📈 Chinese University Rankings

There is no official Chinese University ranking. However, there are a number of Chinese organizations and international publications who release university rankings annually.

In China, Peking University and Tsinghua University are ranked #1 and #2. Both universities also rank high in global rankings and more Chinese Universities are entering world university rankings every year.

How Are Universities in China Ranked?

Universities are ranked by domestic and international university ranking publications. There are two in China: CUAA and Wu Shulian. Internationally, the commonly cited international rankings of world universities come from ARWU, THE World Rankings and QS World Rankings. Learn more about each one of them here.

CUAA BillionnairesWu Shulian RankingAcademic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU)QS World RankingsTimes Higher Education THE World University Rankings

The CUAA ranking is quite simple. How many billionaires did the university produce? The top 9 Chinese universities based on billionaires in 2022 are:

Billionaires       Name of University

98                      Peking University
95                      Tsinghua University
74                      Zhejiang University
49                      Fudan University
34                      Renmin University of China
28                      Sun Yat-Sen University
27                      Shanghai Jiao Tong University
25                      Wuhan University
24                      South China University of Technology

You can find more information here (in Chinese).

The Chinese University Ranking, or Wu Shulian Ranking, is a research project by Wu Shulian. Wu Shulian is the leader of the “Chinese University Ranking” research group at the Chinese Academy of Management Science. Wu Shulian Ranking first released its university rankings in 1993. It is one of the most influential university rankings in China.

The main evaluation indicators of “2019 Chinese University Evaluation” are: China University Comprehensive Strength Ranking, Natural Science, Social Science Ranking, Science, Engineering, Agriculture, Medicine, Philosophy, Economics, Law, Education, Literature, History, Management 12 disciplines such as academics and art, 494 undergraduate professional rankings, Chinese university selection rankings, undergraduate employment quality rankings, undergraduate graduates rankings, teachers’ average academic rankings, Teacher performance rankings, new quality rankings.

Compared with previous years, the index system of “2018 Chinese University Evaluation” has been improved: new employment quality indicators for undergraduate graduates, school selection order indicators, and SCD citation database have been screened. (Xiong Xu Meng)

Check Wu Shulian 2018 China’s 758 universities comprehensive strength list top 400 here.

The ARWU (formerly known as the Shanghai Jiao Tong Rankings) first published its list of world university ranking in June 2003. It was spearheaded by the Center for World-Class Universities of Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU). SJTU is a leading university in China. In 2009, it was copyrighted by ShanghaiRanking Consultancy.

ARWU is widely considered the leading international ranking in China and often considered next to QS and THE international rankings. Note that the ARWU tends to be more heavily weighted towards research than teaching. Here’s a look at the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2023.

QS World Rankings is an annual university rankings publication by Quacquarelli Symonds. It was inaugurated in 2004 and has since released many comparative data about university performance across the world. The QS World Rankings recently released its World University Rankings for 2023, here’s an overview of the results:


THE World University Rankings is a publication under Times Magazine that releases world university rankings every year. The performance indicators used by THE are grouped into five areas: Teaching (the learning environment); Research (volume, income and reputation); Citations (research influence); International outlook (staff, students and research); and Industry income (knowledge transfer).

THE has published its 2023 rankings here. This is the general ranking for all subjects.

*It is important to note that new and international universities are not accurately measured on these rankings. MBA programs also have their own separate rankings.

How Are Universities Classified In China?

Chinese Universities are classified according to four government projects: Project 211, Double First Class University Plan, Project 985 and the C9 League.

Project 211

This was established in 1985 and was designed for the top universities in China. The name of the project comes from the abbreviation of the Chinese slogan “For the 21st century, to manage 100 universities successfully”. With approximately 100 universities.

They receive the highest amount of funding. There are 116 universities in project 211, and between 1996 and 2000 around $2.2 Billion USD was distributed to these universities.

Double First Class University Plan

This was founded in 2015 and the target is to build 42 world class universities by 2050. It includes 36 class A universities, and 6 class B universities and the target is to build 465 first class class disciplines (spread out over 140 universities) . Further information and the full list can be found on the MOE website here

Project 985

This project 985 was founded in May 1998 (in Chinese 1998/5) hence the name 985. The plan was to promote the development and reputation of China’s higher education system. It involves funding from from local and national government to the development of facilities, conferences, and attracting talent for the 21st century.
The 9 founding members of this project are part of the C9 league.

C9 League

The C9 League is considered the leading universities and so receive a larger amount of funding. Member organizations of the C9 league include

  • Peking University
  • Tsinghua University
  • Fudan University
  • Shanghai Jiao Tong University
  • Harbin Institute of Technology
  • University of Science and Technology of China
  • Zhejiang University
  • Nanjing University
  • Xi’an Jiaotong University

For more information about Chinese university classifications, you can read our article here.

Are Rankings Important When Choosing A Chinese University?

Rankings can be helpful, however, it should not be the lone factor when deciding which Chinese University to study. Every university has different strengths and specializations. If you would like study engineering, it is advisable to choose a university with a strong reputation in the discipline or program of interest.

You might also want to consider student experiences from other international students. We feature a lot of student stories on our blog that you might want to read. World university rankings rarely measure student satisfaction so this is a good point to consider.

Choosing a university should not be all about prestige. It should be more of quality of education, happiness and outcomes.

Study In China Intake!

Chinese Universities are now open for applications. You can start your application here!


More Interesting Lists: 

– 279 Universities accepting CSC Scholarships here (and their agency numbers here)
– Top 100 most popular universities for international students here
– 15 Most Affordable Universities here
– Top 10 most beautiful Chinese universities here.
– Top 8 Medical Universities here.
– Top 20 universities to study Chinese in China here.

Join 180,000+ international students and get monthly updates

Receive Admissions, Scholarships & Deadlines Updates from Chinese Universities.
Unsubscribe anytime.