New report forecasts postgraduate mobility trends through 2024

Declining youth population aside, China is still projected to become the world’s largest source of international postgraduate students by 2024. It is expected to send 338,000 students abroad for graduate studies in 2024, compared to India’s 209,000.

In the UK, China is projected to represent the main source of international growth for postgraduate programmes (44% in 2024). Meanwhile, India is expected to be the main source for the US (54%). The report cautions that such high single-country contributions to international enrolments make the UK and the US increasingly dependent on Chinese and Indian postgraduate students – perhaps to the detriment of their share of students from other established and emerging markets.

The British Council report forecasts that the US will retain its #1 spot as a destination country for international postgraduate students, and that it will host 407,000 students enrolled in advanced degree studies in 2024. The UK follows with a projected international postgraduate enrolment of 241,000 by 2024, then Germany with 113,000 and Australia close behind with 112,000.

Canada and Australia are expected to experience the most growth in their international postgraduate enrolments, with an average annual growth rate of 4.1% each. Canada has also enjoyed the highest annual growth rate of the six studied destination markets from 2007 to 2012.

The British Council notes a recent trend toward students wanting to go beyond undergraduate degrees, a result of students looking for better jobs and governments wanting to create more highly skilled and educated workforces.

The Council also considers that a prior trend of the “massification” of higher education, in which higher education became accessible to more of the population, is a major contributing factor. This has led to a situation in which greater numbers of students are now able to enter postgraduate programmes via their newly achieved undergraduate qualifications.

Read the full summary of the ICEF report here.