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Best Universities in China

Find out all about China’s top universities, and explore their world university ranking performance.

Higher education in China has gone from strength to strength in recent years, with an increasing number of institutes

appearing among the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019.

Directives including Project 211 and Project 985 – which aim to improve the standards of the top 100 and 40 Chinese universities respectively – combined with huge national investment has seen China’s reputation in the education sector rocket up the rankings.

And who wouldn’t want to study there? An enormous country, home to more than 20 per cent of the people on Earth,

China has one of the fastest developing economies. From cuisine to culture, China offers something completely unique.

The huge country is home to some of the most diverse and stunning landscapes on the planet; from the Rainbow Mountains in Zhangye,

to the fishing villages along the coast and even the incomprehensibly vast cities that continue to expand, there’s something in China for everyone.

With an ever-increasing number of universities, the choice of places to study in China may seem overwhelming.

However, a number of initiatives from the Chinese government have helpfully categorized the top universities, similarly to the UK’s Russell

Group system and the Ivy League in the United States.

Established in 1995, Project 211 was designed to raise the research standards of China’s top universities. Institutions that reach a certain

standard are rewarded with significantly increased funds. Today there are 112 higher education institutions that are part of Project 211.

Project 985 was established three years later and uses a very similar strategy, although just 39 universities have received sponsorship as

a result of this project and in 2011 it was announced that no new universities would be able to gain membership to this exclusive group.

The final and most selective group is the C9 League, a group of the country’s top nine elite universities who between them receive 10

per cent of China’s national research budget.

Top Universities

1. Tsinghua University


Tsinghua University is located in the Haidian District of northwest Beijing. It was established in 1911.

It retains much of its traditional architecture, juxtaposed with many buildings built in the Western-style reflecting the historical American influence on the campus.

Tsinghua University is a comprehensive research university. Its 20 schools and 54 departments cover disciplines in art, economics,

education, engineering, history, management, medicine, law, literature, philosophy, and sciences.

In terms of life outside of studying, the university has more than 110 student associations covering science and technology, physical

training, humanities, arts, and public welfare.

Many successful people in politics, academia, and industry have graduated from Tsinghua University including two Nobel Prize winners, Tsung-Dao Lee and Yang Chen Ning.

2. Peking University


Peking University is a member of the C9 league which is similar to the Ivy League group in the US and is generally one of the

highest-ranked institutions in China.

It was the first modern national university in China, and since its founding in 1898, it has had a reputation as a leading educational institution.

The institution is well-known for its campuses, situated in the Haidian district in northwest Beijing. It is home to some of the capital’s most prominent and

recognized gardens and traditional architecture. These include traditional houses, gardens, pagodas, as well as many notable historical

buildings and structures. There are several gates that lead into campus, with the West Gate being the most well-known for the painted murals on its ceiling.

The university has established joint degree programs with Cornell University, Yale University, London School of Economics and

Political Science, Paris School of International Affairs, Waseda University, Seoul National University, and The University of Tokyo to

encourage international exchanges for students.

3. University of Science and Technology of China


The University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) is a national research university in Hefei, Anhui, and was founded to

boost science and technology education in China.

There are 15 schools, spanning physical sciences, life sciences, software engineering, and electro-optical technology, among many other science and technology disciplines.

There are also two national labs – the National Synchrotron Radiation Facility and the Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences

at the Microscale – the only university in the country to do so.

The university is also home to a large library, a first-class computer network, and a hospital that treats students, employees, and their families as well as providing teaching

facilities for medical students.

4. Zhejiang University


Zhejiang University is one of China’s oldest, most selective universities having been founded in 1897.

Research at the university covers 12 academic disciplines: agriculture; art; economics; education; engineering; history; law;

literature; management; medicine; natural sciences; and philosophy.

There are a number of research centers located on campus including six national engineering research centers, three national

key research centers of humanities and social sciences and 13 academies of independent studies.

The university has strategic partnerships with more than 140 universities in 30 countries worldwide including Imperial

College London,  Princeton University, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

5. Fudan University


Fudan University is composed of four campuses in downtown Shanghai: Handan, Fenglin, Zhangjiang, and Jiangwan.

The university takes a liberal arts approach to teach with a number of its courses taught in English. Internationalization

is also a high priority at the institution with global connections and exchange programs at almost 200 overseas universities

including Columbia University, University of Toronto, University of Sydney, KU Leuven, University of Manchester, and Sciences Po.

Students are also encouraged to go on international exchanges, with around 40 percent electing to do this.

The university is extremely selective, with less than 0.2 percent of National College Entrance Examination (“Gaokao”) takers being accepted.

Top universities in China 2019

China Rank 2019WUR  Rank 2019UniversityProvince/Area
122Tsinghua  UniversityBeijing
231Peking  UniversityBeijing
3=93University  of Science and Technology of ChinaAnhui
4101Zhejiang  UniversityZhejiang
5104Fudan  UniversityShanghai
6134Nanjing  UniversityJiangsu
7189Shanghai  Jiao Tong UniversityShanghai
8301–350Southern  University of Science and Technology (SUSTech)Guangdong
8301–350Sun  Yat-sen UniversityGuangdong
=8301–350Wuhan  UniversityHubei
10351–400Huazhong  University of Science and TechnologyHubei
10351–400Nankai  UniversityTianjin
13401–500Harbin  Institute of TechnologyHeilongjiang
13401–500Tongji  UniversityShanghai
15501–600Beihang  UniversityBeijing
15501-600East  China Normal UniversityShanghai
15501–600Hunan  UniversityHunan
15501–600Nanjing  University of Information Science and TechnologyJiangsu
15501–600Renmin  University of ChinaBeijing
15501–600Shandong  UniversityShandong
15501–600Soochow  UniversityJiangsu
15501–600South  China University of TechnologyGuangdong
15501–600Southeast  UniversityJiangsu
15501–600Tianjin  UniversityTianjin
15501–600Xiamen  UniversityFujian
15501–600Xi’an  Jiaotong UniversityShaanxi
26601–800Beijing  Institute of TechnologyBeijing
26601–800Central  South UniversityHunan
26601–800China  Agricultural UniversityBeijing
26601–800China  University of Geosciences, BeijingBeijing
26601–800Dalian  University of TechnologyLiaoning
26601–800East  China University of Science and TechnologyShanghai
26601–800Fuzhou  UniversityFuzhou
26601–800Huazhong  Agricultural UniversityHubei
26601–800Nanjing  Agricultural UniversityJiangsu
26601–800Nanjing  Medical UniversityJiangsu
26601–800Nanjing  Normal UniversityJiangsu
26601–800Nanjing  Tech UniversityJiangsu
26601–800Northeast  Normal UniversityJilin
26601–800Northwestern  Polytechnical UniversityShaanxi
26601–800Shenzhen  UniversityGuangdong
26601–800Sichuan  UniversitySichuan
43801–1000Beijing  Jiaotong UniversityBeijing
43801–1000Capital  Medical UniversityBeijing
43801–1000China  University of Geosciences, WuhanHubei
43801–1000China  University of Mining and TechnologyBeijing
43801–1000China  University of Petroleum, BeijingBeijing
43801–1000China  Pharmaceutical UniversityJiangsu
43801–1000Chongqing  UniversityChongqing
43801–1000Jiangsu  UniversityJiangsu
43801–1000Jilin  UniversityJilin
43801–1000Jinan  UniversityGuangdong
43801–1000Northeastern  UniversityLiaoning
43801–1000Northwest  UniversityShaanxi
43801–1000NorthWest  A&F UniversityShaanxi
43801–1000Ocean  University of ChinaShangdong
43801–1000University  of Science and Technology BeijingBeijing
43801–1000Shanghai  UniversityJiangsu
43801–1000Shantou  UniversityGuangdong
43801–1000Southern  Medical UniversityBaiyun District
43801–1000Wuhan  University of TechnologyHubei
43801–1000Xiangtan  UniversityHunan
43801–1000Xidian  UniversityShaanxi
43801–1000Yangzhou  UniversityJiangsu
651001+Guangxi  UniversityGuangxi
651001+Harbin  Engineering UniversityHeilongjiang
651001+Huaqiao  UniversityFujian
651001+North  China Electric Power UniversityBeijing
651001+Shanghai  Maritime UniversityShanghai
651001+University  of South ChinaHunan
651001+Southwest  Jiaotong UniversitySichuan
651001+Yanshan  UniversityHebei

Editor’s note: This page was updated on 22 November 2018 to reflect minor changes in the positions of a small number of universities.

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