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Two decades of international branch campus development, 2000–2020: a review

Stephen Wilkins (The British University in Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

International Journal of Educational Management

ISSN: 0951-354X

Article publication date: 3 November 2020

Issue publication date: 29 December 2020



The research aims to assess the achievements and challenges of international branch campuses (IBCs) to date and to consider how IBC development may progress in the future.


The article presents a review of the scholarly and grey literatures on IBCs. The commentary and discussion is structured around the objectives, perspectives and experiences of three key stakeholder groups, namely the institutions that own IBCs, students and host countries.


Some IBCs have failed to achieve their student recruitment and financial targets, while others have been successful, often expanding and moving into new, larger, purpose-built campuses. In the last few years, several countries have announced their intention to become a transnational education hub, or at least to allow the establishment of IBCs. It may be reasonable to assume that when there is demand for a product, supply will eventually follow. IBCs will survive and prosper as long as they provide benefits to each of their main stakeholder groups (i.e. students, institutions and governments), and as long as the local demand for higher education places exceeds the total supply.


The article provides a comprehensive and up-to-date review of IBC developments and research during the period 2000–2020. The findings and conclusions will be of interest to both researchers and practitioners.



The author thanks three anonymous reviewers for their advice, helpful comments and support.


Wilkins, S. (2021), "Two decades of international branch campus development, 2000–2020: a review", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 35 No. 1, pp. 311-326.



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