China’s strong economy and the high number of globally recognized universities have strongly influenced the increasing influx of international students. It is one of the biggest nations and has among the largest populations. This fact compels top universities to continuously improve to become nationally relevant and continue to attract students locally and abroad.

The Chinese Government also aids in attracting international students by providing generous scholarship opportunities to outstanding applicants. While many students go to China for a relatively low-cost but high-quality education, a large portion does so to learn Chinese history, language, literature, philosophy, and culture.

Humanities courses, such as Chinese Language and Literature, are among the three most popular university degree programs pursued by local and international students who visit the country. This is because there is no better place to learn about Chinese study programs than in China. It can also help students from other countries immerse themselves in the everyday life of Chinese people. In this article, we will be looking at the best schools for humanities in China!

Top Schools Offering Humanities Programs in China

1. Tsinghua University

Tsinghua University opened in 1911 as the Tsing Hua Imperial College, which served as a preparatory school for those who wanted to pursue further education in the United States. After several changes in location and renaming, the university finally settled in Beijing. To this day, Tsinghua University is among the best humanities schools in China that continues to expand its course offerings for its diverse student body comprised of over 53,000 local and international students.

Tsinghua’s Humanities programs, such as Chines and Western History, are as old as the university itself. After over 100 years, the department has produced graduates who have proven to be globally competent. The undergraduate and postgraduate programs have also been developed with outstanding faculty members to welcome local and international students.

The School of Humanities’ undergraduate program currently has roughly 1,200 students—two-thirds of which are comprised of international students. They are divided into three majors: Humanities, English, and Japanese. Students may also apply to a Master of Arts program in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages. They can also pursue a Ph.D. in Art, History, Language & Literature, or Philosophy.

2. Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) was launched in 1896 and is one of China’s best and oldest universities. Throughout its 125 years of existence, it has produced many nationally and globally acclaimed graduates in various industries. At present, Shanghai Jiao Tong University is an excellent university for humanities in China and is home to around 50,000 students enrolled in its massive course offerings of almost 200-degree programs.

SJTU’s School of Humanities is divided into three departments: Chinese Language & Literature, History, and Philosophy. The programs under the School of Humanities provide students an excellent opportunity to learn about these aspects of Chinese culture from a carefully selected team of researchers and professors.

The school takes pride in its over 140 highly qualified faculty members, many of whom have earned doctoral degrees abroad, and some are nationally renowned and award winners. As a result, it is able to maintain a high intake of students annually. The three departments currently have over 1,500 registered students.

3. Zhejiang University

Zhejiang University (ZJU) in Hangzhou was founded in 1897, making it one of the oldest academic institutions and also a leading university for humanities in China. It is also one of the universities with the highest number of students at almost 61,000—8% of which are international students. It currently ranks among the top three universities in China and the top 100 worldwide.

ZJU acknowledges the national and local government scholarships that offer tuition waivers and generous financial assistance to qualified local and international students. It also gives students opportunities to participate in overseas mobility programs with many prestigious partner universities abroad.

The university has a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs under its Faculty of Arts and Humanities. Almost all undergraduate programs are taught in Chinese, except those focusing on foreign languages. Graduate programs have extensive course offerings that guarantee students can choose the Master’s or Ph.D. program that best suits them.

4. Nanjing University

Nanjing University (NJU) traces its history back to Sanjiang Normal School launched in 1902 and acquired its current name in 1950 after several changes. It is a university of national importance, with a high-performance ranking in national and global university ranking bodies. As a result, Nanjing University becomes a recognized institution for humanities in China that attracts a growing number of registered students that currently sits at almost 39,000.

Since its earliest stages of development, NJU has always had an international mindset, forging strong partnerships with reputable universities worldwide. Its predecessors specialized in science and research, and the current university continues to excel in these fields, with alumni making significant academic contributions locally and globally.

The university hosts four key bases of the Ministry of Education for Humanities and Social Science research. It offers numerous undergraduate Humanities programs under various schools and departments, such as Arts, Philosophy, History, and Foreign Studies, which last four years. Tuition fees cost between CNY5,200 to CNY5,750 per year.

5. Fudan University

Fudan University opened in 1905 in Wusong, Shanghai, as the first university run by Chinese people. Its growth and expansion are significantly influenced by the historical transitions of power in the country and have weathered numerous territorial and national disputes. Currently, Fudan University is known for its outstanding curriculum for humanities in China and is now home to over 36,000 students, where ten percent of the population consists of international students.

The Faculty of Chinese Language and Literature (FCLL) at Fudan University provides an excellent venue for learning the various aspects of the discipline, ranging from ancient to contemporary. The faculty offers Chinese-taught undergraduate and Master’s programs and an English-taught Master of Art program.

Many research projects at FCLL are of national importance, and the university welcomes numerous international students to conduct their studies and research for a short term under an exchange program partnership with over 60 countries worldwide. Several faculty members at FCLL also visit partner universities abroad to conduct further research.


We hope that this article on the Best Universities to Study Humanities in China was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs for International Students to know more about studying abroad!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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