Carmen Neghina
9 years ago

New study reveals: English-taught education in Europe tripled since 2007


Higher education is increasingly international and the competition for the brightest minds is growing globally. To attract the most talented international students, many non-English speaking countries have started to offer their courses also in English. The recently published study “English-Taught Programmes in European Higher Education” by ACA reveals that the offer of English-taught Bachelor and Master programmes in non-English speaking European countries has grown tremendously over the last seven years. The study was funded by the European Commission and basis its conclusions on data of amongst others StudyPortals and Eurostat. A similar trend was observed in two earlier studies by StudyPortals in cooperation with Brenn-White Group and IIE on English-Taught Master’s programmes in 2011 and 2013.

In two previous ACA studies, Nordic countries together with the Central Western Europe have been forerunners in establishing English instructed programmes. The latest research now reveals a significant increase in English-taught degree programmes all across Europe, with the steepest growth in the Baltic and South-Western countries. The North-South divide is still visible though. The report states: “there remain huge differences between individual countries, especially in the form of a North-South divide. As in our earlier reports, the Nordic countries and the Netherlands are the leading providers. The runners-up are the Baltic States. Southern European countries are still largely ‘abstentious’.”

Growth of English-taught programmes - StudyPortals

The proportion of institutions offering English-taught programmes has grown significantly in Nordic and Baltic countries. On the contrary, in South and Eastern Europe the number of institutions has not changed much which implies that it is the same institutions that have just widened their offer.

The proportion of higher education institutions offering English-taught programmes

The proportion of the ETP’s shows to be correlated with the share of students enrolled in ETP’s. Denmark has the biggest share of ETP’s and students enrolled in ETP’s, followed closely by the Netherlands and Sweden. The only exception is Finland, which has rather big share of ETP’s but small proportion of students enrolled in them.

Proportion of English-taught programmes and students enrolled in English-taught programmes in top 10 countries in academic year 2013-2014

Institutions reported that the most important reasons to introduce English-taught programmes are an improved international profile and awareness of the institutions as well as the strengthening of cooperation with foreign partner universities and institutions. This need is also noted by StudyPortals with more than 1,600 participating universities and 35,000 listed English-taught programmes.
The new study was edited by Mr. Wächter and Mr. Maiworm and published in the ACA research series. It is the third report of this kind, which allowed for comparison with their previous studies on English-taught programmes in 2001 and 2007. This recent study also included data from StudyPortals and is available to download here.

Press contact: Carmen Neghina | Tel: +31 655 875 270 | Email:


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