What is equivalence?

Academic recognition, better known as equivalence, is a procedure intended to equate studies carried out abroad with those organised in higher education within the Wallonia-Brussels Federation. 

There are two types of equivalence: equivalence relating to a specific academic degree and equivalence relating to a level of education.

Equivalence may be useful in the context of a job search or in certain cases of continuation of studies. It is necessary when the job in question requires a diploma awarded in Belgium, as for regulated professions, for example. 

If you want to work in the public sector or in a government-subsidised institution, it is likely that you will need to apply for recognition of your degree.

On the other hand, if you want to work in the private sector, an equivalence ruling is generally not necessary. An employer can therefore hire you without prior recognition of your foreign diploma.


A noter :

 Please note:

For regulated professions (e.g. nurses, doctors, architects, teachers, etc.), there is another procedure for obtaining recognition for the practice of such professions in Belgium: professional recognition.

This procedure applies only to qualifications acquired within the European Economic Area. Conditions concerning the origin of the diploma and nationality need to be met in order to be eligible for this procedure. You can view the professional recognition section of our website to find out if you are affected by this procedure. This section will enable you to understand what the regulated professions are, what these professions are in Belgium and who is responsible for granting such recognition.

On the other hand, if your diploma was obtained outside the European Economic Area, the recognition route to be followed is that of equivalence.

The purpose of this type of equivalence is to certify that studies abroad correspond to studies leading to one of the academic degrees conferred by the recognised higher education institutions of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.

Examples of academic degrees: Master’s degree in Art History and Archaeology, Bachelor’s degree in Construction, etc.

This equivalence consists essentially of a comparison between academic content studied abroad and a study programme organised by our institutions.

It takes the form of a decree specifying the diploma awarded within the Wallonia-Brussels Federation which the foreign diploma has been recognised as being equivalent to (e.g. a Master's diploma in economics).

Equivalence to a specific academic degree has the same professional consequences as the diploma obtained in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.

Level equivalence legally establishes the superior nature of the studies completed abroad by specifying their level (BES, Bachelor’s, Master’s) compared to the diplomas awarded in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation. There are essentially three levels of education:

  • a  higher education certificate (level 5 of the European Qualifications Framework - EQF);
  • a bachelor's degree (level 6 of the EQF);
  • that of a master's degree (level 7 of the EQF).

This type of equivalence does not relate to the content of the training and consequently does not mention the field of study, unlike equivalence to a specific academic degree .

Another difference that needs to be emphasised is that this level equivalence does not allow access to jobs for which a particular diploma is required. This is particularly the case for regulated professions, i.e. those to which access is subject to the possession of a specific title (for example: nurse, doctor, pharmacist, lawyer, etc.).


The equivalences relate exclusively to higher education diplomas awarded outside Belgium and which are recognised by the competent authorities of the country in which they were obtained. This procedure therefore does not apply to diplomas awarded by non-accredited private establishments, professional qualifications or professional qualifications relating exclusively to vocational training.


Examples of diplomas affected by equivalence:


  • National graduate in engineering (Tunisia)
  • Bachelor of arts (Cuba)
  • Bachelor of performing arts (France)


  • Master’s in product design (Flanders)
  • RNCP (national repository for professional certification) title of Service Manager in the hotel, tourism and catering sector (France)
  • Bachelor’s degree in web marketing (France)