To study in China?

The option to undertake a degree in China is obviously best weighed against one's longer-term goals. The following points might help your decision-making: Why study in China?

  • An undergraduate major in Chinese language might be well complemented by a Masters degree in China taught in Chinese in a language heavy major;
  • If you have obtained a well-recognised degree in a specialist field in your own country, a degree from China in a broad field such as an MBA, a masters in Chinese politics or international relations, might provide an international edge to your onward career;
  • If you have always wanted to go abroad as well as to do a masters degree, combining a 'gap' year with doing a masters in China (or even a third country elsewhere) might be a good way to tick a few boxes at one time;
  • For persons whom have not previously studied Mandarin, and English-based masters degree can provide a two-year period throughout which intensive Chinese classes can also be taken such that a knowledge of Mandarin is attained.

Why not study in China?

  • Classes are typically much larger and taught in a less flexible manner than in Western countries. This in itself can be a cultural lesson, but it might frustrate potential applicants whom seek discussion-heavy programmes.
  • Students will sometimes not get to choose their major or supervisor, as these are often allocated by the school, usually though in alignment with the interests of the student, but not always.
  • Graduate courses can be very homework heavy, especially courses with a high mathematical component. The emphasis is on repetition and process/technique rather than more abstract or discussion-based means of learning. If this sounds frustrating, think twice.
  • The relationship between students and supervisors is historically quite paternal in China, which may be uncomfortable.
  • Your subject area and interests are better served by a school in your home country or another country, and it would make more sense to go only on exchange to a Chinese university.
  • Your Chinese level suggests you should study in English, but in your subject area language rather than maths is extremely important, or in that field English-language education in China is still developing.
  • Check out this useful blog piece on Sinospliace on the topic.

Advanced Planning

  • If you have long-term interest to undertake a PhD, check ahead of time how your preferred schools for the PhD would receive the relevant Chinese masters degree.
  • Seek feedback from you ideal future employers what they would think of your intended Chinese qualification.
  • Check the HSK exam application dates as a good HSK exam result will assist your application, and in some cases be a necessary prerequisite qualification.