Students are usually selected in cooperation with their countries’ ministries of foreign affairs, and admission is highly competitive. The College of Europe is bilingual, and students must be proficient in English and French. Students receive an advanced master’s degree (formerly called Diploma and Certificat) following a one-year programme. Traditionally, students specialise in either European Law, European Economic Studies, or European Political and Administrative Studies; in recent years, additional programmes have been created. Each academic year is named after a patron and referred to as a promotion. The academic year is opened by a leading European politician.
The College of Europe in Bruges traditionally awards three degrees, one in European Economic Studies, one in European Legal Studies and one in Political and Governance Studies. Since the 1990s the college has also established some new degrees.
The College of Europe in Natolin awards the degree of Master of Arts in European Interdisciplinary Studies.
The current degrees awarded by the College of Europe in Bruges are:
- Master of Arts in European Economic Studies (MEES)
- Master of Arts in EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies
- Master in European Legal Studies (LLM)
- Master of Arts in European Political and Governance Studies
- Master of Arts in Transatlantic Affairs (MATA)
The one-year programme lasts from September until the end of June and is taught in English and French. It includes lectures, research seminars, workshops and meetings with external specialists and various language courses. To be awarded the degree, students must take oral and written examinations at the end of each semester, and submit a 15 ECTS master’s thesis in English or French. The thesis gives students the opportunity to undertake individual research, conducted primarily in the second semester, under the supervision of a faculty member. The programmes are enriched by study trips to the European institutions and, for students at Natolin (Warsaw), also to neighbouring countries. Due to the college’s extensive network of contacts, students have the opportunity to meet and discuss with policy-makers, practitioners and representatives of the business community throughout their year at the college.
From 1949 to the 1990s, students in Bruges enrolled in three programmes:
- European Economic Studies (i.e., studies of international economics with an emphasis on the EU)
- European Legal Studies (i.e., studies of European law)
- European Political and Governance Studies (i.e., studies of political science and public administration focusing on the EU)
In recent years, other programmes have been created:
- European International Relations and Diplomacy Studies
At Natolin (Warsaw) campus, the study programme European Interdisciplinary Studies offers four majors: EU Public Affairs and Policies, The EU in the World, The EU and its Neighbours and European History and Civilisation.