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

What is cross-border study?

We explain what flexible cross-border study options are, why they are becoming increasingly popular worldwide and the benefits they offer international students and universities.

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What is cross-border study?

Cross-border study*, also known as transnational education (TNE), comprises of study programmes that cross a national border. Gaining a foreign qualification at a branch campus, doing a dual degree at 2 universities/colleges in different countries, or even studying for a foreign qualification online are all examples of cross-border study. See the full list of cross-border study options below.

*Like all the courses listed on our international sites, cross-border study options are always English-taught programmes, even if they are qualifications awarded by universities/colleges in non-English speaking destinations.

What are the advantages of cross-border study?

Cross-border study is growing at an unparalleled rate. For British cross-border qualifications alone, over 650,000 international students were enrolled in 2015/16! But just why is cross-border so popular? We explain some of the benefits for students and universities/colleges below…

For students:

  • It gives them access to quality foreign qualifications they might not otherwise have been able to pursue
  • It is usually more affordable than traditional study abroad
  • It is a more flexible method of study that can fit around life commitments and avoid issues like securing study visas
  • Having a quality foreign qualification can often lead to better job prospects
  • It offers the possibility to gain qualifications from more than one university/college

For universities/colleges/schools:

  • It allows them to reach talented international students who might not otherwise be able to access their programmes in an increasingly competitive study abroad market
  • They can develop relationships with overseas institutions and gain resources
  • In the case of branch campuses, they can create a physical presence overseas with their own staff and systems
  • They can increase their overall international student numbers without having to allocate extra space in their existing in-country campuses
  • They often will be supported by government who see cross-border as a crucial movement towards internationalisation

Types of cross-border study
Cross-border study comes in all shapes and sizes. With so many options it can be very confusing for students to work out the best course for them! We’ve outlined the main types of cross-border study below with an example for each…

Dual/Double degree
Degree delivered by 2 (or more) universities/colleges in different countries with 1 degree awarded that is jointly accredited by each institution OR Degrees delivered by 2 (or more) universities/colleges in different countries with 2 (or more) individual degrees awarded, each accredited by an individual institution.

Example of a double degree
Institution: ITMO University
Course: Double Degree Master's Program in Optics, Photonics & Optoinformatics (with University of Rochester, USA)
Accredited by: Master of Science (MSc) from ITMO University in Optical and quantum technology of transmission, storage and treatment of information, Quantum Informatics, Biophotonics. Master of Science (MSc) from UR in Optics
Duration: 2 years
Study Abroad: Yes – 1 year in Russia + 1 year in USA

Example of a dual degree
Institution: Sciences Po Paris (France)
Course: Dual Master of International Affairs & Law
Accredited by: LL.M degree (from Georgetown University (United States)) / Master in International Affairs (from Sciences Po Paris (France))
Duration: 2 years full-time
Study Abroad: Yes – 1 year in France + 1 year in USA

International branch campus
When the accrediting university or college establishes a campus overseas.

Example of a branch campus
Institution: Monash University Malaysia
Course: Master of Philosophy
Accredited by: Monash University (Australia)
Duration: 2 years full-time
Study Abroad: No

Franchise programmes
When the accrediting university/college licenses an institution in another country to deliver its programmes overseas.

Example of a franchise programme
Institution: City Unity College (Greece)
Course: MSc Health Psychology
Accredited by: Cardiff Metropolitan University (United Kingdom)
Duration: Not Specified
Study Abroad: No

Twinning programmes
Qualification from accrediting university/college with time spent studying in another country.

Example of a twinning programme
Institution: Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (UAE)
Course: BA (Hons) International Business
Accredited by: University of South Wales (United Kingdom)
Duration: 3 years full-time
Study Abroad: Yes - 2 years in UAE + 1 year in UK

Online/Distance learning
Qualification from a foreign university/college studied online or via distance learning.

Example of online/distance learning
Institution: King’s College London, University of London
Course: International Programme in Addiction Studies MSC
Accredited by: King’s College London, University of London (UK), University of Adelaide (Australia), Virginia Commonwealth University (United States)
Duration: 1 years online
Study Abroad: No

What type of student should consider cross-border study?

Maybe you’re a mature student that wants to pursue a foreign qualification but is tied to staying at home due to family or other commitments. Perhaps you’re worried about the difficulties of securing a study visa. You might really want a foreign qualification but don’t have the funds to study overseas. Cross-border could be for you! It offers a new type of flexibility that means you could study from home online or maybe at a branch campus located in your home country or a neighbouring country. This way you won’t have to uproot your life to move abroad, but you’ll still be able to pursue a foreign qualification that in turn could lead to a better future with more lucrative job prospects.

Cross-border can also be appeal to the more adventurous international student! Some types of cross-border, such as double and double degrees, allow you to complete your studies in two different countries, which can be a great cultural and learning experience! You’ll also get a qualification from two different universities/colleges, which could look great on your CV and allow you to take advantage of the resources at both institutions.

We listen to our student audience and are proud to be the first ever global study abroad site to list cross-border options. Use our site to browse the courses that suit you most or read the articles below to find out about individual cross-border study options in more detail.

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