The current faculty of Economics and Business Administration was established on 1 October 1998. Economic education at Ghent University, however, has a much longer history.

From 1896 on the Faculty of Law awarded the degree of Licentiate in Business and Consulate Sciences. In 1906, a special business school (École spéciale de commerce) was founded. In 1934, the name of this school changed into Higher School for Business and Economic Science (HSBES).


André De Ridder, professor of statistics and financial economics and well-known art critic, lobbied intensively for the school’s transformation into a full faculty. Yet it lasted until October 1968 before the HSBES became a faculty. As of the academic year 1968-1969 the faculty of Economic Sciences was established at the State University of Ghent, along with the faculty of Veterinary Medicine. In December 1992, 25 years later, the Board of Governors decided to convert the name into ‘faculty of Economic and Applied Economic Sciences’. The two names economic and applied economic sciences emerged gradually and falsely create the impression that the former curriculum is theoretical in nature whereas the latter is applied only. The difference is, however, mainly situated in the field of study, namely general economics and business economics. Finally, on 10 of July 1998, the Board of Governors decided to establish the current faculty of Economics and Business Administration (EBA).

Bachelors and masters

October 2004 was a new milestone in the history of education, the faculty and the university. It marked the start of the bachelor/master structure. The existing candidature/licenciate structure (2 x 2 years) was transformed into a bachelor (3 years) and a master (1 or 2 years) structure, following the Bologna declaration. So, today the faculty organizes the bachelor programmes in Economics, Business Economics and Business Engineering.

The specialized programme in Economics and Business Administration was transformed into a one-year Master of Science in General Economics and a one-year Master of Science in Business Economics. Both programmes are essentially oriented towards people without an economic background who want to broaden their field of knowledge with basic courses in economics or management to establish a link between their own discipline and economics and management. The Master of Science in Business Economics offers two main options: business economics and public management. The Master of Tax Law had been transferred to the faculty of Law. The master in accounting is no longer organized. The specialized programmes in Banking and Finance and Marketing Analysis were transformed into English-taught master programmes ‘Banking and Finance’ and ‘Marketing Analysis’. This decision has been made to respond to the demands of the labour market and its increasing international dimension and to promote the interaction between foreign students and Flemish students.

Integration of Hogeschool Gent

The first of October 2013, the academic programmes of Business Administration and public administration and management – previously organizes by Hogeschool Gent – were fully integrated into the faculty of Economics and Business Administration. As a consequence more than 2500 students and 130 members of staff joined the faculty. These academic programmes from Hogeschool Gent were originally organizes by the Higher Institute for Public Administration in 1938 in Brussels. Thanks to the integration there are five, regular programmes at the faculty: Economics, Business Economics, Business Engineering, Business Administration, Public Administration and Management.

Non-stop evaluation of programmes

In 2014-2015 there was a new master programme for Public Administration and Management after the integration of ‘management of public organizations’.

After an evaluation exercise, there were new programmes introduced for the bachelor and master of Business Administration and Business Economics. The masters of Economics, Business Economics and Business Engineering became English programmes.

In 2017 the faculty experimented with innovative education methods (f. ex. blended learning, a modular master system). Because of a constant evaluation and adjustment of such initiatives, the faculty guarantees qualitative education.


Also in terms of research the faculty of Economics and Business Administration developed very well since the beginning of this century. Thanks to the Committee Scientific Research the fundamental and applied scientific research resulted in qualitative, peer-reviewed national and international publications. Typically for the ‘Economists in Ghent’, the faculty pursues a high social relevance.

The number of doctorates – awarded by the faculty – increased from an average of less than 5 per year in 2000-2002 to an average of more than 20 per year in 2014-2017. Also the number of international publications in a year quadrupled. Not only an expansion of the number of professors and researchers, but also a doubling of productivity was the basis of this strong increase in the research output of the faculty. Also quality indicators proved an improvement in the research conducted. For example, nearly 40% of published articles were published in 2015 in magazines that belonged to the top 20% of the area of expertise.

The faculty has specialized itself in economic research in the field of labor economics and prosperity, banking and finance, macroeconomics and policy, international economics and econometrics over the last two decades. In business economics, strong research groups have grown around marketing and marketing modeling, accounting and (entrepreneurial) finance, operations research and operations management, business informatics, entrepreneurship and innovation, service management and human resource management and organization. The integration of the academic programmes Business Administration and Public Administration and Management initiated growing research activity on public management and administration.

Supporting services

The faculty student administration, library staff, communications office, internationalization office, … and many other services are responsible for the functioning of the faculty.


The faculty was originally housed in the old buildings of the faculty of Law, situated in the Universiteitsstraat. During the academic year 1978-1979 the faculty moved to the pyramidal building on the current site at Hoveniersberg. In 2006 Minister Fientje Moerman, Flemish Minister of Economics, inaugurated the new building in the Tweekerkenstraat 2. It includes the new large auditorium Quetelet (seating 579), a modern library, a large student foyer and a part of the Dean’s Office. In September 2013 the adjoining residences situated on the Sint-Pietersplein were integrated. They host the departments of Financial Economics, Accounting and Finance and Social Economics. And so, Campus Tweekerken was created in the heart of the city centre.

A second Campus Mercator hosts the academic programmes of Business Administration and Public Administration and Management.

An international future

On 8 October 2017 Ghent University celebrated its 200th birthday. The faculty of Economics and Business Administration aims to raise the university to a higher level and stimulate its international future. The biggest proof of our international ambitions are the double degree agreements the faculty arranged with universities of Omaha, Göttingen and Liège.


Over the past years different deans have contributed to the growth and the development of the faculty:

  • 1968 – 1970:   Prof. dr. H. Picard
  • 1970 – 1972:   Prof. dr. A. Devreker (university rector from 1973 till 1977)
  • 1972 – 1974:   Prof. dr. L. De Smet
  • 1973 – 1975:   Prof. dr. A. Vlerick
  • 1976 – 1978:   Prof. dr. L. De Smet
  • 1978 – 1980:   Prof. dr. C. De Pelsemaeker
  • 1980 – 1984:   Prof. dr. M. Van Vaerenbergh
  • 1984 – 1986:   Prof. dr. J. Van Acker
  • 1986 – 1990:   Prof. dr. F. Rogiers
  • 1990 – 1994:   Prof. dr. J. Denduyver
  • 1994 – 1998:   Prof. dr. H. De Maegd
  • 1998 – 2001:   Prof. dr. M. De Clercq (vicerector from 2001 till 2005)
  • 2001 – 2008:   Prof. dr. R. Paemeleire
  • 2008 – 2016:   Prof. dr. M. De Clercq
  • 2016 –         :   ¨Prof. dr. P. Van Kenhove

Honorary doctorates

Nominated by the faculty, a large number of foreign scholars with strong ties to the faculty have been awarded honorary doctorates by Ghent University to honor their scholarly achievements:

  • 1 March 1969             Georges, Henry Bousquet, University Bordeaux, F
  • 28 February 1970       Frits, Jacob de Jong, State University Groningen, NL
  • 6 March 1971             Pieter Hennipman, University Amsterdam, NL
  • 24 February 1973       H., C., Günter Schmölders, University Keulen, D
  • 21 March 1975           Charles, P. Kindleberger, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, USA
  • 22 March 1977           D., B., J. Schouten, Katholieke Hogeschool Tilburg, NL
  • 23 February 1979       L., L. Waters, Indiana University, USA
  • 27 February 1981       E. Thorbecke, Cornell University, Ithaca (NY), USA
  • 18 February 1983       Leo, H. Klaassen, Erasmus University Rotterdam, NL
  • 8 March 1985             Louis Emmerij, Institute of Social Sciences, Den Haag, NL
  • 6 March 1987             George Foster, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, USA
  • 10 March 1989           Jean, H., P. Paelinck, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Director Nederlands Economisch Instituut, NL
  • 15 March 1991           Richard, Julian Taffler, City University London, UK
  • 25 March 1994           William, D. Bygrave, Babson College, Babson Park (Massachusetts), USA
  • 22 March 1996           Robin Cooper, Peter F. Drucker, Center of Management, Claremont Graduate School, USA
  • 20 March 1998           Gary, L.Lilien, Pennsylvania State University, USA
  • 24 March 2000           Horst Siebert, University Kiel, President Institute of World Economics, BRD
  • 22 March 2002           W. Skinner, Harvard Business School, USA
  • 19 March 2004           T. Atkinson, Oxford University, UK
  • 24 March 2006           Michael Wright, University of Nottingham, UK
  • 21 March 2008           Arij, L., Bovenberg, Scientific Director Netspar, University Tilburg, NL
  • 19 March 2010           Luc Soete, director UNU-MERIT, B
  • 23 March 2012           Arnoud De Meyer, rector Singapore Management University, SG
  • 21 March 2014           Shaker A. Zahra, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, USA
  • 3 July 2017                 Olivier Blanchard, MIT, Peterson Institute, ex-chief economist IMF, USA