Study in English in Denmark or China

There are now almost 8000 courses being taught in English by leading universities in non-English speaking countries according to a project mapping their expansion

The rise of universities teaching in English rather than their own local language has become a global phenomenon

These are not only appealing to the worlds five million international students who travel abroad they are also being chosen by students staying in their own countries who prefer to study in English rather than their own language

The research is from a Dutch-based organisation StudyPortals which has a database of information on 100000 bachelor and masters degrees at over 2100 universities around the world

It provides a starting point for people looking to find a way through the maze for globally minded students says StudyPortals Carmen Neghina

The mapping project has also looked at a group of 1000 universities at the top of international rankings and has found that more than three quarters of these offer at least one or more degrees taught entirely in English

These will include universities that are in English-speaking countries including the US and UK but Ms Neghina says there are now 72000 different English-taught courses on offer to students from these leading universities

The Netherlands has the most degrees taught entirely in English on the European mainland with 12 universities included in this ranking offering a total of over 1000 courses taught in English

Germany has 54 top universities in this ranking with over 835 English-taught courses for international students

Sweden has 12 universities listed with 550 courses in English; Denmark has seven universities listed with 482 programmes in English and Spain has 27 universities with 426 courses

More stories from the BBCs Knowledge economy series looking at education from a global perspective and how to get in touch

This is more than a European trend Of the 112 top universities identified in China 45 offer one or more English-language degrees as do 20 in Taiwan 11 in Japan and six in Thailand

The rising numbers of students studying abroad could drive this trend even further

Hans de Wit director of the Center for International Higher Education Boston College in the US says there are predictions that by 2025 the number of international students could have risen to eight million

The largest numbers of international students come from China India and South Korea but Nigeria is catching up fast

English-speaking countries together with Germany and France attract most of them But Dr de Wit has forecast that their market share is under threat due to increasing competition from other countries including China

Within Europe according to the Academic Co-operation Association the number of university courses taught in English in non-English-speaking countries has increased by more than 300% in seven years

The highest concentration is in Denmark where 38% of university programmes are English-taught courses In the Netherlands it is 30% Sweden 24% and Finland at 23%

The proportion of English-taught courses in Germany is just under 6% of the total programmes available In France and Italy it remains a much lower proportion about 3% And in Turkey it is lower still at about 2%

Such courses dont just attract international students They are also popular with home students particularly at masters level who want to gain an English language qualification alongside international students without leaving their own country

According to the ACAs report about 45% of those on English-taught university programmes in mainland Europe were studying in their own countries In about one in 20 courses there were only domestic students enrolled in these English-taught degrees

There was a trend for courses in the Baltic countries and south-eastern Europe to have more domestic students learning through English while English-taught courses in Nordic and western European countries tended to have more international students

But the pattern for English courses being more popular at postgraduate level is not universal

In most countries English-taught masters degrees are more common but not in South Africa and China which may be worth looking at for those wanting a bachelors degrees taught in English as well as a cultural adventure said Ms Neghina

There are also five-year courses in which the first three years might be taught in the home language such as Swedish with two postgraduate years taught in English – so that any local students will have to study for part of the time in English

Edwin van Rest chief executive of StudyPortals said students looking to study abroad need to understand whats on offer Choosing a new study programme without knowing your options is like buying a house but only looking at your own neighbourhood

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