What’s it like to study a Masters in Ghent?
Masters students in Ghent can expect to encounter a charming, idiosyncratic city. It’s both a port and a university town, combining a proud industrial heritage with forward-thinking arts and culture. Impressively for a small city, Ghent has two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: two of its beguinages (secluded communities for lay religious women) are included on the list, as well as the imposing Belfry of Ghent, which dates to the 14th century.
Looking beyond Ghent’s history and impeccably preserved medieval centre, the city has several world-class museums hosting works by the likes of Hieronymous Bosch and René Magritte. With a car-free city centre, it’s easy to explore the cobbled streets of Ghent by bike or by foot. Another way for postgraduates to see the sights is by boat: located at the confluence of two rivers, Ghent has an extensive network of inland waterways and you’re never too far from a quaint canal or sleepy riverbank.
Belgium is famous for its beer and Ghent is no exception, home to plenty of characterful pubs with dizzyingly large drinks menus. If you want to try something different, give the local gruut a go – it’s one of the few beers that uses herbs and spices instead of hops.
Ghent’s also developed a reputation as a veggie haven, with more vegetarian restaurants per capita than anywhere else in the world. Its Donderdag Veggiedag (vegetarian Thursdays) campaign is observed by around half of the city’s population – but don’t worry, it’s not compulsory!
As you’d expect for a Belgian city, transport links to Ghent are excellent. There are direct trains from London and many other major European cities, and it’s easy to reach the city from either of the Brussels airports.
Universities in Ghent
There is one public research university in Ghent: the University of Ghent (UGent), which usually features among the top 150 in the world. Established in 1817, the university boasts an impressive landmark in the form of the Boekentoren (Book Tower), a striking modernist library building that looms over the city’s more traditional structures.
Other higher education institutions in Ghent include the Vlerick Business School, a private business school with roots in UGent and KU Leuven. It has campuses elsewhere in Belgium, as well as one in St Petersburg.
The primary language of instruction in Ghent is Dutch, although plenty of Masters programmes in English are available.
Careers in Ghent
As a port city (with access to the sea via the impressive Ghent-Terneuzen Canal) Ghent offers plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurial postgraduates. It has both a thriving ICT sector and a background in bioenergy and biotechnology.