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Education Briefing

British Council
Complied by Ross Hunter, Headmaster,
The English International School

PASSPORT’s third education briefing goes global. April’s and May’s briefings started with the UK and the USA, and we will look at those in more detail throughout the summer. Prospective students wanting a first degree in English will inevitably think first of those two. However, there is a huge and expanding range of alternatives, all over the world. We cannot cover every option, but give you a sample of the diverse opportunities, from the Atlantic to the Baltic, from Moscow to the Pacific.

Remember, do not confine your choices to subjects studied at school. Applications are a six to ten month process, and you need to start now to be ready for the (usual) late-autumn deadlines. Use your spare time well. For vocational subjects such as medicine, holiday or weekend time spent working or observing in hospitals, clinics or vets’ surgeries is essential. Fine art is different! A really strong personal portfolio is a must, so Lesley Marks offers vital advice. Do contact anyone on these pages, but above all, get professional advice, early. We welcome feedback and especially articles by experts.

Calendar of Events – June

5-8 Art and design student exhibition at BHSAD
7 University of Nottingham: presentation at The British Council, Moscow
9 Media Management: lecture by The University of Westminster also at The British Council
30 PASSPORT July edition published, featuring advice on scholarships (by Westminster University), portfolios for fine art students (by Middlesex University), UCAS and cost planning, and much more.

Portfolios for Art Students

Firstly, the portfolio should portray a student’s own ideas, and not the ideas of a teacher. We are looking for indicators of how the student sees the world: what is of interest, how it is perceived. Buy a small sketchbook and use it as an “art diary”, sketching, drawing or painting objects of interest every day. Try describing in words why the objects you have sketched interest you. In this way, you develop the ability to think about what influences you, why you see things in a certain way, and how to articulate your feelings about what you see around you.

Secondly, the portfolio should demonstrate a range of media: sketches, drawings, paintings, photography, ceramics or sculpture. Original works need not be included unless you are showing the portfolio in person.

Thirdly, the portfolio should demonstrate your progress over at least two years. Include 20-30 best works dating back up to 4 years. Labels or short descriptions can also be included if you feel this enhances the understanding of the work.

Students often apply to fashion design, graphic design or fine art programmes before they have tested their abilities. Many undergraduate applicants will be required to join a oneyear foundation programme during which they will discover their real skills. This process often leads to a change of direction and the fashion designers of yesterday turn out to be the graphic artists, or interior designers, or product designers of tomorrow!

There are no certainties at the start of a career in art and design, but the process cannot be cut short. It is helpful if this information is included in the personal statement and reflected in the mature portfolio. Lesley Marks, Middlesex University, London:  

Partnerships offering courses & UK qualifications in Moscow

This list is not exclusive. Data kindly supplied by The British Council. Contact us to add your course.

Moscow Higher School of Social and Economic Sciences & University of Manchester,  

Academy of National Economy & Kingston University,  

MIRBIS & London Metropolitan University,  

Higher School of Economics & The Universities of Birmingham, Leeds, London Metropolitan,  

British Higher school of Art and Design & Hertfordshire,  

More on the USA

In May, we published an introductory guide to study in the USA. With help from Occam Education, here are some tips for applications:

  • Standardised tests (SAT or ACT) will be needed, and need practice. There are testing centres in Moscow;
  • You are likely to need to prove your English with TOEFL (on line) or IELTS (at British Council, inter alia);
  • Visit USA and UK Universities in the Easter or summer breaks, a year before finishing school.
  • Build your Curriculum Vitae: make sure you have got a broad range of skills and interests. You need to show a “spike” of real, dedicated commitment, experience or brilliance in your principal field, plus an interesting balance of sport, music, drama, charity work, social service and whatever else makes you an asset to them;
  • Summer courses: especially for USA-bound applicants, taking a course at one of your target places during the over-long summer is considered helpful.

Contact: Nancy Maxwell at or Patrick Brown at  

The Sino-British College, Shanghai

Are you interested in China, and would like to obtain a UK degree from a top UK university? There is a university set up in Shanghai: the Sino-British College (SBC) which can help you. This is a joint venture between the University of Shanghai for Science and technology and nine British universities, including the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield Hallam, Bradford and Manchester Metropolitan. Tuition is in English and Chinese is also offered. These UK universities specialise in engineering and business studies, and SBC offers 120 such courses, from accountancy to business management, to automotive, aerospace and mechanical engineering, from air transport and logistics management to retail management and more. Each degree is awarded by that UK university collective which specialises in that subject. There is a large range of options available which include time in the UK, such as 3+1 or 2+2 years. You can select the most suitable combination for you.

Graduates are awarded the same British degree as that of wholly UK-based graduates. The difference is that when all costs are added up, the total price comes to about half of that of studying in England, and graduates, who will speak reasonable Chinese by the end of their course, will have access to the UK job market, as well as opportunities in the rest of the world, because a UK degree is accepted almost everywhere. SBC is based in central Shanghai, where there are many job opportunities with international companies. The college also helps students to apply for competitive internships with key multinational businesses during their time.

Enquiries and applications can be made directly here in Russia: for further details, write to

The European University – Business Management

Established in 1973, The “EU” concentrates on business, at undergraduate and MBA levels. Marketing, banking, finance, HR and sports management are notable specialisms. The broad network encourages students to participate in intercampus exchanges, and spend at least one year in an alternate location. Choose among Spain, Switzerland, Germany, The UK, Austria, Kazakhstan, Syria, Taiwan, China, Malaysia and Singapore. Time is spent on case studies and in leading businesses. EU has also developed dual award programmes with partners in the USA. All courses are taught in English, and co-ordinated across campuses. EU is accredited by ACBSP, IACBE and CEEMAN, and highly ranked by reviewers in Spain, Europe, China and elsewhere. Visit  

MBA at St. Petersburg University

Started in 2009, this dual degree executive course ‘DDEMBA’ is a joint programme of the Graduate School of Management, St. Petersburg University and the business school HEC Paris. This joins two faculties from two leading and highly ranked business schools. Taught in English, this formative programme is designed for mid-career professionals.

The thirteen core courses include business simulation, one major and two professional projects. The core courses and business simulations are held in St. Petersburg and Paris. Major projects are held in Europe, the Americas, Asia and the Middle East. Notably, it mixes participants from different business sectors and home markets. It is led by Dr. Kai-Alexander Schlevogt, who trained in Oxford and came to Russia from Singapore. He enthuses about such international training as being the model for the next generation of business leaders. Visit

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