Carmen Neghina
11 years ago

Steep growth of English-Taught Master’s in continental Europe


The total number of fully English-taught Masters in Europe has increased by 42 % since 2011.This is concluded from the latest data analysis on The results were published by the Institute of International Education (IIE) this month.

In recent years, European countries where English is not the primary language have developed an increasing number of programs taught either fully or partly in English. Universities are responding to a domestic demand for higher education in English, while this also helps to attract students from around the world. The European countries with the most English-taught Master’s programs are: The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, France, and Spain.

Growth of English-taught masters programmes in Europe

The paper, “English-Taught Master´s Programs in Europe: A 2013 Update” provides a data-driven look at the continuous growth of European degrees that are taught entirely or partially in English.

The authors of the paper (Megan Brenn White from the Brenn White Group and Elias Faethe, Head of University Value Germany at StudyPortals) examine this growth, including the total number of programs offered by country and academic discipline, their duration, and data on prospective students.

“With the increase of English-Taught programs, Europe´s higher education is becoming more and more attractive for global talent”, says Edwin van Rest, CEO of StudyPortals. “We notice that students from around the world are keen to study and live abroad in Europe. They want to get to know new cultures and languages, while having the opportunity to get an English-taught education.”

Denmark shows fastest growth, the Netherlands and Germany are still on top

Although the Netherlands and Germany still lead the way in offerings of English-taught Master´s programs, since 2011 the fastest growth rates have been in Denmark and Sweden, at 74% and 73%, respectively. As stated in the 2011 report, Scandinavian countries have switched almost all their postgraduate teaching to English. Italy, Finland and France also displayed growth rates of over 40% compared to 2 years ago.

The most popular fields for English education are still business and economics (28%) and engineering and technology (21 %) – together accounting for half of all the English-taught programs.

Many factors influence the prevalence of English-taught programs across countries. They include whether or not institutions are allowed to charge tuition to international students, government policies regarding the provision of English-taught courses, the capacity to offer courses in English, and perceived market demand.

The biggest change since the last report has been the increase in two-year Master programs and the decrease in one-year courses. Two-year English-taught degrees became more common in the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Finland, Belgium and Switzerland.

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