British Council
International Higher Education

This interactive graphic was created by Kiln for the British Council. It is based on data from the HESA (for students entering the UK) and UNESCO Institute for Statistics (for students exiting the UK).

For design purposes the graphic refers to ‘Country’, but this term is used to include territories, principalities and Special Administrative Regions.

Data notes

For students studying in UK HE: values reflect total enrolments.

Data from 1978 to 1994 taken from printed materials from Department for Education (or equivalent, historically), is rounded, approximate and coverage does not include whole of the UK. Before 1980, FE figures are included in these totals, after 1981 it is HE only.

Data from 1994 taken from HESA Student Record (01 December population) – note that this record differs from HESA Standard population. Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited. HESA does not accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived from the data by third parties.

Data include non-UK domiciled students registered with publicly funded HE institutions across the whole of the UK, and one independent UK HEI. Data include ‘Incoming visiting and exchange students’.

Data for the 1980s is rounded and is approximate. Before 1980, FE figures are included in these totals, after 1981 it is HE only.

Students who studied the whole of their course outside the UK (usually via distance learning) were included in HESA’s data from 1994, but excluded from 1996 onwards.

For UK students studying outside of the UK: Data taken from UNESCO Institute for Statistics and cover only students who pursue a higher education degree outside their country of residence (so-called “degree mobility”) and exclude students who are under short-term, for-credit study and exchange programmes that last less than a full school year (so-called “credit mobility”).

Subject categories
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths)

Medicine & dentistry
Subjects allied to medicine
Biological sciences
Veterinary science
Agriculture & related subjects
Physical sciences
Mathematical sciences
Computer science
Engineering & technology


Social studies
Historical & philosophical studies
Creative arts & design


Business & administrative studies
Architecture, building & planning
Mass communications & documentation



Start year
Speed/time per year (ms)
Number of countries
Columns per country
Students per dot
Branding bar
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Shade by Country Gender Age Subject Level
All international students UK

students in
Key events
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