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The Hotcourses Diversity Index (HDI) Methodology

Find out how we calculated how 'diverse' universities are in the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand


The Hotcourses Diversity Index (HDI) Methodology

The Hotcourses Diversity Index (HDI) offers an understanding of the relative diversity of the international students at campuses in the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand.  


The Diversity Index demonstrates the volume and nationality mix of international students while the Feel at Home Index gives a quick view of the proportion of international students from a specific country.


What are the percentages?

These reflect the number of students of a specific nationality as a proportion of the total number of international students. For context we have included a count of the number of international student nationalities, as well as the total number of overall international students.  


Results can be refined by subject area, study level, destination country or university name and can be re-ordered from most to least diverse.


How is the information sourced? 

HDI uses official government data from
Australia > Australian Government Department of Education & Training
UK > Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA)
USA > the Institute of International Education (IIE)
New Zealand > New Zealand Ministry for Education


Quick facts about the data:

  • It excludes domestic students (e.g. Australian nationals studying at Australian universities).
  • It is taken from the latest available reports, relating to students that enrolled in 2015/2016.
  • It is only for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees*.
  • Rounding methodology has been applied (see below for further detail).
  • Where data sources do not specify nationality as a single country, the data has been excluded.
  • Where data sources do not specify a specific subject e.g. ‘combined’, ‘mixed’, the data has been excluded.

*bar New Zealand, which also includes vocational qualifications.



The data source (Australian Government Department of Education & Training) does not provide precise volume data for values less than 5. Where this is the case then a value of 2.5 has been allocated. The sum of values has been rounded up to the nearest whole number for display and comparison purposes but should be considered an approximation.


New Zealand

The data source (New Zealand Ministry for Education) does not provide precise values but rather in multiples of 5. The sum of values has been totalled for display and comparison purposes but should be considered an approximation.


In the original report, any value that is less than 5 was rounded down to ‘0’. However, we would like to give a more reliable representation of the number of different nationalities studying at an institution. As a result, in our data, we are considering the value ‘0’ to mean one person from that nationality studies at the institution, the ‘5’ value will equal 2.5 from that nationality, ‘10’ as 7.5, ‘15’ as 12.5 and so on.


This will give a more representative number of the different amount of nationalities studying on one campus, creating a more reliable number in the ‘feel at home index’ section.


Therefore, the overall count of nationalities and international students in our index might vary compared to official university records due to this restriction in data provided by the New Zealand Ministry for Education.

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About Author

Katie Duncan is Editor of Hotcourses Abroad and is an NCTJ-qualified journalist and University of Exeter graduate. Having worked at an English language school in the UK, as an educational consultant in Spain and as a reporter in the international education sector, she is well placed to guide you through your study abroad journey. Katie grew up in Australia, which perhaps explains her unusual reptile collection, comprising of a bearded dragon (Bill) and tortoise (Matilda).

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