Which subjects are most likely to be taught abroad in English? Within Europe there are around 1,500 degrees taught in English at bachelor level but your chances of finding one suitable for you will really depend on what you wish to study.
In the menu on the left you will find more specialised advice about particular subjects but in general terms, when you start searching for suitable courses there are a number of things you should bear in mind:
- Is the subject you wish to study really the same in every country? This is particularly true in arts and humanities. A history degree in another country is unlikely to cover British history unless that is its specialist focus. Another example is law. You cannot go abroad and study English law in the same way as you can here. However, some courses may be quite similar, eg. Irish law. Others will be completely different.
- Does the subject even exist at universities abroad? Is it called something else? If you look for degrees in politics in Europe, you are unlikely to find any. However, subjects such as European Studies or International Relations may be exactly what you are looking for. Be prepared to widen your search terms when looking for the right course. Another subject that is difficult to find is geography. This doesn't exist in many European countries but we are starting to see courses emerge in physical geography. In general, we recommend searching for earth or environmental sciences, or humanities subjects
- Is the subject you are looking for too narrow? British universities are far more likely to enable you to study a very specific area. There are around 37,000 bachelor level qualifications at UK universities and they can be very specific indeed. This follows on from the British school system; A' levels do not have the same breadth as other school leaving certificates. This is another reason to widen your search terms when looking for the right course for you. If you really don't want to compromise in this way, then it might make sense for you to wait until you enter postgraduate education before going abroad; there are lots of specialised options available to you in English at that stage.
- Will your degree be recognised when you come back to the UK? This depends on where you study. Within the European Union the answer is yes. However, you do need to pay particular attention to this if you wish to enter certain professions such as architecture, engineering, teaching etc. Here you should double check whether your degree covers the same ground. In subjects such as law you will have to expect to take a conversion course if you wish to practise in England. Subjects such as medicine and dentistry are more straightforward although it can sometimes be a challenge finding training contracts if you have studied abroad. If you study outside the European Union you may find that your degree is not immediately recognised and there may be a need to take a professional exam, such as PLAB for medical students.
- How can you find the right course taught in English? In English-speaking countries this should be simple enough. However, American universities typically do not admit students to specific programmes. There you have the opportunity to build your degree from a vast array of individual modules. This gives you a great deal of flexibility but it does mean you have to search for information in a very different way from what you are used to when looking at British university websites and prospectuses. Within non-English speaking countries in Europe, we maintain a database of bachelor-level qualifications that you can search here. Some universities are better than others in terms of providing us with detailed information but we try to make sure we can at least give you an idea of what exists and how much it is likely to cost you.
If you can navigate these five questions and find something that might be suitable for you then you can start thinking about whether the university is somewhere you would like to live and whether it offers you the best possible start in your life and career.