General information

The University of Antwerp in October 2014 - all summed up:

  • 19155 students, 16% of whom are international students, and  1247 PhD-students
  • 5117 personnel (624 tenured professors; 568 assistent professors,  2933 tenured researchers,  1270 administrative and technical personnel)
  • 60000 alumni
  • 3650 scientific publications per year

Information on the history of the University of Antwerp.

Mission and vision of the University of Antwerp.

Faculties and centres of excellence

Key research domains

The University of Antwerp conducts fundamental and applied research; the 9 key research domains or priorities are:

  • Drug Research
  • Ecology and Sustainable Development
  • Harbour, Transport and Logistics
  • Imaging
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Materials Characterisation
  • Neurosciences
  • Socio-Economic Policy and Organisation
  • Urban History and Contemporary Urban Policy

We also have three emerging resarch domains:

  • Oncology
  • Proteomics, Genomics and Metabolomics
  • Globalisation, multi-level governance and federalism

In the 9 key research domains, there are 5 Methusalem researchers:

  • Molecular and Clinical Neurosciences (Christine Van Broeckhoven)
  • Nanotechnology for new materials (Gustaaf Van Tendeloo / François Peeters)
  • Plant- and vegetation-ecology (Reinhart Ceulemans)
  • Social inequality (Bea Cantillon)
  • Vaccination- and infection studies (Herman Goossens)

More information can be found on the research webpages of the University of Antwerp.

Educational priorities

Education is one of the 3 core tasks of the university, next to research and services. The University of Antwerp wishes to provide excellent academic education at Bachelor, Master and PhD level to students from all social groups and of all generations.

Ranking of the university

The University of Antwerp ranks 14th worldwide in the QS Top 50 of Universities Under 50 years old in 2014.

The University of Antwerp counts, for the third year in a row, among all universities the largest share of its publications in the top 25% of the journals of the field (source: SCImago Institutional Ranking) and this difference with the other institutions is still increasing.

English taught programmes at the University of Antwerp

International students looking for English taught programmes at the University of Antwerp, can find an updated overview, where they can search by alphabet, by programme (Advanced Master, Master, PhD, Postgraduate, Other), by type or by discipline (for example Biotechnology).

Every year around 200 students successfully finish a PhD-thesis at the University of Antwerp. If you are interested in obtaining a PhD degree, you can consult the list of research opportunities at the University of Antwerp. To verify existing research opportunities, you can contact Mrs. Barbara Tan of the Department of Research Affairs.

After determining a research topic and a supervisor, who will support your doctoral research, you can start looking for appropriate financing. For information on financing opportunities, please consult the section on scholarship programmes.

After finishing the above mentioned steps, you have to send the International PhD Student Application Form (you can find this form in “Step 3” - International PhD Student Application Form), together with the required documents (mentioned in the form) to the Central Student Administration. Your application will be transferred to the relevant faculty, department or institute at the University of Antwerp, which will decide on whether your request is accepted. The faculties engage themselves to process these applications within a reasonable time -preferably within 6 weeks- but this may take longer for applications within the period of the 20th of July and the 31st of August.

Once your application has been accepted, you will be informed of the next step for registration.

Questions with regard to the above mentioned information can be directed to the Central Student Administration, the personnel of the ADS (Antwerp Doctoral School) or by phone on the following number: +32 3 265 30 37.

Persons interested to do post-doctoral research at the University of Antwerp can consult the list of research opportunities. For further information, you can contact Mrs. Barbara Tan of the Department of Research Affairs.

After obtaining the support of a supervisor and having acquired external financing for your post-doctoral research (for more information on financing opportunities, please consult the section on scholarship programmes), you have to be registered i.e. complete all the necessary documents. You have to present these documents to the Personnel Department of the University of Antwerp. The Personnel Department will  then present this information to the Chairman of the Research Council, who decides whether your request will be accepted.

Once you have been accepted as a post-doctoral researcher, the Personnel Department will draw up an agreement and will provide you with a certificate, whichyou will need to apply for a residence permit.

For more detailed information on the application and registration procedures for Postdoctoral researchers, please consult the International Staff Office.

Practical information for international PhD-researchers and research fellows

I. Visa requirements

If you are a national of one of the European Economic Area countries  (all countries from the European Union + Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) or from Monaco or Switzerland you may travel to Belgium on a national passport or identity card. All other nationalities, who want to stay in Belgium for longer than 3 months, should apply for a student visa (type D) with the Belgian embassy or consulate in their current country of residence before leaving for Belgium. Exceptions to this rule may be possible if you hold a passport or a residence permit for a Schengen country. If this is the case, please contact the embassy or consulate for more information.

When visiting the Belgian Embassy or Consulate you will need the following documents (to be submitted in all cases):

  • National passport (valid for at least 3 months after expiry date of the visa)
  • Visa application form
  • 2 recent passport pictures
  • Letter of acceptance (invitation letter) from the University of Antwerp
  • Proof of solvency
  • Medical certificate

Note that additional documents may be requested by the embassy or consulate.

For some countries, approval by the Belgian authorities can take up to 3 months or longer. It is therefore necessary that you start the visa application procedure well in advance! Students are urged not to come on a tourist visa, unless they wish to return within 3 months. 


II. Residence Permit for PhD-researchers and research fellows

A. Staying in Belgium for more than three months

All foreign workers, researchers and volunteers, including those from the EU, must register with the Immigration Office if they wish to stay in Belgium for more than three months. Within eight days of your arrival in Belgium, you must submit an application to the local authority in your place of residence to allow you to register at the Immigration Office and ask for a residence permit.

In the city of Antwerp this can happen in three ways:

  1. Using the digital registration form on the city’s website (available in Dutch only)
  2. You can obtain a registration form from the local government offices ("Districtshuis") and then send it by post
  3. You can also request the registration form over the telephone by calling the following number: +32 3 292 93 94

Subsequently, you will receive an appointment and a checklist of the documents that must be provided.

In any case, you should be prepared to provide the following documents:

  • Passport or identity card
  • Four passport photographs
  • The necessary employment documents, depending on the statute in question
  • Proof of sufficient resources or additional evidence, depending on your statute

You may also be asked to provide some additional documents:

  • Employment contract and pay slips
  • Health insurance documentation
  • Limosa-1
  • Medical certificate
  • Proof of good conduct

If you are not an EEA national, you should always bring the following supporting documents:

  • Proof of employment (work permit, hosting agreement or exemption)
  • D-visa

On the agreed date, you can submit all the documents to the Central Registration Office. Before the registration can be validated, a residency check has to be carried out by the police.

The decision is then submitted to the Office for Long-term Residency for non-EEA citizens in Brussels. Upon approval, a residence permit ‘A’ will be issued, valid for the duration of employment plus 30 days.

Civic Integration in Antwerp

Once you have been added to the register of residents, you will receive an invitation to attend a civic integration course. This course is compulsory and non-compliance may result in a fine. As a foreign student or researcher, however, you may be able to get an exemption.

To obtain this exemption, send the invitation along with a certificate of registration or scholarship certificate to:

Onthaalbureau Inburgering Antwerpen, SZ / SLD / OB Atlas
Van Immerseelstraat 11-23
2018 Antwerpen

B. Staying in Belgium for less than three months

If you are planning to stay in Belgium for less than three months, you do not need a residence permit. If you are staying in a hotel, hostel or guesthouse, then you do not need to present yourself to the local authority.

If you are not staying in a hotel, hostel or guesthouse you must present yourself at the Population Register (Immigration Office) in your place of residence:

EU citizens must apply for proof of attendance (Annex 3b).
Non-EU citizens must apply for a declaration of arrival (Annex 3). The date on which you must leave Belgium is specified on the declaration of arrival.


III. Housing (accommodation)

For more information on housing, go to or contact the responsible for International Accommodation Jasmien Hoefkens  (+ 32 3 265 48 63/32 476 96 28 91).

When you are staying for 6 months or more you have to look for accommodation yourself on the private market.


IV. Health insurance

All non-EU nationals living or working in Belgium have to register with a Health Insurance company.

When you work for the University of Antwerp and you pay a social security contribution in Belgium, you are obliged to register with a Belgian Health Insurance company or with the  “Hulpkas voor Ziekte-en Invaliditeitsverzekering” (HZIV). In that case you are not required to continue paying the health insurance contribution in your home country.


V. Opening a bank account

In case of a longterm employment as a foreign staff member at the University of Antwerp it may be advisable to open a Belgian bank account. The Financial Department can assist you with this.