Study Foundation Programs In China

What are foundation programs in China?

Students who are currently in high school/secondary school or have graduated, but are not ready to enroll in a Bachelor’s program yet, may take a 6-month or 1-year foundation course at a Chinese university. These are non-degree programs to help prepare students for university.

The courses may be taught in Chinese or English. The foundation program enables you to apply for an undergraduate degree at the same university or any university of your preference.

Why Study a Foundation Program in China?

There are many good reasons why you should study a foundation program here in China. The main reasons students choose a foundation program are:

  1. You want to improve your Chinese to an HSK 4 or 5 level before studying for a Bachelor’s in the Chinese language.
  2. You have not completed high school/secondary school, SAT/ACT/GRE, or GCE Advanced level
  3. You have completed high school/secondary school but your grades are not really that good
  4. You don’t have an English language certificate (IELTS or TOEFL)
  5. You are not ready to start a Bachelor’s program right away for any reason and want extra time to adapt to studying abroad/university life/academic schedules.

To study an English-taught Bachelor’s program at a Chinese university, you need to have completed high school/secondary school and provide an English language certificate (IELTS, TOEFL, IET). If you do not have these, a foundation program in China may be right for you.

1 You would like to study Bachelor’s in Chinese but you don’t have a sufficient Chinese level (HSK 4 or 5)

More and more students are interested in studying for a Bachelor’s in China in the Chinese language. Learning Chinese will give you a lot of opportunities in the future, and you can also get easier access to universities in China, including scholarships.
If you want to improve your Chinese before starting your Bachelor’s program, a foundation program can help you learn intensive Chinese to prepare.

2 You have not completed/finished high school/secondary school or any exams like GRE or GCE Advanced Level

In this case, you can actually save a lot of time! Instead of going through two or three years of high school in your home country, you can enroll in a foundation program that usually takes between one or two semesters only to achieve successful preparation for university.

3 You have completed high school but your grades are not really that good

If you have low grades, you might have trouble meeting the academic standards of many Chinese universities. This is especially true if you want to apply for competitive programs such as engineering or medicine.

A foundation program is a perfect opportunity for a second chance to improve your grades and adapt to academic standards of Chinese universities. If you perform well you can get access to good universities and programs in China.

4 You don’t have an English language certificate

In order to study an English-taught degree program in China, you need to either come from a country that has English as its first official language, your high school/secondary school education was exclusively taught in English, or you need to provide an English language certificate (either IELTS or TOEFL or IET). If you don’t meet any of these standards but want to start your studies in China as soon as possible, a foundation program is an ideal choice. Once you have completed the foundation program you can apply to any Chinese university (even without an English language certificate).

5 You are not ready to start a Bachelor’s program right away

Maybe you have been out of high school/secondary school for a few years and are not used to academic life. Maybe you’re worried about moving to China and would like some time to adapt to life there before you begin your degree. If any of these examples fit your situation, you are a good candidate for a foundation program.

Foundation programs are a great way to make the best use of your time and prepare for further studies at a Chinese university. We will tell you everything you need to know on why you should study a foundation program and how you can do it.

Requirements to apply

Each foundation program has its own specific requirements. In general, however, you must be:

  • At least 18 years old
  • A non-Chinese citizen

If you are under the age of 18, you will need to find a guardian in China. The guardian should be someone who has lived in China long term and is not a student. They may be a foreigner or Chinese national, but do not have to be related to you.

You will need a guardianship letter that is notarized by the Chinese embassy in your own country. Some universities have a template to follow. If you are under age 18 and want to study in China, please contact China Admissions here or email so our counselors can help you find a guardian and write the guardianship letter.

BLCC Chinese Foundation Programs

There are a number of foundation programs in Beijing Language and Culture College, and you can also receive a scholarship to study at Tianjin University. You can read more about it here.

Tongji University Foundation Program

Tongji University logoThe Non-degree in Foundation Program at Tongji University (TongJU) is a 1 –2 semesters long program for international students, taught in English

Tuition fee: 

RMB 14500/semester for the fall semester, RMB 19350/semester for the spring semester

Why apply at TongJU

  • One of China’s top universities with a history of over 100 years and a reputation for quality research, teaching, and learning.
  • Located in Shanghai, a huge and cosmopolitan city in eastern China with a reputation for business, fashion, art, and modern culture.

View requirements and apply here:

Jiangsu University Foundation Program

The Non-degree in Pre-University Foundation Program at Jiangsu University (JSU) is a 1-semester long program for international students, taught in English. It is designed as refresher courses for students who need improvement in the subjects considered essential for related first-year courses at JSU.

Tuition fee: 

The tuition fee is USD $1208 per semester.

Why apply at Jiangsu University

  • Lower tuition fee for foundation program compared to other universities.
  • The employment rate of the university’s graduates has been over 95%.
  • Students who take the foundation program can take the “Admission Entrance Exam for Overseas Students”. Students who score well in this exam will be admitted to the next intake for bachelor’s degree students.

View requirements and apply here:

The Northwestern Polytechnical University Foundation Program

The Non-degree in English Foundation Program at Northwestern Polytechnical University (NWPU) is a 1 semester long program for international students, taught in English.

Tuition fee:     

The tuition fee is 15,000 RMB per semester

Why apply at NWPU

  • Best option for foreign high school graduates who are willing to come to Northwestern Polytechnical University for undergraduate education and study engineering or business
  • Priority admissions and scholarships to NWPU
  • Low cost compared to other universities that offer pre-engineering or pre-business programs

View requirements and apply here:

More Foundation Programs

There are more foundation programs for business, Chinese language, science and engineering. View the complete list here:

How to Apply

It’s easy to apply for any foundation program in China with China Admissions.

All you need to do is check your eligibility for the programs, and apply through our website. We will help you build a good application and collect the necessary documents for the university.

Learn how to apply with China Admissions here:

Savannah Billman has a master's degree in Chinese Law and Society at the Yenching Academy of Peking University. She holds a B.A. from NYU Shanghai and has also written for The World of Chinese, TechNode, SupChina, and Sixth Tone.
Savannah Billman

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