Twinning programme
Complete a portion of your course in your home country before transferring abroad to complete your degree. Source: Michael M. Snatiago/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

Have your study abroad plans been put on hold due to the pandemic? One option for students who can’t travel abroad is to engage in a twinning programme until it is safe to do so. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of twinning programmes, here’s what you should know: 

What is a twinning programme? 

A twinning programme allows you to complete a portion of your studies in your home country before transferring to a university abroad, so long as they have an agreement between a local institution or pathway provider with a partner university abroad. This means the courses taken in the university of your country of residence is accepted by the foreign university in which this partnership takes place. 

Upon fulfilling graduation requirements, you will be awarded the partner university’s degree qualification. It is different from an exchange programme where students study for one or two semesters at a partner university abroad and transfer the credits to their home university. 

Which universities offer them?

twinning programme

International students from China and Malaysia constitute a large number of students who come to the UK through international pathways and partnerships. Source: Greg Baker/AFP

Many universities may have partnerships with reputable institutions abroad, including those that offer students a pathway to study in Australia, the UK, the US and New Zealand. Twinning programmes are popular. Last year, a joint study by the British Council and Universities UK International (UUKi) found that UK universities’ offshore campuses and partnerships remain an important contributor to the total number of international students that progress to study in the UK

One in six first-degree international students in the UK in 2018-19 consisted of “transnational entrants,” or students who came to the UK via programmes delivered abroad and credit recognition agreements, it said. They fall into two categories: those transferring from overseas universities through twinning programmes or the like, and those progressing from sub-degree pathway qualifications earned overseas. International students from China and Malaysia constitute a large number of students who come to the UK through these pathways and partnerships. 

In the case of Malaysia, for instance, several private universities have partnerships with universities in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and the US. Taylor’s University, for instance, offers its students the option of transferring to their partner universities in the UK and Australia. HELP University offers a UK Degree Transfer Programme, which enables students to continue their studies in the UK for an undergraduate LLB (Hons) degree. INTI International University and Colleges offer the American Degree Transfer Programme, a pathway to enjoy a smooth credit transfer to US and Canadian partner universities. 

Twinning programmes can keep your study abroad costs low

Twinning programmes can be a great way to keep your study abroad costs affordable. The duration of twinning programmes vary. Some are 1+2, where you spend one year in your country of residence and two years abroad, while others may offer a 3+1 option where you spend three years studying in your country of residence and one year abroad. Programmes that are 3+0 or 4+0 means students will spend the entire duration of their programme in their country of residence without going abroad. 

Twinning programmes could be ideal for students who currently cannot travel abroad due to COVID-19 related issues, such as access to vaccination or border closures. Twinning programmes allow students to complete a portion of their courses at their local institution before travelling abroad at a later time to complete their degree.