Best Universities for Foreigners in China

Best Universities for Foreigners in China
Dec 13, 2016 By Trey Archer ,

China is one of the most popular places in the world for international students. With a rich history, affordable prices, China’s growing global presence, high level of academic excellence and vast travel opportunities, there’s no wonder the Middle Kingdom is such a hot study destination. Whether you’re looking for a debt-free college experience, or a post-graduate student seeking an alternative option, China may be your best bet. Listed below is the eChinacities list of best universities for foreigners in China.

Note: The overwhelming majority of Chinese universities are not allowed to enroll foreigners. The ones we have listed are a few of the most reputable ones that do. We can assure you that none of the universities mentioned here are fake.

Peking University, Beijing

Source: Wikimedia

Beijing is the academia capital of Zhongguo, hosting the city’s finest universities. Established in 1898, Peking University is not only one of the best in China, it’s even one of the best in the world, ranked at #60 according to the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR). As a foreigner at PKU, you can choose to do an undergraduate program, or get a master’s degree or receive an MBA from their BiMBA program (partnered with University College London (UCL)).

Tuition (not including room and board) for foreigners runs between 26,000 – 40,000 RMB per year, depending on type of program you choose.

Tsinghua University, Beijing


Source: Flickr

Located right next door to PKU in Beijing’s northwest Haidian District is another one of the country’s finest. Founded in 1911, Tsinghua University (CWU
R rank #74) is most renowned for its political science department, as the university has educated many top-level politicians. For example, in the nine-member Politburo, there are four Tsinghua graduates. If you’re looking for some serious guanxi, Tsinghua might be the best option for you… There are under-grad and post-grad programs for international students, and their MBA program is partnered with one of the best names in B-schools… INSEAD.

Tuition goes between 28,000 – 50,000 RMB per year, while other masters and MBAs are much more expensive (click here for pricing).

Jiaotong University, Shanghai

Source: Wikimedia

If Beijing is a bit too polluted for you, studying in Shanghai might be a better option. There are two renowned universities in the Pearl of the Orient. The first is Jiaotong Univeristy, founded in 1896. Jiaotong is quite popular for foreigners, not only for being located in the heart of the Former French Concession in a trendy/up-and-coming part of town, but also because of its high academic ranking (CWUR rank #166).

Our eChinacities’ team picks this as one our favorites. Its high educational standard; options for bachelor’s degrees, masters, and MBAs; and location in downtown Shanghai make it an awesome place to learn and live.

Fudan University, Shanghai


Source: Wikimedia

While not as centrally located as Jiaotong, Fudan is still a great school. Ranked at #192 on the CWUR list and founded in 1905, Fudan is without question one of the Middle Kingdom’s top learning institutions. Like some of the other universities on our eChinaCities’ list, Fudan has undergraduate and graduate programs for foreigners. However, Fudan’s MBA course (ranked in the Financial Times top 50) is perhaps the school’s claim to fame. That coupled with being located in China’s business hub makes it a great place to land a dream job in this international business mecca.

While Shanghai’s Jiaotong and Fudan are listed as some of China’s most expensive universities at around 20,000 RMB per year (for locals), you’ll be paying a bit more than this as a foreigner for under-grad classes.  

Sichuan University, Chengdu

Source: Wikimedia


If mastering Chinese is one of your academic priorities, it may be recommended to get out of the first-tier cities where English is the de-facto second language. With its roots dating back to 1740 but officially founded in 1896, “Chuan Da”— as it’s colloquially called by the locals – has a deep history. And by having the experience of living in one of China’s most livable cities, rest assured that your studies in the Panda City would be a memorable one.

Guangxi Normal University, Guilin


Source: Wikimedia

GXNU makes our eChinaCities list of best universities for foreigners in China since we give it our “off-the-beaten-track” award. Guilin (and its surrounding areas of Yangshui) is one of the most beautiful regions in the entire country. Complete with hiking, kayaking, mountain climbing, and other sports, Guilin is an outdoorsman’s paradise. There are a lot of international students as well, giving it a good reputation for nightlife and partying. Oh yeah, the academics ain’t bad either…

MBAs and Masters

Hult International Business School, Shanghai


Source: Pixabay

With campuses in New York, San Francisco, Boston, Dubai, London, Ashridge (UK) and Shanghai, Hult prides itself as being the global business school. An American and internationally accredited MBA institution ranked in the top 100 (number 60 to be precise) by the Economist, Hult usually attracts more foreigners than local Chinese. Since the majority of alumni are found outside of the country, this program is recommended for those looking for a more international experience, or those seeking to relocate to another country.

Currently, the only program running in Shanghai is the Executive MBA, and it’s not cheap. You’ll need about 55,000 USD for the two-year EMBA.

CEIBS, Shanghai


Source: Wikimedia

The China Europe International Business School is considered one of the top 20 MBA programs by many publications. Unlike Hult which has an international focus, CEIBS is more locally oriented and has more Chinese than foreigners. Its motto China Depth Global Breadth explains this, showing that the institution focuses on China’s roll in a globalized world. CEIBS’s extraordinary Pudong campus (designed by IM Pei) has both EMBA and full-time MBA options.

Start saving, you’ll need to cough up around 62,000 USD to post an MBA certificate from CEIBS on your office wall.

Hopkins-Nanjing Center, Nanjing

Source: Wikimedia

Forget MBAs… If you believe international affairs and politics makes the world go-round, the Hopkins-Nanjing Center (the only joint program of its kind in China, an alliance between the prestigious John Hopkins University and Nanjing University) is the place for you. For foreigners, most of the classes are taught in Chinese, so by the time you finish the two-year Masters of Arts in International Studies or the one-year Certificate program, you’ll be well on your way to speaking like a true local. I have a friend in this program now, and he speaks very highly of it.

For a degree from the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, you’ll need to pull between 22,500 – 40,000 US greenbacks out of your wallet, and some extra for room, board, etc.

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Keywords: Beijing CEIBS Chengdu Chinese universities Fudan University guanxi normal university Guilin hopkins nanjing center hult international business school jiaotong university john hopkins Nanjing Peking University Shanghai Sichuan University Tsinghua University study in china universities in china


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does the orientation class have tutors for "how to cheat" or do I just ask my Chinese classmates for advice.

Jan 27, 2017 20:39 Report Abuse



i don't agree with this article, wuhan and xiamen universities are both better than some of the article

Jan 23, 2017 14:53 Report Abuse