China’s Universities Reach the World’s Top 15 in THE’s 2024 Rankings

China’s higher education system has been making significant strides in recent years, and the latest rankings from Times Higher Education (THE) prove just that. In THE’s 2024 rankings, China’s universities have managed to secure a spot among the world’s top 15, marking a remarkable achievement for the country’s academic institutions.

The latest edition of the World University Rankings 2024 assessed 1,904 universities, making it the largest edition to date. China’s academic progress is truly impressive, with 13 universities making their mark in the Top 200 this year. This is a significant leap from just seven universities in 2020.

Tsinghua University and Peking University were recognized as China’s top institutions, ranking 12th and 14th, respectively.

Here’s how China’s universities ranked in this year’s Top 100:

Rank Name
No. of FTE Students No. of students per staff International Students Female:Male Ratio
12 Tsinghua University 38,518 11.2 10% n/a
14 Peking University 33,064 10.9 14% n/a
43 Shanghai Jiao Tong University 38,472 12.6 9% 37 : 63
44 Fudan University 38,101 12.6 9% 52 : 48
55 Zhejiang University 48,169 12 16% n/a
57 University of Science and Technology of China 20,252 8.1 5% n/a
73 Nanjing University 36,711 16.7 8% 54 : 46
150 Sichuan University 49,117 15.9 5% n/a
158 Huazhong University of Science and Technology 57,663 15.5 4% n/a
164 Wuhan University 56,066 15 5% n/a


This year, THE used a new methodology called WUR 3.0 to assess institutions. It evaluated them based on 18 performance indicators grouped into five key areas: teaching, research, industry links, and international outlook.

The ranking analyzed more than 134 million citations across 16.5 million research publications, also including survey responses from 68,402 scholars worldwide.

China’s consistent climb in rankings is truly remarkable, and there are several compelling reasons behind it. These reasons hold significance not only for individual performance evaluations but also for the government’s relentless initiatives to enhance the sector.

According to THE, Chinese universities have published more research papers than any other country in the world since 2016. The country’s average score in research quality indicators have seen a significant boost in this year’s rankings. 

In addition, Chinese universities have been successful in attracting international students and researchers, which has enhanced their global reputation.

Tsinghua University moved from 16th to 12th position this year.

China’s Transforming Higher Education Sector 

China’s approach to academic advancement has shown incredible progress, putting it on the global map as a leading destination for students seeking quality education. By 2018, there were nearly half a million international students from around the world enrolled in over a thousand Chinese institutions.

“Right now, there is a huge opportunity for international students to study in China at some of the world’s top universities at a fraction of the price,” says Richard Coward, CEO of China Admissions. “The world is beginning to notice.”

Since 1992, China’s government has been actively committed to supporting internationalization efforts by offering generous scholarships and funding opportunities.

Quality improvement initiatives like Program 211, Program 985, and the Double First-Class initiative aim to create world-class universities and disciplines. Notably, the Double Ten Thousand Plan, focusing on undergraduate education, introduced numerous high-quality programs. Online education, including MOOCs, has thrived, with over 52,500 MOOCs available online and millions of students earning academic credits.

China has also achieved inclusive expansion, with 240 million in higher education and a gross enrolment rate surging from 30% to 57.8%, making it a global leader in education accessibility.

Peking University moved from 17th to 14th position this year.

Other ranking boards

While THE is a widely respect university ranking board, there are other prestigious ranking boards that use different methodologies to rank universities. For example, the QS World University Rankings and the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) both place a greater emphasis on research output than THE does.

This year, China’s universities have been consistently recognized by other ranking boards. In the QS World University Rankings 2023, Peking University and Tsinghua University were in 12th and 14th positions, respectively. Also recognized among China’s leading schools were The University of Hong Kong (21), Fudan University (=34), and The Chinese University of Hong Kong (38).

READ MORE: Chinese University Rankings

International Students in China 

The statistics around students who choose to study abroad in China further show the rising popularity of universities in China.

Here at China Admissions, we have noticed a trend of more students from developed countries interested in studying in China. “They are attracted by great value,” says Richard, “including lower costs, quality of education, and the opportunity to live and explore a fascinating country and culture.”

We expect the trend to continue.

Apply for the 2024 Intake 

China’s rise in the rankings is a testament to its investment in higher education and research. China’s top universities are well on their way to becoming world-class institutions. Be a part of this academic renaissance by applying to your dream program in China. Our team here at China Admissions is here to help you with your application, so browse our programs or book a free call with us to get started. 

Kay contributes to the Marketing team at China Admissions. A "third-culture kid" based in Thailand, she has had lifelong exposure to international communities and has worked with top global brands. Having studied abroad herself, she encourages young minds to invest in their self-development and foster an appreciation for new countries and cultures.
Kay M

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