The internationalisation of higher education institutions
: A case study of a British university

  • Joanna Al-Youssef

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education (EdD)


This thesis presents a case study of the understandings of internationalisation of higher education at a UK university. The study elicited views from individuals in diverse management positions at the university, particularly in relation to the university’s internationalisation strategy document. Prior research in the field of internationalisation of higher education has largely focused on international students’ experiences or patterns of their mobility. As far as policy is concerned, there has been an emphasis on the commercial and diplomatic values of the ‘education export industry’. Internationalisation has also been seen in terms of ‘international activities’, the ‘international market’ and the expanding mass access to higher education. The research reported herein is particularly important in the sense that it provides insight into how the term internationalisation is understood from diverse positions within the university management and how these interpretations influence approaches to the implementation of the university’s internationalisation strategy. As a qualitative study, using in-depth interviews as the key data collection approach, the research is unusual in its challenging of interpretations of internationalisation that have previously been largely researched through surveys and questionnaires. The research and its findings take the concept of internationalisation away from the practices of the institution and into the accounts of the individuals who manage it. Findings of the research include the existence of clear differences in views about the meaning and means of implementation of internationalisation, which is widely seen as a goal or end-state rather than as a process. This poses a challenge for the implementation of the centrally-promoted international strategy in the institution concerned.
Date of Award1 Mar 2009
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorJ Lowe (Supervisor)


  • higher education
  • internationalisation

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