Chinese universities

Chinese Universities

Here we outline all the major Chinese universities across all Chinese provinces that are in the top 500 Universities in the world. China has rapidly become a major provider of world class studying opportunities, attracting many overseas students - particularly in S.E. Asia. In 2016 397,635 international students are studying in China. Every year that the International rankings are published the universities in China go up a few places.

Two thousand years of the traditional examinations were abandoned in 1912 when the Republic of China was founded. The accurate memorization of huge amounts of classical literature had had a stultifying effect on Chinese scholarship. Many of China's main universities have their roots in institutions set up by foreign missionary societies offering Chinese people new fields of knowledge for the first time. Other institutions have grown from technical colleges that fueled China's need for engineering in the 1970s. Since the turn of the millennium China has reformed the university sector to the Western model. The proportion receiving tertiary education has risen from 1.4% in 1978 to over 30% now and there are over 2,000 accredited institutions. China's high population translates this into 7 million new graduates each year. The top 100 universities are being developed under the government's project 211 while the top 39 are groomed for top International status in project 985 . There remain concerns that too much emphasis is placed on learning facts rather than creative thinking. The Bachelor's degree is normally four years of full-time study which include four areas: basic compulsory topics (Computer technology, English, Chinese, Mathematics, Politics, Physical Education); elective general topics; field of study compulsory topics; field of study elective topics. In this way a degree is more generalized than in the Western model. The Master's degree ( shuò shì xué wèi) is typically three full-time years for 'academic' subjects and two years for 'vocational' subjects.

Admission to university in China is based on the Annual College Entrance Examination (gaokao ) but recommendation from a school carries some weight. Priority to the poorer provinces is also given. The majority of universities in China are state funding and are subject to some government control. The cost for Chinese students are kept quite low; grants; loans and part-time work are used to fund study. The government also provides some funding for grants for students to study in China from abroad.

You can click on the column headers to sort the universities by name, ranking, location or student numbers. We give figures on the number of undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as international which is a rough figure of all the ‘non-local’ students studying at the University. The Ranking shown is the ranking according to QS (Quacquarelli Symonds Limited ) who monitor all the world's top universities. We use this to show the relative position compared to all other universities. The Map link displays a detailed Google map of the location of the Chinese university. The Info link takes you to the university's own web site, in nearly all cases this is the English web site. Quite a lot of teaching is done in English, especially in Hong Kong, if not the Universities usually offer a crash course in Mandarin.

Last Updated 22 Nov 2016

Peking University
Peking University
An entrance to the Peking University. June 2008. Image by galaygobi available under a Creative Commons license .
Beijing The first established University in China has remained a leading University since its foundation in 1898. It used to be located just East of the Forbidden City, but is now near Kunming Lake.There are 30 colleges in 12 faculties. The students have often initiated national campaigns such as the big poster campaign in 1966 and the Tiananmen Square student protest of 1989.
Undergrads: 15128 Postgrads: 15119 International: 2000
Peking University web site
Founded 1898
Location Map
Tsinghua University
Tsinghua University
Tsinghua University is a well regarded university in mainland China. The Tsinghua Observatory is shown. July 2008. Image by Financialtimeseditor available under a Creative Commons license .
Beijing Tsinghua (Wade Giles spelling) or Qinghua rivals its near neighbour Peking University as the leading Chinese University. It was initially set up to prepare students for study abroad and has retained a strong international flavor. It specializes in science and technology.
Undergrads: 15184 Postgrads: 16524 International: 3490
Tsinghua University web site
Founded 1911
Location Map
University of Hong Kong
University of Hong Kong
The University of Hong Kong (Eliot Hall & Meng Wah Complex). Image by Baycrest available under a Creative Commons license .
Hong Kong After the rapid development of Hong Kong, the original College of Medicine (where Sun Yatsen was the most famous student) became a University in 1911 and has been the highest ranked Chinese University for some years. It is highly regarded in a number of disciplines including law and medicine.
Undergrads: 15227 Postgrads: 11778 International: 6814
University of Hong Kong web site
Founded 1911
Location Map
Chinese University of Hong Kong
Chinese University of Hong Kong
A view of part of the Chinese University campus. December 2013. Image by Citobun available under a Creative Commons license .
Hong Kong Despite the use of 'Chinese' in its name, English is the main teaching language at this well regarded Hong Kong University just 50 years old. It has a high international reputation in mathematics; science; medicine as well as the arts and humanities.
Undergrads: 15351 Postgrads: 13337 International: 2746
Chinese University of Hong Kong web site
Founded 1963
Location Map
Fudan University
Fudan University
Zibinyuan Building at Handan Campus. Image by Roalood available under a Creative Commons license .
Shanghai Currently the highest ranked University outside Beijing and Hong Kong, Fudan is an old institution covering a wide range of subjects.
Undergrads: 15700 Postgrads: 11000 International: 2812
Fudan University web site
Founded 1905
Location Map
Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Shanghai Jiao Tong University
SJTU ME buildings. June 2006. Image by hulalala available under a Creative Commons license .
Shanghai The University is one of the oldest academic institutions in China. Its early reputation was for producing high caliber engineers and scientists but now covers all major disciplines. It is also known by the acronym SJTU or Jiao Da.
Undergrads: 16802 Postgrads: 24495 International: 1598
Shanghai Jiao Tong University web site
Founded 1986
Location Map
City University of Hong Kong
City University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong City University Run Run Shaw Library Interior. April 2010. Image by WiNG available under a Creative Commons license .
Hong Kong Hong Kong has more than its fair share of prestigious universities and the City University is among the top six academic institutions in the territory. It became a full University in 1994 and teaches all the main subjects to a high level. It ranks high in languages and linguistics. Like other Hong Kong universities it teaches principally in English.
Undergrads: 12689 Postgrads: 6017 International: 905
City University of Hong Kong web site
Founded 1984
Location Map
Zhejiang University
Zhejiang University
School of Architecture. September 2007. Image by Constantboat available under a Creative Commons license .
Hangzhou Situated in the former capital of Hangzhou, Zhejiang University often shortened to Zheda is one of China's oldest and largest Universities. It was dubbed the 'Cambridge of the East' by Joseph Needham. The courses cover a wide range of topics.
Undergrads: 22929 Postgrads: 21945 International: 2700
Zhejiang University web site
Founded 1897
Location Map
Nanjing University
Nanjing University
Nanjing University auditorium. November 2007. Image available under a Creative Commons license .
Nanjing The top university at Nanjing is one of the oldest in China. It is split into two campuses one near the city center and the other to the northeast. It covers all disciplines with high attainment in the sciences as well the arts.
Undergrads: 13865 Postgrads: 12793 International: 1847
Nanjing University web site
Founded 1949
Location Map
Beijing Normal University
Beijing Normal University
University Campus.
Image by Kelinli available under a Creative Commons license .
Beijing The Beijing Normal University is also known as Bei-shi-da; the term 'normal' refers to its early role in teacher training and education remains a focus. It became well known for teaching mandarin to international students. The University now has a broad coverage of all the main disciplines.
Undergrads: 8600 Postgrads: 9900 International: 1800
Beijing Normal University web site
Founded 1902
Location Map
Nankai University
Nankai University
Zhou Enlai statue at Nankai University, Tianjin, China. September 2010. Image by 刻意 available under a Creative Commons license .
Tianjin Nankai University, Tianjin started off as a small, private school. The use of a modern syllabus and English made it popular and it soon expanded to become a University. Zhou Enlai is the most famous alumni from its early days. The University is strong in the fields of economics, mathematics and history.
Undergrads: 12873 Postgrads: 11432 International: 2300
Nankai University web site
Founded 1919
Location Map
Xi'an Jiaotong University
Xi'an Jiaotong University
XJTU Student Recreation Center. August 2011. Image by Jucember available under a Creative Commons license .
Xi'an The leading university at Xi'an and surrounding provinces is Xi'an Jiao Tong University (XJTU). It was set up to concentrate on engineering and technology in 1896, at Shanghai and in 1956 was split into two: the Shanghai Jiao Tong and the Xian Jiao Tong Universities. The university has expanded from its original subject base to provide teaching in a full range of subjects.
Undergrads: 17000 Postgrads: 13000 International: 500
Xi'an Jiaotong University web site
Founded 1896
Location Map
Beihang University
Beihang University
The old main building of BUAA. August 2007.
Image by brianchenming available under a Creative Commons license .
Beijing Beihang University was previously known as Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (BUAA), and so has a strong engineering heritage but has widened its subject focus to all fields.
Undergrads: 12523 Postgrads: 10282 International: 668
Beihang University web site
Founded 1952
Location Map
Wuhan University
Wuhan University
The old library of Wuhan University. January 2012. Image by Howchou available under a Creative Commons license .
Wuhan, Hubei The leading university in Hubei province is Wuhan University. It has roots as an institution dating back to 1893 before becoming a University in 1928. It covers most subjects in the arts and sciences.
Undergrads: 34133 Postgrads: 13918 International: 1477
Wuhan University web site
Founded 1928
Location Map
Shanghai University
Shanghai University
Gate of SHU in 2006. Image by Yulin Peng available under a Creative Commons license .
Shanghai One of several Universities located in Shanghai, Shanghai University was founded in 1922 but then re-constituted in 1994 with parts of other institutions. It has a large undergraduate intake and covers all the main academic subjects.
Undergrads: 26000 Postgrads: 8000 International: 3000
Shanghai University web site
Founded 1922
Location Map
Renmin University of China
Renmin University of China
Diakiw, personal photo. February 2007. Image available under a Creative Commons license .
Beijing Officially known as Renmin University of China it is also known as the People's University of China, and from the shortened Chinese name as 'Renda'. Its top subjects are in the humanities and social sciences which is consistent with its name. It is situated close to the center of Beijing and boasts the famous English Corner where anyone can help improve their English.
Undergrads: 11074 Postgrads: 10844 International: 1165
Renmin University of China web site
Founded 1937
Location Map
Tongji University
Tongji University
Tongji northern main building, my own work, taken in 2006. Image available under a Creative Commons license .
Shanghai The third of Shanghai's great universities, Tongji, was founded over a hundred years ago by the German government. It has a high reputation in engineering and architecture and retains a specialism in the Geman language.
Undergrads: 21370 Postgrads: 17385 International: 1829
Tongji University web site
Founded 1907
Location Map
Harbin Institute of Technology
Harbin Institute of Technology
Harbin Institute of Technology - Main Building. March 2009. Image by Yoshi Canopus available under a Creative Commons license .
Harbin, Heilongjiang The Harbin Institute of Technology is the leading university in northeastern China. It is actually split over three campuses spread over three provinces: Weihai in Shandong; Shenzhen in Guangdong and Harbin in Heilongjiang. It concentrates on space technology; military technology and general engineering. The Harbin campus has some hints to its history of Russian influence.
Undergrads: 25002 Postgrads: 12710 International: 1584
Harbin Institute of Technology web site
Founded 1920
Location Map
Beijing Institute of Technology
Beijing Institute of Technology
Stadium of the Beijing Institute of Technology, a venue of the 2008 Summer Olympics. May 2008. Image by Flora available under a Creative Commons license .
Beijing Beijing Institute of Technology is ranked the sixth University within Beijing and in the top twenty in China. It specializes in science and technology. The campus is located near Zhongguancun dubbed the Silicon Valley of China.
Undergrads: 14010 Postgrads: 8205 International: 426
Beijing Institute of Technology web site
Founded 1940
Location Map
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
HKUST Sundial. September 2005. Image by Memes available under a Creative Commons license .
Hong Kong The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology often abbreviated as HKUST was founded less than 35 years ago; it specializes in science, engineering, business and technology and has rapidly achieved a high International ranking.
Undergrads: 8699 Postgrads: 3897 International: 3625
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology web site
Founded 1991
Location Map
University of Science and Technology of China
University of Science and Technology of China
Teaching Building II, Library, etc... February 2007. Image by Minbaili available under a Creative Commons license .
Hefei, Anhui The University at Hefei was founded by the Chinese Academy of Sciences under the leadership of Guo Moruo to promote research into science and technology. Since its foundation in 1958 it has broadened its scope and is one of the top Universities in China.
Undergrads: 7667 Postgrads: 8921 International: 49
University of Science and Technology of China web site
Founded 1958
Location Map
Sun Yatsen University
Sun Yatsen University
Sun Yatsen University, Guangzhou. 11th Nov. 2011. Image by kevinmcgill available under a Creative Commons License
Guangzhou Sun Yatsen founded this University back in 1924 shortly before his death. Guangzhou was his power base in southern China. With Sun Yatsen's qualification in medicine it is no surprise that it has a strong medical research center. It also has high achieving faculties in business; humanities; politics and computing.
Undergrads: 32690 Postgrads: 21610 International: 3217
Sun Yatsen University web site
Founded 1924
Location Map
Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Image by David1010 available under a Creative Commons License
Hong Kong This old Hong Kong institution became a University in 1994. It is now the third ranked university in Hong Kong with a high international reputation. It concentrates on business, design, engineering rather than science.
Undergrads: 18777 Postgrads: 8766 International: 481
Hong Kong Polytechnic University web site
Founded 1937
Location Map
Hong Kong Baptist University
Hong Kong Baptist University
Views from Siu Lek Yuen Road. Image by Nicsmrakelo available under a Creative Commons License
Hong Kong Originally founded as an American Baptist College it became a university in 1994 and now has a high international ranking. It has a full range of courses and is strong in geography, computer science and mathematics.
Undergrads: 6690 Postgrads: 2601 International: 2720
Hong Kong Baptist University web site
Founded 1956
Location Map
Xiamen University
Xiamen University
Picture taken by Lukacs at Xiamen University, China. Image by Lukacs available under a Creative Commons License
Xiamen, Fujian The university founded in 1921 was the first to be founded by overseas Chinese as Amoy University. It is ranked within the top 20 universities in China. Lu Xun is the most famous figure associated with the University.
Undergrads: 17847 Postgrads: 10286 International: 2800
Xiamen University web site
Founded 1921
Location Map
Tianjin University
Tianjin University
Tianjin University 9th Teaching Buildung. Image by Xrdtj available under a Creative Commons License
Tianjin One of the oldest Universities in China and has remained a leading institution in China. It has coverage of the full range of academic subjects.
Undergrads: 15000 Postgrads: 9000 International: 1800
Tianjin University web site
Founded 1895
Location Map
Huazhong University of Science and Technology
Huazhong University of Science and Technology
Eastern zone - cafeteria and student services center. Image by Vmenkov available under a Creative Commons License
Wuhan, Hubei Huazhong is the main University in Hubei province and specializes on Science and Technology. In 1953 it began as an engineering institute before merging with other Wuhan institutions in 2000 to become a university.
Undergrads: 36000 Postgrads: 20040 International: 560
Huazhong University of Science and Technology web site
Founded 1953
Location Map
Jilin University
Jilin University
Laboratory in Jilin University, China. Image by Charlie fong available under a Creative Commons License
Jilin After re-organization in 1948 the Shenyang site was chosen for the North-eastern Administration College. It became Jilin University in 2000 after merging with other local higher education establishments. It covers all the main disciplines but is renowned for engineering subjects and natural sciences.
Undergrads: 43024 Postgrads: 24021 International: 1272
Jilin University web site
Founded 1946
Location Map
Thu 12th Jul

Forty years of change

Statistics on China's remarkable development in the last forty years are hard to take in. The GDP was 82.7 trillion yuan (US$12.5 trillion) in 2017 about 200 times that of forty years ago. The billions/trillions and growth rate may impress but do not give much insight on how ordinary lives have been transformed.

The linked article in the Shanghai Daily newspaper looks how individuals at three individual case histories. Xie Mingsheng farmed his small parcel of land in Shanxi by hand, harvesting with a sickle now harvesting, weeding, pest control is now all mechanized and a much larger area can be farmed with the same labor.

Zhao Zhaofeng comes from a coal mining family in Shanxi. His grandfather extracted coal with a pick and shovel and carried out the coal in a bamboo basket. With modern machinery the productivity has gone up forty times in forty years.

Han Yonghui sells street food in Tianjin. To get to his pitch in the city it used to take twenty hours. With new railways and fast trains it now takes him just six hours.

These stories show how modern development has transformed the lives of individuals in China on an unprecedented scale.

Read full story...
Read all our news stories...
university, people
University graduates
Wed 1st Aug

China in Africa

China's investment in China is so huge that it is considered by some as a form colonialism. China's Belt and Road Initiative is intended to open up trading routes not just through Central Asia to Europe but also the old sea routes to East Africa.

Bagamoyo in Tanzania is planned to be transformed from a sleepy fishing village to Africa's largest port. The $10 billion investment will handle burgeoning trade from East Africa to China via Sri Lanka and India.

To enable the port to reach into Africa new railways are being built. A 470km railway from Ethiopia to Djibouti is part of the master plan.

However this grandiose project has an unhelpful precedent. In the 1970s Mao Zedong invested in a railway in Tanzania. The 1,100-mile railway now lies in a decayed state with the grand Dar Es Salaam station falling into decay. The larger scale Chinese investment into not just Tanzania but also surrounding countries heralds an ambitious move to open up Africa to trade. Early signs are showing that the investment is welcomed and may well bring much needed prosperity to the whole region.

Read full story...
Read all our news stories...
back to topBack to top
Share this page Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest

Chinasage is a new web resource, pages will be added, enhanced and re-formatted regularly. We would be most grateful if you can help improve this page. Please visit our (secure) contact page to leave any comment. Thanks.

Citation information for this page : Chinasage, 'Top Chinese Universities', last updated 22 Nov 2016, Web,

Copyright © Chinasage 2012 to 2018