Cara Lambregts
2 months ago

English-taught programmes outside the ‘Big Four’ have tripled in the last 10 years, up 48% since 2021

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A new report from British Council and Studyportals maps the global supply of on-campus English-taught Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees worldwide, showing a 22% increase in programmes since 2021.

Growth in English-taught programmes outside the ‘Big Four’ Destinations

This growth has been largely driven by a surge in programmes from ‘non-traditional’ destinations, which have tripled since 2014. In 2021, .  The Big Four’s share of all English-taught programmes has dropped to 78% in 2024.

The report investigates the growth across different dimensions, from geographical differences to differences by study methods (online and on-campus), university rankings, disciplines, formats (part-time, full-time) and English level requirements.

Growth hot-spots

The majority of the 40,786 on-campus ETPs offered by countries outside the Big Four are in the European Higher Education Area (50%), followed by East Asia with 12%.

While Germany, Ireland and The Netherlands remain the top programme suppliers in the EHEA region, the largest supply growth comes from Türkiye, Italy, and Portugal.

It is interesting to see that the availability of English-taught programmes in East Asia has far surpassed the supply of the Chinese region, which is a considerable shift from what was seen in 2021. This highlights the internationalisation of programmes in East Asia, most notably for programmes offered by Malaysian institutions.

Disciplines

Among the fastest growing disciplines, ETPs are increasingly being offered within Computer Science & IT – which includes fields such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Software Engineering, or Data Analytics. The global of these on-campus Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes grew by 63%

Compared to the Big Four, non-traditional destinations tend to offer a higher proportion of programmes related to Business & Management, Engineering & Technology and Computer Science and IT.

Implications

The expansion of on-campus English-taught programmes outside the traditional anglophone destinations has profound implications for global student mobility. This trend means that prospective students now have access to a broader array of academic programmes in a wider range of countries than ever before.

Universities across Europe, Asia, and other regions are increasingly offering programmes in English, providing highly competitive value-for-money propositions. As a result, students can choose from a diverse selection of institutions and study destinations, often finding more affordable options compared to the traditional English-speaking countries.

Mark Walker, Director of English & Exams at the British Council, said:

“The British Council supports learners to improve and prove their English skills. Last year alone, over four million IELTS tests were taken by people looking to prove their English language proficiency and around 60 million users accessed a British Council free Learn English site across almost every country in the world. The remarkable growth of English taught degrees highlighted in this report prompts us to reflect on the evolving international education landscape and its potential impacts. English continues to be a critical enabler to opportunities in education and employment and the British Council continues to be committed to supporting learners around the world.”

Edwin van Rest, cofounder and CEO of Studyportals said: 

“The surge in English-taught programmes outside traditional anglophone destinations marks a significant shift in global education. As universities across the globe rapidly adopt English as a medium of instruction this means more symmetrical talent flows as traditional student origin countries also become more compelling study destinations. This expansion provides students with more competitive and affordable opportunities, while also intensifying the competition for established institutions, particularly in light of stricter entry requirements and visa uncertainties.”

Contact

For more information, or to arrange interviews on the report:

Contact  Studyportals – Cara Skikne |  Studyportals  caraskikne@studyportals.com | +31 684847508

Contact the British Council – Richard Evans, British Council Media Manager | RichardJames.Evans@britishcouncil.org

About Studyportals 

Studyportals is the world’s most comprehensive study choice platform, helping students to choose their best-fit study across 200,000+ English-taught programmes from 3,500+ institutions.

Over 55 million students use Studyportals platforms annually to find and compare their study options across borders and select the right programme. Our goal is to make education choice transparent, globally and ensure a future where no student will miss out on an education opportunity, because of a lack of information.

Based on the search and choice behaviour of millions of students, our Analytics and Consulting team provide real-time, forward looking market insights on student interest, institutional offering, pricing, and the changes in the competitive landscape for international education. At the same time Studyportals helps universities reach a global audience and diversify their student population.

About the British Council 

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We build connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language. Last year we reached over 67 million people directly and 745 million people overall including online, and through broadcasts and publications. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive a 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.

The British Council is a proud co-owner of IELTS, the world’s most popular English language proficiency test for higher education and global migration.  More than 12,500 organisations around the world recognise IELTS and trust the accuracy of assessment across the four key English language skills.

About the report

The report examines the growth of on-campus English-taught full degree programmes offered at a Bachelor’s and Master’s level, and answers questions such as:

  • What is the role of English in international education?
  • How is the supply of English-taught programmes changing over ?
  • Are there regional differences in the provision of English-taught programmes?
  • How many higher education institutions are offering English-taught programmes across different regions and countries?
  • Are ranked universities more likely to offer English-taught programmes than non-ranked ones?
  • Are there city hubs globally where most English-taught programmes are concentrated?

Is there an equal distribution of programmes across all disciplines, or are  certain disciplines being prioritised?

  • Are more programmes taught in English offered at the undergraduate or postgraduate level?

Which regions are more likely to offer online programmes taught in English?

  • Are some regions offering more flexibility in terms of part-time study programmes taught in English?
  • Are there differences in the level of English requirements across different destinations?
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