Cultural & Business Guide

Chinese education


In China, education has always played an important role. Consider that the imperial examination system was in vogue up to the beginning of XX century (1905) as a means to select government officials directly.

Nowadays, the Chinese education system plays a central role in a person’s life from a very young age to the most important step, the 高考 Gao Kao (the access exam to the highest and most famous universities), and in some way it already leads the path to a career and destiny of the students. Getting an M.A. or a B.A. in a prestigious university means to have a smoother way to find a high level position job. Considering that Chinese students are under high pressure from the very beginning of their academic life, it is no wonder that they have developed a high resistance to pressure and competition. Exams and tests are taken every term, month and week and students are judged simply with a system of scores. The higher the score is, the better the student is, thus, if he/she keeps high results, the higher are his/her possibilities to enrol into a prestigious college and university.

Senior High School Education

Senior high school education, which includes also vocational schools, usually starts at age 16. The fee per year ranges from 4,000 to 6,000 RMB and generally speaking students from rural areas choose to study in vocational schools in order to find jobs right after their graduation. A local company may find good technicians among the recent alumni.

The curriculum of a senior high school consists of traditional majors (Chinese, maths, chemistry, biology, information technology), plus languages such as English (or other languages, e.g. Japanese).

Higher education schools are divided into tertiary vocational school (two or three years), technological academy (three years) and an undergraduate school (four years).

Remember that if you are looking for personnel with bachelor degree, only undergraduate school students will get it.

After three year course in a graduate school, students will get their Masters degree. These students may apply to pursue a PhD degree (3 years).

Top 5 universities of China

In China there are many universities. In 2015, the top 5 include:

  • Tsing-Hua University
  • Peking University
  • Fudan University
  • Shanghai Jiao Tong University
  • Chinese University of Science and Technology

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Generally speaking, all Chinese universities are multidisciplinary, but they are widely known for some specific majors such as Fudan University is very famous for modern languages and Politics courses, while, if your company is looking for a highly skilled engineer, take into consideration candidates from Shanghai Jiaotong University and Chinese University of Science and Technology.

Consider that most of Chinese Universities organize post graduate studies such as EMBA (Executive Master of Business Administration), M.A. and M.Sc. It is not uncommon to find Chinese senior executive attending classes: the reason is generally because these people wan to have a Master's degree which will lead them further in their career or sometimes, to gain more credibility with their employer and towards their foreign partners.

For further information on how to enrol into a Chinese university, have a look at this link:

Remember that each university has its own rules of enrolment, but generally speaking if you apply for English -taught programs, you will be required a copy of TOEFL or IELTS certificate, while if you apply for a degree course taught in Chinese, you need to provide HSK certificate to prove your Chinese language level. Generally, recommendation letters are also highly welcome.

China Scholarship Council (CSC)

This governmental institution has been set up for providing assistance to Chinese citizens wishing to study abroad and to foreign citizens wishing to study in China.

More info:

Do not forget that tuition fees in China are no longer as cheap as in the past. In some cases they can reach 95.000 RMB per academic year.


Min Ding , Jie Xu, “The Chinese Way”, Routledge, New York, 2015

External links

Project 2014-1-PL01-KA200-003591