How to Get Scholarship to Study in China: Everything You Need to Know

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Looking to learn how to overcome the processes of applying for scholarship to study in China? After School Africa brings you comprehensive detail on how to go about it.

Applying for Admission, Visa Requirements, University Rankings, Tuition fees, List of Scholarships in China, Working in China

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China as a Study Destination:

Today, the People’s Republic of China is fast-becoming one of the world’s top destinations for international education. The country aims to play host to some 500,000 international students by year 2020, and the Chinese ministry of Education operates quite a number of student-friendly initiatives, in a bid to attract foreign students. In the past, top world study destinations were limited to the United States, Canada, Australia and the UK. Now, China has not only broken the monopoly, but is on the verge of taking over.

Here are a few reasons why China has become a top study destination for students all over the world:

Stable and Powerful Economy:

The Chinese economy has waxed stronger within the past few decades, effectively positioning the country to be one of the world powers. It is unarguably the fastest-growing economy in the world. Rapid industrialization is also taking place in China, and they are at the fore-front of developing and deploying the next generation of technology the world will witness. Students seeking higher education in international destinations want a place where the facilities are world class, and where they do not have to worry about strike actions or repeated street violence. This is itself is a huge selling point for China.

Globally-recognized Degrees

A degree from a Chinese University is recognized anywhere in the world. The Chinese Ministry of Education invests massively in promoting excellence and high standards in all their educational institutions. Chinese education is up to global standard.

Affordable Education and Financial Aid Services

Compared to many Universities in Europe and North America, Chinese Universities offer more affordable tuition, especially for international universities. Higher education can be very expensive, but Chinese Universities also offer affordable tuition and several funding opportunities for international students to explore.

Low racist tendencies

Surprisingly, we don’t get to hear a lot about racism or violence against people of colour in places like China. In fact they occur more in North America and Europe than in China. Many international students consider the safety of their own lives and property while choosing their preferred study destination, so it is not surprising to see many international students choosing to study in China.

Multicultural Environment

China is home to several multinationals from other countries on the planet. Students from virtually every continent come to study there. The multicultural society and world-class facilities make for an enriching work or educational experience.

Sound security and healthcare system

Systems in China are working. They are not without their own flaws, but they do not disappoint citizens and occupants too. The security system is excellent, while the healthcare system is reliable and effective.

In this post, we shall explore every piece of information that is require to process (and possibly secure) admission into a Chinese University. Also included are information about tuition fees in Chinese Universities, scholarships in China, and work-study options for international students. If you are a student who wishes to study in China, or you have people who wish to, then this post is for you. Sit tight, and let’s walk you through this.

Watch Studying in the UK Vs China; Which is better? below


Gaining admission and scholarship to Universities in China is not rocket science. With adequate knowledge, preparation, and execution, it should be a walk in the park for anyone who desires it. It is also possible to gain a full scholarship to study in China. However, take note of my emphasis on the words ‘knowledge, preparation and execution’. We shall explore ‘scholarships to Chinese Universities’ later in this post, but now, here are the steps to applying for admission:

1.      Make your research and choose the program you want

The first thing you need to do is to get on the internet and search for Universities offering your program of choice. Do not begin your research before you decide what you want because you will likely get confused by the myriad of options available. Even if you do not know exactly what program you want to do, have a clear idea of it and search for it using the right keywords. When settling for a program, consider the following three factors:

  • One, check if your desired program is offered in your desired language medium. Typically there are options for English language and Chinese Mandarin. Chinese Universities offer several programs in English language, but there are still some programs that are taught exclusively in Mandarin, and if you choose such program you will be required to take a language course and pass the exam before commencing your program.
  • Two; check if the program is open to international students. Many people make the mistake of applying for programs without checking through the eligibility requirements, only to discover later that they do not accept international students. So, even though Chinese Universities offer several programs to international students, there are still some specific faculties and programs are not open to international students.
  • Three; the university rankings. When you decide on a program of choice, you will always find a number of universities offering that specific program. Knowing where each university stands on both the Chinese and Global University Rankings (which we shall discuss later in this post) helps you to know the level of quality to expect from each university, as well as the expected tuition range.

2.      Check for application deadlines and required application documents

When you settle on your choice of program and university, check for the application deadlines and the required application documents. Universities in China (and all over the world) have stipulated deadlines for submission of applications. These deadlines are fixed, and you must know them and work with them in mind. The application documents typically include the following:

  • Scanned copy of the data page of your international passport
  • Identity card
  • Transcripts
  • Academic certificate from your last educational institution
  • Health certificate
  • Passport photograph
  • Evidence of proficiency in English language or Mandarin (as the case may be)
  • Proof of financial capacity to fund your studies in China
  • Letter of reference(s)

This list is by no means exhaustive. Universities typically request some of the items listed on this list, or more, depending on their preferences, policies and the field you want to study.

3.      Ensure that you fulfill the eligibility criteria

All international students must fulfill the general and department-specific requirements before they can be considered for admission. General admission requirements set by the Chinese Ministry of Education are outlined below:

  • Applicants must possess an appropriate student visa
  • Applicant must have no criminal records. They are further advised to submit a certificate or official documentation to that effect
  • Applicants must effectively meet the entry requirements and be financially capable of funding their education in China
  • In some cases, applicants are required to have a guarantor in China

Specific university eligibility criteria often includes the following:

  • Applicants must provide transcripts of past educational institutions attended
  • Applicants must demonstrate proof of language proficiency. For programs taught in English medium, a language test result (e.g. IELTS, TOEFL) will suffice, but so will a first degree taught in English language medium, in some cases. For programs taught in Mandarin, applicants must provide HSK results as evidence of Chinese language proficiency

4.      Apply for your program!

When you research on the application deadlines and eligibility requirements, you should also come across method of application. Some universities request you to apply via their portal online, while some request that you send a mail directly to your department of choice. Once you have ascertained the application method your chosen university wants, please apply. Most Chinese universities have their applicants apply through the CUCAS (China’s University and College Admission System). The CUCAS offers services to help prospective students make the best application decisions and also help send applications to their chosen universities. Whichever method you choose to use, there is an application fee that must be paid, and your application will not be processed until it is received. In some situations, this fee can be waived; however this waiver is not predictable and should not be expected.

5.      Apply for accommodation

In some cases you are advised to apply for university accommodation at the same time that you are applying for admission. This is usually due to the limited accommodation options in some universities. If your desired university advises that you proceed to apply for accommodation while applying for admission, please do so. Waiting till the admission letter is out before you apply is quite logical, but definitely not advisable.

6.      Apply for Scholarship

In some universities, scholarship and funding services run alongside the general admissions process. Do not always wait until you have received an admission offer before you apply for scholarship. Once you have information about available scholarships, apply. We shall talk more about scholarships in Chinese Universities later in this article.

7.      Apply for Visa

You also need to apply for study visa. Without this, you cannot enter China, and you cannot study; except you are doing an online program. See the next points for information about study visa requirements.


International students require a study visa to enter China and to study for the duration of their program(s). There are three types of Chinese study visa.

  1. X1 Visa: This type of visa is for students who are entering the country to study for a period of more than six consecutive months. International undergraduate and master’s degree students typically spend more than six months in their respective programs, so they would require the X1 visa. This visa is also usually issued for multiple-entry, and can be valid for a period of up to five years.
  2. X2 Visa: This type of visa is for individuals who are entering the country to study for a period of less than six consecutive months. Individuals coming into the country for corporate trainings and/or short courses that are less than six months long require this type of visa. This visa is usually issued for a single entry, with a six-month validity period.
  3. L Visa: This is for individuals who only come into the country to take winter or summer programs.

Requirements for Chinese Study Visa:

The following documents are required to be submitted by individuals applying for Chinese Study Visa:

  • Passport photograph
  • Completed visa application form
  • Proof of residency
  • Copy of the admission letter to the university, or letter of invitation to training/short course
  • Visa application fee
  • Physical examination certificate
  • Copy of air ticket and accommodation reservation

This list contains the basic information, accurate at this time, and is by no means exhaustive. Some Chinese embassies may request additional documents to supplement an individual’s application. Therefore, applicants are advised to consult with the Chinese Embassy in their country for current information. The processing time for Chinese visa varies. However, it is advisable to apply for visa at least one month to your proposed departure date for your studies.


China is a global leader in education, having over 549 full-fledged universities and specialized colleges. Here is a list of the top universities in China and how they rank among other universities in the world:

Top 80 Chinese Universities: Local and Global Rankings

Name of University Rank in China World Rank
Tsinghua University 1 23
Peking University 2 24
University of Science and Technology of China 3 80
Zhejiang University 4 107
Fudan University 5 109
Nanjing University 6 144
Shanghai Jiao Tong University 7 157
Sun Yat-sen University 8 251-300
Beijing Normal University =9 301-350
Huazhong University of Science and Technology =9 301-350
Southern University of Science and Technology =9 301-350
Nankai University =12 351-400
Wuhan University =12 351-400
Central South University =14 401-500
Harbin Institute of Technology =14 401-500
Hunan University =14 401-500
Tongji University =14 401-500
Beihang University =18 501-600
East China Normal University =18 501-600
Renmin University of China =18 501-600
Shenzhen University =18 501-600
Soochow University =18 501-600
South China University of Technology =18 501-600
Southeast University =18 501-600
Tianjin University =18 501-600
Xiamen University =18 501-600
Xi’an Jiaotong University =18 501-600
Beijing Institute of Technology =28 601-800
China Agricultural University =28 601-800
China University of Petroleum, Beijing =28 601-800
Dalian University of Technology =28 601-800
East China University of Technology =28 601-800
University of Electronic Science and Technology of China =28 601-800
Huazhong Agricultural University =28 601-800
University of International Business and Economics =28 601-800
Jiangsu Normal University =28 601-800
Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology =28 601-800
Nanjing Medical University =28 601-800
Nanjing Normal University =28 601-800
Northwestern Polytechnical University =28 601-800
Shandong University =28 601-800
Sichuan University =28 601-800
Beijing Jiaotong University =43 801-1000
Capital Medical University =43 801-1000
China University of Geosciences, Beijing =43 801-1000
China University of Mining and Technology, Beijing =43 801-1000
China Pharmaceutical University =43 801-1000
Chongqing University =43 801-1000
Fuzhou University =43 801-1000
Guangdong University of Technology =43 801-1000
Jiangsu University =43 801-1000
Jilin University =43 801-1000
Jinan University =43 801-1000
Nanjing Agricultural University =43 801-1000
Nanjing Tech University =43 801-1000
Northeastern University =43 801-1000
Northeast Normal University =43 801-1000
Northwest University =43 801-1000
Northwest A&F University =43 801-1000
University of Science and Technology, Beijing =43 801-1000
Shanghai University =43 801-1000
Shanghai University of Finance and Economics (SUFE) =43 801-1000
Shanghai Maritime University =43 801-1000
Shantou University =43 801-1000
Southwestern University of Finance and Economics =43 801-1000
Wuhan University of Technology =43 801-1000
Xiangtan University =43 801-1000
Xidian University =43 801-1000
Yangzhou University =43 801-1000
Guangxi University =71 1001+
Huaqiao University =71 1001+
Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics =71 1001+
North China Electric Power University =71 1001+
Ocean University of China =71 1001+
University of South China =71 1001+
Southern Medical University =71 1001+
Southwest Jiaotong University =71 1001+
Wenzhou Medical University =71 1001+
Yanshan University =71 1001+
Zhejiang University of Technology =71 1001+

This listing will help you fine-tune your search. Note that many universities are specialized in certain fields, while some are surprisingly referred to as ‘normal’ universities. However, here’s one subtle truth: the higher the ranking, the higher the tuition fees, and the tougher the competition for admission spots. Note that!


Cost of tuition is one of the most critical issues prospective students want information about before they decide to study in China. While it is affordable, it is not entirely cheap. Truth be told, education costs a fortune; and the higher the quality of education, the more expensive it is. However, while we share detailed information about general tuition range in Chinese Universities, do not be discouraged by some of the figures you will see, as there are a number of scholarship opportunities that you can take advantage of.

Tuition fee is determined by two key factors, which are: the institution, and the program of study. For public universities in China, the average tuition fee ranges between $3,500 and $10,000 (that is, between 24,829 Chinese Yuan and 70,000 Chinese Yuan) per calendar year, depending on your choice of school and program. However, there are notable exceptions. Students in Arts and Media programs can pay as low as $1,800 (12,765 Chinese Yuan) per academic year as basic tuition in some public universities, while candidates in the medical and engineering fields can expect to pay as high as $22,800 (161,690 Chinese Yuan) per year! In fact, programs in business can cost as high as $46,500 (330,000 Chinese Yuan) per year!

Nanjing Tech University is known to be the most affordable university in China (with regard to tuition fees). The average tuition for their programs stands at round $2,800 (roughly 25,000 Chinese Yuan).

There are also options for studying at international universities in China. There are a number of Universities in the United States and Great Britain that have campuses in China. Specifically, the University of Nottingham (Britain), University of Leicester (Britain) and the University of Lancaster (Britain) all have campuses in China. Foreign nationals from Britain or other countries who are in China and want to have their wards continue with the native education system that is obtainable in their home country can do so by simply enrolling in one of the available international schools. However, it is worthy to note that, in international universities like the ones described above, the tuition fees are significantly higher compared to public universities. For instance, tuition fees for programs at an American or British University with a local campus in China ranges from around $8,000 (56,730 Chinese Yuan) to $15,000 (106,374 Chinese yuan) per calendar year. And this may or may not include ancillary fees.

In any case, most universities publish their tuition and ancillary fee schedule on their websites. Accessing the specific tuition range for your course of study can be done by visiting your selected school’s website, or by sending them a mail requesting detailed financial information.


A lot has been said about the scholarship opportunities that abound in Chinese Universities. The Chinese government has introduced a series of schemes and initiatives offering financial support and incentives to young students around the world, in a bid to attract more international students to join its growing multicultural student community. They are actively working towards hosting up to 500,000 international students across all 549 accredited universities in China by the year 2020, and if there is ever a ‘good time’ to seek Chinese study scholarship, that time is now!

Notable government scholarships available to students include:

  • Chinese Government Scholarship-EU Program: This is a full scholarship established by the Chinese Ministry of Education for candidates from EU member countries. For more information on this, visit the website:
  • China/AUN Scholarships: This is for students, teachers and scholars from ASEAN nations to study in China and to enhance the academic exchange and mutual understanding between China and ASEAN members. More information at:
  • Chinese Federal Government-funded Scholarships, under the CSC (China Scholarship Council) Scholarship Scheme. This is the largest government-funded scholarship program for undergraduate and postgraduate students and researchers. This scholarship is usually fully-funded; that is, it includes tuition, living costs, and travel allowance within China. The amount varies across academic levels: PhD students typically receive more funding than Masters students, who in turn receive more than undergraduate students. The beautiful part of it all is that candidates can make the CSC Scholarship application by themselves. To do this, simply follow the steps outlined below:
  • Register as candidate on the scholarship page:
  • Fill the required documents correctly
  • Look for a willing agency or organization to sponsor your scholarship application
  • If you have a specific university and program in mind, then you should apply to the university and receive an admission/acceptance letter from them
  • If you are unable to receive an acceptance letter from any Chinese University within the time frame, the CSC Committee may assign you to a particular university that they feel suits your application

Other good scholarships that can be explored include:

Government of China MOFCOM Scholarships (Masters & PhD)

MOFCOM Scholarship is set up by Ministry of Commerce of People’s Republic of China to further strengthen the communication and cooperation between China and other countries as well as to develop talents for developing countries. Starting from 2015, MOFCOM Scholarship mainly sponsors the young and the middle-aged talents from recipient countries to pursue their postgraduate degree education in China and entrusts China Scholarship Council to administer the Scholarship.

UNESCO/People’s Republic of China (The Great Wall) Co-Sponsored Fellowship for Students from Developing Countries:

Every year, the Government of the People’s Republic of China places at the disposal of UNESCO seventy-five (75) fellowships for advanced studies at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. These fellowships are for the benefit of developing Member States in Africa, Asia–Pacific, Latin America, Europe and North America and Arab region.

Tenable at a selected number of Chinese universities, these fellowships are intended for scholars who plan to pursue advanced studies or undertake individual research with periodic guidance from the assigned supervisor in China for a duration of one year. Selected candidates will undertake their studies in the host universities as visiting scholars. Most of the study programmes will be conducted in English.

Yenching Academy Masters Fellowships for International Students (at Peking University no2 Chinese university)

The Yenching Academy is a fully-funded residential program offering a wide array of interdisciplinary courses on China within the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Working closely with their academic mentors, Yenching Scholars have the flexibility to create their own study paths by choosing from six research areas and a variety of extracurricular activities. Studying at the Academy represents a unique opportunity not only for intercultural and academic exchange, but also for personal and professional development

Scholars participate infield studies to culturally, economically, or socio-politically significant regions within Mainland China. Each Scholar chooses one of six research areas corresponding to thesis topic. (The research area does not affect course selection options or requirements.)

Also see Top 25 Fully-funded Scholarships in China

Asides the scholarships listed above, several provincial governments and individual universities offer scholarships to international students. As a matter of fact, more than 200 Chinese Universities offer quite a number of fully-funded or partially-funded scholarships to international students. Below are listed a few of such scholarships at specific universities, in alphabetical order:

l Anhui Government Scholarship China
l Beihang University CSC Scholarship China
l Beijing Government Scholarship (apply directly through the website of your selected university in Beijing
l Beijing Institute of Technology CSC Scholarship China
l Belt and Road Initiative Scholarship China
l CAS-TWAS Scholarship China
l Chongqing University CSC Scholarship China
l Confucius Scholarship China
l Dalian University CSC Scholarship China
l Donghua University CSC Scholarship
l Donghua University Shanghai Government Scholarship Fujian Government Scholarship China
l Guandong Municipal Government Scholarship China
l Hebei University CSC Scholarship China
l Hubei Government Scholarship China
l Jiangsu University Belt & Road initiative Scholarship
l Jiangsu University CSC Scholarship China
l Jiangsu University Presidential Scholarship
l Jiangsu Provincial Government Scholarship
l NMG Nanjing Municipal Government Scholarship China
l Schwarzman Scholars Program
l Shandong Government Scholarship
l Shandong Municipal Government Scholarship China
l Shanghai Government Scholarship
l SJTU Chinese Government CSC Scholarship
l Tianjin University CSC Scholarship China
l Tsinghua University CSC Scholarship
l Scholarship Jiangsu University
l Wuhan University CSC Scholarship China
l Xiamen University Scholarship China
l Yunnan Government Scholarship China
l Zhengzhou University Scholarship China

Information about each of these opportunities can be found on the website of each individual university. Most offer successful candidates include tuition, living expenses and travel support. Most importantly, these universities are affiliates of the Chinese Scholarship Council. More information can be found here:


For several years, countries like Canada, US and Australia dominated the top study destination space for many reasons – one of which was their ability to provide employment opportunities for their international students. International students in Canada and the US can work part-time for a certain amount of hours per week, and after graduation they are eligible for a wide range of employment opportunities there. China, in positioning itself for global relevance in the educational sector, has recently updated their work policy to allow international students studying at Chinese universities to work part-time while they learn. This is a far cry from what it used to be in the past, when foreign nationals were denied work permits to work in China, with the exception of those in certain fields who had at least two years of overseas working experience after graduation.

So, the good news here is that it is now possible to work part-time in China while you study, and it is also possible to stay back after graduation and work full-time, or further your career/education in the country.

Finding a job in China

While it is good to know that work opportunities are now open to international students in China, it is also worthy to note that there is high competition for these opportunities, especially with native Chinese citizens. And in many cases, most employers will want to employ natives who understand their language, rather than foreigners with whom they may have problems communicating. This is not to say that it is impossible to find a job as a foreigner in China, but that certain factors must be in place for you to secure a job as one. The key factors are outlined below:

  • Language Proficiency: If you are serious about getting a job in China – either part-time (while you study), or full-time (after graduation), you must learn the language. Majority of their job adverts and commercials are in Mandarin, and the language barrier presents a unique challenge to your career growth – irrespective of your level of competence in your field. You will be mistaken to think that every available employer understands your language. Even the ones that understand some English will prefer to work with an individual who is fluent in Mandarin, or at least understands enough of it to communicate. However, if you are able to communicate fluently in their native language, employers will most likely want to hire you, especially if you have demonstrated competence in your field.
  • Learn about how Chinese Businesses and Organizations Run: Before you submit any application, make sure you do your research find out how the industry operates, the skills that are required, the market outlooks, acceptance for foreigners, etc. Be informed.
  • Make Friends, and Network: This principle is critical to the success of any venture on earth. Before you start job-hunting, ask your Chinese friends questions. Let them critique your application and language proficiency first, and let them guide you through the process. You are in a strange land, and you’d sure need their help! You could also reach out to your country’s community in China for assistance and possible job recommendations. It’s easier when you have help.
  • Abide by rules and regulations: Gather information about their general rules of thumb and abide thereby. For instance,Chinese are very particular about time and punctuality. Therefore, for example, If you are a Nigerian, when you get on the plane headed to China, leave your proclivity for ‘African time’ behind, because if you take it along you may not succeed. If you mistakenly took it along with you, find a way to ditch it.

In conclusion, there are many organizations in China that employ international students and graduates from local universities. Companies like Google, Microsoft and IBM have international field offices across China and they employ qualified individuals with international background. So, it is not impossible to get a good job either during or after your studies.


  • Ifeoma Chuks is a naturally-skilled writer. She has written and contributed to more than 6000 articles all over the internet that have formed solid experiences for particularly aspiring, young people around the globe.

    Content Manager

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