Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven), Belgium

Situated in the heart of western Europe, KU Leuven has been a centre of learning for almost six centuries. KU Leuven bears the double honour of being the oldest extant Catholic university in the world and the oldest university in the Low Countries.

Please note this exchange is currently pending renewal of the exchange agreement.

KU Leuven website

Who can go?

Postgraduate research students in the School of Divinity.

There is currently a limit of two postgraduate research students per academic year for a period of five months.


How to apply

Students interested in studying at KU Leuven should:

  • identify a potential supervisor at KU Leuven who will be able to supervise you for the duration of your study abroad placement
  • provide evidence as to why you would benefit from a visiting studentship
  • be in good standing as a doctoral student
  • complete the and email your application to the CSA team at studyabroad@st-andrews.ac.uk.

Current students can contact study abroad coordinators to find out more. 

Your studies

KU Leuven offers extensive welcome and integration activities under their Pangaea programme, including:

  • Orientation Days help newly arrives students get settled in Leuvan and at the university.
  • Buddy Programme provides a local buddy who can help you out upon arrival and during your stay.
  • Intercultural Meeting Centre is an informal lounge bar for international and Belgian students to get together.
  • Socio-cultural activities such as cycle trips, language groups, and cultural events offer opportunities for you to get to know Belgium and to meet other students.

The 24 KU Leuven libraries and learning centres are spread throughout 12 campuses in Flanders. The archive takes care of the paper heritage of the University.

The latest academic calendar can be found on the Leuven website.

Passports and visas

If you are an EU national, you usually won’t require a visa and may enter Belgium with your national identity card or passport. KU Leuven provides further information regarding permits and visas.

You should ensure that your passport is valid for the duration of your trip, and for at least six months after you return to the UK. You should scan your passport and keep a copy for your records.

If you are a European Union national, you will not require a visa and may enter the European Union countries with your passport or national identity card. Please note that you may have to comply with legal obligations, such as registering your address with the local authorities.

If you are an international student who has a visa to study in the UK, and you have any questions about the implications of studying or working abroad whilst matriculated at St Andrews, you should consult Student Services by emailing advint@st-andrews.ac.uk. You can also check the passports and visas page for further information.

About the University

From Renaissance philosophy to cutting-edge nanotechnology: as one of Europe’s oldest universities, KU Leuven boasts a long tradition of ground-breaking research and high-quality education.

KU Leuven is dedicated to education and research in nearly all fields. Its 15 faculties offer education, while research activities are organised by the departments and research groups.

These faculties and departments are clustered into three groups: Humanities and Social Sciences, Science Engineering and Technology, and Biomedical Sciences. Each of these groups has a doctoral school for its doctoral training programmes.


As an exchange student, you will not pay tuition fees to your host university, and will only be liable for your normal St Andrews tuition fees.

Research Council students should make sure that they have their funding body’s permission to study abroad, notifying them particularly for any mobility grants that they may be receiving.


The city of Leuven offers a variety of housing options, from single rooms to an entire house. The Leuven Housing Service assists international students in finding suitable housing, either on or off campus.

Travel and transport

Brussels National Airport is located in Zaventem, between Leuven and Brussels.

Public transport in Leuven is cheap and there are special bus lines to the University’s campuses. Students are also encouraged to walk and cycle while studying in the city.

The University buildings in the city centre are in walking distance from one another and there are many pedestrian zones. For longer distances, cycling is the cheapest and most environmentally friendly mode of transport. It is also the fastest way to travel around Leuven.

KU Leuven provides additional information about local transportation.

Student support

Leuven's Student Services includes a number of different counselling services whose objective is to promote the social, physical, mental and financial well-being of all students. You can find more information about the following subjects, among other, on the KU Leuven website:

  • social services
  • disability support
  • careers
  • legal services
  • housing services
  • health.


Global Office
University of St Andrews
Bute Building
Westburn Lane
St Andrews
KY16 9TS

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2245
Email: studyabroad@st-andrews.ac.uk