If you work in academia, you’re already aware of UK universities that have set up campuses abroad—perhaps including yours. But did you know that there are eight overseas universities with their own campuses in the UK, and nine with dedicated buildings on the campuses of British universities? They’re a mixed group, but these little-known foreign ventures may offer opportunities for ambitious academics.
Here’s a little information about the largest of these interesting HE ventures:
- The Aga Khan University (www.aku.edu) is best known as one of the Middle East’s largest medical schools, but its Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations in London offers a two-year non-medical postgraduate programme and short courses. Students study abroad and in the UK.
- Richmond, the American University in London (www.richmond.ac.uk), partners with the Open University to offer unique dual US/UK degree programmes. It also offers “Semester abroad” opportunities to students from many American universities.
- Azad University in Oxford (www.auox.org.uk), the UK branch of a large Iranian university, offers a wide range of degrees, from undergraduate to PhD.
- Wroxton College in Oxfordshire is the British outpost of Farleigh Dickinson University (www.fdu.edu). It is primarily a “semester abroad” destination for American students.
- Girne American University (www.gauc.org.uk) is actually based in Cyprus, but has a British campus in Canterbury. Its offerings include Business, Economics, Architecture, Design and Fine Arts, plus a variety of English language courses.
- Canada’s Memorial University of Newfoundland (www.mun.ca/harlow) has a small campus in Harlow, which is used by students and staff from its parent university as a base for specialist programmes.
- Students from the University of Wisconsin, one of the largest state university systems in the US with nearly 200,000 students, sends students abroad to study in Midlothian, Scotland (www.uwrf.edu/WisconsinInScotland). Both American and UK staff are employed to teach at its rather stately Dalkeith Palace site.
- Finally, the Irish School of Ecumenics (www.tcd.ie/ise) , a postgraduate institute run by Trinity College, Dublin, has campuses in both Belfast and Dublin—fitting for its remit to foster scholarship in the area of dialogue, peace and reconciliation in Ireland and worldwide.
In addition to those with their own campuses, one Canadian university (Queen’s University of Ontario) and seven US universities run programmes in their own buildings on UK campuses. Many other overseas universities run UK-based programmes using shared facilities.
However, academics should always be careful when seeking employment with overseas universities. There are disreputable players in this market, private educational establishments that have been subject to investigations and controversies in their home countries or in overseas markets. Be sure to investigate the institution you are applying to, and any parent companies or associated ventures, to avoid negative impact on your career and reputation. Changes to policies can also make for precarious appointments: Schiller International University, which was a long-time presence in the “semester abroad” market, shut down in 2011 after 30 years in England, when new visa requirements for students made it too difficult for US and other non-EU students to attend.
That said, sector growth can be expected in this area, particularly as more institutions from the Middle East and Asia consider ways to meet their students’ demands for overseas study experiences.