Chinese Government Scholarship

A student’s experience & guide to the application process! 

Camilla Fatticcioni 

This is my third year as a master student at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, yet it seems like only yesterday that I applied! When I started this incredible experience, I didn’t know a lot about China and the master’s program I decided to apply for, but today I can say that I am happy to have made this decision to study here in this amazing city. 

The reason I chose China as the place to continue my postgraduate studies is quite simple: I studied at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, School of Oriental Society Languages and Culture choosing a curriculum on Chinese studies, and for this reason China seemed the easiest and most direct way to continue my studies. 

I learned about the chance of this scholarship during one of my first trips to the “Middle Kingdom”: in fact, in 2016 I had won my first scholarship, the one reserved each year by the Confucius Institute, and this gave me the precious chance to study Chinese in Lanzhou, Gansu Province. At the time I didn’t know what to do after my bachelors and I thought that applying for my masters in China would make sense. I prepared all the application materials at the very last minute: at that time, I couldn’t find much information about Chinese scholarships, so I did everything without knowing what I was looking for. I still have nightmares about sending all the documents and emailing many universities asking about their master programs! 

How to Apply? 

Enrolment for scholarships usually open toward mid-January and close late March / early April, but every university has its own timetable. The most prestigious universities, such as Fudan in Shanghai or Beida in Beijing, usually close enrolment for scholarships very early, at the end of February. 

First, I suggest choosing carefully the university, both according to the studies that you would like to pursue and the city where you would like to live. You should ask yourself “What am I looking for?”. Every university website has a page dedicated to the scholarship’s opportunity: start checking this page from late December / early January to know the application deadlines. 

All the information about the scholarship and the universities you can apply for will be published on the government scholarship official website generally by the end of January. 

There are two ways to apply for the government scholarship: through an agency, such as at the Chinese embassy, or by directly applying to the university you are interested in – just as I did, because to me this seemed to be the easiest option. 

It’s even possible that some universities may not accept applications directly. Check your case on the website of the university that you’ve chosen or by contacting the university directly via email. 

Minimum Requirements

  • You must not be a Chinese citizen.
  • You must not possess another scholarship issued by the Chinese government or any of its delegations.
  • Age: Bachelor degree students must not be more than 25 years of age, 35 years of age for master’s degrees and 40 for PhD studies.
  • Minimum educational requirements: High school diploma for bachelor’s degree students, a bachelor’s degree for master’s degree students, and a master’s degree for PhD students.

Required Documentation

  • Application form: You will find this form after registering on the official webpage for Chinese central government scholarships. 
  • Highest level academic diploma and a transcript of the personal academic scores for this diploma. If you haven’t graduated yet, sending only the transcript of the personal academic scores is enough. 
  • Official medical form or Foreigner Physical Examination Form. You must attach a copy of this form filled out by a doctor. Ensure that the form signed by the doctor and contains an official seal from the hospital or medical centre where you are examined. 
  • Study plan written in English or Chinese: You can attach a document that contains information on your specialty and academic interests. 
  • Two letters of recommendation written in English or Chinese from a professor
  • Although this is NOT an essential requirement to apply for a scholarship, if you have an HSK diploma (Chinese proficiency level), you should attach it. The Chinese government plans to finance you for up to a maximum of two years of university studies in the Chinese language for you to obtain the level of Chinese required for the program that you have chosen. 
  • Another important but not essential requirement is the pre-admission letter from the destination university. This letter can be issued by the university in the event that it decides beforehand that it wants you as a student. 

Application Process

  • Application period: From January to April of each year. Some authorised agencies or universities shorten this period. Check your particular case to be sure. 
  • The application must be done online first and later you must submit documentation to the authorised agency or the university of your choice prior to the end of the application period. 
  • At the beginning of the online application procedure, you will be asked to choose the type of scholarship based on its financing type (full or partial scholarship) and the number of the authorised agency or university (a code that you can easily find online typing Chinese university agency number or that will be provided to you by the entity that you have selected). 
  • Once you have filled out all the information on the online application, you will be required to attach the required documentation in PDF format. All this documentation plus a copy of the application form and documents is what you will have to submit to the authorised agency or chosen university. 
  • The results will be made public on the same application webpage starting mid-July. 


My experience doing a master’s degree in China

At the end of July 2017, I found out that I had won the scholarship for the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou. There wasn’t much warning; the acceptance letter came very late, and the documents to apply for a visa came in late August: I found myself running to get a visa in time and prepare for my departure in mid-September

And like that, always on the run, I landed in Hangzhou: everything happened so fast, chaotic and frenetic before leaving, and all my friends asked me why I would ever choose to go to China for 4 years. 

At that time 4 years seemed an eternity, but time is flying and after my first “adjustment-year” in Hangzhou I started understanding how to get the best from this experience in a Chinese university.  

The first rule of survival at a Chinese university is to be patient; it will take some time to understand how the system works and the secret is to not give up when faced with your first difficulties and misunderstandings with university offices and professors. Going to study in China means having to adapt, as would be the same for anyone going to study in a foreign country: language and cultural differences are the first difficulties, but with the time these difficulties will enrich you. When I first started this master’s, I was afraid to be alone and not able to understand my classes and Chinese classmates and professors: Today, I have an international and Chinese family here that help me any time I find problems. I’m learning a lot, not only in class: this experience of studying in China is very rich, with each day that I am spending in China I become more certain I made the right choice. 

Ready to APPLY?

2020 Scholarship Application Deadlines:

There are 274 Chinese Universities offering scholarships for international students: each university has its own scholarship deadline. Generally, for all the CSC scholarships this is before 30 April each year, but I suggest checking the website of the university you are interested to apply for. 

  • Fudan University (Shanghai): 28 February 
  • Zhongshan University (Guangzhou): 1 March 
  • Tianjin Normal University (Tianjin): 10 March 
  • Lanzhou University (Lanzhou): 20 March 
  • Beihang University (Beijing): 25 March 
  • Zhejiang University (Hangzhou): 31 March 
  • Shanghai Jiaotong University (Shanghai): 31 March 
  • Wuhan University (Wuhan): 31 March 
  • Donghua University (Shanghai): 31 March 
  • Sichuan University (Chengdu): 1 April 
  • Chongqing University (Chongqing): 3 April 
  • China Academy of Art (Hangzhou): 5 April 
  • Beijing Jiaotong University (Beijing): 10 April 
  • Zhejiang Gongshang University (Hangzhou): 15 April 
  • Nanjing Normal University (Nanjing): 30 April