Top 20 Universities to Study Chinese in China for 2024

There are over 2,000 universities in China. How do you decide which one is the best to study Chinese in China?

I’m going to introduce some of the top universities to study Chinese in China and why you should consider them for your language journey!

What is most important to you?

Most international students decide on one of these 6 factors in choosing a program:

– Ranking of university
– Quality of the program
– Location / city or not

– Lowest Price
– Accommodation – on campus or off campus
– Schedule flexibility of the program 

I’m going to introduce the top 20 Universities to study Chinese in China based on these factors.

If you’d like more choices, you can check out the full list of Chinese language programs here.

I’m going to start with what I think are the “Coolest programs”. There are two programs that I think are the coolest in China.

Coolest Programs

If you want a really unique and adventurous experience to study Chinese in China, these are the universities to check out!

Central Academy of Drama logo

1. Central Academy of Drama 

Central Academy of Drama is located in the Hutongs in Beijing next to Nanlouguxiang. This is one of the coolest because it doesn’t have that many foreign students compared to the others, and its not in the student district. For this reason you will find it easier to make more Chinese friends and spend more of your time speaking Chinese.

Central Academy of Drama is one of the most famous schools in China. You are likely to make friends with future actresses and actors and film stars. This is a great place to learn the proper, official pronunciation, and perhaps you can also be involved in some plays and performances which is a great .

You can read more and apply online here.

Beijing Film Academy logo 2. Beijing Film Academy 

Beijing Film Academy is similar to Central Academy of Drama. It is ranked as the top film school in Asia and you can see the huge number of film awards that have been won by their alumni in their awards room. If you are interested in movies, you may also find some opportunities to be involved in Chinese movies while you are there.

You can read more and apply online here.

Most Effective Programs

  3. Beijing Normal University 

We have heard a lot of great reviews from students who have studied at Beijing Normal University. The university is very well regarded for the quality of the program. One of the reasons for this is that the word “normal” means “示范”  normal or standard – which means that they set the standards. The university actually specialises in teaching teachers how to teach. Some of the best teachers become teachers at that university.

You can read more and apply online here.

Top Ranked Programs

Chinese universities are rising very quickly up the rankings as they invest heavily. You can learn more about them here. These are the top-ranked and most exclusive programs to study Chinese in China.

4. Tsinghua University IUP Program 

This is one of the most highly rated programs in China because of the quality of the program and how fast you can learn Chinese. The program teachers quite differently to other university programs in China with a focus on 1-to-1 tuition and small groups for four hours per day.

The price is more than other programs at $9,995 USD per semester, and $18,995 USD per year, but the advantage is that you can learn faster and save time and get to a high level of Chinese.

5. Tsinghua University Chinese Language Program

Tsinghua also has another Chinese program which is more well known and popular and has around 500 students per semester.

You can read more and apply online here.

6. Peking University 

Peking University is ranked top in China with Tsinghua University. Peking University’s program is a bit smaller than Tsinghua with around 100-200 each intake.

Peking University Students

It is definitely great to study in a top ranked university in China. It is so competitive to apply for Chinese students and the quality of the students and teachers is very high. It can be a very inspirational environment and you can make some great connections.

Tsinghua vs. Peking

If you are trying to decide between studying in Tsinghua or Peking then you might decide on the main cultural difference between the two universities. They both have incredible campuses and great quality.

Peking is more focused on the arts and is more focused on creativity, humanities whereas Tsinghua’s strength is more about engineering. You can read more here.

Beijing vs. Other Cities

The first 4 universities I mentioned to study Chinese in Chins are all in Beijing. Why is that?

Beijing is a great city to learn Chinese because standard Chinese is the same as the local Chinese. It means you can easily communicate with people in the city and practice Chinese.

Read More: 10 Incredible Facts About Beijing, China

Although Mandarin is the official language in China and everyone speaks it for official settings, every city has their own dialect. If you are studying in Shanghai or Hangzhou, for example, many people such as taxi drivers or waiters may speak with a different dialect or accent and so it might be a bit harder to understand if you are learning.

It doesn’t mean that you can’t learn Chinese well in other cities, but it is something to consider.

Tianjin also has a similar accent to Beijing and can be a great place to study, and I will mention Tianjin International Culture College soon, but first I need to introduce the top universities to study Chinese in Shanghai.

Top Universities in Shanghai

Fudan University Logo 7. Fudan University

This is one of the top choices to study in Shanghai, and is joint ranked top with Shanghai Jiaotong University. Lots of students want to study in Shanghai because it is a great modern city to study. Fudan is especially popular with international students and has strict deadlines.

fudan university - international students

You can read more and apply to Fudan here.

8. Shanghai Jiaotong University

The main difference between Fudan and SJTU is the location. Shanghai Jiaotong has more locations to choose that are closer to the center of Shanghai.

Michael, CEIBS student, at Shanghai city

The accommodation for these two universities can be quite limited, so it would be a good idea to stay in private accommodation. You can read more about options here.

You can read more and apply to SJTU here.

9. Zhejiang University

Zhejiang University is located in the beautiful Hangzhou which is a great place to study Chinese in China. It is a leading university (often named the top 3 in China).

 Zhejiang University - international students class

You can read more and apply here.

Read More: What are the best universities in Shanghai?

Lowest Cost Universities to study Chinese in China

Most of the universities have the same price for the tuition fee (around 7000 to 8000 RMB which is about $1,000 USD per semester), and there are limited scholarships for Chinese language programs. (More info about that here.)

So the main ways to save cost is to study in lower cost cities and to stay in accommodation on campus which is usually subsidised.

10. Tianjin International Culture College 

Tianjin can also be one of the lowest cost places to study. The accommodation and living expenses are much lower than Beijing and Shanghai. Tianjin International Culture College is a lower cost program

You can read more and apply to TICC here.

11. Zhejiang University of Science and Technology 

Based in Hangzhou, which is the same city as Alibaba, ZUST is a very popular university for international students. They have on campus accommodation and living costs is lower than Shanghai or Beijing.

study chinese in China

If you want to find lower living costs, you can look at more lower cost cities too, and there are many cities with low living costs in China. You can read more about the living costs here.

You can read more and apply to ZUST here.

Most Popular Universities in China

Now I’m going to introduce some of the most popular universities in China for international students that you might like to consider.

12. Beijing Language and Culture University 

BLCU is one of the most popular universities in China and has thousands of students studying there each year from all over the world. It can be quite a sociable experience and you can meet students from many different countries. It is known as the little united nations.

Beijing Language and Culture University

They have a lot of experience teaching Chinese to foreigners and have some of the best online programs, you can learn more about those here.

13. Beijing Chinese Language and Culture College

BLCC can sometimes be confused with BLCU by students because their names are quite similar, but the experience is quite different at the two schools.

 study chinese in China

BLCC is located outside of the center of Beijing, away from the student district and closer to the great wall. This can be a good thing if you are focusing on learning Chinese and would like to save money on accommodation. They also have a numbers of scholarships.

You can learn more about BLCC here.

14. University of International Business and Economics 

UIBE is also a very popular university in Beijing. One of the advantages of UIBE is the location in Beijing CBD close to the embassies. Most of the other universities are located in the student district in the west of Beijing.

The curriculum can also be a bit more flexible and allow you to take classes in the morning with the afternoon free (although it can change each semester it is best to check before applying if this is important.)

You can read more and apply to UIBE here.

15. Wuhan University

Wuhan university is known as having one of the most beautiful campuses in China (together with Xiamen, Tsinghua, and Peking University). Wuhan University is close to the east lake which is very beautiful. It is also very high ranked and you can have a very interesting experience here with a lower cost.

Study in Wuhan University

You can read more and apply here.

16. Central China Normal University

In the same city is CCNU which is another top choice in Wuhan. The price is similar to the other programs.

study chinese in China

You can read more and apply here.

17. Xiamen University

Xiamen University has one of the most beautiful campuses. Xiamen is a beautiful city located in the south of China near the sea.


You can read more and apply to XMU here.

18. Beijing Institute of Technology

Beijing Institute of Technology is another popular choice for international students located in Beijing.

 BIT Aerospace Engineering Program

You can read more and apply to BIT here.

Hidden Gem

Central Academy of Drama, and Beijing Film Academy are hidden gems, this one is also a hidden gem.

19. Beijing Institute of Economics and Management 

Beijing Institute of Economics and Management is not that well known by Western students. It seems to be quite popular for Korean students, but it can be a popular choice in Beijing in Wangjing district.

study chinese in China

The university has a small class size and classes. You can read more about it and apply here.

  20. Beijing Foreign Studies University

I have to mention Beijing Foreign Studies University which is focusing on foreign languages. They have a campus in Beijing and in Foshan in the south of China. There is limited on campus accommodation in Beijing but more in Foshan.

The university is heavily focused on foreign languages with one of the highest female to male ratios out of universities in China. They are known for training the largest numbers of diplomats and BFSU has one of the highest employability rates in China.

You can read more and apply to BFSU here.

How to Apply to Chinese Universities

China Admissions is a free online platform for international students to apply to Chinese universities. It is difficult for international students to find the information and apply to universities in China so there is a need for a simple online platform.

China Admission is free for students because we are funded by the universities. Through China Admissions you can apply online in a simple form to any university in China.

Read More: How to apply to Chinese Universities with China Admissions

We also have international staff who are available to give you quick support and assist you with your application.

Thanks to our fast development, we have won a number of awards as one of the top edtech companies in China.

There are many more universities you can search the rest here and apply online.

Founder and CEO at China Admissions. Originally from UK🇬🇧, based in Beijing. Studied at Peking University & BLCU. Preparing for HSK 6. Hope we can help more talented international students have the same amazing experiences and opportunities that I have had
Richard Coward

Join 180,000+ international students and get monthly updates

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