- What would you say is different about studying at the College of Europe?
First, the level of specialization in European integration is unparalleled. We offer a wide range of specialised courses on the policies and institutions of the EU that students can select according to their interests, allowing specialization in one or several topics rather than a ‘one-size-fits-all’ model. Thanks to our ‘flying faculty’, students are always taught by experts in their field. We bring faculty from across Europe to teach the courses. Second, we have both academic and professional orientations to our programme. We have a number of practitioners on our faculty and offer workshops on professional development. Students benefit from both an academic and practical look at the EU, and these insights are invaluable at the start of your career. Third, the size of the classes in the second semester allow for substantial interaction with the faculty and the development of your skills. Finally, the community at the College is like no other. Students from over 50 different countries spend the year working and living together, forming bonds that last well beyond their years in Bruges as they join the College of Europe alumni network.
- I have not studied the EU or politics before, I studied engineering. Would I still be able to apply?
Yes, almost a third of students in POL studied something besides political science before. I would suggest you note in your motivation why you would like to switch to European Political and Governance Studies. We offer an introductory course before the regular academic year. It lasts two weeks and has short courses on the history of European integration, politics, institution, political economy and law to help students with a weaker background in European integration or political science.
- I do not have a language certificate, is this a problem?
You are asked to self-evaluate your language skills in your application. If you do not have a certificate, you can still note your level. Be advised that if you have an interview, you will be asked questions in English and in French. You may be asked to provide a certificate before coming to the College.
- Do I really have to speak French?
For good applicants with weak French language skills, the POL programme offers Access to French, a 2-week intensive French course that takes place before the start of the academic year. There is the expectation that you have studied some French before and would not be starting from scratch, however, and we encourage students to improve their French before coming to the College as they are expected to follow at least one course taught in French during the first semester.
- Do we have to do internships?
No, the College’s ten-month programme does not allow for internships during the academic year. The only exception is for students doing the 2-year MATA programme that includes an internship in its curriculum.
- What do people do after studying in POL?
The three major career trajectories of POL alumni are: 1) public affairs and consulting; 2) EU institutions; 3) national institutions, such as foreign ministries and permanent representations. Many alumni wind up doing all three. In addition, alumni have gone on to work at NGOs, in private companies, international organizations, and think tanks. Throughout the year we invite alumni to return to Bruges as part of our Career Perspectives series in which alumni answer questions from the current promotion.
- How are the applications evaluated?
The first part of the evaluation process is the written evaluation in which we examine your previous academic studies, including transcripts, reference letters, extracurricular activities, and relevant work experience. We do read the motivation letters and are interested to know how the applicant views spending a year at the College as contributing to professional development. In particular, if your interest in the EU is not already apparent from your previous studies, it would be a good moment to explain your motivation and what your expectations from the programme would be. The second round are interviews. They last between 10-20 minutes and questions are asked in English and French. Typical questions include your motivation, future career plans, and your knowledge of the EU. The latter would take into account your background—we would not have the same expectations of someone who had not studied the EU before as we would someone who had a degree in European studies, for example. Moreover, we value diversity and a variety of profiles and experiences. Not all of our students come from top-rated universities, and life experience can be a significant factor to take into consideration during the selection process.