I graduated from what is known as a "Hogeschool" in Belgium. When trying to explain this term on English websites, I've always used the term "University College" or "College", However, I'm not sure what terminology to use. Wikipedia doesn't have a Dutch article that's linked from "College", and "Hogeschool" is referred to "HochSchule" or something like that. Google on the other hand just translates "College" as "College" and "Hogeschool" as "University".

However, Hogeschool and University are not the same: University is a step above Hogeschool, and I want to avoid ambiguity with people thinking I graduated from a more prestigious kind of higher education than I actually am.

What is the proper English term for a "Hogeschool"?

  • 1
    A quick google search shows that for example HoGent describes themselves as a "university college" in English.
    – user9646
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 14:17
  • 2
    @NajibIdrissi That's another datapoint, but I'm concerned that people not familiar with the term might view me as graduated from a full-on university (which is a step above hogeschool).
    – Nzall
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 14:19
  • In English (well, at least the UK), you want to describe the level of your qualification, not of the institution you acquired it from. The word 'college' is used (among other things) for somewhere that teaches both school-level and university-level courses, and it is possible to end your studies at any year-equivalent. The question becomes: do you have a bachelors degree, and if so is it an honours degree?
    – Jessica B
    Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 6:38
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hochschule seems helpful - it says the distinction is to do with what (graduate) degrees an institution is allowed to award. It may be that you're worrying about a distinction that most English speakers are not concerned with (at least in that context). The UK, for political reasons, uses the term 'university' quite broadly, and would include an institution that only offered undergraduate degrees within that.
    – Jessica B
    Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 6:45
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    Just tell them you "went to Carapils College, if you know what I mean wink wink" and they will be like "No, I don't know what you mean"
    – DBB
    Commented Apr 1, 2018 at 2:21

2 Answers 2


Apparently this is the same kind of institution as the German "Fachhochschule", which is usually translated as "university of applied sciences". The Wikipedia article about "Hogeschool van Amsterdam" seems to confirm this: "The Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of Applied Sciences (HvA), or Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences ..." See also their English website: http://www.amsterdamuas.com/

However, you might still need to explain this in more detail to those not familiar with the Dutch, Belgian or German education system.

  • Additionally, I think that in France, 'écoles' might sometimes be considered to be a 'higher' level than universities.
    – Karlo
    Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 16:35
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    @Karlo: French "Ecoles d'Ingenieur" are selective elite schools, but that doesn't help here, does it? Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 18:31
  • The Nordic countries seem to have the same institute. The English term for the ones in Finland (ammattikorkeakoulu) is also "university of applied sciences".
    – Tommi
    Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 12:11

My answer will assume that it is similar to the German "Fachhochschule" as suggested by @Roland.

I'm not aware of a specific term that already exists in the U.S., that most people would understand. (There might be something in use in the U.K.)

If you need to tell someone what your credentials and academic experience are, you might want to say something like this:

I graduated from a "Hogeschool" in Belgium. This is a technical school, an institution of higher learning that grants a terminal post-secondary college degree in various applied sciences. Graduates typically work in industry after graduation without going on to pursue a Master's or a PhD, as might be the case with university studies. It's roughly equivalent to a non-Honors (four-year) Bachelor's degree in the U.S. There is less student choice in course selection, and it features more of a hands-on approach, building on-the-job experience through co-op education.

If you want a shorter, more informal version:

I have a Bachelor's from a technical college or Hogeschool, in Belgium. It's still considered "higher education," but it's less high-fallutin than a university.

Please feel free to adjust anything I didn't get quite right.

  • 1
    Sounds like a polytechnic. Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 6:06
  • @PeterTaylor - Good idea! Commented Mar 31, 2018 at 15:14

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