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Chinese culture and society have always held education in high regard. Over recent decades, the Chinese government has sought to revitalize the country through investments in science and education by deepening the reform of the educational system and implementing a nine-year compulsory education policy. From local to provincial to the central government, Chinese policymakers are increasing investment in education and encouraging their people to experiment with education across different channels and in different forms.
The Chinese government gives priority to education and educational reform, so as to speed up modernization and to continuously develop educational models. In 2019, China’s Education Modernization 2035 Plan, which aims to achieve education modernization by 2035, was published. The 2035 plan sets the direction for the development of education and the objectives of establishing a modern education system of lifelong learning with universal quality, preschool education, and balanced compulsory education; speeding up education reform in the information era; enhanced vocational education; and more competitive higher education.
As the most popular destination in Asia for international students and the third largest in the world, China has established educational cooperation and exchange relations with 188 countries and regions and more than 40 major international organizations, and the brand "Study in China" is gaining popularity. With 76 countries incorporating the Chinese language into their national education systems, the number of people outside China learning and using Chinese has reached 200 million, deepening the people-to-people exchange between China and other countries. China's medical education standards and certification system have achieved international substantial equivalence. China's engineering education has joined the Washington Accord and achieved international multilateral mutual recognition. China has established the mutual recognition of academic degrees with 56 countries and regions. Actively participating in global education governance, China held the first International Forum on AI and Education, during which the Beijing Consensus was reached, and established the World MooC Alliance. China's teaching materials, teaching methods and educational concepts have begun to influence the world. The China International College Students "Internet +" Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition has been held for seven consecutive years, accumulatively attracting 6.03 million teams with 25.33 million students from 121 countries and regions. Chinese education is gaining more and more attention from the world.
1. The most popular destination in Asia for international students
2. One of the oldest civilizations with a 5,000-year-old history
3. Second largest economies
4. One of the highest population densities in the world
5. Top 10 safest countries
After studying in China, I am not only fluent in Chinese, I have also met friends from all over the world. With my knowledge of Chinese language and culture, I have been able to participate in events and television shows that otherwise would have been impossible, such as hosting and producing talk shows. These experiences gave me the opportunity to meet new friends and colleagues, broadening my understanding of the world and allowing me to become a true global citizen!
（Alumina of Beijing Normal University）
By 2021, there were 3012 higher education institutions (HEIs) across China. Colleges and universities in China can be categorized into four types: public colleges and universities, private colleges, independent colleges, and Sino-foreign colleges and universities. Among public colleges and universities, 75 universities are directly administered by the Ministry of Education of China for priority investment. Institutions of higher education can be categorized into three types: research institutions, professional institutions, and vocational institutions.
Degree Programs and Majors
Colleges and universities that offer domestic students the opportunity to earn Bachelor’s degrees, Master’s degrees, and Doctoral degrees are also open to international students. In Chinese colleges and universities, students are oriented towards specific majors in the pursuit of their education. According to the relevant regulations issued by the Ministry of Education, there are 14 disciplines and more than 700 Bachelor’s majors offered by Chinese institutions of higher education. In accordance with the university/college’s orientation and plans, each university/college may offer some but not all of the majors. A university oriented towards specific disciplines will offer more majors thereof; for example, agricultural universities will focus their research and education around agricultural sciences.
*For more information concerning the majors available to international applicants, please visit each college/university’s website directly.
Junior colleges, teacher-training colleges, and vocational and technical colleges offer special education courses for high school graduates. The students are awarded associate diplomas after two or three years of study.
Chinese universities and independent colleges offer four-year full-time undergraduate programs to high school graduates, leading to a Bachelor's Degree. Certain disciplines, available at medical colleges and some polytechnic institutes, require five years.
A student who has obtained a Bachelor’s degree or an equivalent degree is qualified to pursue graduate education and obtain a Master's Degree after two or three years of successful study, research, and submission of a dissertation.
A Doctoral degree (Ph.D.) program may be completed in three to four years after obtaining a Master’s degree. A dissertation must be presented, proving the candidate’s academic ability to undertake independent research projects and make significant contributions to the field.
Chinese colleges and universities have aimed to increase international communication and collaboration, and promote greater internationalization by establishing more degree programs in which English is the language of instruction. In recent years, this ever-growing group of programs has offered international students more opportunities to study in China. The China Education Association for International Exchanges has selected 150 courses as priority courses to be taught in English for international students. These efforts fold into the broader aims to establish China’s reputation as a destination for international students and to improve the quality of education offered domestically. Please find a list of 150 courses taught in English at Chinese universities in the Appendix.
Beside degree-offering programs (Bachelor’s, Master’s and Ph.D.), colleges and universities also offer non-degree programs to international students who do not intend to pursue degrees. From Chinese language studies to subject courses, from full-year programs to summer school programs, there is a wide range of learning opportunities for non-degree seekers. For information concerning the non-degree programs available at each college or university, please visit the college/university’s website.
Pre-university programs are non-degree programs that help international students prepare for their future undergraduate (Bachelor’s degree) studies in China. High school graduates who fail to meet the undergraduate programs’ requirements may apply for the pre-university programs. For more information concerning the program at each university, please visit the university’s website or contact the university’s admissions office directly.
2）Chinese Language Programs
The programs aimed to help international students improve their Chinese proficiency. Duration of study is usually one semester or more. Various Chinese classes are arranged for beginners and students of advanced levels.
3）Student Exchange Programs
Such programs are usually based on inter-school cooperation agreements and follow the principle of mutual tuition exemption, mutual recognition of credits and mutual student exchanges. The duration of study is usually one semester or one academic year.
4）Summer School Programs
These programs are usually open to international students during the summer vacation for courses ranging in duration from 2 to 12 weeks. There are different forms of courses, varying from university to university, and most of them are conducted in the form of Chinese language courses, subject courses, academic lectures, fieldwork, cultural experience, etc.
5）Research Scholar Programs
Visiting academics undertake research at the university. Scholars can cooperate with professors at the university or undertake research with academics. Usually, research duration is counted in months.
Associate Diploma Programs
Bachelor’s Degree Programs
Master’s Degree Programs
Doctoral Degree Programs
Chinese Language Programs
Summer School Programs
Research Scholar Programs
Subject Courses Programs
English-Taught Credit Programs
Students Exchange Programs
For undergraduate programs, international applicants should have senior high school diplomas or equivalents. For Master’s programs, a Bachelor’s degree or an equivalent is required. For Ph.D. programs, a Master’s degree or an equivalent is required. Since international students do not sit for the National College Entrance Examination, some universities arrange their own entrance examinations for international applicants. The prerequisites for non-degree programs and pre-university programs vary among universities, and applicants are advised to contact the universities directly.
For degree and non-degree programs delivered in Chinese, the Chinese language proficiency is typically required. The international standardized exam that tests and rates Chinese language proficiency is the HSK test (for Chinese reading, writing and listening tests) and HSKK test (for oral Chinese proficiency).
These exams rate examinees from Level I (low) to Level VI (high). Different programs and universities may have different HSK level requirements. For more information concerning the HSK test and other Chinese language proficiency exams, please visit www.chinesetest.cn.
For degree and non-degree programs delivered in English, English language proficiency requirements vary with programs and host institutions. Concerning specific language requirements, applicants are strongly advised to visit the university’s website and contact the admissions office one year before the intended application, as language tests must be scheduled in advance.
For self-funded or exchange programs, the application times depend on semester of intended entry and on the programs and host institutions. For Autumn/Fall semester admission, applications are generally open from September to June; Spring semester admissions tend to range from September to December. For more information concerning each program’s application deadline, please visit the college/university’s website.
The application period for Chinese Government Scholarships opens normally from January to April. Applicants should inquire through their own country’s organizations responsible for scholarship selection.
According to a survey conducted by China Scholarship Council in 2015, the average tuition paid by international students is around RMB 20,000 per year for undergraduate programs, RMB 25,000 per year for Master’s programs, and RMB 32,000 per year for Ph.D. programs. Students who intend to study in China should note that the tuition fees for programs from different universities may vary tremendously and that the cost of living in different parts of China also varies. For more information concerning the tuition of degree and non-degree programs, please visit the university/college’s website and contact the university’s admissions office or the international student’s office directly.
X1/X2 student visas may be applied for at the Chinese Embassy/Consulate in the student’s home country. When applying for a visa, please remember to bring along a valid passport, the original university admission letter and the JW201/JW202 form.
1) X1 Visa
The X1 visa is one of the two types of student visas issued by Chinese Embassies/Consulates. International students who intend to study in China for more than 6 months are required to obtain an X1 Visa.
IMPORTANT: The X1 Visa is a 30-day visa, valid only for 30 days upon arrival in China. Students must apply for a Residence Permit within these 30 days; otherwise, their stay will be considered illegal and a heavy fine will be leveled.
2) X2 Visa
The X2 visa is the other type of student visa issued by Chinese Embassies/Consulates. International students who intend to study in China for less than 6 months should apply for an X2 Visa. The X2 visa is a short-term student visa, and is valid for the period listed on the visa page. Any stay over the visa term will be considered illegal. For example, if a student enters China on August 25, with an X2 visa that will expire in 90 days, he/she has to leave China or apply for a visa extension at the local police station before November 23.
IMPORTANT: According to Chinese laws and regulations, international students MUST register at universities with X1/X2 visas or residence permits issued by Chinese police stations. Students with other types of visas are NOT permitted to register. For information regarding the location and contacts of the Chinese Embassy/Consulate in your home country, please visit the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs at http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/.
According to the regulations of the Ministry of Education of China, any international student who studies in China needs to be covered by medical insurance and join the group medical insurance plan designated by his/her university/college that meets the fundamental medical insurance standard. It’s highly recommended to purchase insurance before arriving in China. There is a risk that an international student will not be allowed to register if the insurance is not purchased within the specified time.
Applications for accommodation should be made to the universities before coming to China. There are many kinds of dormitories in universities, and the prices differ according to furniture and facilities. International students should apply before arriving in China. If international students want to come with their families, they should consult the university in advance. Otherwise, they should take care of the accommodation by themselves.
Students can live off-campus with the permission of the university, but they should register at the local public security office within 24 hours upon arrival.
The Chinese government has set up numerous scholarship programs to sponsor international students and researchers to study and conduct research at Chinese universities. Generally, there are 6 types of scholarships available to eligible candidates,as listed in the table below.
1) Chinese Government Scholarships
China Scholarship Council (hereinafter referred to as CSC), entrusted by the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China (hereinafter referred to as MOE), is responsible for the enrollment and the administration of Chinese Government Scholarship programs.
Now 289 Chinese universities have been designated to enroll international students with Chinese Government Scholarship, and they offer a wide variety of programs. Introduction to the universities and the programs they offer can be found in the following links.
2) Confucius Institute Scholarship
This program, in collaboration with Chinese and foreign educational institutions, social organizations and enterprises, sets up special scholarships to support in-service Chinese language teachers or students aspiring to teach Chinese and work in related professions in studying or pursuing degree programs in China.
3) Local Government Scholarship
Provinces and cities also provide local government scholarships for international students. Usually, international students in China can find the specific requirements and relevant information on scholarship application through universities' international students websites.
4) School Scholarship
Most colleges and universities also offer their own scholarships to students. Students can check the international student's office for detailed information and requirements.
5) Enterprise Scholarships
Some colleges and universities cooperate with enterprises to provide scholarships for international students. For specific application information and requirements, please refer to universities' websites or international student's offices.
With the progress of China’s Health Care Reform System, Community Health Centers have been established throughout the entire nation. The Community Health Service in China takes residents’ health needs into account, and is increasingly capable of providing high-quality services to patients. The functions of Community Health Centers include disease control and prevention, health care services and medical treatment services. With a larger scope of services, people in China have more and better access to health care resources.
According to the regulations of the Ministry of Education of China, an international student who studies in China needs to be covered by medical insurance and join the group medical insurance plan designated by his/her university/college that meets the fundamental medical insurance standard. It’s highly recommended to purchase insurance before arriving in China. There is a risk that an international student will not be allowed to register if the insurance is not purchased within the specified time.
International students are requested to ensure that they are covered by medical insurance for the duration of their study in China, so as to pay for the expenses resulting from possible accidental injury, medical treatments or hospitalization.
Below are some websites you may find helpful when considering studying in China:
Ministry of Education, P.R.C
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, P.R.C
Ministry of Public Security, P.R.C
China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE)
China Scholarship Council
China Education Opportunities