Teaching & Learning Portal


Internationalisation of the curriculum: guides and case studies

Introduction to internationalisation of the curriculum

Preparing students to play an effective part in the global community is a priority for UCL.

In line with our ambition to be London’s Global University, and in order to prepare our students for the challenges of the international marketplace, UCL aims to offer an internationalised taught curriculum in all disciplines. This involves promoting an approach to teaching and learning that recognises and values viewpoints and perspectives from around the world.

To be a 'global' institution, staff need to ensure that our curricula enable all our students (home and international) to be able to relate their learning to their own experiences, needs and contexts. Furthermore, in a globalised world, learners need to have the knowledge and skills to respond to a diverse range of social and cultural backgrounds and to be able to address differing value bases. Internationalisation also incorporates many different themes and areas but an internationalised curriculum should be considered by all programme and research teams, departments and faculties.

What is an internationalised curriculum?

An internationalised curriculum should:

  • Give students a broad, global perspective on their studies
  • Incorporate opportunities for students to consider aspects of the discipline from alternative cultural or geographical perspectives
  • Encourage students to develop the ability to communicate in their discipline with individuals from a range of backgrounds and cultures
  • Enable students to develop skills which are relevant to a global employment market
  • Challenges students to explore the values and ethical challenges which underpin their discipline. 

Internationalisation includes the course content (e.g. syllabus, teaching methods, assessment, reading lists and research), different world-views on the subject, its global impact and ethical issues.

Some questions to consider:

  • How do you reflect different cultural constructions of knowledge in your courses and programmes?
  • In what ways do the learning outcomes from your programme include global perspectives?
  • In what ways do you ensure that the language and vocabulary you use is accessible to all students?
  • How do you make sure your assessment processes recognise the full range of your students' backgrounds and experiences?
  • How do you make sure that all your students feel equally valued and supported?
  • What teaching approaches do you use to engage all students?
  • To what extent is your team culturally diverse and are there opportunities available for all staff to bring in their own personal experiences and perspectives into the curriculum and programme?
  • Do you make full use of or engage in dialogue with partners you may have elsewhere in the world? If you do engage in international partnerships, how do you ensure they include a mutual learning component?
  • In your courses and programmes, how do you ensure that the case studies and examples including examples from elsewhere in the world and reflect different perspectives and voices?

Why is it so important?

Professor Anthony Smith, Vice-Provost (Education & Student Affairs), explained why internationalisation is a priority at UCL.

“Our approach to internationalisation of all curricula ensures that UCL students experience the best education drawn from practice across the globe," he said.

“Internationalisation of the curriculum is one of the underlying principles of our Education for Global Citizenship agenda. The world is globalising ever more rapidly and we must support our students and graduates for this mobile, fluid, complex, and often challenging landscape.”

How is it implemented?

Each academic discipline will approach this differently, but it could involve drawing on students' cultural beliefs and values, or using problem-based learning with culturally diverse groups to develop key skills.

Case Studies - Internationalisation of the curriculum