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Cross-border study : Choosing how to study - Must read

What is a branch campus?

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There are a lot of new words to get to know when it comes to researching international study. Different languages in different countries have different ways of describing something; is it a degree or a program? A college or an institution? It can all become very confusing.


With the dawn of cross-border study – where you study with a university in a country other than the one that university is from – there’s even more lingo to understand. Some concepts are clearer than others, but one of the phrases we get asked about a lot is ‘branch campus’.


Branch campus definition 


Much in the same way many people describe banks or shops of the same brand that are in different locations as ‘branches’, a branch campus is one that’s affiliated with a specific university but not in the same location. For example, the University of Nottingham in the UK has a campus in Malaysia.


So essentially, a branch campus is a learning centre abroad that is part of a university somewhere else in the world. If you’re studying there, your degree is still accredited by the home university, you just don’t need to go to the country where their main campus is located.


Using the example above, a Malaysian, living in Malaysia, could get a UK degree without ever even getting on a flight. 


Other names for a branch campus


Because this is a relatively new idea, there seems to be a whole range of names for it and it might be referenced as any one of them depending on where you’re looking.


You might see any of these in your search, all of which mean the same as branch campus:

  • Satellite site
  • Foreign campus
  • International branch campus
  • Overseas campus


Rest assured, they mean broadly the same thing. 


So which countries have branch campuses in them?


You’d be surprised how many! Asia and the Middle East are proving popular locations for universities to open branch campuses, largely because in some countries from these areas the local higher education provision isn’t as strong as in others.


US universities are certainly leading the way in terms of opening branch campuses; there are American universities in the likes of Thailand, Japan, UAE and Spain, and these are just a few examples. 


Many UK universities, some European universities and some Australia universities are following suit and each year more and more universities are expected to opened branch campuses with demand on the rise. 


What are the benefits of studying at a branch campus?


Here are the top 3 reasons why people choose to study at a branch campus:


1. The obvious benefit is saving money. International study can be very expensive once you add up flight and visa costs and if you can study in your home country, you eliminate these entirely. 


2. Studying at a branch campus also means you don’t have to uproot your life - if you’ve got friends and family you don’t want to leave, this can be very attractive.


3. You can get a world-class qualification from a reputable institution which you might not have in your own country. If the options for higher education are limited where you live, this could mean you achieve a better degree.


How to find universities with branch campuses


So now you know exactly what a branch campus is, if you’re ready to look at cross-border study options, you can find these by searching. When you’ve decided on a subject, choose the location you want to study in, run the search and then use the filter to select ‘cross-border’ – this will ensure you get to see what branch campuses, if any, are available to you. Best of luck!


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