Recently there has been a shift in the discourses of university policy from internationalisation towards the contested concept of global citizenship. This paper explores ways of challenging the current interpretation of international education policy through the concept of global citizenship drawing on the discussion forums of two cohorts of participants in an online course. The participants’ responses illustrate ways they are rethinking the purpose of international higher education and the relevance of the concept of global citizenship. Whilst most participants whole-heartedly endorsed a more holistic view of higher education, several issues were raised, especially the fit of the ideal of global citizenship with a capitalist society and the Western heritage of the concept, which were perceived to be troublesome issues. Resistance to the inclusion of education for global citizenship was anticipated from institutions and disciplines, both heavily invested in the status quo. The academics’ personal beliefs about higher education, and their willingness and potential to design and deliver curriculum for global citizenship were also prominent. Although universities are beginning to include the term global citizen in their policy documents the extent to which this might influence the goals and curricula of higher education is yet to be realised.