The University of Mons, abbreviated to “UMONS”, is a French-speaking university in the province of Hainaut, Belgium, near the French-Belgian border. It is approximately 50 kilometres from Brussels, the capital of Europe.
UMONS was created in 2009 following a merger between the University of Mons-Hainaut and the Faculty of Engineering of Mons, the university’s oldest faculty, founded in 1837.
A decree reorganising the structure of higher education (also known as the “Paysage” decree) was implemented at the end of 2013. This decree initiated the creation of an organisation in the province of Hainaut, called the “Pôle hainuyer“, which comprises three universities, three “hautes écoles” (institutions of higher education), three art schools and around 40 institutions of continuing education. UMONS is jointly responsible for heading this organisation, along with the president of one of the participating haute écoles.
Before the adoption of this decree, UMONS had already established agreements with five hautes écoles. Together, these institutions have 22,000 students and offer more than 250 degree programmes.
UMONS has around 100 different degree programmes on offer at Bachelor, Master and PhD level in fields as diverse as Law, Psychology, Social Sciences, Biomedical Science, Economics, Electrical Engineering, Management, Material Sciences, Mechanical Engineering, Urban Planning, Computer Science, Architecture, Interpretation, Linguistics, Physics, Speech Therapy, Mathematics, Chemistry, Pharmacy, Translation, Education, Biology, Geology, Medicine, and many more.
- Students are the Main Priority
Accommodating students in a learning environment characterised by a human dimension is a priority of UMONS. Through the education on offer at UMONS, we promote critical thinking, open-mindedness, tolerance, responsibility, and autonomy, and develop students’ and researchers’ intellectual, cultural and human experiences in order for them to become responsible members of society.
- A Wide Support Network to Ensure Student Success
Assisting new students in making the smoothest of transitions from secondary education to university is also a priority. For improved student success, UMONS offers remediation activities, tutoring, mentoring, improvement of working methods, and mock exams.
New IT is incorporated into the education service, such as online courses and distance learning. E-learning also offers many innovative and effective teaching solutions for students, for example self-assessment and video streaming.
- From Undergraduate Studies to a PhD
The university offers three levels of education: Bachelor, Master and PhD. Classes mainly take place during the day, but evening classes are also held at the Charleroi campus.
As a pioneer in the field of further education in evening classes, UMONS has welcomed adults returning to education for nearly 30 years, thus contributing to the improvement and development of their professional careers.
Several types of educational training are offered:
1. Degree programmes: official and recognised degrees (Bachelor, Master, Specialised Master)
2. Certified programmes: (a minimum of 8 credits) leading to a university certificate
3. Short courses (day courses, half day courses or evening courses)
4. Courses leading to a teaching qualification: several teaching qualifications for higher education
5. Foreign language courses
6. Research-focused courses.
A constant concern of UMONS is to be able to provide appropriate courses, which reflect current challenges and which are closely linked to research. The university guarantees the education of young and mature students by upholding scientific and academic teaching through programmes rooted in the human and societal difficulties of the 21st century.
- Education in the Province of Hainaut
As part of its Quality Charter, UMONS works towards developing quality education in its home province of Hainaut. The skills conveyed to students are aimed at promoting the economic and social restructuring of the local community.
Scientific research is now one of the pillars which our society depends on to meet the social and economic challenges facing it, in order to improve the quality of life and to alleviate threats to the environment while allowing our economies to remain competitive.
With more than 900 researchers, research objectives in UMONS are pursued both regionally and internationally. The common goal of all UMONS researchers is to develop expertise on a large scale, subsequently benefiting society, particularly the region.
The expertise of the University’s researchers is internationally recognised. To demonstrate this, three researchers from the chemistry and materials domains have been acknowledged and classified among the Top 100 Global Researchers who have been most influential in their disciplines over the last decade, on account of their publications (classified by the Thomas-Reuter Agency for 2001-2010). UMONS also holds the European label for “Research in Excellence”.
Through its research and close links with industry, UMONS is also actively involved in regional development. It maintains close links with scientific research centres, as well as university spin-off and start-up companies, the majority of which are located on the outskirts of the town centre.
Since 2012, the University of Mons has restructured its research activities via 10 research institutes, accounting for approximately 100 researchers.
As such, the University is able to consolidate the excellence of its basic research by encouraging collaborations between its crossdisciplinary research teams from its various faculties.
UMONS also pays particular attention to knowledge transfer in order to serve society by striving to maintain the close relationships with its socio-economic environment in a number of areas in which it excels.
The Department for Research Support and Technology Transfer (AVRE) of UMONS supports researchers in their missions, both in the preparation phase (setting-up and financing) as well as in the final phase of their projects (intellectual property rights, partnership agreements, licensing agreements, and assisting the setting-up of university spin-off companies). AVRE also offers its services to companies in need of particular scientific expertise.
Since its creation, through its research and close ties it has forged with industry, the University of Mons is the perfect partner for the re-development and economic recovery of the region.
Its research centres, plus Multitel, Materia Nova and the Belgian Ceramic Research Centre, which belong to the university, as well as the University’s spin-off and start-up companies, are mostly located in the Initialis Science Park on the outskirts of Mons.
- The European Group, Acapela (speech technology)
- Polymedis (medical technology)
- ACIC (intelligent vision systems)
- Decizium (intelligent decision support)
- IT-Optics (free software)
- Smartware (smart clothes)
- Biosentech (biosensors)
- EuroVlab (multimedia learning environment for the dissemination of science)
- Madagascar Holothurie (research on sea cucumbers from Madagascar)
- Polyris (consulting company in the field of major accidents assessment, prevention and management)
The geographical proximity between these centres and the University, as well as the small size of these enterprises, allows many valuable exchanges.
In late 2011, UMONS and ULB set up a medical imaging centre located in the Gosselies Aeropole, on the outskirts of Charleroi.
Services to society provided by UMONS also cover a wide range of concrete actions through studies, which aim to, for example, forecast floods in the Haine Basin and underground and karstic collapsing; find iguanodon skeletons buried in Bernissart, carry out energy audits of buildings, or foresee the SEVESO safety measures in high-risk companies.
In addition, UMONS actively participates in touristic and cultural development of the region, through activities coordinated by the non-profitable organisation, Extension UMONS, which organises prestigious conferences, language courses and specific training sessions for outsiders. Other organisations, such as Carré des Sciences and ApplicaSciences, as well as Espace Terre et Matériaux, undertake actions of popular science suited to a large young audience.
UMONS was one of the official partners of MONS 2015. Several projects carried by its community have benefited from the official label and financial support.
As a pioneer in the field of further education in evening classes, UMONS has welcomed adults returning to education for nearly 40 years, thus contributing to the improvement and development of their professional careers.