IIE Networker - Fall 2010 - (Page 20)

ENGLIGHTAUGHT MASTER’S PROGRAMS Trends in English-Taught Master’s Programs in Europe By Megan Brenn-White and Edwin van Rest ONE OF THE most closely watched trends in European higher education is the rapid growth of courses and programs taught all or in part in English in countries where English is not the primary language. As a standard set of degrees, the “three-tier system” of bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D., came onto the market in all 47 signatory countries to the Bologna Accords, a parallel step to creating a “European Higher Education Area” that is truly open to the world was to increase the number of programs taught in English. While the trend itself is widely acknowledged, the landscape is changing so quickly that it is difficult to get a sense of what programs are offered, how much they cost, where the areas of growth are for both demand and supply, and more. This article will provide some answers drawn on data from MastersPortal.eu, the most comprehensive database of master’s programs in Europe. An expanded version of this article will be published as an IIE Briefing Paper later this fall. Most universities in Europe had previously had a “two-tier system” where students concluded their first degree with the equivalent of a master’s. The Bologna Process created an entirely new entry point into most European higher education systems for both European and international students. The taught master’s program has quickly become one of the most important calling cards for European universities looking to raise their international profile or find students on their way to a Ph.D. StudyPortals was an initiative of European student associations and has grown to include websites on bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. programs, and soon ScholarshipPortal.eu, a comprehensive database of scholarship programs for mobility towards and within Europe to be launched in September 2010. Degree programs can be listed at no cost on the website by public and private universities 20 across Europe. MastersPortal.eu lists more European degree programs than any other source. The quick growth of MastersPortal.eu to close to one million visitors per month and over 14,000 listed master’s programs in the space of roughly three years reflects both the actual growth in the number of master’s programs and interest in programs as well as a growing demand for marketing channels for student recruitment. Background All across Europe, institutions are determining which programs should be “international” and how they can create and manage top quality programs taught in English. For prospective students facing this new world of higher education, the choices are quite spectacular. They can embark on degrees in countries where they have literally no knowledge of the language. They can explore the ever-growing number of joint- and dual-degree programs. There are generous scholarship programs for particular countries or across the EU—most importantly, the Erasmus Mundus program—that help cover living costs and/or tuition. Word is getting out that institutions across Europe offer new, attractive and cost-effective options that simply did not exist ten, five or even one year ago. The challenges are also daunting as questions arise about how to maintain quality, how to integrate students with little or no language skills into local life, and how to finance these programs for international students. To attract the best international students, institutions must ensure that every interaction a prospective or current student has with the institution meets international standards, and all service departments of an institution have to function relatively well in English. Websites and brochures need to be translated or, better, “globalized”; emails and phone calls must be answered promptly and in sufficient English; visa regulations need to be explained; work opportunities for students who do not speak the local language need to be identified; and so on. So, what does it look like out there in this new landscape in 2010? Given these hurdles and the lack of a clear economic rationale in many countries, it may be surprising to learn that there are already over 4,000 English-taught master’s programs in non-English speaking countries in Europe—and that number looks as if it will continue to grow. The data below strives to provide the outlines of a picture that is constantly shifting. The trend that there will be more programs in the future seems inevitable, but many important details such as subjects offered or tuition for domestic and international students are still in flux. Numbers of Programs According to a paper published in 2008 by the Academic Cooperation Association (ACA), the total number of English-taught programs (including bachelor’s and master’s programs) totaled 2,400, up from 700 in 2002. By July 2010, the number of English-taught master’s programs listed in the MastersPortal.eu database outside of the United Kingdom was 3,543.1 An additional 671 programs listed English as one of their languages of instruction (Table 1). To get an idea of the scale, in the United Kingdom, 8,753 Master’s programs are listed, all but 11 of which are entirely taught in English. Edwin van Rest, co-author of this article and CEO of StudyPortals, estimates that they have captured roughly 75-85 percent of the total number of English-taught master’s programs in Europe at this point. Another interesting area to explore is the number of higher education institutions (HEIs) offering English-taught master’s programs within a country as well as the number of programs per institution. http://www.MastersPortal.eu http://www.MastersPortal.eu http://www.MastersPortal.eu http://www.MastersPortal.eu http://www.ScholarshipPortal.eu

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IIE Networker - Fall 2010

IIE Networker - Fall 2010
Message from Allan E. Goodman
IIENetworker University Presidents Interview Series
Ten Years On: Bologna’s Global Dimension and Its Limits at Home
A New Europe: Creating the European Higher Education Area
What’s New in Brussels? Visions for the EU and the European Higher Education Area
Trends in English-Taught Master’s Programs in Europe
Promoting Higher Education in Spain: The Creation of the Universidad.es Foundation
The Joint European/International Doctorate: A Strategic Tool to Enhance Worldwide Institutional Collaboration
More Europeans Seek Undergraduate Degrees in the United States
European Schools in America, American Schools in Europe: Outposts Along the Path to the Global University
Out of the Office and Into the World: A Personal Perspective on the Fulbright International Education Administrators Program
Applying European Approaches to U.S. Higher Education
Advertisers’ Index
IIE Program Profile: IIE in Europe

IIE Networker - Fall 2010