Chinese government scholarships for foreign students





Want to study in China as a foreign student but might need a little financial help? Don’t panic – there are a number of scholarships open to foreign students, some of which are offered by the Chinese government itself.

The Chinese government particularly encourages education in the areas of politics, economics, Chinese culture and education, and the trade between China and other countries. Consequently, it has a number of different ways to sponsor international students, teachers and scholars to study and research in Chinese universities.

Academic programs of science, engineering, agriculture, medicine, economics, law, management, education, history, literature, philosophy and arts in 252 designated Chinese universities are available to scholarship winners; a list of designated universities can be found here.

The scholarships cover all kinds of courses, but it is up to universities which scholarship programs they support and for which students, so check with your target universities to see if they have the program you are interested in.

This article runs through the various types of scholarship offered by the Chinese government, either directly or in partnership with an international body. We’ll discuss these in detail further down, but for now here’s a quick run-down:

  • The Bilateral Program covers all manner of courses, including undergraduate and post-graduate courses.
  • The Chinese University Program is open to those pursuing Master’s degrees and doctoral programs at selected universities.
  • The Great Wall Program targets foreign students from developing countries who are over 45 and pursuing scholar programs in China.
  • The EU Program helps EU citizens who are pursuing a range of graduate, post-graduate and scholar programs.
  • The AUN Program provides help for citizens of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries who are pursuing Master’s or doctoral programs.
  • The PIF Program is for people whose countries are in the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), and covers all kinds of programs, from undergraduate to scholar.
  • The WMO Program focuses on meteorology, hydrology and water resources monitoring and management courses at undergraduate and Master’s levels for people under 35.
  • The Marine Scholarship of China is aimed at people from developing African countries, or coastal areas/islands in the South China Sea, the Indian Ocean, or the Pacific and its surrounding island countries, and is for ocean-related courses.

 

Duration of Chinese degree programs

The government scholarships mentioned in this article cover both Chinese language study and academic study. Additionally, some courses may have a mandatory year or two of preparatory Chinese language classes for non-Chinese-speakers, and these too may be covered by the scholarships. Here’s a breakdown of how long you can expect to study in China:

Program categories Academic study (academic years) Chinese language (preparatory) study (academic years) Duration of scholarship (academic years)
Undergraduate programs 4-5 Up to 2 4-7
Master’s programs 2-3 Up to 2 2-5
Doctoral programs 3-4 Up to 2 3-6
General scholar programs Up to 1 Up to 1 Up to 2
Senior scholar programs Up to 1 Up to 1 Up to 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

   
 

 

Things to consider

Chinese language in undergraduate courses

Undergraduate programs are taught entirely in Chinese, and – as mentioned above – students who win Chinese government scholarships but are not proficient in Chinese must take at least one year of a preparatory Chinese-language course before they can start their course.

The prepatory course is only valid if taken in one of the following universities: Beijing International Studies University, Beijing Language and Culture University, Central China Normal University, Nanjing Normal University, Northeast Normal University, Shandong University, Tianjin University and Tongji University.

Students can avoid this if they have completed a secondary education course in Chinese, or if they have a valid HSK certificate that meets the requirement of the host university.

 

Chinese language in postgraduate courses

Postgraduate and non-degree programs are generally in Chinese, although not exclusively so. To be certain, check the catchily titled Directory of the Chinese Institutions Admitting International Students under Chinese Government Scholarship Program at Study in China.

 

General rules on learning Chinese for scholarships

The most important thing to remember is that not reaching the required level of Chinese proficiency can result in the scholarship being taken back.
Also, the nature of your course will change the length of the required Chinese course: students of science, engineering, agriculture, Western medicine, economics, management, law and arts require one-year courses; those in literature, history, philosophy and Chinese medicine need two.

 

Annual review

At the end of each year, every scholarship student is subject to a comprehensive assessment that decides whether they will be permitted to continue receiving the scholarship.

These assessments are made by the universities or institutions; they are also performed for students who have finished their planned study programs and wish to extend their scholarship.

The review takes into account the following:

  1. Performance
  2. Attitude toward study, attendance.
  3. General conduct as well as rewards and punishments doled out by the university.

More details can be found here.

 

 

Bilateral Program    (Back to list)

Subjects covered: All

Study programs: Full or partial scholarships for undergraduate programs, Master’s degree programs, doctoral programs, general scholar programs and senior scholar programs.

Apply to: The nearest Chinese dispatching authority (embassy or consulate) in your home country.

Time of application: All applications should be handed in to the dispatching authority between January and early April. The specific deadline of each year is not fixed; contact them for more info.

Applicant must:

  • Be a citizen of a country other than the People’s Republic of China, and be in good health.
  • Be a high school graduate under 25 if applying for undergraduate programs.
  • Having a bachelor’s degree and under 35 if applying for Master’s programs.
  • Having a Master’s degree and under 40 if applying for doctoral programs.
  • Be under 45 and have completed at least two years of undergraduate study if applying for general scholar programs.
  • Have a Master’s degree or be an associate professor (or above) and be under 50 if applying for senior scholar programs.

Items covered by scholarship:

Full scholarship includes:

  • Registration fee and cost of tuition, lab experiments, internship and essential textbooks. Costs of books, learning materials, experiments and internships beyond the program’s curriculum must be purchased at student’s own expense.
  • The cost of on-campus dormitories.
  • A monthly living allowance.
  • A one-time settlement subsidy.
  • Outpatient medical service and comprehensive medical insurance and protection scheme for international students in China.
  • A one-off inter-city travel reimbursement.

 

Partial scholarship includes:

  • One or more items of the full scholarship, depending on the rules of the specific university or program.

International travel, however, is made at the student’s own expense, unless their country has signed an agreement with China that specifically says otherwise.

More details: Study in China: Bilateral Program

 

 

Chinese University Program    (Back to list)

Subjects covered: All

Study programs: Master’s degrees and doctoral programs.

Apply to: The university taking part in the program.

Time of application: Between January and early April (university should be able to provide a more specific deadline).

Applicant must:

  • Be a citizen of a country other than the People’s Republic of China, and be in good health.
  • Not be a registered student in a Chinese university at the time of application.
  • Not have graduated from a Chinese university for more than one year.
  • Have a bachelor’s degree, and be under 35 if applying for Master’s programs.
  • Have a Master’s degree, and be under 40 if applying for doctoral programs.

Items covered by scholarship:

  • Registration fee and cost of tuition, laboratory experiments, internship and essential textbooks.
  • On-campus dormitory accommodation.
  • A monthly living allowance.
  • A one-time settlement subsidy.
  • Outpatient medical service and comprehensive medical insurance and protection scheme for international students in China.
  • One-off inter-city travel reimbursement.

More details: Study in China: Chinese University Program

 

 

Great Wall Program    (Back to list)

Subjects covered: One-year English-language-taught programs.

Study programs: General scholars and senior scholars.

Apply to: National Commission for UNESCO in applicant’s home country.

Time of application: January to early April.

Applicant must:

  • Be a citizen of a developing country other than the People’s Republic of China, and be in good health.
  • Be under 45 and have completed at least two years of undergraduate study if applying for general scholar programs.
  • Be a Master’s degree holder or an associate professor (or above) under 50 if applying for senior scholar programs.

Items covered by scholarship:

  • Registration fee and cost of tuition, laboratory experiments, internship and essential textbooks.
  • On-campus dormitory accommodation.
  • A monthly living allowance.
  • One time settlement subsidy.
  • Outpatient medical service and comprehensive medical insurance and protection scheme for international students in China.
  • One-off inter-city travel reimbursement.

More details: Study in China: Great Wall Program

 

 

EU Program    (Back to list)

Subjects covered: All

Study programs: Undergraduate programs, Master’s programs, doctoral programs, general scholar programs and senior scholar programs

Apply to: Office for Education and Culture, Mission of People’s Republic of China to the European Union, Boulevard de la Woluwe 100, 1200 Brussels, Belgium

Contact: 0032-2-772 95 72 ext. 8107 (tel); 0032-2-771 34 15 or 0032-2-772 85 42 (fax); http://www.chinamission.be/eng/

Time of application: January to early April.

Applicant must:

  • Be a citizen of an EU member country, and be in good health.
  • Be a high-school graduate under 25 if applying for undergraduate programs.
  • Having a bachelor’s degree and under 35 if applying for Master’s programs.
  • Having a Master’s degree and under 40 if applying for doctoral programs.
  • Be under 45 and have completed at least two years of undergraduate study if applying for general scholar programs.
  • Have a Master’s degree or be an associate professor (or above) and be under 50 if applying for senior scholar programs.

Items covered by scholarship:

  • Registration fee and cost of tuition, laboratory experiments, internship and essential textbooks.
  • On-campus dormitory accommodation.
  • A monthly living allowance.
  • One time settlement subsidy.
  • Outpatient medical service and comprehensive medical insurance and protection scheme for international students in China.
  • One-off inter-city travel reimbursement.

More details: Study in China: EU Program

 

 

AUN Program    (Back to list)

Subjects covered: All.

Study programs: Only open to Master’s programs and doctoral programs.

Apply to: ASEAN University Network (AUN) Secretariat (http://aunsec.org/scholarships.php).

Time of application: January to early April.

Applicant must:

  • Be a citizen of an ASEAN member country, and be in good health.
  • Have a bachelor’s degree, under age 35 if applying for Master’s programs.
  • Have a Master’s degree, under age 40 if applying for doctoral programs.

Items covered by scholarship:

  • Registration fee and cost of tuition, laboratory experiments, internship and essential textbooks.
  • On-campus dormitory accommodation.
  • A monthly living allowance.
  • A one time settlement subsidy.
  • Outpatient medical service and comprehensive medical insurance and protection scheme for international students in China.
  • A one-off inter-city travel reimbursement.

More details: Study in China: AUN Program

 

 

PIF program    (Back to list)

Subjects covered: All

Study programs: Undergraduate programs, Master’s programs, doctoral programs, general scholar programs and senior scholar programs

Apply to: Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Secretariat (contact info: http://www.forumsec.org.fj/pages.cfm/about-us/contact/)
Time of application: January to early April

Applicant must:

  • Be a citizen of a PIF member country, and be in good health.
  • Be a high school graduate under 25 if applying for undergraduate programs;
  • Having a bachelor’s degree and under 35 if applying for Master’s programs;
  • Having a Master’s degree and under 40 if applying for doctoral programs;
  • Be under 45 and have completed at least two years of undergraduate study if applying for general scholar programs;
  • Having a Master’s degree or being an associate professor (or above) and being under 50 if applying for senior scholar programs.

Items covered by scholarship:

  • Registration fee and cost of tuition, laboratory experiments, internship and essential textbooks.
  • On-campus dormitory accommodation.
  • A monthly living allowance.
  • A one time settlement subsidy.
  • Outpatient medical service and comprehensive medical insurance and protection scheme for international students in China.
  • A one-off inter-city travel reimbursement.
  • A one-way air ticket (economy class) to China upon registration, and a one-way air ticket (economy class) back from China to the applicant’s home country after completion of their studies.

More details: Study in China: PIF Program

 

 

World Meteorological Organization (WMO) program    (Back to list)

Subjects covered: Meteorology, hydrology and water resources monitoring and management

Study programs: Undergraduate programs and Master’s programs. Undergraduates must take Chinese-taught courses while Master’s students will take English-taught courses. Only two designated universities are available for the program: Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology and Hohai University.

Apply to: WMO Secretariat (Contact info for Education and Training Office can be found here; general contact info can be found here.)

Time of application: January to early April.

Applicant must:

  • Be a citizen of a country other than the People’s Republic of China, and be in good health.
  • Be a high school graduate under 25 if applying for undergraduate programs.
  • Be a bachelor’s degree holder under 35 if applying for Master’s programs.

Coverage of the scholarship:

  • Tuition fee.
  • On-campus dormitory accommodation.
  • Outpatient medical service and comprehensive medical insurance and protection scheme for international students in China.

More details: Study in China: WMO Program

 

 

Marine scholarship of China    (Back to list)

Subjects covered: Ocean-related specialties.

Study programs: Master’s programs and doctoral programs.

Apply to: Xiamen University, Zhejiang University, Ocean University of China, Tongji University.

Time of application: January 1 to April 30.

Applicant must:

  • Be a citizen of non-Chinese nationality, and be in good health.
  • Be from a costal/island country of South China Sea, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific and its surrounding island countries, or an African developing country.
  • Have a bachelor’s degree and be usually under 40.
  • Have a Master’s degree and be usually under 45.
  • Be applicants who is currently engaged in oceanographic and relevant sectors will be given high priority.

Items covered by scholarship:

  • Registration fee and cost of tuition, laboratory experiments, internship and essential textbooks.
  • On-campus accommodation.
  • A monthly living allowance of 1,700 yuan per month for Master’s students, and 2,000 yuan per month for doctoral students.
  • A settlement subsidy of 1,500 yuan.
  • Outpatient medical service and comprehensive medical insurance and protection scheme for international students in China.

More details: Study in China: Marine Scholarship of China

 

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4 Responses to Chinese government scholarships for foreign students

  • Hello there! I am writing to you with regards studying in China in full scholarship but can you please tell me whether I can study with Hepatit B disease? I am from Uzbekistan.

    Thank you

    • Dear Donik. We’re sorry to hear that you have contracted Hepatitis B, although the good news is that depending on what you are planning to study, it may not be a problem. It all depends on the nature of your illness, and your plans for your education.

      If you are simply a carrier of Hepatitis B then it shouldn’t matter at all. If you currently have a liver disease and the doctor says that it can be cured within a certain period – usually a year – then you should be able to postpone your course for a year, pending approval by your school. 

      The only real issue, we think, would be if you are planning to come to China to study medicine, as some medical schools will not accept students who have Hepatitis B illnesses; some will not accept Hepatitis B carriers and others will not accept students with severe liver illnesses such as cirrhosis. 

      The best thing to do is to contact your school and find out what their rules and regulations are on this issue. Ultimately, it will all be decided by them and/or by the visa officials. We wish you the very best for your health and your education. 

  • how can i contact the WMO secretariat ??

    • Hi Jesse. You can find general contact information for the WMO here, and specific contact information for its departments (including the Education and Training Office, or ETR) here. At the time of writing, it looks like Mr Jeffrey Wilson is the director of the ETR. You can contact him on JWilson@wmo.int or on +41 (0)22 730 8294.

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