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194 best universities in China for international students: rankings, tuition fees, reviews

Education information

Today, more and more foreign students choose studying in China as it guarantees wide career opportunities in the future. SMAPSE offers more than 70 best universities in China where international students can get high-quality higher education. Higher education received in China allows to become in-demand expert that has great chances to get well paid job in the international labour market. Due to the list of TOP-70 prestigious universities in China, you will definitely find the most appropriate option. Please, don't hesitate to contact SMAPSE experts at any time as they are always ready to answer all your questions. 

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Higher Educational System in China

Chinese education is rightfully considered the "great-grandfather" of the European, because the first academies appeared on the territory of the country about one and a half thousand years ago. Of course, today, the system of higher education in China has transformed, borrowing the best features from a Western school, and includes colleges, higher schools and universities.

As in the familiar Bologna system, students of Chinese universities can gradually get three degrees depending on the duration of study: Bachelor (4-5 years), Master (2-3 years), Doctor of science (3-4 years).

At all universities in China, the school year begins on the first of September, but it is worth taking care of the submission of documents in advance, from late February to early March. Entrance requirements are not difficult: an applicant must have a secondary school certificate. Applicants for graduate studies must additionally submit letters of recommendation from a professor or supervisor.

If university studies are conducted in Chinese, then the main requirement for applicants will be an HSK certificate confirming the proper level of Chinese proficiency. 

In order to receive a certificate, a prospective student must pass an exam and master one of six difficulty levels. The minimum level for admission to Chinese University is HSK 4, which requires knowledge of a thousand words and relatively fluent oral language.

For those who are not yet ready to take the HSK, universities and language schools in China offer annual preparatory courses for exam preparation. However, there are some programs that are fully taught in English - as a rule, these are Master's courses related to world politics and economics.

How do foreign students study at universities in China?

The school year of Chinese students traditionally consists of two semesters, but summer vacations begin only in July. In addition to listening to lectures by teachers, an important role is given to self-study and homework. Most universities use a Western credit system. For each discipline you need to score a certain number of points in order to be admitted to the exam and transfer to the next course.

The educational program consists of basic and optional subjects: the first category is studied by all students, without exception, subjects from the second category can be chosen at will. This allows students from the first year to determine the direction and specifics of their activities, while not missing key knowledge.

The Chinese education system is built on strict discipline: students are not allowed to be late, miss classes without good reason and leave the classroom before the teacher. A special case is the passing of a state exam: a student found to be cheating or using a cheat sheet instantly loses the right to take an exam in the next three years, and may also be sentenced to a real prison term.

TOP universities in China for foreign students

The higher educational system in China is represented by more than 2,000 institutions, and the level of education received can make healthy competition to European universities. However, not every university has the right to accept foreign students for study: this is due to the passage of serious licensing and financial costs. The largest universities included in the ranking of the most TOP universities in the world are:

  • Peking University (Peking University, Beijing)
  • Tsinghua University (Tsinghua University, Beijing)
  • Zhejiang University (Zhejiang University, Zhejiang)
  • Shanghai Jiao Tong University (Shanghai Jao Tong University, Shanghai)
  • Fudan University (Fudan University, Fudan)
  • Nanjing University (Nanjing University, Nanjing).

Tuition and accommodation in China

A foreign student, studying at a university in China, will spend several times less on tuition and living than a student at an American or European university. The cost of Bachelor's programs starts at $3000 per year, a Master's program will cost no more than $8000. However, it is better to familiarize yourself with the prices of a particular university, because the cost is affected by its location and ranking.

Chinese universities offer students accommodation on the campus that will cost about $1000 per year, and usually there are libraries, sports facilities, a dining room on the territory. The student residence room can accommodate from 2 to 4 people, but it is worth remembering that male and female dormitories are located separately.

Visa and scholarships for international students

Students who wish to study in China for more than 6 months must apply for a student visa. Typically, Chinese universities provide visa support and this doesn't become a problem for foreign students. 

Also, the Chinese government has established special scholarships for foreign students, receiving higher education at any level in China. Monthly payments can range from $100 to $280 and greatly facilitate the life of a foreign student. To become a candidate for a scholarship, you must send a package of necessary documents to the Chinese Embassy or the China Scholarship Council - and wait for the final decision.

Top 50 universities in the USA

1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
2 Stanford University
3 Harvard University
4 California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
5 University of Chicago
6 Princeton University
7 Cornell University
8 University of Pennsylvania
9 Yale University
10 Columbia University
11 Johns Hopkins University
12 Duke University
13 Northwestern University
14 University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
15 New York University
16 Carnegie Mellon University
17 University of Wisconsin-Madison
18 Brown University
19 University of Washington
20 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
21 Rice University
22 University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
23 Boston University
24 University of California, Davis
25 Washington University in St. Louis
26 Purdue University
27 University of Southern California
28 University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)
29 University of Maryland, College Park
30 University of Pittsburgh
31 Michigan State University
32 Emory University
33 University of Minnesota
34 University of Florida
35 University of Rochester
36 Case Western Reserve University
37 Texas A&M University
38 University of Virginia
39 Vanderbilt University
40 University of Colorado Boulder
41 Dartmouth College
42 University of Notre Dame
43 Arizona State University
44 University of California, Irvine
45 Georgetown University
46 Tufts University
47    University of Miami
48 North Carolina State University
49 University of Massachusetts Amherst

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Cost of living in China

Expenses - USD/Month. Min. Med.
Accommodation 168 340
Food 146 240
Transportation 18 44
Communications and utilities 31 37
Clothing 24 89
Sports and leisure 23 76
Total 410 827


Accommodation in China

Shared room outside of centre 169
Shared room in city centre 343
1 bedroom apartment outside of centre 277
1 bedroom apartment in city centre 493


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