From its rocky early decades in the 1940s, China successfully stirred an economic miracle beginning in the 1970s. Today, the country is heralded as a world superpower. In fact, its assertive economic drive and diplomatic posture has made China the second-largest economy in the world.
Along with strengthening the economy, China has made big strides to boost the standard of education in the country. With unlimited opportunities, scholarships, innovative educational system and promising student experience, China’s reputation in international education has sky rocketed 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!
10 of the Top Chinese Universities for International Students
Check out the top Chinese universities based on QS World University Rankings 2020!
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 University is a comprehensive university with 20 schools and 59 departments covering a wide range of disciplines.
Tsinghua is home to 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.
To help international students feel at home, Tsinghua has the International Students and Scholars Center (ISSC). The center ensures that the international community is strongly supported and well represented at Tsinghua. It provides information and resources for students on subjects such as immigration and visas, university services and more.
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 a comprehensive and national key university and a member of the C9 league, a group similar to the Ivy League in the US. It is the first national university in Chinese modern history. Admissions at PKU is highly rigid, with only students who score highest in nationwide examinations accepted into the university.
With PKU’s National School of Development (NSD) as one of the leading think tanks in China, the university has been crucial to China’s modernization and has retained a traditional emphasis on patriotism, progress and science.
International students will find PKU an ideal university to study because of its perfect combination of traditional Chinese heritage and western influence. Not to mention, it has the largest university library in Asia, with a collection of 7.331 million books, as well as Chinese and foreign journals and newspapers.
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. Only 0.2% of National College Entrance Examination (Gaokao) test takers are accepted into the university each year.
The university 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 many English-taught programs and has formed numerous academic exchange programs and partnerships with universities around the world. The university also places emphasis on volunteer work and personal development.
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.
ZJU prides itself on a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. It is renowned for the number of business start-ups it spins off.
In 2017, ZJU’s International College gave admission to, both long-term and short-term, 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. ZJU also offers several scholarships and financial aid to international students who achieve excellent academic performance, abide by laws and school regulations and study in ZJU for more than one academic year.
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, SJTU has achieved rapid development in the areas of education for international students. 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. The International Student Center (ISC) is in-charge in the overall planning and coordination of SJTU international students affairs and education plan development while the International Student Service Center is responsible for housing management, events and activities, international students’ insurance and more.
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 in China established by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in 1958 in Beijing. Its founding of USTC was hailed as “a great event in the history of education and science of China”. USTC is regarded in China as the “Cradle of Scientific Elites”.
USTC is led by the most renowned Chinese scientists in China. As a result, the university has taken the lead in higher education 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, the Hefei Synchrotron Radiation Facility.
As a leader in science and technology, USTC is home to two national labs – the National Synchrotron Radiation Facility and the Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at the Microscale – the only university in the country to do so.
The institution is also home to a large library, a first-class computer network, and a hospital that treats students, employees and their families.
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 a top-ranked university in the mainland and one of the first universities in China to enroll international students.
NJU is one of the most active universities in carrying out international communication and cooperation with many first-class universities and research institutes around the world. NJU has a joint program with the renowned Johns Hopkins University and the Sino-German Institute for Legal Studies.
With its first-rate faculty, high-quality instruction, rich variety of courses, wide-range majors and abundant research opportunities, Nanjing University warmly welcomes students and scholars from all over 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 as well as an academic institution that conducts teaching and research mainly in the Chinese language and culture.
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) is one of the earliest comprehensive national universities in modern China. It also has one of the longest running histories of international student education. Since the 1950s, it had begun to enroll overseas students. In 2016, WHU has 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. It is responsible for international students’ enrollment, education and research on teaching Chinese as a foreign language, and overall student support.
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”.
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 is one of China’s earliest national key universities and a prestigious institution of higher education which is directly under the Ministry of Education (MOE).
Tongji University has one of the largest scale and the most complete disciplines in engineering, especially in civil 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. To fully support international students, Tongji has an International Student Office which is responsible for international student recruitment, teaching arrangements and student care.
Two on-campus International Students Buildings are used for student accommodation. To facilitate student life, an International Student Cafeteria has been established in one of the buildings.
Location: Xinjiekouwai St, Haidian District, Beijing
Ranking: #10 in China, #53 in Asia, #277 in the world
Beijing Normal University (BNU) is a research-intensive university and an epitome of academic achievement and cultural development in China. BNU is widely acclaimed for its excellence in sciences and humanities, teacher education and educational science.
The university is committed to providing traditional wisdom and modern ideas to talented students from all over the world. As one of the earliest Chinese universities with international student enrollment, BNU has more than 2,000 long-term international students, the scale of which ranks among top in China’s universities. At present, BNU has cooperative ties with about 500 universities and international organizations from more than 30 countries and regions.
In order to encourage and support excellent international students to pursue their degree at BNU, the BNU New International Student Scholarship was founded. This scholarship provides full tuition waiver during the duration of study, monthly living allowance and comprehensive insurance.
Knowing the world rankings of Chinese universities is helpful when choosing where to study in China. However, it should not serve as a gold standard, only a guide when picking a Chinese university. Make sure to choose a Chinese university where your goals and learning needs are met, and where you truly feel at home and connected!