Top Universities in China

11 minute read
Top Universities in China

Studying in a country with the largest population in the world can be a fascinating experience for international students. From sophisticated urban cities to rural heritages, China boasts of a wide and rich variety of cultures through which one can gain a unique academic experience. Most importantly, you can relish these opportunities in a comparatively cheaper and accessible budget compared to other countries such as the United States and Australia, among others. Being the second-largest economy in the world, China offers a plethora of world-class academic courses and career opportunities for international students. As top company leaders and people in business often visit this part of the world to widen their horizons, students get multiple opportunities to meet renowned people from all over the world and expand their network. Let’s explore the top universities in China.

Why Study in China?

With some of the top universities in Asia and the World, China boasts 2,000 full-fledged higher education institutions and around 500,000 international students. These numbers are rapidly growing every year as the Chinese government has started to invest in global institutions for a better international reputation. While the country is known to be the top country sending students to study overseas, it is also a fact that the government itself has been wooing international students to come and study in the country. The universities in China are either state-owned or non-governmental (private institutions). The Chinese government has poured enormous amounts of funding into certain international universities for improving education quality, building research centres, attracting world-renowned scholars and facilities, amongst other developments.

List of Top Universities in China for International Students

Several renowned universities in China hold exclusive ranks amongst the top 300 universities in the world. Other than ranking comparatively high in Asia and BRIC’s top-ranking universities, Chinese universities also have outstanding QS World Ranking rankings. The top 10 Chinese universities as per QS Ranking 2022 are as follows:

University QS Ranking 2022
Tsinghua University 1
Peking University 2
Fudan University 3
University of Science and Technology of China 4
Zhejiang University 5
Shanghai Jiao Tong University  6
Nanjing University 7
Sun Yat-sen University 8
Wuhan University 9
Harbin Institute of Technology 10

Tsinghua University

Tsinghua University is widely regarded and acclaimed among the research communities of the globe. Being the major public research university in Beijing, China, it is also a member of the C9 League. It is one of the most prestigious and sought-after universities in China by both national and international students and dates back its origin to 1911. As one of China’s most prestigious and influential universities, Tsinghua is committed to cultivating global citizens who will thrive in today’s world and thus comprises a reputed alumni list. The University conducts top-notch research every year, which is possible because of its 300+ research institutions. Additionally, more than 70 programs are available to undergraduate students at Tsinghua University and many more masters and doctoral programs. It offers an array of popular courses; some are enlisted below:

  • Biology and Biochemistry  
  • Biotechnology and Applied Microbiology
  • Cell Biology
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Clinical Medicine
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Economics and Business
  • Energy and Fuels 
  • Geoscience 
  • Molecular Biology and Genetics
  • Public, Environmental, and Occupational Health
  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine, and Public Health
  • Social Science and Public Health

Notable Alumni

Tsinghua University has produced many notable graduates, especially in the political sphere, such as President Xi Jinping, former President Hu Jintao, and former Premier Zhu Rongji. Forbes has referred to Tsinghua as China’s “power factory,” citing the amount of senior Chinese politicians the University has produced. Other than that, Tsinghua also holds a highly acclaimed list of Nobel laureates such as:

  • Yang Chen Ning, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work with Tsung-Dao Lee on parity nonconservation of weak interaction
  • Mathematician and winner of the Wolf Prize in Mathematics Shiing-Shen Chern
  • Biologist Min Chueh Chang
  • Theoretical physicist Zhou Peiyuan
  • Astronomer Zhang Yuzhe
  • Leslie Ying, professor at the University at Buffalo and Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging
  • Anthropologist Fei Xiaotong
  • Sociologists and ethnologist Wu Wenzao
  • Political scientists K. C. Hsiao, and Pan Guangdong

Peking University

Being the oldest University in China, Peking University was founded in 1898 to commemorate the replacement of the ancient Imperial College of China. Ironically, Peking University became the centre of the progressive Chinese school of thought and played a significant role in various revolutionary movements such as China’s New Culture Movement, the May Fourth Movement, and the Tiananmen Square protest of 1989, among other notable historical events. Its stunning campus and traditional Chinese architecture are a delight for international students to enjoy a rich academic culture in China. The main university campus is in the former site of the Qing Dynasty imperial gardens and, as such, features traditional Chinese-style landscaping, including traditional houses, gardens, pagodas, and many notable historic buildings and structures. Peking University is a leading university for scientific research and has successfully developed applied sciences research and teachings. There are 30 colleges and 12 departments, with 93 undergraduate programs, 199 master’s degree programs, and 173 options for doctoral candidates. Given below are a few popular courses of Peking University:

  • Economics.
  • Finance.
  • M.B.A. Global MBA
  • IMPA International Public Administration.
  • M.I.R. International Relations
  • Journalism and Communication.
  • M.B.A. Master of Business Administration
  • Social Enterprise Management

Notable Alumni

The alumni list of Peking University consists of a high profile batch of leaders and revolutionaries who were at the forefront of China’s industrial and social change, such as:

  • Yu Min – physicist, Father of Chinese H-bombs
  • Luo Jialun – leader of the May Fourth Movement
  • Fu Sinian – educator and linguist; leader of the May Fourth Movement, creators of the Academia Sinica
  • Gu Jiegang – Chinese historian; the founder of the Skeptical school of early Chinese history, known as Yigupai; best known for the seven-volume work Gushi Bian (“Debates on Ancient History”).
  • Shang Yue – Chinese economic historian and an author; best known for his contribution on the idea of sprouts of capitalism
  • Deng Jiaxian – nuclear physics expert; a leading organizer and key contributor to the Chinese nuclear weapon programs.
  • Zhu Guangya – a renowned nuclear physicist of China, a key contributor to China’s “Two Bombs, One Satellite” projects.

Fudan University 

Fudan University is one of the most sought-after public universities in Shanghai, established in 1905. The large campus is spread across four campuses, and around 30,000 students are enrolled at the moment. Consequently, Fudan University offers approximately 70 undergraduate majors, almost 250 master’s programs, and 150 doctoral programs. Intending to enlarge their medical department, Fudan University merged with Shanghai Medical University, and now they are affiliated with 11 more hospitals. The prestigious Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program of Fudan supports around 700 undergraduate research work each year. Listed below are a few of the most popular courses at Fudan University.

  • Biology and Biochemistry
  • Biotechnology and Applied Microbiology
  • Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems
  • Cell Biology
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Clinical Medicine
  • Computer Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Economics and Business
  •  Energy and Fuels
  • Engineering
  • Gastroenterology and Hepatology
  • Molecular Biology and Genetics
  • Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging

Zhejiang University

With “seeking truth” as the institution’s motto, Zhejiang University has inspired a generation of students since its establishment in 1897. This widely renowned public research university is also a member of the elite C9 League. Located in the prosperous capital Hangzhou, the University is organized into seven faculties, 37 colleges, schools, and departments offering more than 140 undergraduate and 300 graduate programs. Some of the widely in-demand programs in this University include:

  • Chemical Engineering and Technology
  • Civil Engineering
  • Civil and Hydraulic Engineering
  • Control Science and Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Energy and Power
  • Industrial Design Engineering
  • Chinese Law
  • Chinese Economy
  • International Affair and Global Governance
  • International Master of Communication and Business (iMCB)

Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) was founded in Shanghai, China, in 1896 to cultivate talented professionals for the nation. With a booming campus of more than 300 hectares, the SJTU campus is divided into six categories. As of December 2020, SJTU has 33 schools, 13 affiliated hospitals, two affiliated medical research institutes, 23 directly affiliated units, and five directly affiliated enterprises. It has a wide range of graduate and postgraduate courses which imminent faculty members teach. Consequently, owing to its wide facilities, SJTU ranks in the world’s top 100 universities and has become one of the sought-after destinations for international students. Out of the 71 undergraduate programs covering nine significant disciplines: economics, law, literature, science, engineering, agriculture, medicine, management, and arts, here are a few popular courses in SJTU:

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Control Science and Engineering
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Nuclear Science and Technology
  • Finance
  • Public Administration
  • Chinese History
  • Foreign Languages and Literature

Top Universities in China for MBBS

According to the China MBBS Educational Institution here is the list of top medical universities in China:

Ranking University Name City
1 Shihezi University Shihezi, Xinjiang
2 Shanghai University of TCM Shanghai
3 Qingdao University Qingdao
4 Liaoning University of TCM Shenyang
5 Jilin University Changchun
6 Shanxi University of TCM Taiyuan
7 Jining Medical University Jining
8 Shenyang Pharmaceutical University Shenyang, Liaoning
9 Henan University School of Medicine Kaifeng
10 Shenyang Medical College Shenyang

Explore: China Medical University – Colleges, Courses, and More

Cost of Studying in China

Studying in China has become an increasingly popular trend amongst international students due to its world-class education system and accessible budget. Although an ultra-comfort living standard in China might require just as much financial resources as it would in some states of the US or Australia, necessities do not cost much with the right financial planning in China.

Expenses Amount 
Accommodation $300 – $600 (22,304 INR – 44,608 INR)
Food and Beverage $170 – $200 (12,639 INR – 14,869 INR) 
Transportation $15 – $20 (1115 INR – 1486 INR)
Nightlife $6 – $10 (446 INR – 743 INR)

Chinese Scholarships for International Students

If you plan to pursue an abroad education from ‘the land of the red dragon,’ there are various scholarships and grants available that might be eligible for you. Before reviewing these verified scholarships, it is essential to note that the scholarships for studying in China are primarily categorized into two types:

  • Full Scholarships: This type of scholarship is provided by the Chinese government and covers tuition fees, foreign student health insurance, necessary study materials, accommodations, living quota, once-paid settlement allowance, and one city travel allowance.
  • Partial Scholarships: An incomplete scholarship includes one or more full scholarship points.

There are about 20 types of scholarships for studying in China, out of which the following are the most popular ones.

Type of Scholarships Budget /year Application Deadline
China Government Scholarships 6600 RMB (INR 76,915 ) 1st April
Provincial Scholarships 3000 – 4000 RMB ( INR 34,961 – 46,615) June
Shanghai Government Scholarships 6000 RMB ( INR 69,923) 20th April
Beijing Government Scholarships 3000 RMB (INR 34,961) 20th April
One Belt One Road  2000 RMB (INR 23,307) without stipend 31st March
Jasmine Jiangsu Government Scholarship 4000 RMB (INR 46,615) 15th April
Siemens Scholarship 1600 RMB (INR 18,646) 1st March
Scholarships provided by Chinese Universities 1000-4000 RMB (INR 11,653 INR – 46,615) July

Applying to Study in China

If the above information has got you interested in applying to colleges in China for your further studies, take time, do enough research, and carefully read all the following information:

  • See if your qualifications meet those required by the university.
  • Admission is based on the highest scores of your previous graduate school.
  • China has set a limit regarding students’ age when applying. Most universities do not accept students over 30 years of age for a Bachelor’s degree and over 40 for a Master’s Degree or PhD.
  • Applying to at least three universities will improve your chances of being admitted.

How to Apply for Chinese Universities?

  • For many, the easiest way is to apply online through the respective university’s main website.
  • You can also submit your application with the help of your friends or a mutual who are already studying at the same UniversityUniversity where you want to apply.
  • If you want to apply for an English-taught degree, the accepted language test certificates in Chinese Universities are – TOEFL iBT and IELTS.
  • The documents required for your application process are a Passport photo, photocopy of a valid passport, photocopy of a valid Visa, ID proof, Health Certificate, Certification of no criminal record.
  • Letter of Guarantee (parent or legal guardian of student signs a declaration confirming they assume responsibility for the student).
  • Financial proof that you can support your studies in China.
  • Certificate/Diploma and transcripts from last graduated school.

Usually, the application process for Chinese Universities starts in two different sessions every year:

  • For the spring semester, the application process usually ends in mid-July.
  • For the autumn semester, the portal remains open until late April.

Top 5 Careers for Foreigners in China

After completing your course, if you plan to stay back in China for professional reasons, China has an abundance of opportunities for foreigners in its booming economy. Below are the top 10 career options for foreigners and ex-pats in China.

  • Teaching: Teaching has become perhaps the most popular career choice for foreigners due to China’s excellent standard of education. Salaries for average teaching jobs mainly vary depending on the type of school and city. Although, the teaching jobs in China can be more profitable than the teaching jobs back home and include multiple benefits.
  • Trade/Commerce: The trade and commerce industry has been one of the most booming sectors in recent years. Merchants from all over the world have found efficient ways of widening their business scopes in cities like Guangzhou, leading to many opportunities for fresh graduates.
  • IT/Tech: From paying in a restaurant to traveling, China is one of the most tech-savvy countries globally. Hence, the IT sector is exceptionally demanding, and work hours for both Chinese and foreign employees can be comparatively long. Shenzhen, often labelled as China’s Silicon Valley, is famous for its attractive high-paying IT jobs, a great career starts for international students.
  • Writing/Media: While residing in China, foreigners often become a source of information to the rest of the world. Especially since China is adapting to globalization, the need for English content in news, media, and general content-based marketing, is in huge demand. These careers can range from travel, ex-pat lifestyle, recent events or information, and industry-specific reporting.
  • Marketing: With the endless amount of new startups and existing corporations in China, there is always a high demand for foreign talent with in-depth knowledge in the fields related to marketing, such as brand strategy, design, and advertising. Foreign experts are preferred more in this job designation as their language skills cater to penetrating local markets and the markets abroad.


How can I deal with the accommodation after arriving in China if I don’t speak Chinese?

The safest way for international students to find accommodation is to apply for on-campus residential accommodation before arriving in the country. As most universities have spacious dormitories for foreign students, the campus authorities will guide you through a smooth settling process.

Can I take a part-time job while studying at college?

According to relevant Chinese laws, international students studying in China are forbidden to be employed, and work-study opportunity is relatively small. So self-financed international students should make the financial preparation and ensure they can afford their tuition fees and living expenses before arriving in China.

What health verification and residence permit are required for studying in China?

Health verification: Scholarship students who are to stay in China for more than 6 months are requested to bring their passports, admission notice, the original Foreigner Physical Examination Form, and the Blood Test Report to the local health and quarantine office within the due time to have their medical examination reports verified.
Residence Permit: After the health verification, the students must apply for a residence permit to the local police authority with their passports, admission notice, and visa application form for Study in China (JW201) within 30 days upon their arrival.

Planning to apply for universities in China? From framing your SOP to completing your visa procedures, our experts in Leverage Edu can assist you with the complete application process. Think giant pandas, the Forbidden City, and the Rainbow Mountains, China can be your next abroad study destination in the days to come.

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