British degree 'a real bargain'

August 4, 1995

British degrees are cheaper than those offered by Australian and American Ivy League universities, according to research by London University's Institute of Education, writes Simon Targett.

Foreign students are the focus of aggressive marketing by English-speaking universities in the United Kingdom, the US, Australia, and to a lesser extent Canada and New Zealand. Last week, Australia published research which showed that British PhDs were more costly than those offered by elite Australian and New Zealand universities.

But London University research, commissioned by the British Council, shows that the three-year honours degree costs Pounds 16,855 for non-science courses and Pounds 22,142 for science courses.

This compares well to four-year honours degrees in the US and Australia. These cost Pounds 20,476 and Pounds 32,857 for Australian non-science and science courses and Pounds 32,617 for American degrees from private universities. Only courses at public US universities and at Canadian institutions are cheaper.

For masters programmes, UK universities are only marginally more expensive than Australian universities, costing Pounds 7,694 per year rather than Pounds 7,381.

Geoff Evans, of the British Council's Education Counselling Service, said most Australian masters take two years, increasing their cost. Two-year masters at US private universities cost Pounds 9,395 per year.

The differences are important to those selling British education in price-sensitive markets like South Asia, notably India and Pakistan. By contrast, Pacific Rim countries, including Malaysia and Singapore, are more concerned about quality.

Research author Gareth Williams, professor of higher education, said: "Top British institutions like Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial College London offer a better bargain."

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