As an increasing number of institutions of higher education seek to internationalize their campuses across the world, they are doing so in a manner most advantageous to the career-oriented student. This study focuses on the relatively recent phenomenon of double-degree programs; more specifically, it is a case study of the International Business and Economics double-degree program between a liberal arts institution outside of Chicago, and a prestigious system of schools, which includes a grande école for business, in Montpellier, France.

In a search to uncover the components of an academically-sound undergraduate double-degree between two institutions in differing education systems, I first employ an in-depth document review of the mission and degree requirements of each institution, and then outline the evolution of the International Business and Economics double-degree program. I also tailor a set of written interview questions to collect information concerning program strengths and challenges from current double-degree students, alumni and program administrators at each institution.

An analysis of the data demonstrates that it may be easy for institutions to forget to bridge the chasm separating their education systems and curricula when they are eager to advance to the implementation stage upon signing a contract. Institutions must slow down to reserve significant time for planning, which should involve obtaining insight from all appropriate faculty and staff members, beyond gaining support from upper level administrators. Indeed, this study may be useful not only two the institutions within the investigated partnership, but to any international educator aiming to create or implement a double-degree program.


Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | International and Comparative Education