A branch campus is one that operates in one country, but is owned and
operated (at least in part) by a university that is based in a
different country, according to the SUNY Albany-based Cross-Border
Education Research Team (C-Bert). C-Bert maintains a list of institutions
that meet its definition of an international branch campus (along with
links to branch campus websites). Note that this website is not
specifically focused on admission procedures. Some college guidebooks,
including Fiske Guides, also identify several branch campuses that draw a
diverse student body, including US students.
More than 100 US colleges and universities operate one or more branch
campuses in another country, offering additional opportunities for
students to earn a US college degree outside of the United States.
Additionally, six international universities operate branches within the
United States. Most US branch campuses operate very similarly to their
main campuses in the United States, with courses typically taught in
English. However, a branch campus is usually smaller in size than its
home campus and boasts an extremely diverse student body.
There are various models associated with the branch campus concept.
Many branch campuses are organized as part of a hub, in which several
branch campuses—for example from the United States or other
countries—are operating alongside one another. Major hubs can be found
in Qatar, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, and China.
Education City in Qatar, for example, includes six American
universities, one British university, and one French university, each
offering a degree program in a field for which the institution is
well-known. Alternatively, Yale-NUS College in Singapore is sometimes
viewed as a branch campus by virtue of its affiliation with Yale,
however it does not award a Yale degree. Rather, it awards a Yale-NUS
degree. New York University offers another model, where its campuses in
Abu Dhabi and Shanghai form a global network with its main campus in New
York and 11 international academic centers.
Enrollment at branch campuses is open to local nationals who meet
admission criteria and other students coming from around the world. Many
US universities that operate branch campuses welcome US students to
these locations for short-term educational experiences, and some
actively recruit US students for full degree programs. The following
represent examples of US student enrollment at branch campuses:
The number of majors available at any one university’s branch campus
tends to be fewer than what the home campus offers. Marist Italy, a
branch campus of Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, offers
four-year degrees at its Florence campus in majors such as studio art,
art history, conservation studies, digital media, fashion design,
interior design, and Italian language.
It is important to note that some governments place restrictions on
teaching and research, potentially influencing the types of programs
offered. This also raises concerns about academic freedom.
Many branch campuses follow an academic calendar that is similar to
that of the home campus. In some cases, the application process, fees,
and other admission-related policies and procedures are similar for US
students at both the home and branch campus. However, because admission
representatives at branch campuses review applications from a very
diverse applicant pool, standard US admission requirements—for example
the SAT or ACT—may or may not be factored into admission or scholarship
decisions. Exceptions tend to be context-specific. For admission to NYU
Shanghai, for example, Chinese nationals must take the gaokao as part of
the university’s agreement with the Ministry of Education in China.