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 presents a compelling option for international students. With its rich cultural heritage, economic prowess, and rapidly evolving higher education landscape, China is a popular destination for those aspiring to study engineering. This article meticulously examines the distinctive opportunities and challenges inherent in the pursuit of an engineering education in China. We’ll explore as well the enrollment process, the cost as well as the best universities where you can get the best engineering training in China.

Is China Good For Studying Engineering?

Given the booming demand for skilled professionals in China’s tech landscape, studying engineering in the country presents numerous advantages. The nation has a high annual output of engineering graduates, yet foreign engineers remain highly sought after. With proficiency in English, foreign engineers find abundant career opportunities, especially in fields like software engineering, data science, and cybersecurity. 

Besides, China’s rapidly growing industrial and technological sectors offer unlimited job prospects, encompassing diverse areas such as civil engineering, electrical engineering, and aerospace engineering. Moreover, newer fields like oil and gas, clean energy, heavy industry, and automotive are emerging, providing additional avenues for engineering graduates. Chinese engineering firms offer rewarding careers with competitive salaries, benefits, and ample room for professional growth. 

Lastly, the country’s constant technological advancements, supported by government initiatives like “Internet Plus” and “Made in China 2025,” create a dynamic and opportunity-rich work market for engineers and IT professionals. In 2024, tens of thousands of job possibilities will be available, making China an attractive destination, both for professionals and for 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 earns 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 the latter half immerses students in specialized courses like Civil or Mechanical Engineering, complemented by lab work.

Advancing to the Master’s level involves attaining a Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) in 1 to 2 years. These advanced programs, mirroring the duration of Master of Science or Master of Arts degrees, emphasize the refinement of specialized skills through coursework, research, and hands-on industrial experiences. Successful completion necessitates a final project, demonstrating the student’s capability 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 advanced 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 program 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 offers diverse opportunities, each sector showcasing its own marvels. Choosing the best engineering field in China boils down to personal interests and career goals within these thriving sectors.

  • In civil engineering, China boasts iconic projects like the grand Three Gorges Dam and the high-speed railway system, setting global standards. And universities like Wuhan University of Technology excel in nurturing civil engineering talents.
  • For those interested in petroleum engineering, China stands as a global player. Companies like CNPC (China National Petroleum Corporation), Sinopec or Sinochem Group, are leading players in fuel production. Universities such as the Chinese University of Petroleum dedicate themselves to advancing expertise in this field.
  • Moreover, telecommunication, dominated by Huawei, symbolizes China’s strength in this industry. With the rise of Huawei and ZTE, studying telecommunication engineering in China aligns with the industry’s global expansion.
  • China’s manufacturing prowess is evident globally, attracting top brands to establish their plants within its borders. Institutions such as Qingdao University of Science and Technology are nurturing talents in the field of manufacturing engineering.
  • Moreover, in the realm of computer and software engineering, China has witnessed rapid growth, with Lenovo becoming a global PC giant. 
  • Lastly, China’s booming automobile industry, surpassing Japan and Germany in consumption and production, offers opportunities for mechanical engineers. Institutions like Harbin Institute of Technology play a crucial role in shaping talents for this fast-paced sector. 

Study Engineering in China: Requirements

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 background
  • 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. Furthermore, 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 most costly 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.

China Engineering University Scholarships

The CSC Scholarship, offered by the Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC), presents an excellent opportunity to study fully funded engineering programs in China. Also known as the Chinese Government Scholarships (CGS), this initiative covers bachelor, master, and doctoral degree programs in various Chinese universities.  

There are diverse scholarship programs, each catering to specific needs. You can check, for example, programs such as: Chinese Government Scholarship-Great Wall Program, CGS-Bilateral Program among others. Applicants can apply for the CSC Scholarship at multiple universities simultaneously, but it’s recommended not to exceed three applications. 

The key to success lies in maintaining high grades and crafting a compelling research proposal or study plan. Moreover, it’s noteworthy that meticulous documentation and a well-researched study plan significantly enhance one’s chances of winning this scholarship. Successful applicants to these scholarships enjoy benefits like a monthly stipend, free tuition, and accommodation. 

The recipients are chosen depending on academic excellence and the quality of their application materials. With 273 recognized universities under the China Scholarships Council, the options are extensive. However, it’s crucial to adhere to age limits – 25 years for undergraduate, 35 for master’s, and 40 for doctoral programs. 

Lastly, understanding the three categories (Type A, Type B, and Type C) is vital, as they dictate the application process. 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. 

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

Top Engineering Universities in China for International Students

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, houses 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. Moreover, ZJU fosters 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

In the fourth place, Peking University, established in 1898, 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 with campuses in Harbin, Weihai, and Shenzhen. Offering 20 schools, HIT also 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 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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