Many international students today are choosing to study in China for their master’s degrees due to the advantages of acquiring knowledge and skills in the country. Graduates with a master’s degree from any reputable Chinese university can expect better career opportunities in whichever field they choose. The Chinese educational system is well-known to be at par with its Western counterparts in shared fields.

Some of the reasons for studying abroad in China include the affordable tuition and availability of scholarships, first-hand learning from Chinese development, a global approach to education, improvement of employment prospects, advantages of learning the Chinese language, and studying while immersed in Chinese culture. Such points make studying in China for a master’s degree a favorable and enjoyable endeavor.

Below, we discuss how you can apply to study for a master’s degree in China.

Application Requirements for Applying for Master’s in China

The Chinese Ministry of Education and the China Scholarship Council states the admission requirements set by the Chinese government that allows the entry of prospective international students to Chinese universities for graduate studies. Such requirements are added to by the separate admission necessities requested by each Chinese university.

The applicant must be in good health, with a student or visitor visa, and without any criminal records. The prospective master’s student who wishes to apply for a master’s degree in China should also have complete university requirements for the institution they are applying for, a reliable financial status, and a guarantor in China. Master’s applicants are required to submit their copy of transcripts as proof of their bachelor’s degree and at least two recommendation letters from professors. Transfer applications are normally rejected in Chinese universities. But in rare cases when transferees are accepted, agreement certifications between the two schools are required for submission.

Master’s Degree Language Requirements for China

Chinese-medium degree programs, or degree programs taught in Mandarin Chinese, need to provide their Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK) or Chinese Proficiency Test results with an HSK level of band four or higher depending on the university’s set requirements.

English-medium master’s degree programs do not require HSK results. Applicants that want to study for master’s in China are instead required to provide recognized English proficiency tests such as TOEFL or IELTS. Native English speakers or those who hold an academic degree taught in English need not submit such test results.

The Peking University guidelines, for example, require an HSK level of 6 or higher for its graduate program, meanwhile, the Tsinghua University‘s guidelines ask for a level four or higher for its master’s admissions. For English-speaking students, TOEFL scores of 85 or higher or IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher is ideal.

How to Apply for Master’s Programs in China

Applying for a master’s program in China can seem like a herculean task, but it can be easier once you learn the basic application procedures while keeping an eye out for additional requirements from your chosen university.

1. Finding Your Program and University

There is more than one method for starting one’s application to any Chinese university’s master’s program. International students looking to apply for a master’s in China should first find their chosen graduate program and university through researching and applying directly to a Chinese university’s website or through China’s University and College Admission System (CUCAS).

2. Completing and Submitting Your Admission Requirements

The applicant should list the entry documents required by the chosen Chinese university, taking note of the deadlines specified on the institution’s website. Upon completing the application requirements, the prospective student should submit all pertinent documents on or before the given deadline. Universities may charge a processing fee for applications to their institutions, depending on their policies. Prospective students interested in applying for scholarships can do so through their chosen university’s website.

3. Finding Accommodations

If you’re looking to study for your master’s degree in China, you should probably search for possible accommodations during your stay. Most large universities usually have dorms for international students, while some might not, so it would be beneficial to consider such matters upon acceptance into the university.

4. Chinese Visa Application

Acceptance into a Chinese university means applying for a Chinese student visa as soon as possible. This process is done by submitting to a local Chinese embassy an application form, the applicant’s passport, recent photographs of the applicant, and the acceptance letter from the chosen educational institution. In such cases wherein the admission documents from the university did not arrive in time, the applicant may apply for a visitor visa and convert it to a student visa upon arrival.

5. Acquiring Residency Documents

Arrival in China means acquiring a Registration Form of Temporary Residence, which is one of the requirements for the applicant to enroll in the university formally. The registration form is processed with and provided by the university if the student’s accommodations are within the campus. The form is processed with the local authorities if the student rents privately. Upon acquiring the Registration Form of Temporary Residence, together with other requirements, the student may officially enlist in the Chinese university’s master’s program.

A Residence Permit is also needed as it will allow long-term residence in China while completing the graduate program. The university may assist in processing the document.

The Fudan University and Zhejiang University guidelines, for example, state similar processes for graduate study admissions, starting with the online application in the university websites. Fees and requirements do vary among universities but the main processes and required documents are standard across all educational institutions in China.


We hope this article on applying for a master’s degree in China was helpful. If you are interested in learning more about this, check out the Master’s Programs for International Students page!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hyun is the founder at Global Scholarships. He has received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College as well as $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for his undergraduate degree and has been offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. Read more about his scholarship journey here.

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