English as the Lingua Franca in Transnational Higher Education: Motives and Prospects of Institutions That Teach in Languages Other Than English

Stephen Wilkins, Jolanta Urbanovič

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)


Although there seems to be a wide held assumption that transnational higher education programs have to be taught in English to be legitimate “international” programs, there are a few examples globally of international branch campuses that teach in languages other than English. Using seven institutional case studies from around the world, the research seeks to identify the motives of universities for establishing campuses abroad that deliver degree programs in languages other than English. The problems and issues experienced by these institutions are examined and their future prospects are considered. The main motives of the seven featured institutions for establishing campuses abroad were found to be altruistic rather than financial, but teaching in languages other than English presents advantages and disadvantages to institutions. In 2012, none of the seven institutions had more than 800 students although two institutions had been in existence for more than 16 years, indicating success at some level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-425
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Studies in International Education
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 27 2014



  • English language
  • international branch campuses
  • lingua franca
  • student recruitment
  • transnational higher education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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