There are two types of exemptions: exemptions granted on the grounds of previously acquired qualifications (PAQ), and exemptions granted on the grounds of previously acquired competencies (PAC).

Holders of a specific diploma (issued by a university or university college) have various options to obtain a Master’s diploma (via a preparatory or an academic bridging programme, or an abridged Bachelor’s programme).

For a significant group of prospective students, however, these structural study programmes do not offer a suitable solution even if they possess study certificates and/or experience that are relevant to a particular study programme. In such cases, applying for exemptions and a potential reduction of the study load can be an option.

Exemptions based on Previously Acquired Qualifications (PAQ)

What are Previously Acquired Qualifications?

The term “PAQ” or Previously Acquired Qualifications refers to a national or international study certificate that testifies to the successful completion of a learning process. Examples are: diplomas, credit certificates, certificates, (inter)national study certificates, attestations of study programmes for which you have sat exams.

What about Eligibility?

  • Consult the curriculum of your (future) study programme via the Study Guide website. Underneath every clickable course unit, you will find the corresponding course sheet.
  • If you think that the contents, number of credits, and learning outcomes correspond to those of course units for which you obtained credits in the past, you can apply for an exemption.


Please take into account the following deadlines for exemption applications

  • for first-term course units: 14 November
  • for second-term and full-year course units: 28 February

Applying for exemptions via Oasis


  • Step One: go to Oasis and register or sign up as a (prospective) student.
    On the Curriculum Tab, click ‘Exemptions’ in the left-hand menu.
  • Step Two: use the ‘Add Application’ button to start a new application and fill out all the requested information. Check (or complete) your precedents and select the appropriate study programme.
  • Step Three: add one or more course units for which you want to request an exemption.
  • Step Four: add one or more course units on the grounds of which you request this exemption and include all the requested information.
  • Step Five: attach all the requested documents to substantiate your application. Please note: be sure to check in advance whether or not the relevant faculty (and study programme) sets specific additional requirements for exemption applications.
  • Step Six: add remarks and/or a motivation to your application (if necessary).
  • Step Seven: before you submit your application, be sure to check whether all the information you have provided is correct, and whether all the required attachments have been added.

Upon submission, you can monitor the status of your application via Oasis. You will receive an email notification as soon as your application has been amended and/or processed.

Students’ Guide

For more information, consult the manual applying for exemptions

Additional Information per Faculty

Be sure to check in advance the information provided by the relevant faculty. Faculties may set additional requirements or instructions depending on the study programme.

Exemptions based on Previously Acquired Competencies (PAC)

“Previously Acquired Competencies” or PAC can be taken into account throughout your study career. Any knowledge, insights, skills and attitudes that you have acquired by means of uncertified learning processes may count as previously acquired competencies. Competencies acquired through practical experience may correspond to the competencies taught in one or more course units in a particular Bachelor’s and/or Master’s programme.

The Standard PAC Procedure

You can apply for the recognition of your experience by means of a standard PAC procedure, which includes an aptitude test. Upon successful completion you receive an aptitude certificate, which you can then use to apply for exemptions. Please note that a PAC procedure never results in exemptions directly!

Always be sure to consider carefully whether your experience is eligible for a PAC procedure. Going through all the steps in the procedure requires a lot of effort. Moreover, the procedure for academic course units is not a simple one. And regardless of the outcome, it is a paying procedure. There are two official application deadlines: 1 April (first-term exemptions) and 1 November (second-term exemptions).

The Simplified PAC Procedure

Applicants from within the Ghent University Association (AUGent), can make use of the simplified PAC procedure (“SimPAC”) . At Ghent University, a very particular target group is eligible for this simplified procedure, i.e. students who have acquired generic competencies at Bachelor’s or Master’s level by taking on an additional commitment, and who have earned a Ghent University badge for it. This procedure comprises a limited aptitude test and is free of charge for students.

More information

For more information on the PAC procedures, please consult the Students’ Guide to PAC made available by the Ghent University Association. For more information on exemptions on the grounds of previously acquired competencies (but not on the grounds of previously obtained diplomas), please get in touch with sophie.decoene@ugent.be.