Last updated in 2018
Chapter 1: Higher Education System
Section 1.2: Description of Higher Education System
Higher education in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is governed by two laws:
The public University of Luxembourg was founded by law in 2003 (sole public university in Luxembourg since its foundation). The Law of 27 June 2018 has replaced the founding Law of 12 August 2003.
The Law of 19 June 2009 defines the scope of higher education in Luxembourg. It creates the legal foundation for the development of short cycle programmes. It also lays down the legislative framework for the establishment and the accreditation of foreign private higher education institutions in the Grand Duchy.
The higher education system in Luxembourg is aligned with the structures provided for in the Bologna Process and comprises an initial short cycle, the Bachelor (1st cycle), the Master (2nd cycle) and the Doctorat (3rd cycle).
This professionally oriented qualification is awarded upon successful completion of studies in one of the following areas: industrial and commercial professions, applied arts, craft trades, service and health professions, and agricultural occupations. The general access requirement is the Luxembourgish school leaving qualification awarded after completion of 13 years of schooling and passing the relevant state examination; comparable foreign qualifications may also be accepted. Admission to some degree courses may be based on specific course requirements. Learners prepare for the BTS by attending a course at a secondary school with internships in the work environment. The course of studies for obtaining the programme is organised in modules, each lasting one semester, comprising a certain number of courses, and allocated a certain number of ECTS credits. The studies last 2 or 3 years. The BTS is awarded to students who have gained all the ECTS credits allocated to the programme (minimum 120 and maximum 180 ECTS credits) and satisfied all curricular requirements.
These degree programmes provide students with an adequate command of general scientific methods and contents as well as with specific professional skills. The general access requirement is the Luxembourg school leaving qualification awarded after completion of 13 years of schooling and passing the relevant state examination; comparable foreign qualifications may also be accepted. Admission to some degree courses may be based on specific course requirements. The studies last 3 or 4 years. The Bachelor is awarded to students who have gained 180 or 240 ECTS credits respectively and satisfied all curricular requirements, including the production of a final written paper or equivalent final project.
They provide education at an advanced level for the exercise of highly qualified activities in specific areas. Access is by a Bachelor’s degree or a comparable foreign degree corresponding to the level 6 of the Luxembourg qualifications framework; admission is based on specific course requirements determined by the higher education institutions. The studies last 1 to 3 years. The master’s degree is issued after completion of a full study programme of at least 60 ECTS credits and of a maximum of 180 ECTS credits in the given education level, provided the achievement of a total of at least 300 ECTS credits, bachelor’s degree included. The master’s degree is awarded to students who satisfied all curricular requirements, including the production and defence of an original dissertation.
the students/young researchers enrolled in these programmes will acquire methodologies for advanced scientific research, will be trained in new technologies and will work in research laboratories, if appropriate.
Access is by a master’s degree (or a comparable foreign degree corresponding to the level 7 of the Luxembourg qualifications framework). Studies last at least three years and include the completion and defence of an original research project.
Double/multiple Degrees – Higher education institutions and the University of Luxembourg are allowed to establish degree programmes in cooperation with partner institutions in Luxembourg and abroad, on completion of which double/multiple degrees can be awarded.
Joint Degrees – Higher education institutions and the University of Luxembourg are allowed to establish degree programmes in cooperation with partner institutions in Luxembourg and abroad, on completion of which joint degrees can be awarded.
Section 1.3: Number of Higher Education Institutions
- Public university: 1
- Public secondary schools offering short cycle HE programmes: 11
- Private accredited HEIs: 3
Section 1.4 Number of Students in Higher Education
General number of students (academic year 2017/18, public HE sector)
- Short cycle: 763
- First cycle: 3096
Second cycle: 1653
Third cycle: 693
- Others: 974
From those 6416 students enrolled at the University of Luxembourg (1st to 3rd cycle and others):
- 40,7% were residents
- 45% came from EU-countries
- 14,3% came from third countries.
As for the academic year 2016-17, 89,8% of the students who graduated from the University of Luxembourg did a mobility abroad.
During that same period, the university counted 8,8% of incoming mobility students.
Important to note: A mobility period abroad of at least 1 semester is obligatory during the 3rd year of each bachelor’s degree.
Students enrolled in short cycle programmes may also be mobile, especially in the form of an internship abroad, but the numbers are not available.
Section 1.5: Structure of Academic Year
These data vary according to the type of institution. As for the University of Luxembourg, please find below the link to the academic calendar (1.). This is also the information published by the Eurydice network (2.).
According to article 7 of the amended Law of 19 June 2009 on the organisation of higher education, the academic year starts on 15 September and ends on 14 September of the next year.
Section 1.6: National Qualifications Framework (or Similar)
Like the EQF, the CLQ comprises eight levels:
Certification levels 6 to 8 fall within the remit of the ministry of Higher Education and Research Responsibility for the certifications at level 5 lies on the ministry of National Education as for the Masters Craftsman’s Diploma an on the ministry of Higher Education and Research as for the “Brevet de technicien supérieur” (BTS) (short cycle programmes).
The learning outcomes of each qualification are described by 3 categories of descriptors.
These descriptors set out in a general and non-disciplinary way what a learner usually knows, understands and is able to do at the end of a learning process.
These three categories of descriptors are:
- Knowledge (savoirs)
- Aptitudes (aptitudes)
- Attitudes (attitudes).
‘Knowledge’ should be understood as the outcome of the assimilation of information as a result of education and training. Knowledge refers to a group of facts, principles, theories and practices connected with a particular area of study or work; ‘assimilation’ is defined as the process by which knowledge or know-how is integrated by the learner. ‘Aptitudes’ should be understood as referring to the ability to apply knowledge to the completion of tasks and the resolution of problems.
As in the European Qualifications Framework, aptitudes may be either:
- cognitive (use of logical, intuitive and creative thinking), or
- practical (based on both dexterity and the use of method, equipment, tools and instruments).
‘Attitude’ should be understood as referring to personal and social dispositions in work or study situations and for professional or personal development:
- Personal abilities are characterised by an autonomous, responsible disposition that allows critical consideration of one’s own actions and the actions of other people; they also define the scope of a person’s own development through either study or practice
- Social skills depend on an autonomous, responsible disposition that allows working with others and considering other people’s interests.
- For levels 5 to 8, the descriptors are defined as communication aptitudes and the ability to form judgments.
The CLQ is linked to EQF and (concerning its levels 5 to 8) to the QF-EHEA.
The descriptors were developed with reference to existing certifications as well as to the European descriptors (knowledge, skills, and competences).
Please see also:
Section 1.7: Learning Outcomes in Higher Education
Yes, our national qualifications framework is linked to working with learning outcomes on programme level.
Yes, our HE-curricula are based on learning outcomes.
For exhaustive information on the system of learning outcomes, please consult the following document (page 19 onwards):
Learning outcomes will be an essential additional element in the revised national Diploma Supplement which is about to be issued to the HEIs and scheduled to be fully implemented at the end of the academic year 2019-2020.
Section 1.8: Admission Requirements to Higher Education
General admission requirements
Admission to levels 5 and 6 is conditional on first obtaining one of the following diplomas referenced at level 4: the secondary school leaving certificate or a foreign certificate or diploma recognised as being equivalent, or the general secondary school leaving certificate (or a foreign certificate or diploma recognised as being equivalent), or the technician’s certificate in conjunction with certain additional conditions.
At levels 6, 7 and 8, the master’s level follows after successful completion of the bachelor’s level, and the doctorate level follows after obtaining a master’s degree. Exceptionally, access may be allowed to students able to furnish proof of professional experience and outcomes.
As a result, in order to be admitted to:
- a short cycle programme, students need to have passed secondary education (NQF/EQF 4);
- a bachelor programme, students need to have passed secondary education (NQF/EQF 4) or gained a short cycle degree, with full or partial recognition (NQF/EQF 5);
- a master programme, students need to have gained a bachelor’s degree (NQF/EQF 6);
- a PhD programme, students need to have obtained a master’s degree (NQF/EQF 7).
Additionally, many programmes have specific selection criteria or procedures.
As for the accreditation of prior and experiential learning:
Admission requirements for non-European applicants (University of Luxembourg):
Important to note is that the University of Luxembourg only allows entry to master degrees and PhD programmes if prior diplomas have been registered at the Ministry of Higher Education and Research (unless they are EU Bologna bachelors or masters or they fall under the Benelux Mutual Recognition Decision).
Section 1.9: Grading System
The following grading system is legally binding:
More than sufficient
Section 1.10: Tuition Fee System for International Students
Higher Education in Luxembourg is mainly public and not as expensive as in many other European and non-European countries.
University of Luxembourg
- First year of Bachelor : 400.-€ / semester
- Second and third year of Bachelor : 200.-€ / semester
- Master programmes : tution fees vary according to the programmes/faculties
Advanced technician’s diploma (BTS – Short cycle)
100.-€ / semester
Prepatory classes to the “Grandes Écoles » in France
No tuition fees
Tuition fees vary between institutions and according to the programmes.
Part-time study programmes
Tuition fees are generally high and vary according to the programmes.
Section 1.11: Graduation Requirements and/or Qualification Awarding Requirements
Each cycle gives access to/is set up of the following number of credits:
- Short cycle: 120-180 ECTS credits
- Bachelor: 180-240 ECTS credits
- Master: 60-180 ECTS credits
For short, first and second cycles, students must obtain at least 10 points out of 20 as an average mark per module.
Furthermore, students in first, second and third cycles need to satisfy all curricular requirements, including the production of a final written paper or defence of an original dissertation and/or research project.
Section 1.12: Relevant Current and Prospective Reforms in Higher Education
Please find below the link to the National Description page for Luxembourg (Eurydice):
The page gives an overview of the last reforms in the Higher Education system concerning 2016 and 2017.
The most recent policy reform is the amended Law of 27 June 2018 on the organisation of the University of Luxembourg. The official text is only available in French.
In 2019, the Ministry of Higher Education and Research will start working on the revision of the Law of 19 June 2009 on the organisation of higher education.
Chapter 2: Quality Assurance in Higher Education
Section 2.1: Quality Assurance Body in Higher Education
Luxembourg does not have a national quality assurance agency. However, in the accreditation procedure of foreign private HEIs the Ministry of Higher Education and Research is working closely with foreign EQAR-registered QA agencies (cross-border QA) as well as with an Advisory group, and in the accreditation procedure of “Brevet de technicien supérieur” (BTS) programmes it is working with an Accreditation committee. The Advisory group and the Accreditation committee both include at the same time national and international experts.
Section 2.2: Quality Assurance System
Every 4 years for the University of Luxembourg (evaluation)
Every 5 years for private HEIs; please note that it is always a joint evaluation/accreditation of both the institution and the programme(s).
Every 5 years for short cycle programmes (accreditation-reaccreditation)
Every 4 years for the University of Luxembourg (evaluation)
Every 5 years for private HEIs;
please note that it is always a joint evaluation/accreditation of both the institution and the programme(s) (accreditation-reaccreditation).
The secondary schools offering the short cycle programmes are not subject of an institutional accreditation since they are not HEIs.
As for the evaluation of the university, the focus alternates between research and learning&teaching.
In the form of a self-evaluation as an integral part of the evaluation/(re-)accreditation process.
Section 2.3: Link Programme Authorisation with Quality Assurance
The bachelor, master and PhD programmes offered by the University of Luxembourg, created by law, are automatically recognized.
The accreditation procedure of a programme offered by a foreign private HEI, based on the principles of the European Quality Standards and Guidelines, is always intrinsically linked to the accreditation of the institution. The QA procedure foresees both; a programme cannot be evaluated without taking into consideration the institution as a whole.
The Minister of Higher Education and Research commissions a foreign EQAR-registered agency to perform the institutional evaluation. Based on the evaluation report of the agency, the Minister decides on the accreditation and the refusal of accreditation.
Short cycle programmes offered by secondary schools are evaluated by an expert group nominated by the Minister of Higher Education and Research. The expert group is an ENQA affiliate member. Based on the evaluation report of the expert group, the Minister decides on the accreditation and the refusal of accreditation.
Concerning foreign private HEIs and their programmes as well as short cycle programmes offered by secondary schools, only accredited programmes and institutions are officially recognized by the state.
Chapter 3: Credit System in Higher Education
Section 3.1: Description of Credit System
The results of learning in levels 5 (for courses leading to the advanced technician’s diploma), 6 (for courses leading to a bachelor’s degree) and 7 (for courses leading to a master’s degree) are assigned ECTS credits. Credits in the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) are units of measurement based on the volume of work / workload each student has to complete.
60 credits correspond to one year of full-time study. 1 credit is the equivalent of 25 to 30 hours of work required of the student in order to achieve determined learning outcomes.
The credits are granted to students when they complete the conditions for validation of the teaching and the learning outcomes.
Section 3.2: Credit Transfer System(s)
ECTS – European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System.
Section 3.3: Additional Information
Section 3.4: Application of Credit System in Higher Education Institutions Obligatory?
Section 3.5: Number of Credits per Academic Year/Semester
The average/standard number of credits gained by students per semester is 30 ECTS credits (60 ECTS credits per academic year).
Section 3.6: Number of Credits per Higher Education Cycle
Each cycle gives access to/is set up of the following number of credits (minimum – maximum):
- Short cycle: 120-180 ECTS credits
- Bachelor: 180-240 ECTS credits
- Master: 60-180 ECTS credits
Section 3.7: Description of Credit Unit
According to the law, 1 ECTS credit represents 25-30 hours of workload, including classes and preparation time.
Section 3.8: Link between Learning Outcomes and Credits
Learning outcomes and credits are not related.