Qualification project

Regulation and Coupling of Transnational Higher Education Providers in South East Asia

Research department: Economy and Civil Society

IRS Research Topic: Shared Knowledge - Locally and Over Distance

Funding Organization: Leibniz Association

Duration: 05/2018 - 04/2022


With a broad range of foreign higher education programmes being offered in South East Asian countries, students can purchase and study most of these degrees completely locally. By making investments in offshore branches and entering into multifaceted partnerships with domestic actors, foreign universities gain access to these regional higher education markets and operate in transnational networks.

This research project takes a relational Economic Geographic perspective, and investigates how foreign higher education providers’ access to strongly territory-bound higher education markets in Malaysia and Singapore are regulated and how these regulations have evolved over time. The analysis takes into account that transformations of higher education landscapes are interconnected with greater processes of national and global socio-economic restructuring as well as changes in separated, yet crosscutting, policy domains. A special theoretic-conceptual focus is on the process of coupling and mutual interrelatedness of universities as transnational actors on the one hand, and higher education sectors as regional contexts on the other hand.
The cumulative dissertation is supervised by Dr Jana Kleibert at the Geography Department of Humboldt Universität zu Berlin.


Kleibert, J. M., Bobée, A., Rottleb, T., & Schulze, M. (2021). Transnational Education Zones: Towards an Urban Political Economy of ‘Education Cities’. Urban Studies, 58(14), 2845-2862. https://doi.org/10.1177/0042098020962418
Schulze, M. (2021). Of Bumping and Bending: Foreign Universities' FDI Strategies in Malaysia. Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, 112(2), 179-194. https://doi.org/10.1111/tesg.12472
Schulze, M., & Kleibert, J. M. (2021). Transnational Education for Regional Economic Development? Understanding Malaysia's and Singapore's Strategic Coupling in Global Higher Education. International Journal of Training and Development, 25(4), 363-382. https://doi.org/10.1111/ijtd.12242
Kleibert, J. M., & Schulze, M. (2021). EduCity in Iskandar Malaysia: Eine transnationale Bildungszone als Megaprojekt. Geographische Rundschau, 73(4), 34-39.