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The basics
China: Applying to University - Must read

Applying to a Chinese university

Are you ready to study abroad in China but not sure how to apply to a university? Here’s everything you need to know about how to apply...

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Before attempting to apply to any university, check with your desired programme's website and contact the international office of the university. There are always different requirements and applications for different universities, so make sure you know what your programme needs in order to accept you!


Questions you could ask the international office

  • Do I need to know Chinese to be accepted to this programme? If so, do I have to take a Chinese language exam in order to show I know Chinese?
  • What documents do you need from me?
  • How should I send these documents to you?
  • Is there a separate application for international students?
  • How do I set up my application?

There are many more questions you could ask the international office, but here’s some more information you’ll need to know!


Basic documents needed for application

  • Admission from the Chinese government
    • To obtain this, you must be able to prove you are a real student that has a Chinese visa, no criminal record, and appropriate qualifications for your programme (which should be stated on the programme website)
  • Transfer students will need an agreement certification to show eligibility from all universities they have previously attended
  • A passing HSK score. The HSK is the Chinese language exam that may be needed, depending on your programme requirements
  • Appropriate qualifications for your specific programme, outlined by the university or programme.

Your university may ask for more documentation and additional applications.


Always make sure you are completing the correct application by talking to your programme or university.


When to apply to a Chinese university

There are usually two semesters, fall and spring, that you would be able to apply to. Some universities do have three semesters, so be sure to check with your programme before applying.



The application process usually begins in February or March, with the application deadline in June. You would hear back from the university by July, and begin your application process for a visa. The Autumn semester in China usually begins in September.



The application process usually begins in October, with the application deadline in January. You should hear back from the university by the end of January. The spring semester usually begins in late February or early March.


When applying to a university in China, make sure you turn in your application as soon as possible. Many programmes decide to fill their vacancies using the first applications they receive – so get yours done as soon as possible!


Tips for applying to a Chinese university:

  • Apply early! As well as filling vacancies, earlier applicants will usually hear back from the university earlier than those that wait.
  • Don’t put off the visa process. There is not much time to get a visa after you are informed of acceptance into a university, so make sure you try to get a visa as soon as possible. You’ll need a visa to study in China!
  • Apply to more than one university to increase your chances of being accepted.
  • Keep applying! Even if you don’t get in the first time, you can apply to the same programme again.