary school prior to beginning their studies in this BA programme. Admission decisions take into account the candidate’s secondary school performance, examination results and English language competence, as well as demonstrated personal qualities and character. Please check our guidelines on diplomas and required standardized tests.


SAT or ACT requirements

As a general rule, students who hold the IB diploma, the EB diploma or a European secondary school diploma that grants access to university, do not need to take the SAT or ACT test. Students who hold an American high school diploma (with or without Advanced Placement (AP) and/or IB certificates) will be required to take the SAT or ACT.  

All other students should contact the Admissions Office to determine whether they must take these relevant tests. For applicants who must take either the test, please check all the information about the SAT or ACT requirements (including addresses, instructions and minimum scores).


Language requirements

All our programmes are taught in English; hence, a good verbal and written command of the English language is essential. Results of an English proficiency examination are required for students who have studied for less than three years in a secondary school, or less than two years in a university with English as the language of instruction. Click here for an overview of accepted language test certificates and required scores.


Can I already apply when the result of the English test is not yet known or if I have not yet obtained my degree?

Yes. Even if you are still in the process of obtaining your previous degree, you can already apply and should indicate this information in the ‘Current and previous higher education section’ of the application form, mentioning the date (as precisely as possible) by which you will obtain the degree. If the Admissions Committee then decides that you meet all other admission criteria you will be accepted on the condition that you provide us with your diploma and transcript at the very latest before the Programme starts and that you obtain the required grades to start the programme. Please note that the same does not apply to the English language test certificate: our Admissions Committee will not assess your application if you have not submitted your language test certificate yet. 


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Deadlines and application process

Places in our BA programmes are limited, so we encourage students to apply well in advance to their semester of choice.  Below are the application deadlines students must adhere to:

  Fall semester Spring semester
EEA citizens 30 June 30 November
Non-EEA citizens 31 May 31 October


If you are interested in one of our programmes beyond these dates, and do not need to apply for a visa for Belgium, please contact our Admissions Office, who will advise you on your options. 

Students in secondary school are encouraged to apply during their final year. Admission decisions are usually made within three weeks after receipt of the complete application. Once accepted, international applicants should contact the Belgian embassy or consulate in their country immediately to get a complete list of requirements specific for that country. More information on student visas is available here.

To apply, please click the ‘Apply here’ button at the top of this page, which will take you to a web page on which you can create your account in our applicaton system and then submit your application. This page also contains a checklist of the documents and information we require from you to assess your application.

The application process is as follows:

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1. Pay the non-refundable application fee of 50 EUR when submitting your 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 ‘BA IA 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.

2. Go to the home page of our application system, also accessible via the 'Apply here' button at the top of this page, which will take you to a web page on which you can create your account in our system and then submit your application. During the steps of this application process, you will have to submit the following documents:

  • Official academic credentials and transcripts (showing courses and grades) from all secondary schools and universities attended, including public examination results and official results of any national or regional examination (usually taken in the candidate’s country of residence).  

Photocopies of original documents are not accepted as official documents. However, we strongly encourage you to upload copies of any of the above-mentioned documents that you have with your online application while waiting for official credentials to be sent to us. 

  • A photocopy of either a passport or of a national identity card.  
  • Results of an English proficiency examination, required for students who have studied for less than three years in a secondary school or two years in a university with English as the language of instruction. See the ‘Admission requirements’ section for details.  
  • Official scores of the SAT test or the ACT test may be required. See the ‘Admission requirements’ section for details.   
  • A motivation letter or a personal essay on an issue of local, national or international or personal interest that is important to you. Please explain us why this issue is important to you (minimum 300 words).  
  • A curriculum vitae (for students who have been out of secondary school for several years) 

Applicants must ensure that their names are recorded clearly on all documents. The family name or surname given in the application must then be used in all correspondence with the College and on all documents relating to the College. Note: None of the application materials submitted to Brussels School of Governance will be returned to the applicant. Candidates are advised to make copies for their own records prior to submission. 

The Brussels School of Governance accepts credentials in English, Dutch, French, and German. For all other languages, official translations by a certified translator (whose signature is authenticated) are required and are accepted only when accompanied by the document in its original language.

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Tuition and scholarships

For students starting in the Fall 2023 semester: full-time tuition for all students (EU and non-EU) is €7.500 per semester, so €15.000 for a full academic year.

For students starting in the Spring 2024 semester: full-time tuition for all students (EU and non-EU) is €7.500 per semester, so €15.000 for a full academic year.


Academic Excellence Scholarship (AES) – BA programmes

The Brussels School of Governance will award Academic Excellence Scholarships to students in its BA programmes who have outstanding academic records in secondary school and whose extra-curricular achievements show evidence of leadership in today’s global society. Other factors include one letter of recommendation from their secondary school and, in certain cases, standardised test scores.

The School’s merit-based scholarship system can provide a reduction of up to 50 % in tuition per semester. These scholarships will be renewed if the student maintains superior academic performance during each semester of his/her 3-year Bachelor programme. The scholarship will be directly applied to the student’s tuition fees.

The deadline to apply for the scholarships is 15 April for Fall entry and 30 November for Spring entry.

>> Click here for more information on Academic Excellence Scholarship minimum requirements and how to apply for it.


Andrée and Franz Bingen Fund

Our School has a long tradition of granting prizes and scholarships in honour of Andrée and Franz Bingen. The Franz Bingen Honours Prize and the Andrée Bingen Senior Scholarship Award are granted every year. In 2018, the Andrée and Franz Bingen Fund was established to guarantee a fair assignment of these prizes and scholarships in the long term.


Which entity awards the degree of this programme?

Is this programme accredited?

Do you accept transfer students into this BA programme?

How to apply for a visa?

What happens after I applied?

When do I get my VUB student card?

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

Where can I find more information about campus and facilities?

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 (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and Vesalius College. This BA in International Affairs is a programme of which the degree will be awarded by Vesalius College.


Is this programme accredited?

Yes it is. The degree of this programme is awarded by Vesalius College, which is registered with the Flemish government of Belgium as an institution of higher education, and its BA and MA degrees are equivalent to fully-recognised degrees issued by a Flemish University. Vesalius College is a participant in the Bologna Process, the reform effort designed to standardise higher education throughout Europe. In accordance with the Bologna declaration, Vesalius College offers 3-year European bachelor programmes and calculates coursework in ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) credits. All our Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees have been granted accredited status by the Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Organisation (NVAO, Nederlands-Vlaamse Accreditatie Organisatie). This official organisation was established by international treaty between the Flemish and the Dutch governments to ensure the quality of higher education in both the Netherlands and Flanders. More information on the accreditation of the BA in International Affairs can be found on its relevant webpage on the official government website regarding higher education in Flanders: - as well as on the relevant page on the NVAO website:


Do you accept transfer students into this BA programme?

Students may be considered for transfer into this BA programme if they have completed at least one semester and are in good academic standing at an accredited college or university and have not been dismissed from that institution. Transfer applicants must submit the same documents as those applying for general admission. Transfer applicants with at least one full-time semester of college credit and a minimum grade point average of 2.0 will be exempt from submitting SAT or ACT scores. 

We may award transfer credits for courses taken at the university level in other accredited institutions. The minimum requirements for grades depend upon the school where the credit was earned and the student’s intended major within the Brussels School of Governance (BSoG). All transfer credits will be awarded at the discretion of the Admissions Committee. Once the transfer credits have been assessed, the file cannot be re-opened.

To apply for transfer credits, candidates must submit:

  • The online transfer credit application form (please indicate on this form the equivalent BSoG course which the transferred course should replace). 
  • Official transcript(s) of all courses taken at the previous university. 
  • Detailed descriptions of the courses taken, including the number of hours per course and copies of course descriptions from the college’s catalogue. 
  • The full course syllabus/course outline of the course taken at another university (A syllabus is a short document, to be distributed at the first class meeting, containing the following information: the aims and content of the course, the textbook(s) and other reading materials, the progress of the course week per week, the way in which it will be assessed, the dates at which written work is due and when the mid-term and final examinations will be held, and contact information and office hours for the instructor). 

Transfer credits can only be granted if: 

  • The course credits obtained at another university were taken in courses that are similar in terms of content, scope and academic rigour compared to BSoG courses (this will be determined by members of BSoG academic staff upon the request of the Admission Office) 
  • The overall course grade is not lower than an average ‘C’ grade 
  • The course carrying the course credits to be transferred is in line with the curriculum structure of the BSoG (i.e., fits within the categories of and available credits of the curriculum components of ‘core courses’, ‘major requirements’, ‘major electives’ or ‘free electives’). 

The credit transfer fee is 60 euros per ECTS credit transferred, payable with the first semester tuition fee invoice.


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:



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


What are the cancellation terms?

In case of cancellation before the start of the academic year, any tuition fees already paid will be reimbursed, with the exception of the 1,000€ pre-registration fee. Cancellations after the start of the academic year but before 1 December will result in a reimbursement of 50% of the total tuition fee minus the 1,000€ pre-registration fee, unless the student has received a maximum waiver in which case no tuition fees will be reimbursed. Cancellations after 1 December will not be reimbursed.

The pre-registration fee (1.000€) on any Brussels School of Governance programme is non-refundable, unless cancellation in a programme is due to events beyond the control of the applicant, otherwise known as force majeure (for example, if the student applied for a visa but was unable to obtain it, or if due to medical reasons the required previous degree was not obtained). In those cases, the full pre-registration fee will be refunded.

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