Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Wilkins, S., Balakrishnan, M. Stephens. & Huisman, J. 2012, ''Student choice in higher education: motivations for choosing to study at an international branch campus'', Journal of Studies in International Education, vol. 16, no. 5, pp. 413-433.


The international branch campus has emerged as a prominent feature on the international higher education landscape. Although there exists a fairly substantial body of literature that has sought to identify the motivations or choice criteria used by international students to select countries and institutions, there has to date been little research on student motivations for studying at an international branch campus. This quantitative study, using the push-pull model of international student destination choice as its theoretical framework, involved 320 undergraduate and postgraduate students studying at branch campuses in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It was found that the main motivations of students who choose to study at an international branch campus are different to those students who choose to study at home campuses. Thus, we propose a revised model of international student destination choice, which incorporates two distinct sets of push and pull factors-one that applies to the home campuses of Western universities and one that applies to international branch campuses. In addition to developing the theory on international student choice, our findings may be used by higher education institutions to better understand both their existing and potential students, with the view to applying segmentation techniques in their marketing activities.