China is home to some of the best universities in Asia – and the world. This is why more and more people are flocking to this superpower of a nation – home to about half a million foreign students.

Even with this prestige, studying in China doesn’t come with a steep price. You can get a cheap yet world-class education at any of the cheapest universities in China for international students.

What Are the General Requirements to Study in China?

A high school leaving certificate is the minimum requirement for taking an undergraduate program in China. For graduate studies, a bachelor’s degree is required. Depending on the program, you may also have to submit a transcript of records and recommendation letters. Admission will also necessitate proof of proficiency – HSK exam for Chinese-taught programs and TOEFL or IELTS for English-taught degrees.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students 

Do Universities in China Offer English-taught Programs?

Yes, there are many English-taught universities in China. One of the best universities to take such programs is Peking University. It offers English-taught graduate courses in Law, Public Policy, and Public Administration, to name a few.

Another good option is top-ranked Tsinghua University, which offers 28 graduate programs in English.

Affordable Universities in China for International Students

1. Guangxi University

Guangxi University, also known as Xida, is a research institution based in Nanning, Guangxi. Founded in 1928, it is the oldest university in the Guangxi Autonomous Region.

With a student population of 40,000+, the university only has a small community of foreign students. However, this figure is deemed to rise, given the school’s many degree offerings.

Students may enroll in any of Xida’s 26 schools and colleges here. They are organized according to various disciplines, such as Engineering, Computer Science, Marine Science, Agriculture, Life Science, Liberal Arts, Public Policy, Arts, Business, and Law.

Xida is listed as one of the 1,500+ top-ranked universities in China.

2. China University of Mining and Technology

The China University of Mining and Technology, or CUMT, is a national university founded in 1909.

Formerly the Jiaozuo School of Railroad and Mines, it is listed as one of China’s cheapest universities. The national government also heralds CUMT as a distinguished Double First-Class Discipline University. These laurels have made it quite popular with students, as it currently has about 34,000 enrollees. Foreigners, however, only correspond to only a small percentage of this population.

CUMT, which operates a main campus in Xuzhou and a branch in Beijing, is known for its flagship STEM programs. They include various Engineering specializations (Mining, Safety, Mechanical, Civil, Chemical, and Electrical), as well as Mathematics, Computer Science, and Physics.

3. Wuyi University

Wuyi University, or WYU, is a former Teacher’s College founded in 1958. It is sprawled on a 28,000-square-meter suburban campus in Nanping, Fujian province.

Today, WYU offers more than just education courses. It also offers Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics & Computer Science, Ecology, Arts, Tourism, Humanities, and Business programs. The WYU is also known for its unique degrees, including Tea & Food Science, Cartoons & Animations, and Modern Information Service.

4. Chongqing University

Chongqing University is one of the most affordable universities in China for international students. Founded in the year 1929, it is listed as one of the best institutions in China. This has earned the university membership in the C9 Excellence League.

Expectedly so, it’s also named a Class A Double First Class University by the Ministry of Education. With these titles, Chongqing University has been the top choice of 50,000 students – including students from outside of China.

Chongqing University’s academic departments are grouped under the Faculties of Arts & Sciences, Built Environment, Engineering, and Information Science & Technology.

5. Zhejiang University of Science and Technology

  • Admissions | Tuition Fees
  • Tuition Range: from RMB 15,000/year (undergraduate) | from RMB 21,000/year (graduate)

Founded in 1980, the Zhejiang University of Science and Technology (ZUST) is one of the many public universities in Hangzhou.

True to its’ name, ZUST specializes in Mechanical & Automotive Engineering, Automation & Electric Engineering, Information & Electric Engineering, Civil Engineering & Architecture, Biological & Chemical Engineering, and Light Industry.

Besides these STEM courses, ZUST offers Fashion, Economics, Humanities, and Foreign Language courses to its 3,000+ international students.

6. Zhengzhou University

Zhengzhou University, or Zhengda, is a public university based in Henan, China. Founded in 1956, it resulted from a merger between 3 universities.

Because of this, Zhengda has amassed one of the largest student populations in China. It also has one of the largest campuses – the 10th biggest in the country at a whopping 433 acres.

Given the university’s large structure, this cheap university in China is currently organized into 51 academic departments. These schools offer various specializations, including Medicine & Health Science, Humanities & Social Science, and Science & Engineering.

7. Zhejiang University

Ranked the 5th best university in China (out of 1,500+), Zhejiang University is one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious institutions. Given its reputation, many international students have set their sights on the university.

As a Class A Double First Class University, this cheap university in China operates various campuses. Most of these students are based in the Zijingang Campus. Huajiachi, the oldest location, is the home of the College of Agriculture and Long-Distance Education. The School of Law, on the other hand, is based in Zhejiang. The Yuquan branch houses the Physical Science, Computer Science, and Engineering colleges. On the other hand, the Psychology, Behavioral Science, Marxism, Education, and Humanities departments are located in Xixi.

8. Wuhan University

Ranked as the 12th best in China, Wuhan University has earned the reputation of being one of the most selective in the country. To date, it has about 50,000 students – including a handful from outside China.

Founded in 1893, the Hubei-based university is famous for its picturesque campus with views of the East Lake. At this affordable university in China, students may dabble in any of the institution’s competitive programs, including Philosophy, Language & Literature, Art, History, Law, Economics, Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Engineering, Medicine, and Health Sciences.

Conclusion: Learning New Languages

If you want to study abroad in China, there is another way to save money as an international student. Since courses taught in English have a higher fee than courses taught in Chinese, learning a native language while staying in China might be a great idea if you are looking for more ways to save money.

Learning the native language of a foreign country will make your stay much easier since there is no communication barrier between you and the natives you will encounter each day. In addition, you will gain confidence while living in a foreign country, gain many more friends, and save money on top of all these benefits. In


We hope that this article on the cheapest universities in China was helpful. Make sure to also check out the China Page and the Available Programs for International Students for more information 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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