English Language Degree Courses Becoming Increasingly Competitive—Study

English Language Degree Courses Becoming Increasingly Competitive—Study

English Language Degree Courses Becoming Increasingly Competitive—Study

According to a survey, the number of courses outside the major anglophone study destinations has increased by 77 percent in four years, indicating that competition in English-language degree courses is becoming cutthroat.

The survey released by the British Council and Studyportals on Dec. 7 revealed that nearly one in every five English-medium degree programs is currently taught outside of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Key Takeaways:

  • Outside of the ‘big five,’ about one out of every five English-medium degree programs is taught.
  • In four years, the number of courses offered outside of the top anglophone study locations has climbed by 77%.
  • The figures completely changed the landscape of international education in English, noting the increasingly competitive landscape of English language degree courses.


Carmen Neghina, a senior marketing analytics consultant at Studyportals and one of the authors of the report, said that it is a wake-up call that teaching English is no longer a unique value proposition.

Based on course listings from Studyportals, the research found 27,874 English-taught programs outside of major anglophone countries in May 2021, up from 15,742 in January 2017.

Sixty-three percent were provided within the European Higher Education Area while the Republic of Ireland led the way in Europe with 2,776 courses. The Netherlands (1,937) and Germany (1,937) also saw significant growth (1,826).

Over a four-year period, the number of English-medium programs offered by universities in China, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan more than doubled to 3,389. This figure accounts for 12.2 percent of the global total outside the “big five.”

Moreover, Sub-Saharan Africa (2,253 courses, or 8.1 percent) and east Asia were also important centers (1,851 courses, 6.7 percent).

Neghina said that if these countries start teaching English or start doing it at the rate of Europe, that completely changes the landscape of international education in English.


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