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Universities for Expats in China

Submitted: August 2013

Firstly, the title of this section is somewhat of a misnomer as there are not any specific universities in the China specially set up for expats only. Several Chinese universities such as Perking University and Tsinghua University, among others have top-tier research and teaching facilities and an international outlook which have enabled them to establish their places on World University Rankings, being among the top 400 in the world. Though degrees offered by Chinese universities are similar to those offered elsewhere in the world, they may not be recognised by some Western employers, and credits are not always recognized by universities abroad. Nonetheless, several degrees are made available to foreign nationals.

Degree levels which are available in China are similar to those worldwide with the typical Undergraduate Program lasting 4 to 6 years, Masters Program 2 to 3 years and Doctorate Program lasting 4 to 6. As a rule of thumb, specialized fields such as medicine usually last for a longer period. Foreign students who want to study in mainstream degree programs are required to score at least 6 (on a scale of 1 to 11) in the Chinese Proficiency Test (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi, HSK) that determines the students’ skills with regards to the Chinese language. Most foreign students tend to start with a year or two of Mandarin to improve their language skills before they move on to do courses related to their degrees.
Also, to cater for the larger number of foreigners present in China, and to attract others to study in Chinese universities, many universities offer full degree programmes which are taught in English. Hence students can undertake their degree program without ever worrying about speaking a word of Chinese). A list of these universities and the major which are taught in English can be obtained on the Republic of China’s Ministry of Education website by using the following link. - https://www.moe.edu.cn/publicfiles/business/htmlfiles/moe/moe_2812/200906/48835.html

Each university admission policy can be found on its respective website, but generally international students are required to submit the following standard documents so you should have them prepared: an application form (if the process is not electronic), notarized copy of transcript and certificate for last degree/qualification, a valid passport size photograph, certificate of proficiency in Chinese language, and two reference usually from previous professors. Additionally, there are online application service providers through which you can apply to your preferred university, and also gain assistance in selecting a university if you are having trouble doing so. These include, but are not limited to:
China University Application Center (CUAC) - https://www.at0086.com/cuac/default.aspx
China’s University and College Admission System (CUCAS) - https://www.cucas.edu.cn/
A notable benefit of studying in China is the availability of exchange programs. The educational system in Hong Kong is compatible with that of mainland China, as such, international students are encouraged to participate in these programs with Hong Kong.

Chinese universities are not free, but generally tuition costs are lower than those in many countries (example the U.S.), starting at around US $3,000 annually. Most institutions provide meals and on campus residence for students.  Typically rooms are shared and most students eat in the dining halls on campus. For accommodation, you should expect to pay between US $1,000 – 1,500 per year and approximately another US $1,000 for cafeteria meals at cheaper universities. You should note that most Chinese universities require foreign students to have health insurance. Some offers this as an extra service in their priced packages, but often times students are required to take care of themselves.
Furthermore, several means of financial aid are available to international students who want to pursue studies in China. These include The Great Wall Scholarship, Distinguished Foreign Students Scholarship and the HSK Winner Scholarship, among others which are offered through the China’s Ministry of Education although some scholarships may also be offered by the university directly. Loans are also available to international students, but generally students stand a better chance if they apply for loans within their home country.
In helping your children to select their preferred university in China, the following Chinese university guide may prove useful. - https://www.sicas.cn/Students/Info/Content_11072013344747.shtml

Additionally, the following links provides a breakdown of the major universities and colleges in China by cities. - https://www.edu.cn/html/e/CIAIS/indexSchool.html

 

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