List of universities in China

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Map showing locations of major universities in China.

This article is a non-comprehensive list of universities in China, which is defined as the People's Republic of China (PRC) in mainland China and Hong Kong and Macau SARs.

By September 2021, there were 3,012 colleges and universities, with over 40 million students enrolled in mainland China, and 156 colleges in the ROC free area.[1][2][3] More than 40 million Chinese students graduated from university from 2016-2020.[4] The "Project 211" for creating 100 national universities began in the mid-1990s, and has merged more than 700 institutions of higher learning into about 300 universities. Corresponding with the merging of many public universities, has been the rapid expansion of the private sector in mainland China since 1990s. Although private university enrollments are not clear, one report listed that in 2006 private universities accounted for around 6 percent, or about 1.3 million, of the 20 million students enrolled in formal higher education in China.[5] The quality of universities and higher education in China is internationally recognized as China has established educational cooperation and exchanges with 188 countries and regions and 46 major international organizations, and signed agreements with 54 countries such as the US, British, Australia and Germany on mutual recognition of higher education qualifications and academic degrees.[6]

The country had the world's second-highest number of top universities in the Academic Ranking of World Universities and the US News & World Report Best Global University Ranking.[7][8] In 2017, China surpassed the U.S. with the highest number of scientific publications.[9][10] China has the largest number of universities (204) including in the 2020 CWTS Leiden Ranking edition.[11] The University Ranking by Academic Performance 2020-21 shortlisted 3,000 research universities from 123 countries: China tops the list, with 485 universities in the ranking.[12] China is also home to the two best C9 league universities in the whole Asia-Oceania region and emerging countries with Tsinghua and Peking Universities, tied for 16th in the world by THE World University Rankings.[13][14] 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.[15][14] In 2020, China tops the QS Asia University Rankings list with over 120 universities including in the ranking, and five Chinese universities appear in the Asia Top 10, which is more than any other country.[16]

List of universities by provincial-level divisions[edit]

The following notation is used:

  • National (Direct): Directly administered by the Chinese Ministry of Education (MOE)
  • National (Other): Administered by other ministries
  • Ω (National Key Universities): Universities with high regards from the MOE and the Chinese government
  • Provincial: Public university administered by the province (or the autonomous region)
  • Municipal: Public university administered by the municipality
  • Private: Privately owned and funded university, or independent institution
  • Mainland-HMT: Mainland China-Hong Kong or Macao or Taiwan joint venture university
  • Sino-foreign: Sino-foreign joint venture university

The default list should follow the neutral order provided by MOE, namely the numerical order of identification codes.



Autonomous regions[edit]

Special administrative regions[edit]

Leading and time-honored universities in China[edit]

Peking University first formally established modern national university of China. It was founded as Imperial University of Peking (京師大學堂) in 1898 in Beijing as a replacement of the ancient Guozijian, the national central institute of learning in China's traditional educational system in the past thousands of years. Three years earlier, Sheng Xuanhuai submitted a memorial to Guangxu Emperor to request for approval to set up a modern higher education institution in Tianjin. After approval on 2 October 1895, Peiyang Western Study School (天津北洋西學學堂) was founded by him and American educator Charles Daniel Tenney (丁家立) and later developed to Peiyang University (北洋大學堂). In 1896, Sheng Xuanhuai delivered his new memorials to Guangxu Emperor to make a suggestion that two official modern higher education institutions should be established in Beijing/Tangshan and Shanghai. In the same year, he founded Nanyang Public School (南洋公學) in Shanghai by an imperial edict issued by Guangxu Emperor. The institution initially included an elementary school, secondary school, college, and a normal school. Later the institution changed its name to Jiao Tong University (also known as Chiao Tung University). In the 1930s, the university often referred itself as "MIT in the East"[17][18] due to its reputation of nurturing top engineers and scientists. In the 1950s, part of this university was moved to Xi'an, Shaanxi, and was established as Xi'an Jiaotong University; the part of the university remaining in Shanghai was renamed Shanghai Jiao Tong University. These two universities have developed independently since then, along with the original Beijing Jiaotong University.

Meanwhile, Wuhan University also claimed that its predecessor Ziqiang Institute (自強學堂) was the first modern higher education institution in China. On 29 November 1893, Zhang Zhidong submitted his memorial to Guangxu Emperor to request for approval to set up an institution designed for training students specializing in foreign languages, mathematics, science, and business. After Ziqiang was founded in Wuchang, not only courses in foreign languages was taught, courses in science (chemical and mining courses starting from 1896) and business (business course starting from the very beginning) were also developed at the school.[19] Later, although the school officially changed its name to Foreign Languages Institute (方言學堂) in 1902, the school still offered courses in science and business.[19] In China, there had been some earlier schools specializing in foreign languages learning, such as Schools of Combined Learning in Beijing (京師同文館, founded in 1862[remark 1]), in Shanghai (上海同文館/上海廣方言館, founded in 1863), and in Guangzhou (廣州同文館), founded in 1864, but few provided courses in other fields, which hardly qualified as modern education institutions. Some argued that Wuhan University can only trace its history back to 1913 when the National Wuchang Higher Normal College (國立武昌高等師範學校) was established, but Wuhan University officially recognized its establishment as in 1893, relying on the abundance of historical documentation and the experts' endorsement.[20]

Tianjin University celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1995, which would predate the establishment of Peking University. Jiao Tong University (in all Beijing Jiaotong University, Shanghai and Xi'an) followed in 1996. Other leading universities, such as Zhejiang University (1897), Peking University (1898), Shanxi University (1902), Nanjing University (1902), Hunan University (1903), Fudan University (1905), Tongji University (1907) and Tsinghua University (1911) also recently celebrated their hundredth anniversaries, one after another.

After the Chinese Civil War, parts of some famous universities of mainland China were transferred to the island of Taiwan: notably the National Central University and National Tsing Hua University. As a result, some universities on both sides of the Taiwan Strait share the same names. In the ROC-controlled Fujian, only one university, National Quemoy University was founded in 1997.


  1. ^ In 1902, School of Combined Learning in Beijing was merged with Imperial Capital University, now Peking University. However, Peking University never claims 1862 as its year founded. Neither does Peking University claim the year of establishing the Guozijian, which can date back more than one thousand years. Hunan University, with a similar history with Peking, often traced its history back to a school established in 976 A.D, thus giving this university a thousand years of history. See "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 March 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link).

People's Republic of China[edit]

C9 League, China's "Ivy League"[edit]

The C9 League is an alliance of nine most prestigious universities in mainland China, including Fudan University, Harbin Institute of Technology, Nanjing University, Peking University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Tsinghua University, University of Science and Technology of China, Xi'an Jiaotong University, and Zhejiang University. People's Daily, an official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, and others refer to the C9 League as China's Ivy League.[21][22] These nine universities made up the C9 League in 2009.[23] According to the latest rankings in the Academic Ranking of World Universities, six of the C9 members are ranked in the top 100 universities in the world and all the C9 members are ranked in the world's top 150 universities.[24]

Leading universities in mainland China (by geographical regions)[edit]

The Academic Ranking of World Universities, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and the U.S. News & World Report Best Global University Ranking ranked most of the 39 universities in the Project 985 among the top 500 universities in the world and most of the 116 universities in the Project 211 are ranked among the top 1000 universities worldwide.[24][25][26]

Project 985 institutions[edit]
Province/Municipality City University
North (10)
Beijing (8) Beijing (8) Peking University
Tsinghua University
Renmin University of China
Beijing Normal University
Beihang University (formerly known as Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics)
Beijing Institute of Technology
China Agricultural University
Minzu University of China (formerly known as the Central University for Nationalities)
Tianjin (2) Tianjin (2) Nankai University
Tianjin University
Northeast (4)
Heilongjiang Harbin Harbin Institute of Technology
Jilin Changchun Jilin University
Liaoning (2) Dalian Dalian University of Technology
Shenyang Northeastern University
East (11)
Anhui Hefei University of Science and Technology of China
Fujian Xiamen Xiamen University
Jiangsu (2) Nanjing (2) Nanjing University
Southeast University
Shandong (2) Jinan Shandong University
Qingdao Ocean University of China
Shanghai (4) Shanghai (4) Fudan University
Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Tongji University
East China Normal University
Zhejiang Hangzhou Zhejiang University
South Central (7)
Guangdong (2) Guangzhou (2) Sun Yat-sen University
South China University of Technology
Hubei (2) Wuhan (2) Wuhan University
Huazhong University of Science and Technology
Hunan (3) Changsha (3) Hunan University
Central South University
National University of Defense Technology
Northwest (4)
Shaanxi (3) Xi'an (2) Northwestern Polytechnical University
Xi'an Jiaotong University
Xianyang Northwest A&F University
Gansu Lanzhou Lanzhou University
Southwest (3)
Chongqing Chongqing Chongqing University
Sichuan (2) Chengdu (2) Sichuan University
University of Electronic Science and Technology of China
Project 211 institutions[edit]
Province/Municipality City University
Beijing (26) Beijing (26)
Jiangsu (11) Xuzhou
Nanjing (8)
Shanghai (10) Shanghai (10)
Shaanxi (8) Xi'an (7)
Hubei (7) Wuhan (7)
Sichuan (5) Ya'an
Chengdu (4)
Tianjin (4) Tianjin (4)
Guangdong (4) Guangzhou (4)
Hunan (4) Changsha (4)
Heilongjiang (4) Harbin (4)
Liaoning (4) Shenyang (2)
Dalian (2)
Anhui (3) Hefei (3)
Jilin (3) Yanji
Changchun (2)
Shandong (3) Qingdao (2)
Chongqing (2) Chongqing (2)
Fujian (2) Xiamen
Xinjiang (2) Shihezi
Guizhou Guiyang
Gansu Lanzhou
Hainan Haikou
Henan Zhengzhou
Jiangxi Nanchang
Qinghai Xining
Shanxi Taiyuan
Yunnan Kunming
Zhejiang Hangzhou
Guangxi Nanning
Inner Mongolia Hohhot
Ningxia Yinchuan
Tibet Lhasa

Sino-foreign cooperative universities[edit]

China has a number of Sino-foreign cooperative universities, which are legally independent entities formed as joint ventures between Chinese universities and international partners. They include:

Leading universities in Hong Kong and Macau[edit]

Hong Kong (6) The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, The University of Hong Kong, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, City University of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong Baptist University
Macau (1) University of Macau


Other international rankings in external links:

See also[edit]

Related lists[edit]


  1. ^ "全国高等学校名单 - 中华人民共和国教育部政府门户网站". Retrieved 3 November 2021.
  2. ^ Jian, H., & Mols, F. (2019). Modernizing China's Tertiary Education Sector: Enhanced Autonomy or Governance in the Shadow of Hierarchy? The China Quarterly, 239: 702-727.
  3. ^ 关晓萌. "China's higher education system is world's largest, officials say". Retrieved 3 November 2021.
  4. ^ "MOE press conference to highlight educational milestones achieved during the 13th Five-Year Plan period - Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China". Retrieved 3 November 2021.
  5. ^ CHINA: Private universities enrol millions Date: 4 May 2008
  6. ^ "China forges agreements with 54 countries on mutual recognition of higher education degrees - Xinhua |". Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  7. ^ "China has world's second-largest number of top universities-". Archived from the original on 16 August 2018. Retrieved 22 August 2018.
  8. ^ "US leads China in latest global university rankings". University World News. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  9. ^ magazine, Jeff Tollefson,Nature. "China Declared World's Largest Producer of Scientific Articles". Scientific American. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  10. ^ Tollefson, Jeff (18 January 2018). "China declared world's largest producer of scientific articles". Nature. 553 (7689): 390. doi:10.1038/d41586-018-00927-4.
  11. ^ "The CWTS Leiden Ranking 2020". Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  12. ^ "URAP - University Ranking by Academic Academic Performance 2020-2021". 3 December 2020. Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  13. ^ "World University Rankings 2022". Times Higher Education (THE). 25 August 2021. Retrieved 2 September 2021.
  14. ^ a b "Emerging Economies". Times Higher Education (THE). 22 January 2020. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  15. ^ "QS University Rankings: BRICS 2019". Top Universities. 2 October 2018. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  16. ^ "QS Asia World University Rankings". Top Universities. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  17. ^ Linehan, Paul Michael (2018). The Culture of Leadership in Contemporary China: Conflict, Values, and Perspectives for a New Generation. London: Lexington Books. p. 128.
  18. ^ Sullivan, Lawrence R.; Liu, Nancy Y. (2015). Historical Dictionary of Science and Technology in Modern China. London: Rowman and Littlefield. p. 375.
  19. ^ a b "自强学堂(简介)". Archived from the original on 3 April 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  20. ^ "武大回应120年校史有史实依据 校庆活动不会改". 武汉晚报. 7 December 2012.
  21. ^ "China's Ivy League: C9 League". People's Daily. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  22. ^ Sainsbury, Michael (4 November 2009). "China establishes group of Ivy League universities". The Australian.
  23. ^ "九校签订《一流大学人才培养合作与交流协议书》 2009-10-09". Archived from the original on 15 October 2009.
  24. ^ a b "World University Rankings - 2020 | China Universities in Top 1000 universities | Academic Ranking of World Universities - 2020 | Shanghai Ranking - 2020". Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  25. ^ "World University Rankings". Times Higher Education (THE). 25 August 2020. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  26. ^ "Top World University Rankings | US News Best Global Universities". Retrieved 16 October 2020.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]