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Study in China – Top & Cheap Universities in China with Scholarships

Last Updated on February 13, 2022 by Unwana Akpan

Study in China; top & cheap universities in China for international and national students with scholarships; cost of living, tuition fees, student visa, admission requirements etc, discussed.

One of the world’s fastest-growing nations, China, has its own educational legacy. Recently, it has been seen that the country is geared towards attracting more foreign students through partnerships with different universities abroad.

This form of initiative, therefore, allows the largest Asian nation to increase its prominence and become a favored country for those who want to study abroad. As a result, more than 3, 00,000 students from around 180 countries are now opting annually for higher education in China.

Why You Should Study in China

Some great career-building opportunities for international students are offered by Chinese universities. Control over the cost factor is one of the key advantages of providing education in this country.

China provides educational courses and housing at a lower cost than what most European countries offer, recognizing that the greater chunk of issues that a student worries about before determining future study goals are within cost.

In addition, the nation is well aware of the value of ‘competitive education’ keeping ‘comprehensive element’ at the top priority and providing ample amounts as scholarships.

In addition, the Chinese Government plans to become an educational engine for more than 5, 00,000 overseas students a year by 2020. And as far as world class education is concerned, this is why China has an advantage over other nations.

Tuition Fee in Chinese Universities

On average, depending on the standard of the university you choose to take and the course you want to study, the tuition fee in China ranges from 18,000 RMB to 65,000 RMB per annum.


In China, accommodation is not a major problem. Before arriving in China, you only need to notify the university one month in advance, and the administration will take care of that. If you want to live outside the university campus, all you need to do is register with the local public security office with university approval within 24 hours of your arrival.

Emerging education sectors in China

China is committed to all its efforts to make the education sector more advanced and realistic. The rapid emergence of the biotechnology, fiber, advanced materials science and energy sectors is seen in these efforts.

The country’s government ensures that all universities are equipped with technologically advanced resources already used by industries.

In doing so, China prepares students for more realistic education rather than just studies of ‘read, write and speak’ kind. If you intend to study abroad, especially in China, be assured that you will opt for practical training.

China Study Visa Requirements for Foreign Students

You will need to go to your nearest Chinese embassy after being offered a position at a Chinese university and apply for a visa suitable for your length of stay. Chinese visa requirements state that you will need a study visa for a stay of six months or more (or X-visa).

A Business Visa (or F-visa) is necessary for less than six months. You will be required to apply for a tourist visa (L-visa) and convert this to a student visa when you arrive if you do not obtain your admission package in time.

How to Overcome the Challenge

In order to enter the Chinese education sector as a student, one has to stand tall on certain requirements. Have a look at the general bachelor’s degree program requirements:

In general, very few Chinese universities welcome applicants who are over 30 years of age. But the age limit for most universities is between 18 and 30 years. You need to have with you your valid senior school certificate and a valid educational visa.

You must pass the Chinese language, HSK5, evaluation test if you have an arts/economics/management experience and are opting for a Chinese language program. You need to pass the HSK4 language exam to crack the bachelor’s degree with a history of science/engineering/medical streams. You will need to crack TOEFL 550, IELTS 5.5 exams or pass the University’s entrance exam if you choose to opt for the English-instructed program.

Study in China – List of Top and Cheap Universities in China for International and Native Students with Scholarships

  • Peking University
  • Nankai University
  • Tianjin University
  • Tsinghua University
  • Renmin University of China
  • Beijing Normal University
  • Beihang University
  • Beijing Institute of Technology
  • Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin
  • Dalian University of Technology, Dalian
  • Jilin University, Changchun
  •  University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei
  • Xiamen University, Xiamen
  • Nanjing University, Nanjing
  • Southeast University, Nanjing
  • Shandong University, Jinan
  • Ocean University of China, Qingdao
  • Fudan University
  • Shanghai Jiao Tong University
  • Tongji University
  • East China Normal University
  • Zhejiang University, Hangzhou
  • Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou
  • South China University of Technology, Guangzhou
  • Wuhan University, Wuhan
  • Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan
  • Hunan University, Changsha
  • Central South University, Changsha
  • Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi’an
  • Jiaotong University, Xi’an
  •  Lanzhou University, Lanzhou
  • Chongqing University
  • Sichuan University, Chengdu
  • University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu
  • China Agricultural University

Study in China – Cost of living

The cost of living in China is inevitably not quite as cheap as it used to be for an economy that is rising so rapidly. But tuition fees are relatively low in Beijing, about US$3,500 a year. And it is estimated that the cost of living in Shanghai, the most expensive city in China, is approximately half that of New York.

You will be spared the financial chaos of students elsewhere with lodging costing between US$200 and US$300 per month (depending on the city), and transporting a handful of small change.

Following are the General Requirements for Master’s Degree Program

Here if you are older than 40, the age eligibility holds the bar. A few universities accept applicants over the age of 40 years. The minimum age for submissions is 18 years. You need to bring a legitimate bachelor’s or diploma with you in the case of a master’s degree.

If you choose to have experience in the Chinese language, the specifications should be followed in a similar manner to that of Bachelors. In both degrees, however if you opt for the English-instructed program, you do not need to go to quality through the Chinese language test to be part of that specific university.

A look at the popular universities in China for overseas studies

Although quality universities in China are not missing, there has to be something to choose from. Over the years when it comes to providing the best of education to overseas students, Tsinghua University, Peking University, Fudan University and Wuhan University have been recognized as the most valuable universities in China.

In the most recent move, Wuhan Textile University, a leading textile education university in China, has signed an MoU with the Textile and Engineering Institute of the Indian DKTE Society to cover Indian textile students with joint research, product development, training programs, and workshops.

This agreement would waive the tuition fee and provide the chosen learners with scholarships. Similarly, Chinese Ministry of Education officials are considering enrolling international students at their universities to create a ‘soft power’ scheme to create a friendly atmosphere and impact.

Many of these institutions have some versatile policies and operate to offer popular courses under the government’s prescribed collaborations. With advanced laboratories for research projects built, one can definitely attain a degree of technical expertise that the industry is looking for from the candidates.

In the Chinese education system, the memorization approach is minimal since they are more focused on education that will assist students in their innovative and critical thinking processes. Simply put, for international students, China can be a great educational destination.

4 things you should know about Universities in China

1. You will see a lot of other foreign students

If you choose one of its universities, learning about China’s culture and history is a great advantage. However as it is one of the most popular destinations for foreign students, along with the U.K., you can definitely learn about many other nations. Yeah, and the U.S.

China received nearly 500,000 students from other countries in 2018!

2. A bonus is studying Chinese language, but it is not compulsory!

Since China has made substantial efforts to increase the number of foreign students it hosts, it has multiplied the number of English-language education programs. However, choosing the undergraduate program you would like to pursue may be a little challenging since many universities only have English-taught programs at graduate and postgraduate levels.

We recommend that you search for the views and perspectives of other students while searching for an English-taught program. The English level of the faculty in some universities has been reported not to be as high as students expected it to be.

Also, verify which program type you are selecting. Some programs are specifically designed for foreign students, so it is not permitted for Chinese students to apply. This may not be a problem, but you might want to look for programs that welcome local students if you want to study with other Chinese people and get closer to the culture of the country.

3. You can study for less than USD 5,000 per academic year

As Chinese universities are accessible, tuition fees for English-taught degrees for international students typically range from USD 2,500 to USD 10,000. And this involves the institutions with the most reputation! Nevertheless if you take up the task of learning Chinese or if you already speak it you might even research for less than USD 2,500 per year. There are considerably cheaper services.

4. You can find scholarships to help you study in China for free

While it is not permitted to operate with a student visa, there are several scholarships you can apply for. The government has a scheme that is open to foreign students in addition to scholarships provided by colleges and private organizations.

Your education, health care, living costs, and housing are entirely covered by the Chinese Government Scholarship. The Local Government Scholarship, which depends on the university you select, and the Confucius Institute Scholarship, which is for those who study Chinese only, are also available. If you intend to learn the language before beginning your major, the last one might be useful.

Study in China; Review of Top Cheap Universities in China for International Students with Scholarships

Some of these universities in China offer scholarships to foreign students, enquire from your chosen school about their available scholarships. You can also apply for fully funded government scholarships via CUCAS below.

1. Lanzhou University

  • Estimated Tuition Fee; Between USD 2,250 and USD 5,000 per academic year.

Our list of cheap universities in China ends with the University of Lanzhou, which has four campuses in Lanzhou City. Over 25,000 students earn these. It has 32 colleges, a college of honors and an academy of ethnology.

It has 35 research institutes, four renowned laboratories, and 6 national research bases, as it is a research-focused university.

2. SiChuan University

  • Tuition Fee; Between USD 2,500 and USD 6,350 per academic year

SiChuan University, founded after the 1994 merger of three universities, has three campuses with 30 colleges. It is based in Chengdu and is affiliated to over 50 laboratories and research centers.

A museum, four hospitals, and four libraries are among its services. 109 bachelor’s degrees are open to its 70,000 students.

3. Zhejiang University (ZJU)

  • Tuition Fee; Between USD 2,785 and USD 6,000 per academic year

In the town of Hangzhou, Zhejiang University (ZJU) is ranked as the 54th university in the QS World University Ranking and the 4th best in China and offers 440 degree programs.

With 37 colleges and schools, seven associated campuses, 18 affiliated research institutes, and over 50,000 students, ZJU has seven campuses.

4. Jilin University (JLU)

  • Tuition Fee; From USD 2,815 and USD 5,000 per academic year

In 1946, Jilin University (JLU) began as an administration institution. It changed and merged a number of times with other universities before it became a comprehensive institution. Nowadays it’s best known for its research programs.

JLU offers a wide range of programs at 47 colleges (more than 600!). And if this is not enough information for you to understand how large JLU is there are seven campuses that host over 75,000 students at this affordable Chinese university for international students!

5. Tianjin University (TJU)

  • Tuition Fee; Between USD 2,815 and USD 5,500 per academic year

For those who would like to pursue a major in engineering, Tianjin University (TJU) is a great choice, because it is the main focus of this university. Founded in 1895, it has received hundreds of awards for its research and science ventures.

Its 12 colleges have about 200 degree programs at three levels of education. Besides these, it has 15 research-focused postdoctoral programs. TJU has more than 200 labs, institutes, and centers for research. To provide training and research projects, it is affiliated with several sectors and businesses.

6. Wuhan University of Technology (WUT)

  • Estimated Tuition Fee; Between USD 2,815 and USD 6,350 per academic year

The University of Technology of Wuhan (WUT) was established only 20 years ago after the merger of three higher education institutions. While it is such a young university, it is already ranked among the world’s top 1000 universities.

WUT has 23 schools which provide more than 50,000 students with almost 300 degree programs. It also grants degrees in arts, economics, law, foreign languages, and sociology, although it focuses on STEM programs. It also has distance education and vocational schooling.

7. Nankai University

  • Tuition Fee; From USD 2,815 to USD 7,050 per academic year

There are 14 colleges, 11 schools, and three academic institutions at Nankai University. In addition to degree programs, it also provides technical education and distance education to meet any student’s needs.

It is ranked 368th in the QS World University Ranking and is one of the most prestigious universities, with its alumni and faculty being important scientists and Nobel laureates.

8. Shanghai International Studies University (SISU)

  • Tuition Fee; USD 3,150 per academic year

Another great choice for those interested in majors related to foreign languages, diplomacy and international relations is Shanghai International Studies University (SISU). It offers degree programs for bachelors in 27 different languages. In addition to these, SISU also has law schools, public affairs and international relations, business and management, education, interpretation and translation, among others.

With three campuses in Shanghai, this cheap university in China provides exchange programs with over 200 universities around the world.

9. Nanjing University

  • Tuition Fee; Between USD 3,250 and USD 5,350 per academic year

Nanjing University has been reorganized several times since its establishment in 1902 to retain its consistency and up-to-date programs. In the QS World University Ranking, it is rated as the 120th best university and has over 25,000 students.

In many ways, this university has been a pioneer. For instance, it was the first to set up modern science laboratories in China, established the first modern research institute, and has unique facilities, such as the gymnastics institute.

It has 25 schools, one college and other scientific and technical institutes. In China, Nanjing University is renowned for being the most selective. However for foreign students, its doors are open. Depending on the academic year you study, it has earned anywhere from 700 students to 3600 in recent years.

10. Wuhan University

  • Tuition Fee; Between USD 3,250 and USD 7,800 per academic year

Wuhan University is the 7th best in China, with 257th place in the QS World University Ranking. The university has been reorganized and combined with other institutions a couple of times since its founding in 1893.

One of the cheapest universities in China, Wuhan University has 37 colleges and colleges, two research institutions, three hospitals, and 60,000 students! It has been named one of China’s most beautiful universities, too. Its campus combines new buildings with traditional Chinese architecture. It has a pool, hundreds of miles of green areas, and every year there is a Cherry Blossom Festival.

11. Hunan University

  • Estimated Tuition Fee; Between USD 3,400 and USD 4,250 per academic year

Hunan University’s history can be traced back to the year 976 AD, when it was a major academy. Nowadays it is situated in Changsha city and has more than 35,000 students.

It has 23 colleges with more than 100 different degrees awarded. It is particularly known for its engineering, chemistry, international trade, and industrial design programs. In addition, 120 universities are affiliated with it to offer exchange programs in other nations.

12. Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU)

  • Estimated Tuition Fee; From USD 3,500 to USD 7,050 per academic year

Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU), ranked as the 60th best university in the 2020 QS World University Ranking, began its operations in the 19th century. There are 12 affiliated hospitals and three research institutes at this cheap university for international students in China. Its systems are spread around the seven campuses of SJTU.

Per year, SJTU receives 40,000 students who select one of its 540 degree programs. Of these students, almost 3,000 are foreigners.

13. University of Science and Technology of China (USTC)

  • Tuition Fee; Between USD 3,650 and USD 5,000 per academic year

The University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), located in the city of Hefei, was established in 1958. The Chinese Academy of Sciences is closely linked to it. As it is ranked as the 89th best university in the QS World University Ranking, USTC is one of the leading universities in its region.

While the university focuses on science and engineering programs, it has recently extended its range and is now granting degrees in management, social sciences and humanities. It is split into 13 colleges, where you can select from 250 degree programs.

14. Shenzhen University (SZU)

  • Estimated Tuition Fee; Between USD 3,650 and USD 5,650 per academic year

Shenzhen University (SZU) was founded over 30 years ago to address economic and educational needs in the city of Shenzhen. With 162 undergraduate, secondary, and postgraduate degrees, it has 27 colleges. It has 12 labs, centres, and institutes in the case of science.

There are two campuses at this cheap university in China and a third one is under construction. They host 35,000 students, 1,000 of whom are from other nations.

15. Dalian University of Technology (DUT)

  • Estimated Tuition Fee; Between USD 3,650 and USD 5,650 per academic year

Dalian University of Technology (DUT) is one of the top Chinese institutions of higher education specializing in STEM. Founded in 1949, due to its research projects and contributions to science, DUT has received more than 1,000 awards.

It consists of seven management and economics faculties, mechanical and energy engineering, infrastructure engineering, humanities and social sciences, etc. It has 15 schools and one institute as well. Both are distributed over two campuses.

16. Peking University

  • Tuition Fee; Between USD 3,650 and USD 5,650 per academic year

The University of Peking is one of China’s most prestigious universities and its history can be traced back to the 19th century. This affordable Chinese university is currently ranked in the 2020 QS World University Ranking as the 22nd best university. The university is well known for its contributions to the fields of arts and literature, especially because it is one of the country’s few liberal arts universities.

On its Beijing campus, its 30 colleges offer more than 350 degree programs. Beijing University has partnership projects with other renowned universities around the world, in addition to the programs here. With Stanford University, Cornell University, Yale University, Seoul National University, among others, it has exchange and joint degree programs.

17. Shandong University (SDU)

  • Estimated Tuition Fee; From USD 3,650 to USD 6,350 per academic year

With over 55,000 students and seven campuses, Shandong University (SDU) is one of the biggest universities in China. After the merger of older higher education institutions, SDU came to existence in 1901. It is divided into 32 schools, which are honor schools, and two colleges. They have 440 degree programs at the graduate level, and other advanced degrees.

It is continually modernizing its facilities. In 2016, the newest campus opened and is still being built. Shandong uni consists of three general hospitals, more than 30 research centers, student residences and teaching hospitals up to 12.

18. Xi’an Jiaotong University (XJTU)

  • Tuition Fee; Between USD 3,700 and USD 7,000 per academic year

Xi’an Jiaotong University (XJTU) has around 32,000 students and is ranked as the 307th best university worldwide according to the QS World University Ranking. This inexpensive university for international students in China is split into 20 schools with 400 degree programs. Among the various fields of study you can choose from are science, art, philosophy, education, engineering, management, economics, among others. The most prestigious are its programs in medicine.

Eight teaching hospitals, student quarters, and numerous national research centers and laboratories are included in XJTU’s facilities.

19. Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU)

  • Estimated Tuition Fee; From USD 4,300 to USD 5,600 per academic year

The Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) is the perfect choice if you are interested in selecting a major related to languages, international affairs or politics! In 1941, it opened its doors and is the largest university in this city. In the QS World University Ranking, it is ranked among the top 1000 best universities.

Bachelor’s degree programs are available in 64 different languages, but over 80 languages are protected by degree programs and short courses. There are other undergraduate programmes in translation and interpreting, diplomacy, journalism, international economics and commerce, politics and governance, law, among others in addition to degrees in languages.

It has over 8,000 students, of which about 1,000 are foreign students. Its campus is home to 21 schools and the national foreign language education research center. This center is divided into 90 research centers and institutes that are smaller.

Business administration  is renowned among international students at BFSU, cos of being taught in English.

20. Chongqing University (CQU)

  • Tuition Fee; Between USD 4,300 and USD 6,900 per academic year

Chongqing University, which hosts 50,000 students who have selected one of its 400 degree programs, is next on our list of affordable universities in China. It is divided into four faculties, namely Information Science and Technology, Arts and Sciences, Built Environment and Engineering.

A publishing house, research labs, multi-media classrooms, and a city science and technology college are part of the CQU facilities. With 100 universities all over the world, it has exchange programs.

21. Tsinghua University

  • Estimated Tuition Fee; From USD 4,300 to USD 28,150 per academic year

Tsinghua University is China’s most prestigious higher education institution, as it is ranked, according to the QS World University Ranking, as the 16th best university in the world. This makes it the strongest one in China as well. Many important people, including Chinese leaders, politicians, scientists and Nobel laureates, have earned their degrees here.

The university, with more than 35,000 students, is split into 24 colleges. They deliver nearly 300 undergraduate, secondary, and postgraduate programs on the Beijing campus. It also has 243 institutes, centres, and laboratories for study.

22. Tongji University

  • Tuition Fee; Between USD 4,750 to USD 12,500 per academic year

Tongji University, also based in Shanghai, has 50,000 students who are educated at its 22 schools and colleges. More than 300 undergraduate, associate, and post-graduate degrees are offered. It also has over 20 laboratories and research institutes and 11 regional centers and open laboratories.

Although this cheap Chinese university is best known for its programs in industry, architecture, civil engineering, and transport engineering for international students, there are degrees in other fields. These include, among others, humanities, mathematics, ocean and earth science, medicine,

With other universities in China, Europe, America and Australia, the university has collaboration programs.

23. East China Normal University (ECNU)

  • Tuition Fee; Between USD 5,000 and USD 6,400 per academic year

East China Normal University (ECNU) was founded in 1951 after the merger of two higher education institutions and started as a training school for teachers and professors. It has two Shanghai campuses with numerous labs, research centers, and institutes for advanced studies.

ECNU has 24 faculties and schools offering education, arts, technology, health, engineering, economics, social sciences, humanities and many more programmes.

Only programs for master’s and doctorate degrees are entirely English-taught. However, admissions for Chinese-taught undergraduate degrees are also available to foreign students. These are cheaper and range from 3,000 USD to 4,000 USD.

24. Fudan University

  • Estimated Tuition Fee; Between USD 7,000 and USD 10,000 per academic year

Fudan University, 40th in the QS World University Ranking, is one of the most prestigious universities in China and the world. For over a century, it has been awarding degrees and its alumni include notable figures in politics, science, technology, and humanities.

In China, this affordable university has four campuses in Shanghai City. It is divided into five colleges, with 17 schools offering approximately 300 programs for undergraduate and graduate degrees. Most master’s and doctorate degrees are degrees available in English.

It hosts 45,000 students, 2,000 of whom are from other nations. Fudan University has joint programs with over 200 foreign schools, so you may choose to spend a semester overseas.

25. Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU)

  • Tuition Fee; USD 11,250 per academic year

We’re finalizing our review of cheap universities in China for international students with Xi’an Jiaotong University, which gives international students a unique opportunity. XJTLU came to existence less than 20 years ago when it was affiliated with the University of Liverpool (UK) and the University of Xi’an Jiaotong (China).

Studying at this joint university means you’re going to get a degree from Liverpool University and one from the University of Xi’an Jiaotong at a more affordable price. It also means you’re going to find a larger number of English-taught services.

In the fields of architecture, media and communication, science, business, technology, engineering, English, arts and design, it has programmes. It receives over 13,000 students annually and provides the opportunity to study for a semester or two in Great Britain.

Application for Admission to Universities in China

International students may use the centralized CUCAS (China’s University and College Admission System) website to apply for a position at a university in China, or apply directly to the university. International students can also opt to apply for a scholarship program from the Chinese Government, and information on this can be found on the CUCAS web.

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