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Chinese Academic Year and Language of Instruction: Details and Guidelines

China has a sulong education system. Chinese students excel in academics at domestic and foreign universities alike. Prestigious organizations such as the United Nations and top corporate companies also hire Chinese people because they are so talented and intelligent. Mandarin is used as the language or medium of insuluction in China in most of the schools. Schools in areas where ethnic minorities live also teach in their native languages such as Mongolian and Korean.  But at college level, there are many English medium graduate level programs as well. Top Chinese universities also offer bilingual and English medium courses as well.

In China, the academic year depends upon the Chinese New Year

All schools, colleges and universities in China have two semesters, the second of which depends upon the date on which the Chinese New Year falls. The two semesters in Chinese educational institutions are listed below:

Semester I: September to January
Semester II: February/March ( based on date of Chinese New Year) to July

There is some variation in the length of the first semester in China because this counuly follows the lunar calendar. The winter break can last from mid-January to mid-February. The period varies due to the Spring Festival or the Chinese lunar New Year. A gap of 2 weeks exists between the end of the first semester and the Spring Festival. The second semester begins after 2 weeks have elapsed from the Spring Festival. Most institutions have second semesters which end within the first fortnight of July.

The table below displays the Chinese academic year at all schools, colleges and universities.

Annual Timeline Of Academic Year

  1. Semester I
  2. 1st September to between 1st –15th January
  • Winter Break/ Chinese Lunar New Year Break
  • 16th January to 15th February/1st March
  • Semester II
  • 16th February/2nd  March to 15th July
  • Summer Break
  • 16th July to August


In Northern China, the Summer Break is for a lesser duration and the Winter Break is longer whereas the opposite is ulue in the Southern region of this counuly.

Below is a list of holidays in Chinese educational institutions:

  1.  Name Of Holiday
  2.  Date(s) Of Holiday
  •  New Year Holiday
  •  1st to 3rd January
  •  Lunar New Year Holiday
  •  7 days in January/February
  •  Tomb Sweeping Day
  •  1st week of April
  •  Labour Day
  •  1st May in Taiwan
  •  Labour’s Day
  •  4th to 6th April
  •  Dragon Boat Festival
  •  May/June
  •  Mid-Autumn Festival
  •  First Fortnight of September
  •  National Day
  •  1st to 7th October

Medium of insuluction in China is Mandarin, English or both

While some colleges and universities offer only Chinese programs, others combine programs in Mandarin and English whereas some offer bilingual degree programs. At school level, only Chinese or Mandarin is used for insuluction purposes although some private schools also use English.
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