How to get into the Tsinghua University
For Undergraduate (UG) and Masters (MS) degrees
Tsinghua University, established in 1911, is a top research university in Beijing and a member of the C9 League of Chinese universities promoted under a government program for the development of higher education in the country.
In 2014, Forbes selected Tsinghua, spread over 442 hectares in northwest Beijing, as one of the world’s most beautiful college campuses, reportedly the only one from Asia. The university has a 71,000 sq.m. library with 4,300 seats that stores over 21 million e-books and 140,000 academic e-journals. Classrooms and other buildings have been constructed in over one million sq.m.
Tsinghua was adjudged 16th in the QS World University Rankings 2020 and 23rd in THE World University Rankings of the same year. It is reputed to be the best university in China ahead of Peking University.
The university has enrolled more than 36,000 students in full-time programs, including over 15,000 undergraduate students and 19,000 postgraduate students. Academic staff number over 3,000 and administrative staff over 4,000. Chinese leaders in academia, business, and politics have graduated from Tsinghua.
Tsinghua now has 3,700 international students on campus, 3,000 of them in undergraduate programs. Students from abroad have a choice of 15 undergraduate divisions, 100 master’s programs, and 80 PhD programs. Twenty master’s programs, eight PhD programs, and 500 courses are delivered in English.
Besides student dormitories, ten canteens serving inexpensive food of all delicacies are available. Music and arts, sports, medical care, and psychological counseling facilities are also provided on campus.
The International Students and Scholars Center gives guidance to students on various topics, and student association and cultural exchange programs help international students integrate with the Tsinghua life and culture.
Tsinghua University provides 81 undergraduate majors and 17 second bachelor’s degree majors in the disciplines of art, economics, engineering, history, law, literature, management, medicine, philosophy, and science. The bachelor’s degree programs are managed by the schools of Aerospace, Architecture, Civil Engineering, Economics and Management, Environment, Humanities, Information Science and Technology, Journalism and Communication, Law, Life Sciences, Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Medicine, Public Policy and Management, Science, and Social Sciences; departments of Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Engineering Physics; Institute for Interdisciplinary Information Science; Academy of Arts and Design; and Peking Union Medical College and XinYa College.
The UG programs are of four years’ duration with the exception of those in architecture and sculpture. The courses are taught in English and Chinese.
The academic year is divided into three terms of spring, autumn, and summer. The two 18-week terms in spring and autumn are for courses, and the ten-12 week summer term for a five-week practical training course and a five- or seven-week vacation.
Graduate degree programs (academic and professional degrees such as master’s, PhD, Doctor of Engineering, and Doctor of Education) are offered through the Academy of Arts and Design, Center for Earth System Science, Institute for Advanced Study, Institute for Interdisciplinary Information Science, Institute of Education, Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology, PBC School of Finance, departments of Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Engineering Physics, and the schools of Aerospace, Architecture, Civil Engineering, Economics and Management, Environment, Humanities, Information Science and Technology, Journalism and Communication, Law, Life Sciences, Marxism, Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Medicine, Pharmaceutical Studies, Public Policy and Management, Science, and Social Sciences.
Besides the 28 graduate programs offered in English, 50 joint programs are organized with universities outside mainland China, including those in the US, UK, Germany, France, Japan, Belgium, Italy, Australia, Singapore, Holland, Sweden, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.
Master’s degree programs need to be completed in two or three years and doctoral programs in three or four years. Bachelor’s degree holders who move on directly to doctoral programs require to complete their programs in four or five years.
Tsinghua University recruits students for its undergraduate programs on the basis of “divisions” (such as Arts Division, Civil Engineering Division, and Law Division). There are schools, departments, academies, and colleges under each division, each of which runs programs.
For example, under the Electronics Information Division come the departments of Electronic Engineering, Microelectronics and Nanoelectronics, and Biomedical Engineering.
The first department offers the UG program/major in Electronic Information Science and Technology, the second Microelectronics Science and Engineering, and the third Biomedical Engineering.
International students go through an online-application-based admission process, in which applications are evaluated on the basis of their academic performance (through high-school transcripts, national/regional graduate examinations, matriculation examination, and international standardized tests such as SAT, ACT, A-level, AP, IB, and others), proficiency in English (TOEFL / IELTS / others) and Chinese (HSK Level 5 or HSK Level 4 improved to 5 in the first academic year, with over 60 points in each subject), supporting material (recommendation letters, awards, self-introduction videos), and performance in an “integrative test” ( applicants are informed of the method and time of the test).
How to apply
Applicants should create an account in the online application system, complete the application form, upload the documents and other supporting material required, and pay the application fee of 600 RMB (exchange value $86.88 as on January 22, 2020).
To give an idea of what the application timelines: for the 2020 intake, there were three rounds of application and admission. The first was conducted between August and October 2019 (design/fine arts programs are only open in this round) with the result in mid-December, the second from October to November 2019 (the results were scheduled for late February 2020), and the third from December 2019 and January 2020 (the results were scheduled for late March 2020).
The admission notice, visa application form, and physical examination record form and other admission documents were slated to reach successful applicants in June 2020. Applicants are required to appear at the local Chinese Embassy/Consulate with the documents and apply for a student visa.
Tuition and other fees
The annual tuition fee for engineering and science programs is 30,000 RMB; for economics, finance, management, humanities, social sciences, law, and liberal arts 26,000 RMB; and for arts 40,000 RMB.
For on-campus dormitory accommodation, the fee is 80 RMB per person per day for single room (private bedroom and bathroom), 80 RMB for “AB” room (private bedroom, shared bathroom), and 40 RMB for double room (two beds in one room, shared bathroom on each floor). Students can also look for off-campus accommodation.
The annual insurance that covers accidental injury and hospitalization is 800 RMB.
Chinese Government Scholarship (CGS) application should be submitted to the Chinese Embassy or Consulate in the applicants’ respective countries. The application period is usually between November and April, but varies from country to country.
In the application, the applicant should mention Tsinghua University as the first choice and meet the eligibility requirements for admission.
The Beijing Government awards full, half, or partial tuition scholarship to outstanding freshmen. Applications can be submitted through the online application system and even during study at Tsinghua.
How to apply
Applicants need to complete and submit the online application in the period specified (Schwarzman scholars and MBA applicants should apply through the specified websites). The university vacation is from mid-January to mid-February, and the online application will be open during this period.
However, Tsinghua advises applicants to submit applications two or three weeks before the vacation to avoid a delay in application verification.
The application documents required include a personal statement for master’s programs and a personal statement along with a brief introduction of their research or research plan; degree certificate (bachelor’s for master’s program applicants and both bachelor’s and master’s for doctoral program applicants); academic transcript; HSK certificate and score report (for programs in Chinese); two academic recommendations, in the format specified, from associate professor or higher or senior professionals in the field; and the passport personal information page.
The original documents should be scanned in color and the images sent. Scanned images of copies, and images scanned using mobile phones or camera, are not accepted.
The admission committee of the respective department will review each application and select applicants for an interview or an interview and test, information about which will be sent to the applicant.
The test/interview may be waived in the case of some applicants. Although the admissions office sends intimation of selection, candidates may check their result on the application system.
Application schedules differ depending on graduate programs taught in English, and information is available from the departments.
The tuition for graduate programs in English ranges from 30,000 RMB to 158,000 RMB for master’s program and 40,000 RMB for doctoral programs. The fee for the Tsinghua-MIT GMBA program is 198,000 RMB.
Two types of scholarships are available to international graduate students: full scholarships and tuition scholarships. Full scholarships, such as those granted by the Chinese Government (CGS) with an annual review, usually include tuition, stipend, on-campus accommodation, and medical insurance.
Tuition scholarships (Beijing Government Scholarships and Tsinghua University Scholarships) cover full or partial tuition for a year but can be applied for annually.
Other scholarships applicable to programs, and scholarships granted by departments/schools and companies, are also available to graduate international students.
- The reported acceptance rate is 30 percent for international students.
- It is 80 percent for international students who want to pursue Chinese language/culture programs.
- Outstanding academic record, proof of proficiency in English and Chinese, pass in “integrative test” required for UG programs
- Personal statement and recommendations needed for graduate programs
- A test and an interview may be required for these programs
- Research history or plan also to be submitted