Partnership between Higher Education Commission Pakistan and Ghent University

Ghent University has a special agreement with HEC in the framework of a long standing educational program between the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and UGent.

This webpage is intended to inform future students and their promoters. We will guide you through the process.

Some facts en figures about Ghent University

Considering a PhD at Ghent University?

The journey of international PhD students can be different. We advise you to check the very informative pages on the website of Ghent University (Doctoral Research). This link gives an overview from the start until the end of a PhD process.

Ghent University has no ‘single point of contact’ for students. You will have to contact different people at Ghent University for enrolment, housing and etc. However for HEC scholarship holders we assist in different matters. Please direct your questions to

Scholarship details

Monthly payments

HEC scholarship allowances are paid through the Embassy of Pakistan in Brussels.

Please contact the Embassy by e-mail to inform about your arrival.

  • Monthly amount: 1350 euro
  • Payment can only start after transfer of funds from HEC

We strongly recommend to bring sufficient financial resources to cover your first months in Belgium.

Bench fee

The bench fee guideline is applicable to all PhD students that enroll at Ghent University.

Within the engagement between Ghent University and HEC, there is an agreement concerning the amount and the payment of the bench fee.
Your promoter needs to give us the code of his/her so-called “kas”. A code type E/…/01 is needed. The research coordination administration will transfer the bench fee to your promoter. You don’t need to pre-finance this yourself.

Tuition fee

HEC scholarship also covers tuition fee. It has to be paid after the enrolment at Ghent University and before the final defense of your PhD. For more information section 4.1.

What to do before traveling to Belgium

COVID-19 measures in Belgium and at Ghent University

Read this important information regarding quarantine for international students coming to Ghent University!

PhD application

All applications need the explicit commitment of a Ghent University professor who will act as your PhD supervisor. Once you have found a promotor, he will start the application procedure.

Visa application

After completing the PhD application, Ghent University informs you about the decision by sending an official letter, signed by the Registrar. Along with other documents and this letter of admission (LOA) you can enroll and apply for a visa.

Ghent University does not assist in visa related questions. Please contact HEC in case of difficulties.

Housing in Ghent

Ghent University offers accommodation to PhD students only after the admission application has been completed and this for a maximum period of 6 months. As soon as you can log in to Oasis with your prospect number you can make this booking. The rooms are 615 euro/month, this is not cheap if you would look at private student rooms, but they have a private bathroom and  have all costs included.

Accommodation in a dorm at Ghent University to start can be practical, because you can domicile there and you have time to search for a place to stay on the private market.

Ghent University housing facilities

If you are looking for a place to stay on the private market, you can request a list of short term rentals from

There’s a closed group on Facebook with rooms for expats.

Important is to ask the possibility of taking a domicile or not. Only the place with a possibility of a domicile is eligible for application for student residence permit.

It is advised at first to look for a place at University accommodation, because it is quite difficult to have a housing contract on private market before reaching Belgium.


International PhD students are legally obliged to have a health insurance during their stay in Belgium (for themselves and their family members staying in Belgium).

Not only is it obligatory but it also has many benefits for you and eventually your family. A Health Fund will refund a doctor’s consultation, dental care, medication and a big part of the invoice in case of hospitalization.

See here for an overview of Health Funds in Belgium (only in Dutch) 

Helan and CM are Health Funds with a lot of experience with international students. Their services are also available in English.

Be aware that you need to register as a student.

All Heath Funds, except from “Hulpkas”, also provide an additional hospitalization insurance to cover more expensive treatments that require hospitalization.

Please check prior to departure the Information regarding travels, quarantine and COVID-19 testing for international students — Ghent University

What to do after reaching Ghent, Belgium

Travelling to Belgium - how to reach Gent?

Enrolment as PhD student by arrival – tuition fee

All PhD researchers must enrol as student at the Registrar's Office at the start of their study, as well as re-enrol online every following academic year until graduation, after approval of an annual progress report.

After enrolment, HEC students send the invoice of their tuition fee to The tuition fee will be paid directly by the Research Coordination Department after transfer of HEC funds. You don’t need to pre-finance this yourself. Tuition fee is paid the first year of your PhD and the last year when your date of defense is set. For the years in between, re-enrolment is free.

Money and Banking

Practical info regarding banking and taxes in Belgium.

In order to pay your monthly allowance, we need you to open a Belgian bank account.

  • We advise you to choose KBC Bank: make an appointment at, Kouter 175, 9000 Gent.
  • Or use a bank of your choice.
  • Please email your bank details to and enter them in the OASIS student database, in order to be able to transfer the allowances.

Student Residence Permit (Registration at Stad Gent)

After enrolment at Ghent University, it is mandatory for every foreign student to register at the Stad Gent for issuance of student residence permit. For this registration, passport, enrollment at Ghent University, housing contract (either from university accommodation or from private market) and proof of sufficient means of subsistence is mandatory. This process might take 1-3 months, so it is advised to start it as early possible. It depends on your accommodation location and type, usually the process is relatively fast if you have contract from university accommodation.

When applying for a student / family reunion visa or residence permit, international PhD students need to prove that they have sufficient means of subsistence to cover their living expenses, study, healthcare and repatriation costs. This can be proved in different ways.

For more information visit the link. This procedure can only be started after reaching Ghent.

Public transport

Students can get reduction for a train pass. Once enrolled, you can print the document from your oasis account. Busses and trams only offer reduction to students under 26 years age. They can buy a buzzypass with their university student card.

Few of the secondary insurances (such as HZIV) covers subsidized transportation facilities that can be availed regardless of your age but depends on your monthly income. This offer is only for low income individuals.

Family reunion and work opportunities

Family reunion

In case your family would like to join you during your stay in Belgium you will have to prove sufficient means of subsistence as a family. The amount is 1800 euro/month irrespective of the number of children. This means that your scholarship is not sufficient and you will need the solvency procedure.

It's always good to have an idea about the costs of living in Belgium.


During your stay in Belgium as a PhD student you are not entitled to a work permit but you can be employed as a student. You can work during term time up to 20 hours a week, provided your work doesn’t interfere with your studies. However, the job service of Ghent University does not facilitate PhD student.

As a non-EEA student with a right of residence in Belgium on the basis of your study, you have a temporary residence card type A which mentions on the back ‘arbeidsmarkt: beperkt’ (job market: limited).
During the validity period of this card, you are allowed to  work with a student employment contract for any employer or company in Belgium:

  • during school holiday periods;
  • outside school holiday periods, for maximum 20 hours per week;
  • your work should be compatible with your study, meaning that you cannot work when you must be present at the educational institution.

Your studies should always have the highest priority over a student job. Failing or not participating in exams can have negative consequences for your right of residence.

This is also the case if you are a non-EEA student who is awaiting your residence card and is in possession of a valid appendix 15 which mentions ‘arbeidsmarkt: beperkt’ .

If your partner would join you through family reunion, he/she is not entitled to work.

More Information and opportunities

Welcome Guide online

PhD charter

This charter creates an academic framework necessary to successfully conduct doctoral research in a scientific environment.

Ghent University PhD Community

Ghent University PhD Community is an inclusive community of and for all PhD students at Ghent University. A network of enthusiastic and dynamic PhD students is operating as PhD ambassadors that transcends the boundaries of faculties and science disciplines.

The PhD community is supported by the Doctoral Schools Ghent University and Gentse Pre- en Postdoc Raad.

Psychosocial well-being at work and ombudsperson

Doctoral and other students can contact their faculty's Ombudsperson in case of disputes with lecturers or problems during a doctorate for most statements or complaints. If this is, for some reason, not possible, then you can turn to the institutional Ombudsperson for further mediation. Visit this page  for more details.

Always ask HEC for permission if you want to change promotors. They finance your studies and your stay. Please keep us informed (hec@Ghent

Courses at and outside of Ghent University

Low Countries Studies is a post academic program for exchange students and other foreign students and researchers, eager to learn more about Flanders, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Learning Dutch

University Language Centre (@ Ghent University)


Stad Gent

Read more information on all aspects of ‘life in Ghent for an international student’.