This article is adapted from Belgium - National Tour, prepared by Marc Brysbaert and Emmanuel Zech for Wedding, D., & Stevens, M. J. (Eds.). (2009). Psychology: IUPsyS Global Resource (Edition 2009) [CD-ROM]. International Journal of Psychology, 44(Suppl. 1).
In almost all Belgian universities, psychology developed within programs in education and/or philosophy. Some of the founding fathers of the discipline have had a worldwide reputation: e.g., Delbouf (Liège), Michotte (Leuven), Van Biervliet (Gent), and Ecroly (Brussels). In the 1960s-1970s independent departments of psychology were established. They saw their numbers of students constantly increasing. As in other countries, clinical psychology is the most popular option.
Research in psychology is conducted mainly in six universities: Brussels (Flemish and French), Gent, Liège, Leuven, and Louvain. It covers all the major fields of academic psychology. Each university, covers the full range but has areas of particular strength. Research is financed mainly by the universities and the Funds for Scientific Research (Flemish and French). Since the 1980s most financing is based on peer reviewed grant proposals. It also increased considerably, which has led to a higher impact of Belgian psychological research (going from 0.8% of the ISI publications in psychology in 1975 to 1.7% in 2005; the later yields a total of 37 publications per million inh abitants, a figure that is similar to that of the USA - 38 per million inhabitants).
The training of psychologists follows the now classical Bachelor-Master distinction. The bachelor's degree is a 3-year general introduction to psychology with the possibility of an initial specialization in the last year. Given that the BM structure replaces the previous 5-year licentiate structure, the expectation is that bachelor students complete a master programme (although it is anticipated that the future will bring more flexibility in this respect). There are four main options for the masters: research-oriented, clinical psychology, school psychology, and psychology of work and organisation. The last year contains an internship in the area of preferred professional or research specialization. After the master, students can take programs for psychotherapist or try to obtain a grant to complete a PhD. These grants usually cover 4 years.
Psychologica Belgica, 1946- , 4/year