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Study in Shanghai, China

Population: 23,000,000

City Overview

Shanghai is China’s largest city and second to only Mumbai in the world, with a population of 23million. A fascinating mix of east and west, Shanghai has always been a hit location with foreigners and international students, with Bernard Shaw, Albert Einstein and Tagore among its former residents.

As with most of China, Shanghai is undergoing an economic boom which sees more and more skyscrapers fill its skyline. Easily China’s richest city, Shanghai is the blueprint by which China looks to grow its economy and cities and compete with rivals like New York and London.

Studying a graduate program in Shanghai gives you the opportunity to live in one of the world’s super metropolises – the Paris of the Orient.

Education profile

Shanghai has probably the premier education system in China and is a major centre of higher education in the country, with more than 30 universities and colleges. You can study a graduate program in Shanghai at the following, among others:
As well as these major institutions, there are also plenty of municipal and private universities which offer postgraduate courses. 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

Foreign students intending to study on graduate programs in Shanghai 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 Shanghai

As an international hub, Shanghai attracts many international students each and every year, with many attracted to the business opportunities and quality postgraduate courses offered. However, life in Shanghai is also attractive. The city has tree-lined streets, low rise architecture and a relaxed European feel, despite is massive size.

Many international students are attracted to living in the downtown area of Shanghai, consisting of Jing’an, Xuhui, Huangpu and Luwan, which has many western style houses and a busy nightlife.

Living in Shanghai feels much more like living in Hong Kong than Beijing. This is a city at home with westernisation, cool bars and French fashion – it truly is a melting pot.

Working in Shanghai

Shanghai has been one of the world’s fastest developing cities for the past two decades, with a particular focus on finance and financial services. Shanghai’s economy has recorded double digit growth each year since 1992, except during the recession of 2008 and 2009.
The city’s three largest industries are financial services, retail and real estate, but manufacturing and agriculture also feature highly, particularly through car manufacturing.

Shanghai is the world’s busiest container port, with ships coming through the Yangtze River Delta. The city has ambitions to become the world’s largest shipping centre.


Most international postgraduate students in Shanghai choose to live in university accommodation if provided, as this is an easy way to make friends, get your accommodation sorted and adjust to life in China. However, if you think you’d prefer to live in private accommodation, remember that Shanghai is split into two halves by the Huangpu River, with Puxi to the west and Pudong to the east.
A one bedroom apartment in Shanghai will cost between RMB 2500-3500 per month.

Weather and Climate

Shanghai has a humid subtropical climate and experiences four distinct seasons with different weather and climate. Expect summers to be hot and humid, with the warmest months between July and August, winters to be cold and damp around January and February,

spring to be warm and rainy, and autumn to be dry and sunny.

Summer temperatures can be extremely warm and hit the mid 30s.

What to do next

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