The Brussels School of Governance (BSoG) is an alliance between the Institute for European Studies (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and Vesalius College. The Study Abroad program is organized by Vesalius College.

History buffs and international relations enthusiasts will feel at home in Brussels, which hosts the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters. Deepen your knowledge of international affairs and business through BSoG’s small classes (taught in English) and a variety internship options. 

Based on its location in Brussels, the heart of the European community, the academic programs at BSoG target the disciplines most relevant to the expertise available in the local academic and professional sectors. The Business program thrives on the knowledge of professors and guest lecturers with experience in the headquarters of large multinational corporations. As the home of NATO and heart of the European Union, Brussels feeds the International Affairs curriculum with the most knowledgeable experts in the field of public policy and European studies. Students in the the International and European Law program benefit from a more versatile approach to the curriculum, working together on common projects with students in other majors and examining issues from different angles – a great asset in any corporate or public sector career. Students can confirm and apply the theory they acquire in class by participating in prestigious internships in the public and private sectors in such organizations as NATO, the United Nations, Ernst & Young, MasterCard and many more.

Many extracurricular activities are sponsored by the Student Government and the associated Vrije Universiteit Brussel, including regular student parties, outings and other activities. Sports include soccer, basketball, swimming, athletics and fitness at a world-class fitness center. ISEP students can also participate in student-driven academic activities such as college publications, forums and assemblies.

HOUSING AND MEALS

A Homestay is the main housing option for ISEP students studying at BSoG. Homestays enable students to immerse themselves in the everyday life of a Belgian family and the Belgian culture, and are the recommended housing option for ISEP students at Vesalius. Vesalius College works with host families who for years have welcomed international students into their homes and are committed to enriching the study abroad experience of these students. All families have a good command of the English language and can communicate with students who have no knowledge of French or Dutch. Eleven meals per week (breakfast seven days per week and dinner on weeknights) are included in the cost of the homestay program.

ISEP students may opt out of the standard homestay option, but students choosing independent housing are fully responsible for arranging and paying for their own accomodation while in Brussels. BSoG provides advice for students opting out of the program-provided housing, but is not responsible for directly helping students to find accomodation or otherwise assisting in independent housing arrangements. 

Students will be able to use their own funds for groceries and meals. See here for information regarding estimated expenses and budgeting while in Brussels. 

Program Website

Course Description

COURSES

As an ISEP student, you can build your own program by choosing your courses from a variety of fields. Use the notes for course searching to help you find which courses are available.

Course schedules will be made available by April 1 for the following Fall semester courses and by November 1 for the following Spring semester courses. Course flexibility is necessary. 

Fall semester students should review the sample fall semester schedule and spring semester students the sample spring semester schedule, as different courses are offered in the fall and spring semesters.

Sample Fall Course Schedule

Sample Spring Course Schedule

The list of Course Descriptions for the 2021-2022 academic year will provide you with a better understanding of the course offering and prerequisites. 

CERTIFICATE PROGRAM (Fall Only)

BSoG offers the opportunity for students to obtain a certificate in Peace & Security Studies during the Fall semester only. To obtain this certificate, students must take all four courses within the ‘Certificate Programme in European Peace and Security Studies’.

The courses in the European Peace and Security Studies program emphasize theoretical and practical analysis of the comprehensive, civil-military nature of contemporary conflict and crisis management from a NATO, UN and EU perspective. They also examine the history, institutional procedures and policies of, and interrelations between, these three organizations, as well as their interaction with a wide range of civilian and military partners.

The program sheds light on the complex roots and causes of contemporary conflicts in Europe’s periphery and beyond. At the end of the semester, students will have acquired an extensive knowledge of the institutional, theoretical and practical dimensions of contemporary issues and of the core actors in the field of European peace and security.

For every fall term semester, four courses that will constitute this program are selected from the range of courses. Past courses have include those mentioned below. The fall 2023 courses will be announced in early 2023. 

- The EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy 

- Understanding Contemporary Conflicts in the Euro-Mediterranean Region

- Global Terrorism, Counter-terrorism and (De-) Radicalisation

- Security, Migration and Cultural Diversity in Europe

- NATO and Transatlantic Approaches to Security

- Military Approaches to Promoting Security

- International Approaches to State-Building, Reform and Good Governance

- Russian Foreign Policy

For details, please refer to the course description links above. 

INTERNSHIPS

There are 2 types of credit-bearing internships available to Study Abroad students. Students will also enroll in courses at BSoG to complement their part-time internship. 

• The ‘single’ internship involves 150–180 hours of work over the course of the semester (roughly 12–15 hours per week). Students are also required to keep a daily log and to write a 3,000-word paper at the end of the term. The single internship is evaluated with a letter grade and is worth 1 academic course, or 6 ECTS (equivalent to 3 U.S. academic credits).

• Motivated Study Abroad students are also allowed to apply for the ‘double’ internship, which is offered by a selection of BSoG' internship partners. The ‘double’ internship is worth 2 academic courses or 12 ECTS (6 U.S. academic credits). With the ‘double’ internship, students are expected to work 280 hours per semester (approximately 25 hours per week) and, in addition to the 3,000-word paper and daily log, are required to conduct an academic research project over the course of the term. 

In addition to the single or double internship, students will enroll in additional regular university courses for a total semester credit-load of 24 to 30 ECTS. You can build your own program by choosing courses from a variety of fields.

ISEP STUDENT SERVICES OFFICER Gretchen McCarthy 703-504-9980 | gmccarthy@isep.org Thanks for your interest in ISEP Study Abroad! I’m your Student Services Officer and main point of contact here at ISEP. As you search for programs, I'll be available to answer any questions you might have. Feel free to contact me at any point in your search process for help, tips or advice.

Academics

Undergraduate
(in English)

Fields of Study

  • Business: Recommended!

    Accounting Business Management E-Commerce Economics Entrepreneurship Finance International Business/Trade/Commerce Marketing

  • Communication: Recommended!

    Advertising Intercultural Communication Journalism Mass Communication/Media Studies Photojournalism Public Relations Speech Communication and Rhetoric

  • Foreign Languages and Literatures:

    Arabic Language and Literature Chinese Language and Literature Dutch/Flemish Language and Literature French Language and Literature

  • History:

    Asian History European History

  • International/Global Studies: Recommended!

    International Relations and Affairs Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution

  • Law/Criminal Justice: Recommended!

    Business Law International Business, Trade, and Tax Law International Law Legal Studies Pre-Law Studies

  • Mathematics

    Statistics

  • Social Sciences

    Political Science and Government

  • Visual and Performing Arts

    Art History

Academic Requirements

  • U.S. GPA: 2.75 or higher
    *accepts lower GPA with explanation
  • TOEFL iBT Score: 90
  • IELTS Score: 6.5

Special Application Instructions

As part of the ISEP application any student potentially interested in applying for an internship must attach to a copy of their resume/CV and a general cover letter that outlines his or her internship objectives, preferred job responsibilities and qualifications.

Non-native English speakers must submit language scores to determine their level of language proficiency. 

Special Needs Support

  • Mental Health
  • Mobility
  • Hearing
  • Visual
  • Speech
  • Learning

Other Academic Conditions

- Certain BSoG free elective courses are offered by academic partners such as the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, the Royal Military Academy and others. Students should note that some of these courses follow the Belgian academic grading system and the Belgian academic calendar, i.e. they start and end later than regular Vesalius College courses. Not all free electives have different dates, only the one or two offered by Brussels partner schools. ISEP Direct students can take these courses at no additional cost other than the extended housing cost. Partner courses with extended calendar dates are not open to ISEP exchange students. 

- Students wishing to take a foreign language (French or Dutch) that is above the introductory (101) level must take a placement test (offered in the fall and spring during orientation week) in order to determine their true proficiency level and the best corresponding course level. 

- Students wishing to take a 300-level (advanced) political science course on the European Union will be required to take a European Union aptitude test during orientation week (fall and spring). Those that fail the test will not be allowed to register for the 300-level EU courses until they have participated in the EU crash course, which will be organized, free of charge for the student, in the first week of classes.

- Housing and meals are not included in the ISEP Direct program fee. Students will apply for housing and pay accommodation fees directly to Vesalius College. ISEP students must choose one of the official housing options for study abroad students at BSoG, and are not allowed to seek independent housing while in Brussels. 

PASSPORT: All students must have a valid passport to participate in this program. If you do not have a valid passport, we suggest you start the application process as soon as possible. 

VISA/RESIDENCE PERMIT: Most students attending this program will be required to obtain a visa/residence permit. For more information on the process and estimated cost, please review the ISEP Country Handbook here.

Semester & Prices (based on your filters)

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Brussels School of Governance (Vesalius College)

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