A study of some factors influencing progression and performance outcomes of overseas students at a UK University

L. T. Pick*, J. P. Hermon, P. M. McCourt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The ever increasing diversity of the student population within the higher education sector presents challenges for educators. Universities need to adapt in order to provide inclusive learning environments that meet these students' varying educational needs, as well as to develop appropriate support mechanisms. In particular, a fundamental requirement is the development of a better understanding of the needs of international students, who are often learning in a second language, in addition to experiencing unique cultural, social, and financial challenges. An improved understanding can potentially assist in developing guidelines and best practice for supporting these groups of students. This study looks at whether perceptions of lower progress and outcomes for international students progressing into year 2 of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering undergraduate degrees at Queen's University Belfast, from a diploma programme, are valid. Their performance is tracked from their diploma year, through to graduation. In order to isolate areas of concern particular to the international student group, results are compared with a control group of UK students also progressing into year 2 from a Foundation Degree programme. We also report on qualitative surveys carried out to identify areas that the students perceive to be problematic. It was found that while the international students experienced minor practical difficulties, they actually perfomed better than the comparison group. It appeared that difficulties were more related to joining the programme at year 2 rather than year 1, and the expected transition issues unique to international students may have already been addressed during their diploma year.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSEFI 48th Annual Conference Engaging Engineering Education: Proceedings
EditorsJan van der Veen, Natascha van Hattum-Janssen, Hannu-Matti Jarvinen, Tinne de Laet, Ineke Ten Dam
PublisherEuropean Society for Engineering Education (SEFI)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9782873520205
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2020
Event48th Annual Conference on Engaging Engineering Education, SEFI 2020 - Enschede, Online, Netherlands
Duration: 20 Sep 202024 Sep 2020

Publication series

NameSEFI 48th Annual Conference Engaging Engineering Education, Proceedings


Conference48th Annual Conference on Engaging Engineering Education, SEFI 2020
CityEnschede, Online

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge conference travel funding provided by AESSEALS and the Athena SWAN initiative.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 SEFI 48th Annual Conference Engaging Engineering Education, Proceedings. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Challenges
  • Inclusiveness
  • International
  • Transition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Education


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