Overview of Colleges and Universities in China

Introduction to China's Higher Education and University Ranking.
  1. Brief Introduction of Chinese Colleges and Universities
  2. International Reputation
  3. Types and Rankings
  4. Number of Universities in Different Provinces in 2020


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# Brief Introduction of Chinese Colleges and Universities


The Ministry of Education (MOE) of the People's Republic of China is the government authority for all matters pertaining to education and language. According to the statistics of the MOE in 2020, the numbers of Chinese Colleges and Universities are as below: 

— Regular Higher Education Institutions: 2738

— Universities Offering Bachelor’s Degrees: 1270

— Higher Vocational Education Institutes: 1468

— Adult Higher Education Institutions: 265

— Graduate Institutes: 827

(the statistics do not include Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan Provinces)


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Chinese universities are mainly public universities, and the development of public universities mainly depends on the financial support of governments at all levels. Chinese universities usually recruit students only once an academic year, mainly through the national unified examination. The start time of the new academic year of Chinese colleges and universities is usually September. One academic year includes two semesters. The spring semester is usually from March to June/July, and the autumn semester is usually from September to January. The summer vacation of Chinese schools mainly starts in July and usually lasts for one to two months, while the winter vacation starts in January or February and usually lasts for about one month.


Academic education in Chinese colleges and universities mainly includes four levels:

Associate Education: 2~3 years

Undergraduate Education: 4~6 years

Master's Education: 2~3 years

Doctoral Education: 3~4 years


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# International Reputation


The MOE notes that higher education in China has played a significant part in economic growth, scientific progress, and social development in the country "by bringing up a large scale of advanced talents and experts for the construction of socialist modernization."

China is also a major destination for international students, being the most popular country in Asia for international students, the leading destination globally for Anglophone African students, and the second most popular in the world. In 2017, China surpassed the U.S. with the highest number of scientific publications. The country has the world's second-highest number of universities in the Academic Ranking of World Universities' top 500 universities and in the U.S News & World Report Best Global Universities Rankings. In the 2021 CWTS Leiden Ranking edition, China had the largest number of universities (221) included in the ranking. China is home to the two best C9 league universities in the whole Asia-Oceania region and emerging countries with Tsinghua University and Peking University, tied for 16th place in the world, by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. China has dominated the QS BRICS University Rankings and the THE's Emerging Economies University Rankings, claiming seven of the top 10 spots for both rankings. China is also the most-represented nation overall. China tops the QS Asia University Rankings list with over 120 universities included in the ranking, and five Chinese universities appear in the Asia Top 10, which is more than any other country.


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# Types and Rankings


When it comes to the best Chinese universities, we inevitably have to understand what C9 League, Project 985, Project 211, and Double First-Class Plan are.

Project 985(39 Universities)

"Project 985" refers to the major decision made by the Communist Party of China and the State Council of the people's Republic of China at the turn of the century to build some first-class universities with world advanced level.

On May 4, 1998, when President Jiang Zemin was celebrating the 100th anniversary of Peking University, he announced to the whole society on behalf of the Communist Party of China and the Central People's Government of the people's Republic of China: "to realize modernization, China should have some first-class universities with world advanced levels." 

The Ministry of Education immediately formulated the Action Plan for Revitalizing Education in the 21st Century and began to focus on supporting some colleges and universities to become world-class high-level universities.

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C9 League (9 Universities)

The C9 League is an official alliance of nine elite and prestigious universities in mainland China, initiated by the Chinese Central Government through Project 985. These 9 universities are also the first batch of universities to become Project 985 Universities. Collectively, universities in the C9 League account for 3% of the country's researchers but receive 10% of national research expenditures. They produce 20% of the nation's academic publications and 30% of total citations. People's Daily, an official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, refers to the C9 League as China's Ivy League. The grouping has been compared to other elite university groupings around the world such as the Ivy League, Russell Group, U15, and Group of Eight.

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Project 211(112 Universities)

"Project 211" is an important project for the Chinese Government to focus on building about 100 universities and key disciplines in the 21st century. The implementation of the "211 Project" is an important measure for the Chinese Government to promote the development of higher education and promote the adaptation of higher education to economic and social development.

Double First-Class Plan (137 Universities)

Double First-Class means First-class Universities and Disciplines of the World. "Double First Class" is another national strategy in China's higher education field released in 2017 after the "Project 211" and "Project 985", which is conducive to improving the comprehensive strength and international competitiveness of China's higher education. The overall goal is that by 2020, a number of universities will be among the most popular in the world, and a number of disciplines will be at the forefront of world-class disciplines; By 2030, more universities and disciplines will be among the most popular in the world, and the overall strength of higher education will be significantly improved; By the middle of the 21st century, China will become a powerful country in higher education. For now, there are 42 World First-Class Universities and 95 Double First-Class Disciplines Universities.


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Here I listed all of the Chinese universities supported by C9 League, Project 985, Project 211, and Double First-Class Plan. The relationship between them is that universities of C9 League are among the top universities of Project 985; all universities of Project 985 are also members of Project 211 and Double First-Class Plan; all universities of Project 211 are also members of Double First-Class Plan; Double First-Class Plan covers more universities than Project 211. In a word, C9 is the best, and 985 is better than 211, but all of these universities are good in China.


1. Tsinghua University (C9 - 985 - 211 - Double First Class)

2. Peking University (C9 - 985 - 211 - Double First Class)

3. Zhejiang University (C9 - 985 - 211 - Double First Class)

4. Shanghai Jiao Tong University (C9 - 985 - 211 - Double First Class)

5. Nanjing University (C9 - 985 - 211 - Double First Class)

6. Fudan University (C9 - 985 - 211 - Double First Class)

7. University of Science and Technology of China (C9 - 985 - 211 - Double First Class)

8. Xi'an Jiaotong University (C9 - 985 - 211 - Double First Class)

9. Harbin Institute of Technology (C9 - 985 - 211 - Double First Class)

——————

10. Renmin University of China (985 - 211 - Double First Class)

11. Beihang University (985 - 211 - Double First Class)

12. Beijing Institute of Technology (985 - 211 - Double First Class)

13. Beijing Normal University (985 - 211 - Double First Class)

14. Jilin University (985 - 211 - Double First Class)

15. Dalian University of Technology (985 - 211 - Double First Class)

16. Northeastern University (985 - 211 - Double First Class)

17. Nankai University (985 - 211 - Double First Class)

18. Tianjin University (985 - 211 - Double First Class)

19. Shandong University (985 - 211 - Double First Class)

20. Ocean University of China (985 - 211 - Double First Class)

21. Southeast University (985 - 211 - Double First Class)

22. Tongji University (985 - 211 - Double First Class)

23. Huazhong University of Science and Technology (985 - 211 - Double First Class)

24. Wuhan University (985 - 211 - Double First Class)

25. Xiamen University (985 - 211 - Double First Class)

26. Central South University (985 - 211 - Double First Class)

27. Hunan University (985 - 211 - Double First Class)

28. South China University of Technology (985 - 211 - Double First Class)

29. Sun Yat-sen University (985 - 211 - Double First Class)

30. Chongqing University (985 - 211 - Double First Class)

31. University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (985 - 211 - Double First Class)

32. Sichuan University (985 - 211 - Double First Class)

33. Northwestern Polytechnical University (985 - 211 - Double First Class)

34. Lanzhou University (985 - 211 - Double First Class)

35. China Agricultural University (985 - 211 - Double First Class)

36. National University of Defense Technology (985 - 211 - Double First Class)

37. Minzu University of China (985 - 211 - Double First Class)

38. Northwest A&F University (985 - 211 - Double First Class)

39. East China Normal University (985 - 211 - Double First Class)

——————

40. Zhengzhou University (211 - Double First Class)

41. Yunnan University (211 - Double First Class)

42. Xinjiang University (211 - Double First Class)

——————

43. Beijing Jiaotong University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

44. Beijing University of Technology (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

45. University of Science and Technology Beijing (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

46. Beijing University of Chemical Technology (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

47. Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

48. Beijing Forestry University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

49. Beijing University of Chinese Medicine (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

50. Beijing Foreign Studies University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

51. Communication University of China (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

52. Central University of Finance and Economics (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

53. University of International Business and Economics (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

54. Beijing Sport University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

55. Central Conservatory of Music (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

56. China University of Political Science and Law (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

57. North China Electric Power University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

58. Tianjin Medical University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

59. Hebei University of Technology (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

60. Taiyuan University of Technology (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

61. Inner Mongolia University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

62. Liaoning University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

63. Dalian Maritime University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

64. Yanbian University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

65. Northeast Normal University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

66. Harbin Engineering University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

67. Northeast Agricultural University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

68. Northeast Forestry University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

69. East China University of Science and Technology (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

70. Donghua University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

71. Shanghai Foreign Studies University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

72. Shanghai University of Finance and Economics (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

73. Shanghai University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

74. Naval Medical University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

75. Soochow University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

76. Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

77. Nanjing University of Science and Technology (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

78. China University of Mining and Technology (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

79. Hohai University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

80. Jiangnan University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

81. Nanjing Agricultural University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

82. China Pharmaceutical University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

83. Nanjing Normal University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

84. Anhui University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

85. Hefei University of Technology (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

86. Fuzhou University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

87. Nanchang University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

88. China University of Petroleum (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

89. China University of Geosciences (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

90. Wuhan University of Technology (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

91. Huazhong Agricultural University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

92. Central China Normal University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

93. Zhongnan University of Economics and Law (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

94. Hunan Normal University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

95. Jinan University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

96. South China Normal University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

97. Guangxi University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

98. Hainan University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

99. Southwest Jiaotong University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

100. Sichuan Agricultural University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

101. Southwest University of Finance and Economics (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

102. Southwest University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

103. Guizhou University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

104. Tibet University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

105. Northwestern University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

106. Xidian University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

107. Chang'an University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

108. Shaanxi Normal University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

109. Fourth Military Medical University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

110. Qinghai University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University) 

111. Ningxia University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

112. Shihezi University (211 - Double First Class Disciplines University)

——————

113. Peking Union Medical College (Double First Class Disciplines University)

114. Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (Double First Class Disciplines University)

115. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Double First Class Disciplines University)

116. Central Academy of Fine Arts (Double First Class Disciplines University)

117. Chengdu University of Technology (Double First Class Disciplines University)

118. Chengdu University of TCM (Double First Class Disciplines University)

119. Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (Double First Class Disciplines University)

120. Henan University (Double First Class Disciplines University)

121. Nanjing Forestry University (Double First Class Disciplines University)

122. Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology (Double First Class Disciplines University)

123. Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications (Double First Class Disciplines University)

124. Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (Double First Class Disciplines University)

125. Ningbo University (Double First Class Disciplines University)

126. Shanghai Ocean University (Double First Class Disciplines University)

127. Shanghai University of Sport (Double First Class Disciplines University)

128. Shanghai Conservatory of Music (Double First Class Disciplines University)

129. Capital Normal University (Double First Class Disciplines University)

130. Tianjin Polytechnic University (Double First Class Disciplines University)

131. Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (Double First Class Disciplines University)

132. China Foreign Affairs University (Double First Class Disciplines University)

133. Southwest Petroleum University (Double First Class Disciplines University)

134. China Academy of Art (Double First Class Disciplines University)

135. People's Public Security University of China (Double First Class Disciplines University)

136. China Conservatory of Music (Double First Class Disciplines University)

137. The Central Academy of Drama (Double First Class Disciplines University)


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# Number of Universities in Different Chinese Provinces in 2020


1. Jiangsu Province - 167

2. Guangdong Province - 154

3. Shandong Province - 152

4. Henan Province - 151

5. Sichuan Province - 132

6. Hubei Province - 129

7. Hunan Province - 128

8. Hebei Province - 125

9. Anhui Province - 120

10. Liaoning Province - 116

11. Zhejiang Province - 109

12 Jiangxi Province - 105 

13 Shaanxi Province - 96 

14 Beijing Municipality - 92 

15 Fujian Province - 89 

16 Shanxi Province - 85 

17 Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region - 82 

18 Yunnan Province - 82 

19 Heilongjiang Province - 80 

20 Guizhou Province - 75 

21 Chongqing Municipality - 68 

22 Jilin Province - 64 

23 Shanghai Municipality - 63 

24 Tianjin Municipality - 56 

25 Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region - 56 

26 Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region - 54 

27 Gansu Province - 50

28 Hainan Province - 21 

29 Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region - 20 

30 Qinghai Province - 12 

31 Tibet Autonomous Region - 7


  • Submitted at Nov 22, 2021
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