Study Abroad research
International STEM students: Focusing on skills for the future (2015)
Careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM subjects) build communities and transform nations. A good supply of well-qualified STEM professionals will help fuel economic growth, high productivity, innovation and research excellence. International students play a vital role in the provision of higher education STEM courses by adding value with their distinct experiences and viewpoints, contributing to the advancement of research in a host destination, and ensuring the sustainability of selected courses, especially at the postgraduate level.
Given the critical influence of STEM education in shaping the future, it is vital to ensure education policies are linked to market needs in order to support international STEM student recruitment and retention. This important report provides an overview of global trends in STEM fields, including a focus on developments in the UK, US, Canada and Australia. The results of an exclusive international survey also offer insight and an understanding of the factors affecting STEM international students’ choice of course and destination country, and the perceived unique value propositions of the UK, US, Australia, and Canada in these fields. A valuable insight for nations and institutions, this report is a resource which can help support the development of strategies to drive STEM recruitment, whilst also encouraging the cultivation and practice of STEM skills.
View the full report on our Education Intelligence website.
Broadening Horizons: The value of overseas experience (2015)
In the third annual report examining how UK and US students perceive study abroad, Broadening Horizons aims to understand the perceived drivers and barriers regarding overseas study, and how these are changing over time.
The latest report features research, including the responses of almost 7,500 UK and US students aged between 16 and 30 years, surveyed between March and April 2015. As well as identifying the main academic and non-academic drivers to overseas study, the report highlights key academic and non-academic deterrents. Cost and lack of foreign language skills were found to be among the biggest deterrents to study abroad for both UK and US students, although there were differences between the groups in terms of the factors considered to be more discouraging. The report also provides insight into student awareness of government-sponsored study abroad programmes, information sources used when considering overseas study options, and the perceived value of study abroad.
Given that both the UK and US have their own overseas study strategies catering to their countries’ unique outward mobility situation and experience, the report highlights some of the information gaps and perceived barriers which could be addressed to help encourage interest in study abroad.
- Thirty-four per cent of UK students and fifty-four per cent of US students expressed interest in study abroad
- The majority of UK students and US students not interested in or undecided about overseas study stated that they did want to travel and live abroad
- For both UK and US students, the cultural experience of studying abroad was a significantly stronger driver than academic-or employability-related factors
- Students who had previously studied overseas were more likely to draw links between employability and study abroad and want to live and work abroad
- UK students were more likely to be motivated to study abroad by factors related to employability than US students
- UK and US students who had previously studied abroad were less concerned about overseas tuition being high than those who hadn’t studied abroad
- Costs, personal well-being and a lack of language skills were the main perceived deterrents to study abroad and the top concerns for those who aspire to overseas study for both UK and US students
- UK and US students not interested in study abroad would most be incentivized to change their minds if they have help with funding and foreign language training
- Forty-two per cent of UK respondents stated they wanted to study in non-Anglophone countries
- Sixty-five per cent of US respondents were interested in non-Anglophone destinations
- US students were more likely to be satisfied with the amount of information they had prior to making their overseas study experience
- Thirty-five per cent of UK students and sixty-three per cent of US students who had already studied abroad knew about government-sponsored programs for overseas study
View the executive summary below, and read the full report on our Education Intelligence website.
US employer perceptions of UK university degrees earned in the United Kingdom (2011)
Most employers in the United States consider degrees earned in the United Kingdom to be the same as or better than those earned in the US. Employers are seeking candidates who are well-rounded, with a relevant degree from a reputable university or program, and they perceive these things to be generally characteristic of Americans who have studied at universities in the United Kingdom.
While most employers are favorable towards degrees earned in the UK, they are not fully knowledgeable about them. Employers’ favorability is best understood in the context the “halo effect” cast by the top UK universities, Oxford and Cambridge. Since many employers lack actual knowledge of the UK higher education system, it is unsurprising that they cite a number of barriers to assessing UK degrees.
To bolster the employment prospects of alumni from universities in the UK, it will be useful for institutions to build engagement with employers around the characteristics employers perceive to be most valuable. It is therefore a very positive finding that, when presented with the characteristics of the UK higher education system, employers are extremely positive towards these attributes.
The research has highlighted a number of areas where action can be taken to communicate with employers to improve perceptions and ability to assess candidates with UK degrees:
- Communications with employers should emphasize the characteristics that make an education in the UK unique yet relevant (e.g. the tutorial system of learning, more independent study, and earlier specialization in a specific subject area).
- Employers would like universities to have a page specifically for them to utilize on their websites, which includes information about programs, accreditation and grading.
- It is critical to educate students about the importance of providing employers with additional information about their university and program.
- Students should be made aware of the advantages of tailoring the information to which they provide employers according to the industry and size of that individual business or organization to which they are applying.
View the final research report below.