Are you Academically Prepared?

Numerous universities in China are now offering international programs in English. Different programs have different application and admission requirements as well as study time.

  • Short term programs admit students who are secondary high school graduate or equivalent.
  • Universities in China even accept students of any academic background for short term courses.
  • HSK test scores are not required for such courses which last for about 1 to 20 weeks.
  • Language courses admit students who are secondary high school graduates or equivalent. No HSK test scores are required for these programs either and they generally last for 1 to 2 years.

Undergraduate and Associate Students

Undergraduate and associate students must also be secondary high school grades or equivalent. For Chinese medium undergraduate programs, HSK level 4 to 6 is needed. Undergraduate programs last for 4 to 5 years in some cases while associate programs are 2 to 3 years long.

Master’s  Degree Programs

For Master’s degree students, it is essential that applicants possess a Bachelor’s degree and a minimum of two recommendation letters. Chinese medium Master’s programs for 2 to 3 years require international students to attain HSK level 5 to 8 and also to apply for Chinese medium postgraduate programs of 3 years.

Doctoral Degree Programs

Doctoral degree programs require the possession of a Master’s degree and at least 2 recommendations from professors.

Transfer students should provide sealed transfer letters from the Foreign Student’s Office of the parent university while moving to another university in China. GCSE holders are not allowed to apply for degree programs in China. Instead, they can enrol for a one year program of precollege training/international foundation program.

Language Requirements (HSK, TOEFL, IELTS)

For Chinese medium degree programs, students must have HSK test scores to prove their proficiency in Mandarin. English medium programs in Chinese universities do not require HSK results. Applicants for English medium degree programs must obtain high scores on tests such as TOEFL (Test of the English Language) or IELTS. English native speakers are not required to pass these proficiency tests. Holders of English medium academic degrees also need not provide test scores for proficiency in English.

Chinese Proficiency Test-HSK

Degree programs taught in Mandarin Chinese require students to attain certain levels of proficiency in the language. This is done to enable students to develop comprehension of classes and lectures as well as complete examinations. Many Chinese universities require students to pass the Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK or Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi) so that they demonstrate good understanding of this language. This test was developed since the 1980s at the Beijing Language and Cultural University. 

The HSK test is similar to the TOEFL. It is a certificate for proficiency in Chinese language that is required for enrolling in higher educational institutions and pursuing certain professions.

Financing Your Studies

While big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai are more expensive, many small cities in central and western China are home to world class educational institutions and cheaper to stay at. The CUCAS service fee charged for applying to Chinese universities is $100 to 150. 

Insurance in China is around $100 in cities such as Beijing and a typical tuition fee charged by Chinese universities in this capital city for one year is around $3500. Textbooks cost another $100.

Living expenses in big cities is around $2000 and accommodation expenses range around $3000. You need to plan your studies according to the amount of your finances.


Once you have received the admission letter from the Chinese university as well as the JW202 form, you can start preparing for your higher studies here. You have to ensure that your finances are in place so that you do not face money related worries during any stage of your study. Those who are studying for longer durations of time should also get a bank account here.

Insurance is another important aspect. International students are required to obtain medical or health insurance. The cost of medical insurance is around 600 RMB for a single year, according to CUCAS. Accommodations arrangements also need to be made. You should also find out how to access your university from a train station, airport or bus depot. International students taking a cab in China should have the address jotted in a piece of paper using Chinese characters and enough money to pay for the ride. Chinese cities are well connected through shuttle bus services and high speed trains.

When you are packing for the journey and stay in China, make sure you choose appropriate clothes that are suitable for the climate there. Your carry-on luggage should contain items you need such as the passport, visa, health certificates and documents. Carry a map of your destination city to avoid getting into troubles once you arrive in China.  You also need 500 to 1000 RMB for transport and check-in facilities. Carry the address and phone contact of the university’s admission office. 
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