The IIE study, which takes data from MastersPortal.eu, Europe’s most popular source of information about postgrad courses, found there were 4,664 programmes taught entirely or partly in English in 2012, up from 1,500 in 2007 and just 560 in 2002.
The site lists 18,000 programmes this year – around 90% of all the Masters courses available in Europe.
Business & economics and engineering & technology were the most common disciplines taught in English
“The data from MastersPortal shows that there has been dramatic growth in the number of English-taught Master’s programmes offered in non-English-speaking Europe over the last five years,” the report states.
“The race to develop competitive Master’s programmes that are attractive to both European and international audiences has made English-taught master’s programmes one of the closest watched trends in European higher education.”
The Netherlands was said to offer most courses in English this year with 812 courses (up from 386 in 2007), followed by Germany with 632 (up from just 88) and Sweden with 401 (up from 168).
The top 10 European countries offering the most English-taught masters programmes:
The countries with the most universities offering English medium education were Germany (144), France (102) and Italy (56).
Business & economics and engineering & technology were said to be the most common disciplines taught in English, accounting for 49% of the total. They were also most popular with students, accounting for 47% of all visits to the MastersPortal.eu site last year – some 444,000 per month.
Most visitors to the site came from the UK, followed by Germany and the US with non-EU markets India, Pakistan and Turkey also in the top 10.
IIE said the growth in English taught courses was a result of greater synchronicity between European institutions since the start of the Bologna process in 1999, and rising domestic and international demand for English medium education.
“The development of these programmes, which open up higher education systems that were previously inaccessible to most international students, may have a dramatic impact on international student flows both within and outside of Europe,” states the report. “As a result, the trends are being closely monitored by institutions and individuals alike.”