Market intelligence for international student recruitment from ICEF
Help shape the future of international education at the ICEF Monitor Global Summit London, September 23rd 2024
28th Sep 2022

New report highlights fields of study with surging international student interest

Short on time? Here are the highlights:
  • A new Studyportals report highlights 10 fields of study where student demand is higher than the supply of programmes in these areas
  • It identifies popular destinations for these programmes as well as top sources of demand
  • The report also looks at which destination countries are characterised by especially insufficient supply of programmes in certain fields relative to demand for them

A new analysis from Studyportals uses a large volume of student search data to pinpoint significant student interest in certain fields of study. The report identifies the following 10 fields as “subject areas where student interest is growing, and where the global supply of programmes is lagging behind demand.”

  • User experience design
  • Data science & big data
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Supply chain management & logistics
  • Sustainable development
  • Human computer interaction
  • Business intelligence & analytics
  • Food sciences
  • Biotechnology
  • International business

User experience design, in particular, is rising in popularity: student interest in this field has grown by 400% over the past four years, according to the Studyportals analysis.

Top areas of student interest for English-taught programmes. Darker dots signify higher student interest. Dots to the right of the chart indicate higher market opportunity given a greater divide between student demand and programme supply. Source: Studyportals

About the data

To determine these fields, Studyportals used two metrics: student pageviews on Studyportals as well as “the number of programmes linked to each of the 245 subdisciplines on our portals.” The company underlines the relevance of this analysis by pointing out that 52 million prospective students from 110 countries search on Studyportals annually, and that roughly “90% of all English-taught programmes in the world are listed on Studyportals.”

The 10 fields of study are essentially those where demand for bachelor’s and master’s programmes is higher than available supply. Student search behaviour on Studyportals indicates demand for programmes 12–24 months before students enrol, given that this is the average period of time of the overall student journey from researching study abroad (i.e., on Studyportals) to eventual enrolment.

Studyportals notes a specific way that universities could use the new data: “There is a lag between when the first universities introduce these courses, and when they become more mainstream. It is that lag, when student interest is rising, that can and should be shortened.”

Countries with the most student demand

In some cases, the Studyportals report indicates top origin countries for demand for certain programmes. For example:

  • Artificial intelligence: Ukraine, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Nigeria;
  • Supply chain management & logistics: India, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Iran, followed by Sri Lanka, Ghana, Germany, Turkey, and the US;
  • Biotechnology: Sri Lanka, Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Ghana;
  • International business: India, Nigeria and Bangladesh.

Countries attracting the most demand

For some programmes, the report identifies destination countries attracting the most demand. For example:

  • When searching for artificial intelligence programmes, students are looking especially at studying in Canada, Germany, the UK, and Italy.
  • Students interested in the field of human computer interaction are searching the most for programmes in Germany, Canada, the US, and the Netherlands.
  • Business intelligence & analytics students express the most interest in Germany and the UK.
  • Canada, the US, the UK, and Germany attract the most interest among students searching for food sciences programmes.
  • Germany and Italy are the most popular destinations for biotechnology programmes.
  • Germany and Canada are the preferred destinations for international business programmes.

Market opportunities

The report indicates where there would be a significant opportunity for educators in certain countries to develop more programmes in specific fields to better meet student demand. For example:

  • “Germany has only 2.5% of [biotechnology] programmes but attracts 21% of global interest. Italy has captured 12.7% of interest but supplies only 2% of programmes.
  • “Germany attracts 20.5% of the worldwide interest in international business but has only 4.5% of programmes. Canada attracts 8.7% of interest but supplies only 3.3% of programmes.”

For additional background, please see:

Most Recent

  • Australia moves to curtail onshore “visa hopping” Read More
  • ICEF Podcast: The outlook for international education in the USA – live from NAFSA Read More
  • Canada’s Immigration Minister signals that changes are coming to post-study work rights Read More

Most Popular

  • Comparing student visa proof of funds requirements across 20 study destinations Read More
  • Canada: More provincial cap numbers announced; IRCC moves up end date for post-graduate work for partnership programmes Read More
  • Lessons from Denmark: The downside of limiting international student flows Read More

Because you found this article interesting

Number of English-taught degree programmes rises by 22% from 2021 to 2024 A new report from British Council and Studyportals, “Mapping English-taught Programmes Worldwide,” reveals that in 2024, there are...
Read more
Prospect survey points to key factors in study abroad planning for 2024 A global survey of nearly 27,500 prospective international students provides some helpful insights on key decision points in...
Read more
Market snapshot: A guide to international student recruitment in Brazil FAST FACTS Capital: Brasília Population: 218 million (2024) Youth population: 44% below the age of 30 Median age:...
Read more
Will the US host 2 million international students within the decade? A new analysis from international research firm HolonIQ sets out four future growth scenarios for foreign enrolment in...
Read more
UK: Review finds no abuse of Graduate Route; recommends that current work rights remain in place for international students Following months of speculation, the UK’s Migratory Advisory Committee (MAC) has concluded its “rapid review” of the Graduate...
Read more
Building better landing pages for international student recruitment The following feature is adapted from the 2024 edition of ICEF Insights magazine. The digital edition of the...
Read more
UK: Home Office data finds a significant drop in student visa applications for first quarter of 2024 The UK’s tightened immigration settings are having a profound effect on international student demand for educational programmes in...
Read more
The art of the short: Viral video for international student recruitment The following feature is adapted from the 2024 edition of ICEF Insights magazine. The digital edition of the...
Read more
What are you looking for?
Quick Links