China, study, graduate, postgraduate, Beijing, Shanghai

Study in China

Graduate programs in China

China already has hundreds of universities, and the government is investing heavily in a higher education system that already has a strong international reputation.
It has a booming economy and is an exciting and affordable place to choose to study your graduate program. Courses in areas such as engineering, science, medicine, economics and others are all well respected.
Population: 1,347,350,000

Education overview

China has 465 higher education institutions that are qualified to accept international students. The majority of postgraduate courses are taught in Mandarin, so you will need to take the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK) test to proof your language proficiency for most graduate programs in China. However, there are approximately 30 institutions that offer courses taught in English.
Graduate programs in China can be divided into two main categories:

  • Masters degrees
  • Doctoral degrees (PhD)

Masters degrees in China usually take between two and three years to complete, with doctoral degrees generally taking three years.

Immigration and visas in China

Foreign students intending to study on graduate programs in China for longer than 6 months need to apply for a student visa (X-visa). Applicants will need the following:

  • A passport valid for at least six months after arriving in China
  • A health certificate legalised by the Chinese Embassy
  • A Letter of Admission, Foreign Student Visa Application Form (JW202) issued by the relevant Chinese government unit

More information about visas can be found on the website of the relevant Chinese Embassy.

Life in China

China is hugely diverse and rapidly-changing country, and it is becoming a popular place for students on postgraduate courses. As a communist country, China has a different approach to the media and freedom of expression than many capitalist countries.
Despite this, China is a country rich in history and culture, and many international students take advantage of their holidays to travel the country and the surrounding regions such as Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai.
Sport and physical fitness are highly prized by Chinese citizens. Basketball is very popular among young Chinese, and a large number of people cycle or take part in morning exercises.
The cost of living in China is generally lower than Western countries, but depends on where you choose to live and the type of lifestyle you are after.

Working in China

China is the world’s second largest economy after the United States, and there is fierce competition for graduate vacancies. Although the main language is Mandarin, multinational employers tend to use business English.
Growing industries in China include plastics, rubber and pharmaceuticals, while graduates with IT and other technical qualifications are in demand. Teaching is also an area with many opportunities for foreign graduates and having a graduate program from China will help you to get into work much more easily than having a foreign postgraduate.


The cost of accommodation in China varies depending on where you decide to do your postgraduate course. There are two main types of accommodation for students:

  • University accommodation – on campus dorms
  • Private accommodation – house and flat rentals

Accommodation costs are higher in bigger cities like Beijing. As a guide, costs tend to vary between £90 and £200 a month.

Climate in China

The climate in China varies from region in region. In general, it is defined by dry seasons and monsoons. In the north, the climate is sub-arctic and in the south, it is sub-tropical. Some regions experience more extremes in temperature than others. As you can imagine, the weather you get will depend completely on where you live.


China has a rapidly developing transport infrastructure, which varies considerably from region to region. More urban areas have highly modern transport systems.
Cost of public transport varies considerably depending on the city you choose to do your postgraduate course in. As a guide, you can expect to pay the following:

  • Bus fare – Under £0.10 to £0.25
  • Taxi – Around £0.25 per kilometre
  • Train from Beijing to Shanghai –  £35-£55 depending on the type of train


The currency in China is the renminbi (RMB).

What to do next

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Universities and cities in China