Study Engineering in China: Admission, Duration, Costs, and Top Universities

In an era marked by rapid technological advancements and increased global interdependence, pursuing engineering studies appears as a wise option for international students. And for many aspiring engineers, China has some compelling arguments in its favor when it comes to choosing a study destination. This article attempts to examine the distinctive opportunities and challenges related to the pursuit of an engineering education in China. We’ll explore as well the application process, the cost and the best universities where you can get the best engineering training in the country.

Is China Good for Engineering Studies?

Given the booming demand for skilled professionals in China’s tech landscape, studying engineering in the country offers numerous benefits. As a matter of fact, China stands out with its high output of engineering graduates per year, yet foreign engineers are still very sought-after. Their main advantage: their proficiency in English, opening them to abundant career opportunities. This is mostly the case in domains sucha as software engineering, data science and cybersecurity.

Besides, China’s rapidly growing industrial and technological sectors offer unlimited job prospects. And this encompasses diverse areas, including civil engineering, electrical engineering, or aerospace engineering. Additionally, there are emerging fields like oil and gas, clean energy, heavy industry, and automotive and these provide additional avenues to explore for engineering graduates. And to help them start their career on the right foot, Chinese engineering firms offer rewarding job posts with competitive salaries, benefits, and ample room for professional growth.

Lastly, China boasts a constant technological advancement, supported by government initiatives such as “Internet Plus” or “Made in China 2025”. These create a dynamic and opportunity-filled market for engineers and IT professionals. Therefore, in 2024, tens of thousands of job possibilities are expected to be available, making China an attractive destination, both for professionals and prospective students.

Check here also our top 10 reasons to study in China as an international student.  

How Many Years is Engineering Degree in China?

In China, engineering studies progress through three phases.

First, a 3 to 4-year commitment to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering (B.Eng.). During this period, students focus on core subjects like mathematics and physics, establishing a foundation in engineering principles. The initial two years prioritize general knowledge, while during the second half students take in specialized courses like Civil or Mechanical Engineering, complemented by some lab work.

Next, the Master’s level leads to a Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) after 1 to 2 years of studies. These are advanced degree programs, mirroring the duration of Master of Science or Master of Arts degrees. Courses emphasize the refinement of specialized skills through coursework, research, and hands-on industrial experiences. To complete their degree, students need to undertake a final project, demonstrating their ability to solve intricate engineering problems using accumulated knowledge.

The pinnacle of engineering study in China is the pursuit of a Doctoral degree. This last part spans 3 to 5 years. This stage involves rigorous exams to assess a student’s knowledge in their chosen field. Next comes an extensive research phase, culminating in a doctoral thesis. The doctorate stands as a testament to the highest echelons of expertise and scholarly achievement in the realm of engineering education in China.

Which Engineering Field is Best in China?

China’s engineering landscape is no short of opportunities for students and graduates alike. Here are some of the best specializations to explore in the field of engineering in the country:

Civil Engineering

In civil engineering, China takes pride in iconic projects such as the Three Gorges Dam and the high-speed railway system. There’s no doubt about the country’s ability to uphold global standards in the subject. And universities like Wuhan University of Technology excel in nurturing civil engineering talents.

Petroleum Engineering

In the field of petroleum engineering, China stands as a global player. As testified by companies such as CNPC (China National Petroleum Corporation), Sinopec or Sinochem Group, that are leading fuel productors in the country. Students can check out the Chinese University of Petroleum if they want to specialize in this field.


The Chinese telecommunication horizon is dominated by giants such as Huawei, who symbolizes the country’s strength in this industry. With the rise of such tech firms and others beside them, studying telecommunication engineering in China aligns with the industry’s global expansion.


China’s manufacturing prowess is evident globally. And that’s why top global brands have established their plants in the country. As for educational institutions, students can check out the Qingdao University of Science and Technology. The latter is a renowned university to nurture talents in the field of manufacturing engineering. 

Computer and Software Engineering

This is a sector in which Chona has witnessed a rapid growth over the years. And with Lenovo being a global PC giant, you can’t have it wrong by turning to China for engineering education in these two fields.

Requirements for Engineering Studies in China

To enroll in a Chinese Engineering School for a Bachelor of Engineering, students over 18 should have completed 10+2 with good grades in English, Physics, Chemistry, and Math.

Requirements to study engineering in China include:

  • A science backgrounds
  • Clearing the JEE (Joint Entrance Examination)
  • A clean medical report (HIV and COVID-19)
  • Proof of financial means, scholarship or sponsorship

Moreover, candidates for undergraduate studies must be more than 16 years old and less than 25 years at the time of registration.

Additionally, a TOEFL/IELTS might be required for students who are not English native speakers or if they haven’t had English as the language of instruction for their latest studies. In the latter case, candidates must provide an English proficiency certificate from their previous school or college/university. This certificate is also required if you apply for a CSC Scholarship to finance your studies in China.

Check out here our step-by-step guide on university admission in China.

How Much Does It Cost to Study Engineering in China?

To study engineering in China at public universities, students must spend between 2,500 and 11,000 USD per academic year. These fees vary depending on the institution and the program. The costliest ones are the courses provided in partnership with Western universities.

Moreover, by researching thoroughly, you might come upon tuition-free or very affordable yet excellent engineering program. Along with these study fees, students’ expenses in China include: 1500-6000 RMB (200-850 USD) per year for accommodation and 600-800 RMB (90-120 USD) per month for food and other living costs.

Read here our detailed breakdown of the living and studying costs in China.

University Scholarships for Engineering Studies in China

When talking about scholarships to study in China, the first to come up is the CSC Scholarship. This initiative, offered by the Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC) is an excellent opportunity to fund engineering studies in China. Also known as the Chinese Government Scholarships (CGS) it covers bachelor, master, and doctoral degree programs in various Chinese universities. 

Moreover, it takes the form of different programs, each catering to specific needs. There are for example the Chinese Government Scholarship-Great Wall Program, CGS-Bilateral Program among others. Candidates therefore can apply for the CSC Scholarship at multiple universities simultaneously. However, they are not allowed to exceed three applications. 

Application and Requirements

When applying for this government scholarship, students must provide evidence of high grades and craft a compelling research proposal or study plan. It’s also noteworthy that a meticulous documentation and a well-research student plan can significantly enhance the applicant’s chances of winning this funding. As a matter of fact fact, the selection process is made through examination of the candicate’s academic excellence and the quality of their application materials. 

Moreover, the application process requires the student’s understanding of the three categories of application: Type A, Type B and Type C. To put it simply, it’s a Category A application if you apply via your Chinese embassy. It’s a Type B if you apply through your university. And Category C involves applications via other sources.

The last point to keep in mind has to do with the requirements. There are 273 recognized universities under the China Scholarships Council. Chances to get picked up to receive this grant are therefore extensive. However, it’s crucial to adhere to age limits – 25 years for undergraduate, 35 for master’s, and 40 for doctoral programs.

Check out our guide on how to apply for scholarships in China, as well as our list of the top scholarships for international students in China.

The Best Universities in China for Engineering

China hosts 35 top engineering and technology schools globally, per QS World University Rankings 2023. This evaluation covers six branches of engineering and technology, using indicators like academic and employer reputation, citations per paper, H-index, and international research network.

Tsinghua University leads, excelling in H-index and academic reputation. Zhejiang University has made notable strides, ascending two spots in the mainland ranking and 32 places globally. Harbin Institute of Technology also climbed three places nationally and 65 places internationally.

Tsinghua University

Tsinghua University, in Beijing, excels in engineering and computer science. It globally ranks among the best since 2015. Established in 1911, it originated from a US fine on China, evolving into a prestigious institution. The motto “self-discipline and excellence” guides its success, with notable alumni like President Xi Jinping and guests like Tony Blair. The campus, blending Chinese-style landscaping with Western influence, therefore hosts 20 schools and 57 departments. Beyond academics, 110+ student clubs enrich campus life for international students.

Zhejiang University

Next is Zhejiang University (ZJU), which started to exist in 1897. ZJU is a top-tier engineering institution in scenic Hangzhou, China. With seven faculties, 36 schools, and 3,611 faculty members, it excels in research, ranking top three in China and global top 100. Known for innovation, it addresses challenges in AI, aircraft technology, clean energy, and public health. ZJU also stands out for fostering entrepreneurship, with alumni leading listed companies. Committed to global impact, ZJU collaborates with 180+ institutions worldwide, emphasizing intellectual exchange and international programs.

Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Established in 1896, Shanghai Jiao Tong University is another renowned engineering university in China. With Mandarin as the primary language, it offers a mix of English and joint courses. Spread across Shanghai, the campuses boast extensive facilities including sports courts, bookstores, and dining options. Moreover, it ranks #51 in the QS World University Rankings 2024.

Read here our ranking of the top universities in China.

Peking University

Established in 1898, Peking University is China’s oldest higher education institution. It’s also a leading engineering university in Beijing, mainland China. Moreover, the institution emphasizes both basic and applied sciences. With 30 colleges, 12 departments, the campus also boasts 216 research institutes as well as 2 national engineering research centers.

Harbin Institute of Technology

Founded in 1920, Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT) is a top engineering university in China. It has campuses in Harbin, Weihai, as well as in Shenzhen. Offering 20 schools, HIT excels in research, ranking 2nd nationwide. Celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2020, HIT aims to become a globally recognized, world-class university, pioneering cutting-edge research.

Other notable institutions in the QS Ranking for engineering include:

  • University of Science and Technology of China
  • Xi’an Jiaotong University
  • Fudan University
  • Huazhong University of Science and Technology
  • Tianjin University

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