Elena Belyaeva, Lyudmila Kuznetsova

DOI Number
First page
Last page


The process of internationalization in the sphere of higher education has been gaining momentum on the global scale since the 1990s, with English becoming its major communication tool. English as a medium of instruction (EMI) in universities has received a fair amount of researchers’ attention. However, academic press contains little information on research into EMI in Russia. The aim of this case study was to investigate practices of a Russian university regarding the use of English in teaching specialist disciplines and to explore its EMI lecturers’ needs and challenges against the backdrop of the process of internationalization in Russian higher education. The research method applied was a self-administered web-questionnaire; the target group included 72 members of the University faculty who teach their courses through English. The article presents the university’s policy on EMI analysis and discussion of one of the key stakeholders’- university lecturers’ characteristics and perspectives. The findings reflect the existence of challenges which institutions and staff face in the drive to internationalize, which are similar to those observed in some other countries. Tentative suggestions are offered to ways of addressing the situation and to further investigations of the EMI phenomenon in Russia.


higher education (HE) in Russia; internationalization of HE; English as a Medium of Instruction (EMI); a university’s EMI policy; EMI lecturers’ needs.

Full Text:



Airey, J., Lauridsen K.M., Räsänen A., Salö L., Schwach V. 2017. The expansion of English-medium instruction in the Nordic countries: Can top-down university policies encourage bottom-up disciplinary literacy goals? Higher Education, 73, 561-576.

Airey, J. 2013. “I don’t teach language”. The linguistic attitudes of physics lecturers in Sweden. AILA Review, 25(5), pp. 64-79.

Baker, W., and Hüttner J. 2017. English and more: a multisite study of roles and conceptualisations of language in English medium multilingual universities from Europe to Asia. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 38:6, 501-516, DOI: 10.1080/01434632.2016.1207183

Belhiah, H. 2016. English as a Medium of Instruction in Moroccan Higher Education, Arab World English Journal, December 2016, pp. 227-238.

BelhiahH., Elhami M. 2015. English as a medium of instruction in the Gulf: When students and teachers speak. Language Policy, 14, pp. 3-23

Brock-Utne, B. 2007. Language of instruction and student performance: new insights from research in Tanzania and South Africa. International Review of Education, 53 (5- 6), pp. 509-530

Chang, Y. 2010. English medium instruction for subject courses in tertiary education: reactions from Taiwanese undergraduate students. Taiwan International ESO Journal, 2 (1), pp. 44-84

Clegg, J. 2001. Towards successful English-medium education in South Africa, in D. Marsh (ed.), Enhancing English-medium Education in Namibia. Jyväskyla: University of Jyväskyla, pp. 11-13

Costa F., Coleman J.A. 2013. A survey of English-medium instruction in Italian higher education. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, v.16 (1), pp.3-19.

Costa F. 2015. English Medium Instruction (EMI) Teacher Training Courses in Europe, in Recognizioni. Rivista di lingue, letterature e culture modern, vol. 2., No 4, pp. 127-135

Dearden, J. 2015. English as a medium of instruction – a growing phenomenon.

Doiz A., Lasagabaster D., Sierra L.M., eds. 2012. English-Medium Instruction at Universities: Global Challenges. Channel View Publication.

Earls C. W. 2016. Evolving Agendas in European English-Medium Higher Education: Interculturality, Multilingualism and Language Policy. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Fenton-Smith,B. et al. (eds.), 2017. English Medium Instruction in Higher Education in Asia-Pacific, Multilingual Education 21, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-51976-0_3

Floris F.D. 2014. Learning subject matter through English as the medium of instruction: students’ and teachers’ perspectives. Asian Englishes, vol. 16, No 1, pp. 47-59.

Goodman B. A. 2014. Implementing English as a medium of instruction in a Ukrainian University: Challenges, adjustments, and opportunities, International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning, 9:2, 130-141, DOI: 10.1080/18334105.2014.11082026

Griffiths, E. 2013. English as a medium of higher education institution in Norway: A critical exploratory study of lecturers’ perspectives and practices (PhD Thesis). University of Exeter.

Jenkins, J. 2014. English as a lingua franca in the international university: the politics of academic English language policy. London: Routledge.

Jin-HyokIm and Jeongyen Kim 2015. Use of Blended Learning for Effective Implementation of English-Medium Instruction in a Non-English Higher Education Context. International Education Studies: Vol. 8, No. 11, pp.1-15

Kedzierski M. 2016. English as a medium of instruction in East Asia’s higher education sector: a critical realist Cultural Political Economy analysis of underlying logics. Comparative Education, vol.56, No 3, 375-391.

Kirkgos Y. 2009. Students’ and lecturers’ perceptions of the effectiveness of foreign-language instruction in an English-medium university in Turkey. Teaching in higher education, vol. 14, number 1, 81-93

Klaassen, R. 2001. The international university curriculum: challenges in English-medium engineering education (Doctoral dissertation). Technische Universiteit Delft, Delft, NL.

Kuteeva, M. 2014. The parallel language use of Swedish and English: The question of ‘nativeness’ in university policies and practices. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 35(4), pp. 332-344.

Kuteeva, M. and Airey, J. 2014. Disciplinary differences in the use of English in higher education: reflections on recent language policy developments in Higher Education (2014), 67, 5: pp. 533-549

Le DucManh. 2012. English as a Medium of Instruction at Tertiary Education System in Vietnam. The Journal of Asia TEFL, Vol. 9, No. 2, pp. 97-122.

Maiworm, F. and Wächter, B. 2002. English-language-taught degree programmes in European higher education, Trends and success factors. ACA papers on International Cooperation in Education. Bonn: Lemmens Verlags & Mediengesellschaft.

Marsh, D. 2006. English as a medium of instruction in the new global linguistic order: Global characteristics, Local Consequences, in Proceedings of the Annual Conference for METMaC, 2: pp. 29-38

Munoz, A.J. 2015. English as a medium of instruction: Evidence for language and content targets in bilingual education in Economics in International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilinguialism, 19, 5.

Nguyen T.H., Walkinshaw I., Pham H.H. 2017. EMI Programs in a Vietnamese University: Language, Pedagogy and Policy Issues. In B. Fenton-Smith et al. (eds.), English Medium Instruction in Higher Education in Asia-Pacific, Multilingual Education 21, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-51976-0_3

Obaidul Hamida M., HoaThi Mai Nguyenb and Richard B. Baldauf Jr. 2013. Medium of instruction in Asia: context, processes and outcomes in Current Issues in Language Planning, Vol. 14, No. 1, 1–15

Seitzhanova A., Plokhikh R., Baiburov R. and Tsaregorodtseva A. 2015. English as the medium of instruction: Modern tendency of education in Kazakhstan. Internationalization in Higher Education: Management of Higher Education and Research: Vol. 3, issue 1, May 2015, pp. 74-77

Shaw, P. 2013. Adjusting practices to aims in integrated language learning and disciplinary learning. La pédagogie de l/EMILE en questions. Rechercheetpratiquespédagogiquesenlangues de spécialité – Cahiers de l’APLIUT, 32 (3), 16–29.

Tange, H. 2010. Caught in the Tower of Babel: University lecturer’s experiences with internationalization. Language and Intercultural Communication, 10(2), pp.137-149.

Vinke, A.A., J. Snippe& W. Jochem. 1998. English-medium content courses in non-English higher education: a study of lecturer experiences and teaching behaviours. Teaching in Higher Education, 3: 383-394.

Wächter, B., and F. Maiworm, eds. 2014. English-taught Programmes in European Higher Education: The State of Play in 2014. Bonn: LemmensMedien GmbH

Wen-Chun Chen. 2004. Proficiency as a Factor in English-Medium Instruction Online Tutoring, English Language Teaching; Vol. 7, No. 3: pp. 134-149

Werther, Ch., Denver, L., Jensen, Ch. and Mees, I.M. 2014. Using English as a medium of instruction at university level in Denmark: the lecturer’s perspective, in Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, Vol. 35, No. 5, pp. 443-462

Westerholm, K., &Räsänen, A. 2015. Sharing and promoting disciplinary competences for university teaching in English: voices from the University of Jyväskylä language centre’s TACE programme. In J. Jalkanen, E. Jokinen, & P. Taalas (Eds), Voices of pedagogical development - Expanding, enhancing and exploring higher education language learning Dublin: (pp. 131-157). doi:10.14705/rpnet.2015.000290

Wilkinson, R. 2005. The impact of language on teaching content: Views from the content teacher. Presented at the Bi and Multilingual Universities – challenges and Future Prospects Conference.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

ISSN 2334-9182 (Print)

ISSN 2334-9212 (Online)


University of Niš

Univerzitetski trg 2, 18000 Niš, Serbia
Phone:    +381 18 257 095
Telefax:  +381 18 257 950

© 2013 by University of Niš, Serbia