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Education in China: Universities and Scholarships

The People's Republic of China is a destination for students who would like to study abroad. An important fact is that the Chinese government generously invests in the development of education and scholarships for foreign applicants. It is also worth noting that the cost of studying in China is significantly lower compared to universities in the US, Canada and Europe.

Universities in China

6 Chinese universities are in the top 100 universities in the world according to the QS World University Rankings. These are: Peking University, Tsinghua University, Fudan University, Zhejiang University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and University of Science and Technology of China. There are also national rankings of the country: project 211, project 985 and league C9 - they were combined into The World First Class University and First Class Academic Discipline Construction (世界一流大学和一流学科建设) - the goal of which is to create world-class universities and disciplines up to the end of 2050. It includes 42 universities and 465 priority disciplines represented in 147 universities.

The language of instruction is Chinese and English. When choosing a field of study, it should be taken into account that most of the undergraduate specialties are presented with Chinese as the language of instruction. Master's and doctoral students have much more choice for programs in English.

Bachelor's studies last 4 years, 6 years in the case of medical education. Master's studies last 2, 2.5 and 3 years. Doctoral studies last 4-5 years.

To apply for Chinese-taught programs, you need to provide HSK 4-5 for undergraduate, HSK 5-6 for master's and HSK 6 for doctoral studies.

Applicants from non-English speaking countries must submit an IELTS, TOEFL, or Duolingo EnglishTest certificate to apply for English-taught programs. Minimum score is 6.0. While studying in English, students also attend Chinese classes.

At some universities, when applying for undergraduate programs, there are entrance tests in mathematics, English/Chinese, physics/chemistry.

Some universities offer a Pre-University Program so that applicants can improve their language skills, academic performance and cultural adaptability. In this way, students can lay a solid foundation for their further undergraduate studies. There are programs for students who continue to study the language and for students with zero knowledge of the language. Their duration is 1 and 2 years, respectively. Students study Chinese in depth, as well as mathematics, English, physics and chemistry.

It is also possible to get a dual degree. For example, CUHK-Tsinghua University Dual Undergraduate Degree Program in Economics provides students with the opportunity to receive 2 international degrees in Bachelor of Social Science in Economics and Bachelor of Economics, as well as the necessary analytical tools and knowledge to start a career related to the Chinese economy and financial markets.

The Zhejiang University-University of Edinburgh Institute (HE) is a collaboration in the field of Biomedical Sciences between Zhejiang University of China and The University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

The cost of such programs is above average, but it is also possible to get a 25%, 50% or 100% discount on tuition fees.

The cost of studying at various universities can be as follows:
  • Bachelor's degree in Chinese - ¥15,000-25,000 per year
  • Bachelor's degree in English - ¥21,000-80,000 per year
  • master's degree in Chinese - ¥20,000-30,000 per year
  • master's degree in English - ¥30,000-40,000 per year
  • PhD – ¥20000-50000 per year
  • Tuition for an MBA program is ¥100,000 or more.
Tuition fees depend on the length of study, the level of the university and the language of instruction.

The Academic Year

Traditionally, the academic year begins in April and ends in March of the following year. It's conventionally divided into two periods of 6 months, the first lasts from April to September, and the second lasts from October to March.

The division, however, may differ depending on the university. Some academic institutions have almost no holidays, and some divide the year into trimesters, like in Japanese schools.

Entrance exams and application deadlines are usually set for April.

China Scholarships

Chinese universities offer a wide range of scholarships.
The largest scholarship is the CSC (awarded by the Chinese Scholarship Council). It is divided into two types.

Type A - the application is made through the Ministry of Education or the embassy in the country of the applicant. This type of scholarship is available for undergraduate, graduate, PhD studies, as well as for internships for one-year or semester courses. But documents for the program can be submitted if at the time of application the applicant is a student, graduate student or research and teaching staff at one of the universities in his country.

type B - the application is made directly through a Chinese university. This type is for graduate and PhD students only.

This scholarship is divided into:
1) Full Scholarship – It fully covers tuition fees, health insurance for international students, university accommodation, monthly living allowance of: ¥2,500 for undergraduate students, ¥3,000 for graduate students, and ¥3,500 yuan for students doctoral studies.
2) Partial Scholarship: Covers only one or more items from the full scholarship list.
Shanghai Government Scholarship
Shanghai Government Scholarship is divided into two types:
type A - includes the same items as the CSC scholarship.

Type B is a partial scholarship that covers either 100% or 50% of tuition fees.

Beijing Government Scholarship

This scholarship is for tuition fees for one academic year only. Covers either 100% or 50%.
University and Provincial Scholarships

Universities and provinces offer scholarships for applicants. Most of them are aimed at covering tuition fees. This is approximately ¥20,000 for undergraduate students, ¥30,000 for graduate and doctoral students.
Scholarships have the following criteria for applicants:

  • applicants for undergraduate programs must have a certificate of completion of general secondary education and be no older than 25 years.
  • applicants for master's programs must have a bachelor's degree and be no older than 35 years.
  • applicants for doctoral programs must have a master's degree and be no older than 40 years.
  • applicants must not be receiving any Chinese Government Scholarships at the time of application.

Cost of living

In the most popular cities in China, such as Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, accommodation prices are higher than in smaller cities such as Tianjin, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Xi`an, etc.

Dormitory rooms are single, double and 4-bed. Scholarship students usually live in double rooms. Depending on the type of dormitory, the shower and toilet can be either in the room or on the floor. Kitchens are most often shared and are on each floor. The laundry is usually located in the same building. Accommodation fees vary from ¥10,000/year to ¥25,000/year.

Also, upon check-in, a deposit is made for the room, which is returned when the student moves out of the dormitory. The rooms have beds with mattresses, a wardrobe, a table with a chair and air conditioning. Sometimes there is also a balcony.

University campuses are modern and comfortable. Due to the number of students, university territories are like mini-towns. On the territory there are campuses, dormitories, a library, research centers, fitness centers, a swimming pool, cafes and shops where you can buy various little things for life.

If desired, the student can rent an apartment. The search for an apartment is carried out either through acquaintances or through special agencies. Student can rent a room or an apartment. The rental price depends on the location and year of construction of the building. The rental price depends on the location and year of construction of the building. On average, rent for an apartment starts at ¥3,000. The rooms/apartments are already furnished. A deposit for water, electricity and gas is paid into the account of the apartment. As soon as this account runs out of money, it will not be possible to use any of the above until the money is again deposited into the account. The payment for heating is paid once for 4 months. In southern China, heating is not everywhere.

According to Chinese law, a student does not have the right to earn extra money. You can take an internship with the consent of the university. These internships are paid and free. It is worth counting on living expenses from $ 500/month if you live in a dormitory. If you rent an apartment, then from $ 900/month.

If a student has already obtained a driver's license in their home country, then in China it is possible to obtain an international license after passing the theory exam. The theory exam can be taken in Chinese or English.

While entry into China is currently restricted due to the pandemic, the Chinese Ministry of Education, in cooperation with ministries of other countries, is organizing flights for international degree students wishing to study in China.
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