Study Group International

Study Group is a global company that prepares international students for university degree programmes, teaches high school education, and teaches English language courses. Study Group owns and operates colleges and also partners with more than 50 universities across the UK, Europe, North America and Australasia. In 2014, Study Group enrolled more than 63,000 students from 170 countries.

The company's trading names include Embassy (formerly named Embassy CES), Bellerbys College in the UK and Martin College in Australia. Study Group also operates International Study Centres within UK, European, US, Canadian and Australian universities. It has offices in London and Brighton, England, New York City, USA and Sydney, Australia and also operates in Canada and New Zealand, China and Singapore.[1]


The company dates the origin of Study Group from the Embassy language school in Hastings, England, acquired by businessmen Andrew Colin and Duncan Greenland in 1989. A second language school was opened in Hove shortly after. Colin had previously acquired Bellerbys College, a sixth-form college for international students. In 1994 the company British Study Group was formed incorporating the two businesses and adding a third shareholder/director John Collyer.

In 1996, 40% of the business was acquired by the Daily Mail Group,[2] becoming Study Group International and expanding into the US and Australia.[3][4] Later, in 1999, the Daily Mail Group became the 100% owner of Study Group, paying an estimated UK£44 million.[5]

As well as expanding the UK and Australian operations, Study Group acquired the Center for English Studies (CES) chain of language schools in the USA and Canada,[4] adding Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver to their fold. Embassy became Embassy CES, and then Embassy English.

In 2006 Study Group was acquired by Australian private equity company Champ, having been sold by Daily Mail Group for A$176.4 million.[6][7]

In 2007, the Brighton school and UK head office moved to purpose-built premises in the New England Quarter, next to Brighton station,[8][9][10] costing an estimated UK£28 million.[11]

On July 1, 2010, Providence Equity Partners took ownership of Study Group for $660 million Australian dollars.

International Study Centres

In the United Kingdom, Study Group has entered into agreements with a number of universities, whereby students are taught at an "International Study Centre" by Study Group staff on the university's premises. These "foundation" courses are designed to prepare students for a regular undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses. The company website lists such arrangements at the following 'host' universities: Heriot-Watt (Edinburgh), Keele, Kingston, Huddersfield, Lancaster, Leicester, Lincoln, Liverpool John Moores, Strathclyde (Glasgow), Surrey, and the Sussex. The group has also had centres at University of Wales, Newport[12] and the University of Stirling[13] which have closed.

Under these arrangements, the Study Group programmes are validated by the host university and are marketed alongside the host university's own degree courses. On each university's website, information about Study Group courses are contained on Study Group web pages with the identical appearance to the university's own web pages.

Brighton-based Study Group established one of the first of these arrangements at the nearby University of Sussex.[14] These partnerships are attractive to UK universities as they provide a way of increasing numbers of overseas students, whose fee income is important. Equally, they attract criticism[15] on the basis that students do not expect a British university course to be provided by a commercial company, that the course quality is not accredited within the university system,[16] and that staff transferred to Study Group employment may lose the pay and pension benefits associated with university employment.[17]

Study Group has made the same arrangements with a number of United States universities, which have received similar comments. The company website lists such arrangements at the following universities: JMU, LIU Post, Roosevelt, UMaine, Vermont, Widener.[18]

Embassy English

As of October 2017, Embassy English has 15 year-round schools[19] in:

Approximately 36,000 students per year study with Embassy English.[20]

Embassy English opened its first purpose-built school designed by Watkins Grey Associates LLP[21][22] on a site in Greenwich/Deptford, London, sharing premises with sister company Bellerbys College. Residential accommodation was also built in partnership with the University of Greenwich[23]

Embassy Summer

In addition to the year-round schools, Embassy English operate summer schools at over 30 locations across the UK and North America as "Embassy Summer".[24] The Embassy Summer school programme operates at the site of various university and college partners, in addition to several of the year-round Embassy centres.
A range of activities are offered under the Embassy Summer Plus[25] and Embassy Summer Academy[26] brands, with English language tuition being taught alongside a range of "summer courses" such as horse-riding.[27]

Bellerbys College

Bellerbys College is the name of four sixth form colleges for international students in the UK aimed at preparing students for university education.

The colleges are located together with Study Group's Embassy schools in:

Taylors College

Established in 1920, Taylors College is a university preparation college providing University Foundation, Diploma and Australian High School programs (Year 10 - Year 12) in Australia and New Zealand.

The Diploma of Commerce program gives students opportunity to enter a range of Degree programs from the second year at the University of Western Australia.

Taylors College has four campuses located in the major cities of Australia and New Zealand: Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Auckland.

Charles Sturt University (CSU) Study Centres (Australia)

Charles Sturt University (CSU) is an Australian multi-campus public university located in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, and the Australian Capital Territory.

The CSU Study Centres are operated in conjunction with Study Group Australia, offering undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Accounting, Business and Information Technology. It has two campuses located in the city centres of Sydney and Melbourne, Australia.

Notable students

According to the Embassy English website, several "celebrities" have studied at various Embassy schools:

  • Ruby Lin - Taiwanese actress and singer. Studied English at Embassy New York, with side-classes in acting at the New York Film Academy in 2004, and wrote a book (My Private New York (2005), Yong Xing Yi Neng, ISBN 9867261003) about the experience.
  • Katrin Meissner - Former freestyle swimmer from East Germany, who won three medals at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.
  • Riyo Mori - Japanese dance instructor who won the Miss Universe 2007 title in May 2007. She studied at Embassy in New York.


  1. "Global Locations". Study Group. Retrieved 2009-11-26.
  2. Daily Mail Group Press release Archived 2008-10-11 at the Wayback Machine Preliminary unaudited consolidated results from Thursday 10 December 1998; mentions Study Group becoming a subsidiary.
  3. Another Daily Mail Group press release Preliminary unaudited consolidated results from Thursday 11 December 1997; mentions expansion into US and Australia.
  4. Special Report: The Evolution of ELC from Language Travel Magazine. See paragraph headed 'Study Group' for details of acquisition strategy.
  5. Language Travel Magazine Special Report: Industry Entrepreneurs, June 2007, paragraph titled 'Alternative angles and corporate investment'
  6. Champ website - portfolio page Archived 2008-07-20 at the Wayback Machine
  7. Press release Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine from international law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, advisors on the sale.
  8. Embassy website Brighton location Embassy Brighton
  9. Study corporate website Archived 2007-10-08 at the Wayback Machine New Brighton Study Centre Ahead of Schedule.
  10. New England Quarter official site Archived 2007-10-06 at the Wayback Machine Short description of the Quarter's commercial uses.
  11. Language Travel Magazine New Buildings for British ELT
  12. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-07-09. Retrieved 2014-06-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-06-05. Retrieved 2014-06-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. "International Study saga continues" (PDF). The Badger. University of Sussex. January 9, 2006. p. 3.
  16. "Privatisation at Keele" (PDF). Keele: University and College Union. March 2009.
  17. "International students and pathway provision: The case against the private sector" (PDF). University and College Union. October 2009.
  18. Karin Fischer (September 5, 2008). "Problem: Foreign Students. Solution: Corporate Partner". Chronicle of Higher Education. Full article available at
  19. Embassy English site: Schools
  20. In 2004. Special Report the Evolution of ELC from Language Travel Magazine - see paragraph titled 'Study Group'.
  21. Watkins Grey Associates website Archived 2007-10-09 at the Wayback Machine Overview of build project, with photos.
  22. PDF from UK Construction Magazine Archived 2007-10-08 at the Wayback Machine (hosted on Studygroup corporate site) describing the building's features.
  23. Press release from the builders, Jarvis PLC Greenwich development will deliver new student digs 11 February 2003.
  24. Embassy Summer website
  25. Embassy Summer Plus page
  26. Embassy Academy website
  27. Embassy Academy Horse riding page Archived 2015-01-04 at the Wayback Machine
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