There are approximately 2663 higher education institutions (HEIs) in China. Over a half of these are universities, and the rest are a mix of vocational colleges and independent colleges. There are both private and public universities, though the largest proportion are public. Universities offer a general scope of degree subjects whereas vocational schools offer specific professional training for students who will enter directly into working positions in the future. 6 Chinese universities are ranked in the global top 100 according to the QS World University Rankings, with Tsinghua University ranked 17th worldwide. Chinese higher education institutions are welcoming to international students as there are nearly half a million foreign students currently studying in China. For more information on the higher education system in China, please refer to the official government website: http://en.moe.gov.cn/.
The educational structure in China now follows the common path of a Bachelors, followed by a Masters and a then a Doctorate. Bachelors generally take four years to complete, and both Masters and Doctorates take three years to complete. Admission requirements vary for local and international students. Local students must pass China’s National College Entrance Examination, the gao kao. The content varies depending on the province, but it usually includes mathematics, Chinese literature and a foreign language. Then depending on the course the student has applied for, they must take additional subjects in the test. For instance, if they have chosen a science, they must complete a physics, chemistry and biology exam. Before the exam, students fill in a form naming the universities they would like to apply to. Each university sets a minimum entrance score for the exam, if they miss the score, they move down to the next university on their list and if they do not achieve a score for any of their universities, they must re-sit the exam next year. International students are not required to pass this examination as most high school certificates such as AP and International Baccalaureate are accepted though some universities require students to pass additional exams that are considered less difficult than the gao kao.
There are multiple ways for students to apply to higher education institutions in China. They may do so directly through the university itself or through the centralized system known as China’s University and College Admission System (CUCAS).
Tuition fees vary greatly among the institutions though they can be averaged around 2000 to 4000 USD$ per year. There are many bursaries that international students may apply for through exchange programs between foreign governments and the Chinese government in a bid to increase the number of incoming international students.
Information for International Students
The official language of instruction is Mandarin Chinese though there are many Masters level courses that are taught fully in English. Therefore, students will be required to complete an HSK test or TOEFL test depending on the course. Students must also apply for a visa to study abroad in China and are required to pass a Physical health examination in order to be accepted.