China is heralded as a world superpower. Along with strengthening its economy, China has made big strides to boost the standard of education in the country. With unlimited opportunities, scholarships, an innovative educational system and a promising student experience, China’s reputation in international education has skyrocketed in the last decade.
Currently, China has over 2,900 universities. If you are an international student considering an education in China, this number can be quite overwhelming. To help you decide, check out our list of the top Chinese universities and what they have to offer!
Please note that these are the top-ranked Chinese universities. We have not included international non-Chinese universities. See the ranking here for the top 16 Chinese Universities for International Students.
See the list of the most popular 100 universities in China with the most international students here. Here are the most beautiful universities, most affordable in general and the cheapest master’s, and universities without application fees!
10 Ranked Chinese Universities: Top Universities in China
Founded: 1911, one of the oldest universities in China
Location: Haidian District northwest Beijing, on the site of the former imperial gardens of the Qing Dynasty
Rankings: #1 in China, #4 in Asia and #16 in the world
The top university in the world for engineering and computer science and one of the most influential and prestigious universities in China. Tsinghua has a remarkably diverse community. In 2019, more than 4,000 international students from over 130 countries were enrolled, including more than 3,200 degree students and over 700 non-degree students.
More than 500 courses in English are available to students across the university. The International Students and Scholars Center (ISSC) at Tsinghua University ensures that the international community is strongly supported and well represented in the university.
Tsinghua University campus was named one of the most beautiful in the world by Forbes.
Founded: 1898, the oldest university in China
Location: Haidian District northwest Beijing. The university has one of the most beautiful campuses in the world. It is famous for its lovely gardens, traditional Chinese architecture and painted murals.
Rankings: #2 in China, #5 in Asia, #22 in the world
Peking University (PKU) is the first national university in Chinese modern history. PKU’s National School of Development (NSD) is one of the leading think tanks in China. Through the NSD, PKU is crucial to China’s modernization.
International students will find PKU an ideal university to study because of its perfect combination of traditional Chinese heritage and western influence.
PKU has the largest university library in Asia, with a collection of 7.331 million books, as well as Chinese and foreign journals and newspapers.
Ancient pagoda-styled courtyard buildings of Peking University’s Langrun Garden.
Many students ask us: how hard is it to get into Tsinghua or Peking university? You can lean more here.
Founded: 1905, originally called the Fudan Public School
Location: Fudan University has four campuses at the center of Shanghai: Handan, Fenglin, Zhangjiang and Jiangwan.
Ranking: #3 in China, #7 in Asia, #40 in the world
Fudan University is a modern, comprehensive university and one of the most selective schools in China. Fudan has one of the largest student populations in China with more than 45,000 Chinese students. It is also a hub for international students with 15% studying undergraduate programs in the university.
Internationalization is one of the main focuses of Fudan. The university offers English-taught programs and has formed numerous academic exchange programs and partnerships with universities around the world.
Fudan University has four campuses. The Handan Campus (shown above) is the main campus and is located comfortably beside Wujiaochang, the north Shanghai’s center.
Founded: traces its roots back to 1897
Location: Hangzhou, the capital of China’s Zhejiang province. ZJU has seven campuses: the main campus, Zijingang, and the Yuquan, Xixi, Huajiachi, Zhijiang, Zhoushan and Haining campuses.
Ranking: #4 in China, #6 in Asia, #54 in the world
Zhejiang University (ZJU) is one of China’s top higher education institutions. Eighteen disciplines of ZJU have been selected for China’s “Double First-class” Initiative and 39 disciplines graded A in the recent national assessment.
In 2017, ZJU’s International College gave admission to more than 6,800 overseas students coming from 148 countries across the world. At present, ZJU has a cohort of 7,074 international students enrolled in the university.
ZJU is one of the most generous and welcoming universities in China. Every year, the International College accepts over 900 CSC scholarship students.
Zhejiang University prides itself on a culture of innovation and creativity.
Location: Minhang District, Shanghai, China
Ranking: #5 in China, #17 in Asia, #60 in the world
Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) is a reputable higher education institution that has gained international-recognition for its comprehensive, quality, innovative and research-oriented programs.
Since 2000, thousands of students from more than one hundred countries, including: South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, USA, Germany, France, UK, Canada, North Korea, Australia, Thailand, etc. study at SJTU. The total number of international students in recent years has grown to about 6,000.
To make students feel at home and truly supported, SJTU has a dedicated International Students Administration and Services Department.
Shanghai Jiao Tong University has been regarded as the fastest developing university in the country for the last decade.
Location: Hefei, Anhui province
Ranking: #6 in China, #27 in Asia, #89 in the world
The University of Science and Technology (USTC) is a prominent university regarded in China as the “Cradle of Scientific Elites”. The founding of USTC was hailed as “a great event in the history of education and science of China”.
USTC is led by the most renowned Chinese scientists in China. It has also accomplished several “firsts” in China. For example, USTC established the first graduate school in China, initiated the first class for gifted young people in China and built the first “big science facility” in China.
As a leader in science and technology, USTC is home to two national labs. It also has a first-class computer network, and a hospital.
USTC’s beautiful campus
Location: Nanjing, Jiangsu Province. Nanjing University has three campuses: the Gulou, Xianlin and Pukou campus.
Ranking: #7 in China, #31 in Asia, #120 in the world
Nanjing University (NJU) is one of the first universities in China to enroll international students. It is one of the most active universities carrying out international communication and cooperation with many first-class universities and research institutes across the world.
Tens of thousands of international students from over 100 countries have studied here, including prominent international alumni in politics, business, academia and other fields. There are currently 3,216 foreign students studying at NJU.
The Institute for International Students is the administrative office responsible for international students enrollment at Nanjing University.
Nanjing University Xianlin campus
Founded: can be traced back to Ziqiang Institute, which was founded in 1893 by Zhang Zhidong
Location: Wuhan City, Hubei Province
Ranking: #8 in China, #36 in Asia, #257 in the world
Wuhan University (WHU) has one of the longest running histories of international student education. Since the 1950s, it had begun to enroll overseas students. In 2016, WHU had more than 3,500 international students, covering 200 majors in 30 schools.
To further strengthen international education, WHU built the School of International Education(SIE) in October 2014. SIE is one of the first members to have passed the certification of studying abroad in China.
In addition to quality education, foreign students particularly love WHU’s beautiful campus. The university has elegant palatial architectural that perfectly blends with eastern architectural style with that of the west. WHU has been recognized as the “Most Beautiful University in China”.
Wuhan University campus
Location: 1239 Siping Road, Shanghai. Tongji University has five campuses: Siping, Jiading, Huxi, Hubei and Lingang campuses
Ranking: #9 in China, #54 in Asia, #265 in the world
Tongji University has one of the largest scale and the most complete disciplines in engineering.
The University plays an active role in expanding international cooperation. With close historical ties with Germany, it partners mainly with European universities, but is also actively expanding its influence to North America, Asia and Africa.
Tongji has been recruiting international students since 1954. There are currently 3,468 foreign students enrolled in the university. Tongji has an International Student Office which is responsible for international student recruitment, teaching arrangements and student care.
Tongji University campus
Location: Xinjiekouwai St, Haidian District, Beijing
Ranking: #10 in China, #53 in Asia, #277 in the world
Beijing Normal University (BNU) is widely acclaimed for its excellence in sciences and humanities, teacher education and educational science.
As one of the earliest Chinese universities with international student enrollment, BNU has more than 2,000 long-term international students. It also has cooperative ties with about 500 universities and international organizations from more than 30 countries and regions.
Every year, BNU awards the New International Student Scholarship to deserving international students. This scholarship provides full tuition, monthly living allowance and comprehensive insurance.
How Are Chinese Universities Ranked?
The above ranking is based on a number of rankings such as the C9 League, ARWU, THE World Rankings and QS World Rankings. They rank the universities as a whole and not necessarily the experience for international students. You can read more about the rankings here.
Are University Rankings Really Important?
University rankings can help, but it shouldn’t be your gold standard when choosing a Chinese university. When looking at a ranking, read the purpose of the ranking. Is it evaluating a university’s research, education or student teaching qualities?
You may also need to read what assessment methodology was used because it helps determine the rankings. Instead of basing your decision on rankings, check a university’s strengths and specializations. Read student stories on our blog – sometimes, first hand experience is more reliable.
Make sure to choose a Chinese university where your goals and learning needs are met, and where you truly feel at home and connected!
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