10 tips for developing English-taught bachelor’s programmes

10 tips for developing English-taught bachelor’s programmes

Are you considering developing English-taught bachelor’s programmes (ETBs) or are you in the process of expanding your offering? Higher education institutions (HEIs) are increasingly offering ETBs, an endeavour that involves the entire institution. Read these practice-based tips from higher education professionals to make your ETBs a success. 

Do your research

  • Develop and explore your rationale for offering ETBs. Are you introducing or expanding ETBs in order to offer international skills to local students, attract international students, gain financial benefits or perhaps enhance the reputation of your institution? The ‘why’ will determine the kind of ETBs you should develop.
  • Find your niche programme(s). Your ETBs compete with the programmes of HEIs globally and therefore you should offer programmes in subjects in which you have a competitive advantage. Researching the offer of your competitors and benchmarking with similar programmes will help you stand out in the crowd.
  • Evaluate the labour market demand for your ETBs nationally and internationally. Engage with employers to better understand what skills and knowledge are needed in their industry. This will enhance students’ employability prospects and placement opportunities.

Prepare your faculty and staff

  • Ensure your HEI is prepared to deal with international students throughout the student journey. From admission to graduation, ETB students will come in contact with staff in different units who need to possess English and intercultural skills. Buy-in from both academic and administrative staff is essential in making this happen.
  • Invest in international pedagogical and language training for staff. Offering ETBs requires more than a mere translation of the curricula. Teachers need an appropriate level of English and awareness of how to teach in a diverse classroom to ensure an effective international learning environment.
  • Make sure you have the staff and financial resources available to embark on ETBs. Developing ETBs will cost additional resources in the form of curriculum development, recruitment and admissions as well as readiness of student support services.
  • Set up a joint programme development team for all staff and faculty working with ETBs. This will allow for staff from different units to learn from each other and share best practices as well as understand each other’s perspectives.

Reconsider the student experience

  • Develop a coherent strategy for marketing, recruitment, and admissions for ETBs with clear roles and responsibilities. As the programme(s) and some of the student groups are new to your institution and/or faculty, a strategically coordinated approach will be most successful.
  • Be prepared for more applicants (fulfilling your admissions criteria) than in your local-language programmes. Since you recruit from secondary schools across the globe, anticipating the demand is difficult. Make sure you have a sufficient pool of teachers to deliver the programme(s) as well as adequate facilities.
  • Create a strategy for integrating the international students. Many ETB students are abroad and away from home for the first time and might need more support than master’s or exchange students. Consider integration in everything from the classroom to accommodation and support systems to maximise the international learning experience for international and local students alike.

The number of ETBs offered in Europe has experienced significant growth over the past decade, and now is the time to consider whether adding or updating an ETB programme is right for your institution.

This blog post is based on the experiences of higher education practitioners and policy-makers interviewed for the publication English-taught bachelor’s programmes: Internationalising European higher education. Want to learn more? Read about the study and download the e-publication for free.

Anna-Malin Sandström
EAIE, the NetherlandsAnna-Malin is Policy Officer at the EAIE.