Skip to navigationSkip to content
REUTERS/Eddie Keogh
Punting on the river Cherwell in Oxford.
MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE

Nearly a quarter of Britain’s masters students are Chinese

Heather Timmons
By Heather Timmons

White House correspondent

British university masters programs are increasingly dominated by students from China, who now make up 23% of the total enrollment, according to a new study on English higher education—only narrowly behind the 26% of students who are British.

Of the 144,760 overall post-graduate students in Britain overall, 40% are British. Chinese students are a close second, about 21% of the total, and their ranks increased by 9% from the 2011-12 to 2012-13 school year:

More than half of the Chinese masters students in Britain (52%) are studying management or business studies, a group that includes the Chinese tourist who was kidnapped this week in Malaysia, shortly after she was accepted into a graduate program in the UK. Many of them may are going abroad because of a dearth of high-quality universities in their own country. Among China’s wealthiest families, Britain is the preferred destination for higher education, ahead of the US and Canada.

Despite the prevalence of foreign-born students, foreign enrollment in British colleges and universities actually dropped for the first time in 29 years during 2012-2013, after the country passed tough new visa rules for students from India and Pakistan. The number of Indian students decreased by 26% and students from Pakistan dropped 20%.

Subscribe to the Daily Brief, our morning email with news and insights you need to understand our changing world.

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.