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Study Abroad in Shanghai – Complete Guide

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction – why study in Shanghai
  • Facts about Shanghai
  • Cost of living and studying in Shanghai
  • List of universities to study in Shanghai
  • Shanghai University acceptance rate
  • Scholarship for international students to study in Shanghai
  • Conclusion


Shanghai is one of the most advanced basic education areas in China. It has 754 secondary schools and 764 elementary schools with a total of 1,322,800 students.

With the further promotion of reform and openness, Shanghai now has more international exchange. This is how international students in Shanghai increase every year.

It is estimated that 150 elementary and secondary schools could accommodate foreign students. You can choose to live and study with Chinese students.

Shanghai has more than 50 higher education institutions, from high-level institutes to smaller colleges, and houses prestigious facilities.

The city has both a unique heritage and a modern vibe which makes it famous. It is described as the “showpiece” for the booming economy of China.

Its history is an interesting one. It is recognized as the commercial and financial center of mainland China and boasts as the world’s busiest container port. Are you having the thought that the city of Shanghai is just another urban jungle? There are myriad of reasons to consider if you want to study abroad in Shanghai.


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Facts about Shanghai/ Why Consider a Study Abroad in Shanghai?

Though it may seem like a non-traditional place to study abroad, Shanghai is a popular destination for students looking to study in an international city termed fast-paced. Possessing plenty of things to spice up your weekend, fill your stomach and your brain, definitely, this Chinese hub willkeep you busy.

Shanghai is preferred in comparison to other cities in China, such as Beijing because of the following reasons: the air pollution is lower, and the culture’s influence has more of an innovation and is progressive. Some other reasons make a Shanghai Study abroad warrant the consideration of international/ study abroad student are discussed below.

  • International Hub

According to history,being located on the Yangtze river and the East China Sea, Shanghaihas been known as a good site for major business, shipping and trade. In fact, the 19th century had the British, French and Japanese flood Shanghai to the extent that it became the ‘Wall Street of the East. An end to European and westernized development by Communism, and theglobal influence of the city declined some up until the reformation of economy that occurred in 1991 and a wave of massive development kick started.

  • Academically Speaking

Shanghai Study Abroad has a strong sellingpoint in that it is a major center for higher education in China with over 30 universities and colleges (including Shanghai Jiaotang University and Fudan University) many of which are some of most prestigious schools in China.

Peradventure you are after an increment in your IQ, in math, reading and science on the Program for International Student Assessment study in 2009 and 2012, Shanghai students scored highest. There’s high quality of the education as well as the high quality of your fellow students available. This will of a surety challenge you as well as allowing you to make friends from very different backgrounds of different kind.

  • Skyline and Cityscapes

There is skyline inShanghai, for which it is well-known. In addition, it is well known for having some of the tallest skyscrapers in the globe.

  • Cyberpunk and Cinema

Futuristic is a well-known terminShanghai and is a source of inspiration for cyber punk.There remains the fact that Shanghai is the birthplace of cinema and theatre in Chinese history.   East meets technology and science fiction. In Shanghai,east meets technology and science fiction. The look of comparative culture studies is certainly more appealing!

  • Treasures, Culture and Art

Has your thought been that Shanghai is just another city, just give a little wait until you make your way into the Shanghai museum and take in the 120,000 pieces of art. There are numerous ways to balance out the more innovative contemporary side of Shanghai with its ancient heritage are very much available. In fact, if you can, make out time and visit the Jade Buddha Temple, the Longhua Temple or the Jing’an Temple and don’t be told the story any more but be the story teller this time. We are sure about this because you will be wowed by what your eyes will see. You could actually give a try!

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  • Diversity

One of the unique things about the city ofShanghai It seems like there are various cultures, both East and West.

  • Shanghai is easy to get around

Between the Shanghai Metro, taxis, bikes, and Uber that aid mobility, one’ll never have a hard time getting around Shanghai. The Shanghai Metro has extreme accessibilityand can be used with ease. It’s also cheap to the extreme and costs between 2 to 4 RMB (roughly 0.30 to 0.60 USD) depending on where one’sdestination is. Metroman is an app that is popularand that has the entire Shanghai Metro map and will provide one with directions from one stop to another.

To getaround tow, taxis are also an inexpensive option to get around town.  Via Taxis, one has the opportunity to practice his/her Mandarin. If you’re just beginning school or nervous about making an attempt to speak with the driver, multiple taxi card apps exist, such as Shanghai Places and Taxi Card Shanghai that willhave your desired address written in Mandarin to show the driver.

  • Shanghai is a leader in Technology

China is a country withextremetechnologicaladvancement, which can be easily witnessed in everyday life. For example, WeChat, China’s most popular messaging app, has an integrated payment system called WeChat Wallet. This payment system is widely accepted across China and can be used to pay for a mobile top up, taxis, meals at restaurants, shopping sprees and sending money between friends. A Chinese bank account is required for theto usage of WeChat, but if one is schooling abroad for a whole semester, opening one may be of huge benefit to such a fellow.

  • The food is amazing

As a proof to it’s food being amazing,Shanghai boasts a large variety of Chinese culinary art in addition to its own local favorites. Some highlights to buttress this point include soup dumplings, sweet and sour fish, sweet rice ball soup, crispy fried sweet pork, mooncakes and many others. In a scenarioinvolving a large expat community, it’s easy to find a variety of kitchen such as American, Italian, Indian, Thai, Bulgarian and many more. Students obtaining their higher educationat Fudan University are at benefitin that they are being by Da Xue Lu – an area known for great eclectic food.Having multiple optionstochoosefrom, it’s not difficult to become a regular at one’s favorite spots or never eat at the same place for two times is not hard nut to crack.

  • It’s a travel hub for China and Asia

In addition to transportation around Shanghai being inexpensive and easy, travel within China is very accessible from Shanghai. Shanghai has four train stations with daily trips to major cities like Beijing, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Suzhou and Hangzhou. Two major airports also exist with options to easily travel between other locations in Asia, such as South Korea, Thailand, Japan and the Philippines. The prices can be compared with that of a domestic ticket in the USA.

  • Shanghai presents a contrast of modern and traditional

Shanghai still maintains strong ties to its heritage and history despite it’s being quite modern. Between many high-end modern hotels, a park called People’s Square is found that is full of locals practicing Tai Chi.Commonly found is ancient architecture with skyscrapers next door. Shanghai leaves any history or international studies majors with a great experience while exploring it. It is also fantastic if youwant to explore a contrasting modern-traditional culture.

  • There are so many things to do

Shanghai has a large variety of cultural sites, museums, nightlife and shopping, so getting bored in Shanghai is never an option. Shanghai is home to over 20 museums with displays on art, automobiles, Jewish history and others. Shanghai also has three major amusement parks which include Disneyland Shanghai, which is the largest Disney park in Asia. For a night out, students can select from the selection of local areas around Fudan or travel to popular nightlife destinations in the French Concession or The Bund.F

  • International Influence

The international influence in Shanghai can be seen with ease with a start from the colonial styling of The Bund. Also, Shanghai hosts a large expat community and their different cultures help make the city of Shanghai a place where you can enjoy experiencing food, architecture and influences from all over the globe. Annually, about 2,500 international/study abroad students are enrolled by Fudan University from a variety of countries. With this figure, the number of friends you will make from China as well as from all over the world will be quite much that it will leave you surprised at the end of the day.

  • It’s a business hub

Shanghai’s being at the top city for international business should in no way come as a surprise. Economists believe that by year 2050, there’s the possibility of China becoming one of the leading economies in the world. The base of many major Chinese and international businesses as well as many smaller companies and startups is in Shanghai. Getting internships in Shanghai is not a hard nut to crack because Internship opportunities are common and available to those international students who seek such opportunities.

  • Student friendly cost of living

Students on a budget have Shanghai to be a great study abroad location for them. If a student is looking for a quick lunch, he/she can easily grab one for 15 RMB (about 1 USD) on the way to class. Fresh produce is also available in multiple local markets around the city. With this, one can get enough produce to last him/her a week for 135 to 150 RMB, (approximately20 to 25 USD). You can easily afford eating and purchasing locally than eating out so, trying some new recipes or cooking with roommates is recommendable. Home goods are also easily affordable. For example, rarely will the cost of the following: pillows, trash cans, deodorant, or cleaning materials from Walmart be more than 40 RMB (less than 6 USD). If one wants to go out on the town for cheap purchase, list of free events will also be made available by many publications in the area for the week, presenting plenty of opportunities to someone for exploring the area while maintaining a low budget.

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Cost of living in Shanghai

The cost of living in Shanghai is low compared to the cost of living in many countries. This is one of the advantages of studying in Shanghai as said earlier. 

  • The monthly cost of Four-person family: 34,141.70R(16,314.22¥) without rent (using our estimator)
  • The monthly cost of a single person: 9,258.16R(4,423.91¥) without rent.
  • The index of cost of living in Shanghai is higher than Johannesburg with a percentage of 10.55%.

In the cost of living rank, it is ranked 188thout of 354 cities in the world.

Shanghai has a cost of living index of 49.80.

Tuition Fee in Shanghai

Over the years, China investment in education has been great and due to numerous partnerships China has with institutions of higher education from United Kingdom and United States, it is no wonder the number of study abroad students are on the high side. As a means to attract more international students to get enrolled for study in China colleges and universities, the student costs of living are significantly lower compared to many countries in the world as a whole and except for a few universities, China’s tuition fees are affordable.

An average of around 4,000 USD is spent by international studentsfor accommodation fees and not far from 2,000 USD for other living costs (such as food, transportation, etc.) yearly. So, an international student can live on monthly budget of at least 500 USD.

However, significant disparity exists regarding prices and living costs depending on each region since China is a big country,

Are you an international student in China, we present to you,more detailed information regarding tuition, living costs and funding opportunities.

Tuition fees in Chinese universities

  • Tuition fees in public universities: The range of average tuition fees in public universities is between 3,300 and 10,000 USD/year.
  • Fees for an English-taught degree ranges from 2,200 to 4,500 USD/year
  • For programmes in medicine, engineering and business, the tuition fee ranges from 24,000 to 50,000 USD/year

Tuition fees in private universities

Many American and British universities have a local campus in a Chinese city hence, apart from several private Chinese universities, we recommend that you also apply tothese private universities. Tuition fees to be paid in these universities range from around 8,000 USD/year to around 15,000 USD/year.

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Most affordable Chinese universities

list of Chinese universities with the most affordable tuition fees:

Name of University Average Tuition Fees in USD/year
Samara National Research University 1,800
Nanjing University of Technology 4,000
Beijing Jiaotong University 5,000
University of Science & Technology of China 4,350

For top-ranked universities in China, and their Tuition fees.

Name of University Average Tuition Fees in USD/year
Peking University 17,000
Tsinghua University 7,500
Fudan University between 8,000 and 11,000
Shanghai Jiao Tong University between 5,000 and 12,000

Accommodation costs

In terms of the most expensive cities for international students to live in, Shanghai and Beijing are known worldwide as some of the most expensive cities. Despite this, several affordable options for housing can be found in these metropolitan cities. Places like Tianjin, Jiangsu or Sichuan have lower rates.

The most common housing options in China are:

  • Student residence halls– theprices to be paid range from 150 to 400 USD and it is to be paid monthly.
  • Renting a flat– Here, students should expect to pay between 300 and 1,000 USD/month for a one-bedroom apartment. It is to be noted that this payment id dependent on the city, the location of the apartment and the included facilities present in the apartment.
  • Homestay – in this housing option, between 350 and 550 USD is to be paid monthly.
  • Hostel– this housing option is usually chosen by study abroad students as a temporary option; rates start at 18 USD/night for a private room.

The most common option among international students with regards to housing option is living with a roommate whether in a student residence or in an apartment is the most common option among international students to save money.

A security deposit of 300 to 460 USD is required of all accommodation (mainly student residences and apartments).

Utility bills: about 50 USD/month on gas, water, and electricity.

Costs of food

China is a destination for interesting study abroad and aside this, it has fame for its diverse, interesting, intriguing and not to mention very affordable culinary art.

The cost of a meal at the university canteen, a small local restaurant or a fast food chain should be between 1 and 4 USD. Options for mid-range dining (prices between 4 and 7 USD) which include both Chinese and international kitchen.

On average, the cost of food from the local supermarkets would lead to around 170 – 200 USD monthly. International chain supermarkets like Wal-mart, Carrefour, Auchan or Metro can be found. Cooking at home is a means of saving money as the monthly cost of food will undergo significant reduction.

When an international student purchases fruit and vegetables from the fresh markets, the person is entitled to get a big shopping bag full of fruits with only 2 – 3 USD.


China is known for excellent public transportation system at very low prices and even taxi rides are quite cheap.

We present to you, the general list of prices for public transportation:

  • Metro ride: 0.5 USD
  • Taxi rate per km: 0.33 USD
  • 20-min taxi ride across town: 4 USD
  • City bus: 0.3 USD

Around 15 USD/month is the fee allocated to a student pass for public transportation costs

Extra costs

Books and course materials: 30 – 50 USD/semester; students studying sciences, medicine or art could pay more.

Medical insurance: about 60 USD for six months.

Universities in Shanghai

Shanghai possesses many famous universities, institutes and academies, including Shanghai Jiao Tong University,International Studies University, Fudan University, Tongji University and Shanghai Theatre Academy. The location of these campuses is mainly in some university towns.

The oldest university in Shanghai is Yangpu University Town in northeast downtown.a newly built one, Songjiang University Town in southwest suburb of the city holds many top universities in Shanghai. It is a little far from the city center; however, the subway line 9 and a number of bus routes greatly make transportation between it and the urban area easier. Furthermore, the Nanhui of Pudong New Area as well as Minhang and Fengxian in the south has university towns.

The detailed information of the Top 25 Universities in Shanghai, including their websites and locations for your reference is listed here:

Shanghai Jiao Tong University


Shanghai Jiao Tong Universityis one of the most famous time-honored universities in the Chinese country. It was first established in 1896 and its name as at that time was Nanyang Gongxue. The decision of its present name came up in 1959. Presently, this institution of education is an outstanding comprehensive university which boasts of 21 colleges, a number of excellent teachers and professors as well as about 30,000 students.

Different areas of Shanghai have Jiao Tong University’s five campuses. Their location is as follows:

  • Xuhui Campus: No. 1954, Huashan Road, Xuhui District
  • Luwan Campus: No. 227, South Chongqing Road, Huangpu District
  • Fahua Campus: No. 535, Fahuazhen Road, Changning District
  • Qibao Campus: No. 2678, Qixin Road, Minhang District
  • Minhang Campus: No. 800, Dongchuan Road, Minhang District

Fudan University


Known to be one of the top universities in Shanghai, the University which was originally named Fudan Gongxue was established in 1905. It was the first institution of higher education institute that was set up by the people of China. Fudan University has four campuses with 29 colleges.

  • Handan Campus: No. 220, Handan Road, Yangpu District
  • Fenglin Campus: No. 138, Yixueyuan Road, Xuhui District
  • Zhangjiang Campus: No. 825, Zhangheng Road, Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park, Pudong New Area
  • Jiangwan Campus: No. 2005, Songhu Road, Yangpu District

Shanghai International Studies University

Shanghai International Studies University was founded in 1949. It is a key university in Shanghai taught in English. Recently, it has a number of majors on various foreign languages and arts. Information on its two campuses include:

  • Hongkou Campus: No. 550, West Dalian Road, Hongkou District
  • Songjiang Campus: No. 1550, Wenxiang Road, Songjiang District

Tongji University

Established in 1907, the national ministry of education has this key university directly under its jurisdiction.Tongji University is known to be one of the top universities in Shanghai. Commonly featuring science and engineering courses, it is now a comprehensive university having four campuses.

  • Siping Campus: No. 1239, Siping Road, Yangpu District
  • Huxi Campus: No. 500, Zhennan Road, Putuo District
  • Hubei Campus: No. 727, North Zhongshan Road, Jing’an District
  • Jiading Campus: No. 4800, Cao’an Highway, Jiading District
  • University of Shanghai for Science and Technology
  • Yangpu Campus: No. 516, Jungong Road, Yangpu District
  • Fuxing Road Campus: No. 1195, Middle Fuxing Road, Xuhui District
  • Shuifeng Road Campus: No. 100, Shuifeng Road

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics

  • Guoding Road Campus: No. 777, Guoding Road, Yangpu District
  • Wudong Road Campus: No. 100, Wudong Road, Yangpu District
  • North Zhongshan 1st Road Campus: No. 369, North Zhongshan 1st Road, Hongkou District

Shanghai Finance University

  • Pudong Campus: No. 995, Shangchuan Road, Pudong New Area
  • Hanzhong Road Campus: 6F, Hanzhong Plaza, No. 158, Hanzhong Road, Jing’an District
  • Xuhui Campus: No. 2230, West Zhongshan Road, Xuhui District

Shanghai Normal University

Shanghai Normal University being one of the top universities in Shanghai, has two campuses, Xuhui and Fengxian. It’s land mass covers over 1.53 million square meters and there are more than 3.05 million books in its library. This institution of higher education has a total number of 17 secondary colleges.

  • Xuhui Campus: No. 100, Guilin Road, Xuhui District
  • Fengxian Campus: No. 553, Fengpao Road, Fengxian District
  • Hongkou Campus: No. 574, Xijiangwan Road
  • Shanghai University of Engineering Science
  • Songjiang Campus: No. 333, Longteng Road, Songjiang District
  • Changning Campus: No. 350, Xianxia Road, Changning District
  • Yixian Road Campus: No. 88, Yixian Road
  • Xincun Road Campus: No. 435, Xincun Road, Putuo District

Shanghai University

  • Baoshan Campus: No. 99, Shangda Road, Baoshan District
  • Yanchang Campus: No. 149, Yanchang Road, Zhabei District
  • Jiading Campus: No. 20, Chengzhong Road, Jiading District

Shanghai Second Polytechnic University

  • Jinhai Road Campus: No. 2360, Jinghai Road, Pudong New Area
  • Putuo Campus: No. 575, Yichang Road, Putuo District
  • Baoshan Campus: No. 199, Tongji Branch Road
  • Zhabei Campus: No. 80, North Shaanxi Road
  • Xuhui Campus: No. 15, Lane 988, South Zhongshan 2nd Road, Xuhui District

Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade

Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade as a key university has majors in the following: economics, science,literature, management, law, and engineering. Being one of the top 25 universities in Shanghai, the field of multilateral trade system research has a certain international influence from it. It is the onlybusiness university in Eastern China that is foreign-related. Recently, this institution of higher education can be regarded as one of the best universities in Shanghai for international/ study abroad students. Its campuses include:

  • Songjiang Campus: No. 1900, Wenxiang Road, Songjiang District
  • Gubei Campus: No. 620, Gubei Road, Changning District
  • Qibao Campus: No. 3349, Caobao Road, Minhang District

Maritime University

  • Lingang Campus: No. 1550, Pudong Avenue, Pudong New Area
  • Dongming Road Campus: No. 1336, Dongming Road, Pudong New Area
  • Haihua Campus: No. 555, Jinqiao Road
  • Gangwan Campus: No. 2600, Pudong Avenue, Pudong New Area
  • Hongkou Campus: No. 150, Huoshan Road, Hongkou District

Ocean University

  • Lingang Xincheng Campus: No. 999, Hucheng Ring Road, Lingang Xincheng, Pudong New Area
  • Jungong Road Campus: No. 318, Jungong Road, Yangpu District

Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Location: No. 1200, Cailun Road, Pudong New Area

The Second Military Medical University

Location: No. 800, Xiangyin Road, Yangpu District

East China University of Political Science and Law

  • Changning Campus: No. 1575, Wanhangdu Road, Changning District
  • Songjiang Campus: No. 555, Longyuan Road, Songjiang District

East China Normal University

  • North Zhongshan Road Campus: No. 3663, North Zhongshan Road, Putuo District
  • Minhang Campus: No. 500, Dongchuan Road, Minhang District

Shanghai University of Political Science and Law

Location: No. 7989, Waiqingsong Highway, Qingpu District

Donghua University

  • Songjiang Campus: No. 2999, North Songjiang Road, Songjiang District
  • Yan’an Road Campus: No. 1882, West Yan’an Road, Changning District

Shanghai Business School

This institution of higher education is one of the top business universities in Shanghai.

  • Xuhui Campus: No. 2271, West Zhongshan Road, Xuhui District
  • Fengxian Campus: No. 123, Fengpu Avenue, Nanqiao Town, Fengxian District[1] 

Shanghai University of Electric Power


Lixin University of Commerce

  • Songjiang Campus: No. 2800, Wenxiang Road, Songjiang University Town, Songjiang District
  • Pudong Campus: No. 995, Shangchuan Road, Pudong New Area
  • Xuhui Campus: No. 2230, West Zhongshan Road, Xuhui District

Shanghai Theatre Academy

  • Huashan Road Campus: No. 630, Huashan Road, Jing’an District
  • Lianhua Road Campus: No. 211, Lianhua Road, Minhang District

Shanghai Conservatory of Music

Location: No. 20, Fenyang Road, Xuhui District

Shanghai University acceptance rate

Shanghai University was established in 1994. It is a non-profit public higher education institution located in the urban setting of the metropolis of Shanghai with a population range of about 5,000,000 inhabitants. With official accreditation and/or recognition by the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission, Shanghai University (SHU) is a very large coeducational higher education institution with a uniRank enrollment range: 35,000-39,999 students being its acceptance rate. Shanghai University (SHU) offers The courses and programs Shanghai University (SHU) offers leads to degrees that have been given official recognition as higher education degrees such as bachelor degrees in several areas of study.

Shanghai Government Scholarship for International Students

Shanghai University happily invites applications for the Shanghai Government Scholarship for International Bachelors, Masters and PhD Students 2019-2020. By this notice, eligible students are encouraged to hurry and apply for this Fully Funded program in China.

Established in 2006, the Shanghai Municipal Government Scholarship aims to enhance the development of the education of international students in Shanghai and encourage more and more outstanding international students and scholars to get enrolled into universities in Shanghai.

Being part of the Social Responsibilities of the Chinese government to fund fees for International Students in China, the Shanghai Government Scholarship (SGS 2019-2020)is open to Undergraduate,Masters, Ph.D. students.

One of the things you need to know about this scholarship is that it is in two types: A, B.

Type A is exclusively for those who study for Undergraduate, Master’s or Doctoral degrees and undergraduate preparatory courses. This type is also a full scholarshipwhich makes provision for tuition, accident insurance,free accommodation, living allowance.

Type B is only for those who study for degrees. It is a partial scholarship as it only includes tuition and accident insurance.


Albeit the Corona virus situation in some parts of China, studying in Shanghai is one of the best decisions an international student can make. As has been said, facts about studying in Shanghai and why you should study in Shanghai include that it is an international hub, business hub, research hub, food hub, with international influence, student friendly cost of living while remaining a leader in technology. Also, scholarship opportunities are available for international students. With all these, you should consider studying in Shanghai. Shouldn’t you?

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