Choosing to study in China is choosing immersion in a country with a deep and rich cultural background. You'll experience a stunning mix of centuries of elegant tradition alongside modern technology and practices. You can taste real Chinese food and learn to speak the world's most common language.

While you are more likely to find English-taught degrees for Masters and Ph.D. programs, there are some Chinese universities that offer undergraduate degrees entirely in English as well. Bigger universities are more likely to be better prepared to accommodate international students, but if you prefer smaller class sizes don't hesitate to contact smaller schools as well.

There are many things to consider and hundreds of universities and colleges to compare. Hopefully the rest of this guide will help you narrow your options and make a process a fun one!

Direct Enrollment

If your goal is to earn your entire degree in China, direct enrollment is the best choice. By enrolling directly to international universities and colleges, you remove the middle man. This means you'll be doing the research instead of paying someone else to do so.

No matter how long you plan to study in China, unless you are fluent in Chinese the most important part of your research will be checking the language of instruction. There are a few Chinese universities that offer undergraduate degrees in English, but it is more likely that you'll need to complete intensive Chinese language courses prior to officially beginning your degree. Master's and doctoral degrees in English are much more common.

Other items to compare from one university to the next include tuition, accommodation, and meal costs; location; and campus life/student experience. You should also factor in how easy it is to use the university's website. Many Chinese universities will have an English version, or section, of the site. If this is up-to-date and easy to navigate, there is a good chance the university is prepared to assist you with the enrollment process in English.

Direct Exchange

One common way to study in China is through a direct exchange. This is just what it sounds like. You will exchange places with a Chinese student for a summer, semester, or year. You'll continue paying the same tuition costs directly to your home university, but you'll pay for accommodation and food in China.

This is a great choice if directly enrolling is a little too intimidating or too expensive; it's also a good choice if you only want to spend part of your degree in China. The downside is that you're limited to the exchange partnerships your home college already has in place. China is a popular enough destination that there is a good chance of finding what you're looking for.

Third Party Providers

For more flexibility than direct exchange and less planning than direct enrollment, you can study in China with a third party provider (or partner). Whether you want a summer of intensive language and culture immersion or a semester or year of classes, there are hundreds of trips to choose from. Go Overseas provides information and reviews on many of these.

By choosing to study abroad with a third party provider, you won't have to worry about whether or not the class will be taught in English or if the credits will transfer back to your home university. You won't have to research where to live and how to obtain a visa. The company will walk you through the process step-by-step. This is a definite perk in a country like China, whose educational and immigration systems are complex and notably different from other countries you might have visited or considered studying in.


The cost of attending college in China varies widely depending on where you go. Tuition can range from around 20,000-88,000 RMB ($3,000-12,000) per academic year. In general humanities programs will be slightly less expensive than math and science programs.

One way to cut down on costs is if you gain a grasp of the Chinese language before you go. Many universities offer language immersion courses, but if you don't have to take those, it will shorten the time it takes to earn the degree. This means you'll pay less for tuition and accommodation in the long run.

For studying in China for a semester or year, the cost is dependent on the type of program you choose, and how you enroll in the Chinese university. It's worth comparing your options for study abroad to find the option that's best for your education and budget.

Cost of Living

Like tuition, the cost of living in China can range from reasonable to quite expensive. Much of this depends on where and how you live. The miser in a smaller town can make it on 39,000 RMB ($5,500) a year, while the big spender in a big city might be looking at a budget of about 105,000 RMB ($15,000) per year. These estimates include accommodation, food, and additional expenses like in-country travel and school supplies.


If you plan to study in China for longer than 6 months, you'll need to apply for an X1 visa which costs around $140. If you'll be there for less than 6 months, you'll need to apply for the X2 visa.

When you apply in your home country, you'll need to have a valid passport, proof of acceptance to the Chinese university you plan to attend, a visa application form for international students studying in China, JW202 form, two recent passport photos, academic transcripts. There may be additional required documents as well.


Applying for scholarships can seem like a daunting task. It's easy to think your chances are one in a million, but the more you apply, the more likely you are to be successful. Plus, the more you apply for, the easier the process becomes.

There are plenty of scholarships specifically for studying abroad in China. Some, like the Critical Language Scholarship Program, are available to students going on short-term language immersion courses. Others will be available to you directly from the university, after you've been accepted. Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University offers several!

Oldest University

In 1898, Peking University became the first national and comprehensive university in China. The institution has long been known for its efforts in research, modernization, and globalization- making it a great choice for study abroad.

Peking University offers 120 undergraduate programs, 242 graduate programs, and 212 doctoral programs. The quality of these programs is evidenced by employability ratings among those of Harvard, Yale, Cambridge, and Oxford.

If you plan to enroll to one of these degree-granting programs directly, other than a select few masters programs, you will be required to complete a Chinese language exam. If you don't meet the required level, you'll be able to take language classes before you official start working toward your degree.

Biggest University

Starting out as Shanghai Television University, Shanghai Open University (SOU) is the largest by enrollment in China with more than 110,000 actively enrolled students! As many programs are available online, SOU offers students from all walks of life the opportunity of accessible, flexible education.

Whether you're interested in a short term language program, a non-credit continuing education certificate, or a full degree, SOU has a little bit of everything.

Quirkiest Degree

We've reached an age when putting your Facebook and Twitter experience on a resume is a real thing, so it's no surprise that universities and colleges are incorporating social media into curriculum classes. Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) goes a step further by offering Social Computing as an entire graduate degree.

This degree can prepare you for either the managerial or technical side of all forms of social media. Scholarships are available directly from XJTLU for up to 50 percent off tuition, all courses are taught entirely in English, and you would be living just 20 minutes outside of Shanghai by train. What more could you ask for?

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