In recent years DAE teaching staff have been reaching out to different countries in a constant search for relevant academic partners. Such partnerships are established to offer our students exchange possiblities but also to get inspiration, enrich our own curricula and offer post-graduate programs to the DAE alumni.

Different European partnerships already have been established and today DAE students can follow Erasmus Exchange Semesters in 8 European countries: Belgium, Netherlands, France, UK, Sweden, Austria and Finland. Gaming related Master Programs for our Alumni have been found with partners in the UK, Sweden and the Netherlands.

The gaming sector is a global business, our alumni work all over the world so it wouldn’t make sense to solely focus on the European market. Therefore several intercontinental partners have been scouted. At the North American West Coast several partners have been visited in San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver. Towards the East Turkey, India and China were already on our longlist. In the South we scouted partners in Mexico, South Africa and Uganda.
Each time different issues (distance, timezones, tuition fees, cultural differences, …) prevented us from establishing successful partnerships.

Montréal, of all places…

During the Belgian Royal mission to Canada early 2018 the first contacts between Howest and Quebec were established. In Montréal we visited Ecole des arts Numériques, de l’animation et du design (NAD). Having an excellent reputation in the industry, a European-like attitude and only 6 hours timezone difference NAD turned out to be a great prospect.










The city of Montréal is located in Quebec, a province of Canada. Montréal is located at 48° north latitude, which is 3° to the south of Belgium. Opposite to Belgium the climate is not moderate but continental. That means hot summers and cold, very cold winters. Our prospect trip was just before winter kicked in, which meant clear sunny skies, a chilly wind and beautiful coloured maple trees. In Quebec the official language is French although almost every person we speak, from the Uber driver to the shopowner around the corner is bilingual French – English. But French remains the official language and they’re pretty strict on that.

Games are booming business in Montréal

Having 1,6 mio inhabitants, Montréal is the second largest city in Canada. 1 out of 6 inhabitants is a student and that gives the city a very young, dynamic but still relax atmosphere. In recent years the digital sector in the city boomed. In the past students fled the city once graduated. In recent years Montréal somehow managed to turn that brain drain into a brain gain.

Ubisoft was the pioneer in 1997 and now employs more than 3.000 people in the largest single game studio in the world. Indie game studios and VFX are booming and currently employ over 22.000 people in more than 200 companies. VR/AR business is growing and through the launch of an AI supercluster the city aims to further foster AI related research and business.

Why is Montréal attractive for IT type of businesses?
Catherine Lareaux, Commissaire industries creatives et culturelles summarizes: “American tech companies are starting to move in. They appreciate the highly qualified universities and excellent start-up programmes and incubators. They highly rank the quality of living in our city. The Canadian way of life is somehow more relax than the American. Quebecois highly valuate their work life balance. And, last but not least, in Montréal, we have affordable and available office space”

Montréal is a member of the Unesco Creative City Network. The city council puts a lot of effort in stimulating creative entrepreneurship. Infrastructure, tax benefits, incubation programs and start-up initiatives have fostered a dynamic atmosphere throughout the city.

The renewed dynamic can be felt in the city. Construction sites are everywhere and nearly every street is blocked due to roadworks. My Uber driver explains: “They did nothing in the past 30 years and now they started working everywhere. Je pense qu’ils cherchent du pétrol ou des diamants.”
That’s also typical Montréal, switching fluently between French and English.


Study in Montréal

There are 284.000 post-secundary students in Montréal. Aproximately 100.000 of them are following their CEGEP (a 2 year preparation to be done before you can go to the university). 184.000 follow their Bachelors or Masters at different universities: 110.000 in the Urban Francophone Universities (UQAM, NAD, …) and the remaining 74k study at the Urban Anglophone Universities (Mc Gill, Concordia, …).

Image result for study system in quebec

The cost of living in Montréal is similar to Europe. Renting a student room can be done at 500 Canadian dollar (+- 330 EUR) a month.
In 2017 Montréal has been elected as the best student city in the world.
The index was based on a number of factors, including diversity, affordability and employment prospects. Montréal was choosen above Paris, London, Seoul and Berlin!

When going from one appointment to another I feel the typical vibe of student city: student vibe: young, hip, vibrant, lots of nationalities and languages and… a lot of coffee shops. to me Montréal feels like a blend between Ghent, Paris and Brooklyn.





Collaboration with NAD: Ecole des arts Numériques, de l’animation et du design

Oktober 2018 – first visit

During the scouting for the studytrip in januari we visited this school for the first time.
NAD is a Montréal based branch of the francophone University of Quebec à Chicoutimi (UQAC). When we enter the Game development floor in the NAD campus we feel at home immediately.

NAD has 300 Bachelor students. Half of them study game development, the other half study VFX. 75 of them are Internationals.

Similar to the DAE curriculum, the NAD students work a lot on group projects. In order to simulate their future work conditions in 3A studios, teams can go up to 30 (!) students. NAD regularly pairs students with development students of their partner university in Chicoutimi. As common in the industry, those teams collaborate remotely.

All programs are French taught but with English software. In the international programs coaching is done in English, projects and papers can be handed in in English.
We feel there is a match with the NAD teaching staff. Jocelyn Benoit, the game program coordinator describes it as follows: “C’est assez rare de trouver une partie que est si similaire en filosofie et modèle d’éducation.”

Our International service is preparing all the paperwork to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate student and staff exchange between DAE and NAD.
At the same time we’re trying to figure out how the tuition fees will be for DAE alumni who want to follow an additional program at NAD.
Tuition fees for international non-exchange students are usualy very high. But there seems to be an agreement between Flanders and Quebec that a limited amount of 10 students can get excemption of increased tuition fees. To be further investigated!

Januari 2019: DAE Studytrip DAE to Montréal

During a network event of Flanders Investment and Trade, our Rector Lode De Geyter signs a contract between Howest and NAD to facilitate Exchange between DAE and NAD students in their semesters 5 from the academic year 2019-20 onwards. DAE students can step in the NAD program Baccalauréat en Animation 3D et en Design Numérique.


During a visit to the NAD campus, there were further discussions wih NAD staff to get additional info on the possibilites for DAE alumni to follow DAE oriented banaba or Master in NAD. Further info to be announced soon.

February 28th 2019 -detailed investigation of the admission procedures for the programs

Detailed info on all 3 programs to be communicated soon to the DAE students:

1) exchange semester 5

A DAE student can follow semester 5 at NAD Montréal iso at Howest – The Level. This is a student exchange and follows the standard procedures for oversea student exchange.


2) Internship in Montréal

A DAE student can follow his or her internship in a DAE related company in Montréal. DAE has a big network in the city and can facilitate your internship at companies like: RodeoFX, Moment Factory, Unity, Ubisoft, …
We can also bring you into contact with the gameincubator Gameplayspace


3) 3 semester post graduate specialisation program

A graduated DAE alumnus can get an additional bachelorsdegree on top of the DAE degree in 3 extra semesters. For a limited number of students this can be done at a reduced tuition fee iso the normal fees for international students.


4) Game oriented masters program

A graduated DAE alumnus can get a masters degree on top of the DAE bachelor degree in 2 extra years. For a limited number of students this can be done at a reduced tuition fee iso the normal fees for international students.



Exchange and vervolgopleidingen Howest DAE => NAD
2ième cycle
Specialisation Master program
DESS Maitrise
iso DAE semester 5 after graduation DAE after graduation DAE
baccalauréat en animation, 3D et en design numérique video game
narrative design
Master’s degree in Art
Curriculum Canadian Credits 15 30 45
credit distribution 12+9+9
conversion factor 2 2,5 2,5
European credits 30 75 112,5
Minimum leadtime 1 semester 3 semesters 2 years
Total tuition fee tuition fee for the full program Included in Belgium tuition fee frais scolaires majorées frais scolaires majorées
Frais scolaire majorées CAD Included in Belgium tuition fee 17.728 25.223
Exchange rate 0,6664
EUR not relevant 11.814 16.809
Exemption de la majoration des frais scolaires not relevant excemption of increased tuition via Flanders – Quebec agreement
(only 10 places)
excemption of increased tuition via Flanders – Quebec agreement
(only 10 places)
Total resident tuition amount CAD not relevant 3.095 3.565
EUR not relevant 2.063 2.376
Admission Request for admission 1/03/2019 1/03/2019
Site van UQAC /admission / demande / Admission en ligne Site van UQAC /admission / demande / Admission en ligne
Level of French B2 level? No specific requirements for 2ième cycle
B1 level from 3de graad ASO/TSO should be sufficiënt
No specific requirements for 2ième cycle
B1 level from 3de graad ASO/TSO should be sufficiënt
Condition d’admission
Howest support 3 x 1.000 euro tuition grant


A. General info

When you decide to step in in the admission procedure you need to follow certain steps.
Please be aware that you step in into a procedure of the mother university which is called UQAC (Université de Quebecq à Chicoutimi)
Check the official program page of the Master with the official admission procedure on the site of UQAC.
Beware that from that moment onwards, the official communication language is in French.

The official name of the program is “Program 3848, Maîtrise en art, concentration création”


B. Admission procedure

Step 1: On-line registration of the admission request: deadline 1st of March

Don’t mess with this deadline. It is your ticket in the waiting line and be aware that your admission request will be ignored if you register after the dead-line.
So be a smart person and don’t wait to do this till the last moment.
In order to do this on-line regsistration you need to fill out an on-line form.
This on-line registration goes with a 30 Canadian Dollar cost which you have to pay on-line by credit card.


Step 2: Documents to be accompanied with the admission request: deadline 8th of March

1. Your Portfolio

On the official admission page the following is mentioned:
“de vingt à trente photographies format JPEG (.jpg) et/ou séquences de format lisible par le lecteur multimédia QuickTime (.AVI, DV, .MPEG-4) montés sur CD ou DVD hybrides (Mac et PC). Ne pas omettre de joindre un fichier texte avec une description des documents sonores et visuels présentés.”

We are convinced that as a DAE student the content of your Artstation portfolio should be sufficient.
However we are still waiting the official confirmation that the Artstation format will be allowed. As soon as we get this confirmation, we’ll let you know.
Don’t forget that you need to add a document with a description of “the sound and visual documents” anyway.


2. Your CV

Add a recent and up-to-date curriculum vitae to your admission request.
If you want additional feedback on your CV, please send your latest version to


3. Three confidential letters of recommendation

Your admission request needs to be accompanied by 3 confidential letters of recommendation (in French: des rapports confidentiels; in Dutch: aanbevelingsbrieven)
There is a standard format to be used for that and please note that you will not see the final, filled in lettres of recommendation as they have to be sent directly to UQAC by the person that recommends you.
You should pre-fill that form before you send it to the persons that will recommend you. (Please notice that you don’t have to fill in the code permanent, as this code is for Canadian residents only.)

Who to ask: Major coördinator, Favorite teacher of a relevant class, previous employers if that job was relevant, former art teacher in secundary school, internship colleague, Erasmus institute (if you already did a semester abroad), …

We still need an email adress to send this to. We are figuring this out.


4. Intention de recherche

This might be the toughest part: “un texte de deux pages tout au plus décrivant une intention de recherche à réaliser en cours de maîtrise”
This two pager is what your master will be all about: during your master program you will focus on research. And selecting a good research project and a subsequent research question is the fundament of that.
Maybe the tekst below can guide you through the conception proces of this two-pager.

Omschrijf de probleemstelling die het onderwerp vormt van jouw research. Situeer de probleemstelling in een bredere context (zowel maatschappelijk als binnen de sector) en verduidelijk waarover het gaat. Belangrijk hierbij is dat je een passende inleiding geeft omtrent de uitdaging(en) waarmee de sector of de technologie geconfronteerd wordt. Wat staat er op het spel? Waarom is de uitwerking van een doordachte oplossing belangrijk? Idealiter wordt de probleemstelling concreet afgebakend aan de hand van relevante inzichten aanwezig in de sector, aan de hand van de resultaten van voorgaande onderzoeken, of aan de hand van wat je reeds in jouw opleiding geleerd hebt.

Uiteindelijk kom je tot een concrete onderzoeksvraag die duidelijk maakt wat de opdrachgever kan verwachten van jouw onderzoek. Zonder goede onderzoeksvraag is geen goed antwoord mogelijk. Wie niet vooraf glashelder weet en aangeeft wat hij te weten wil komen mist een kompas, vliegt alle kanten op en verdwaalt. We geven je graag enkele tips mee bij het formuleren van een onderzoeksvraag:

  • Zorg ervoor dat je onderzoeksvraag voldoende ‘uitdagend haalbaar’ is, met andere woorden niet te breed of te eng geformuleerd en kan beantwoord worden binnen de vooropgestelde tijd.
  • Stel je onderzoeksvraag als een vraag, niet als een statement.
  • Een onderzoeksvraag is gesteld als een open vraag en dus niet als een ja/neen-vraag.
  • Een onderzoeksvraag is helder geformuleerd. De belangrijkste begrippen heb je van tevoren toegelicht, zodat ze voor iedereen duidelijk zijn.

[1] Harinck, 2013


5. Relevés de notes
This is a transcript of records which combines your results up till know and your registration of this years program.
You can get that document in the student administration office at the campus GKG in the Main Building of Howest Kortrijk.


The Howest-DAE and NAD-Montréal Partnership

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