Top Universities in China 2019

Top Universities in China 2019

Sabrina Collier

Updated February 18, 2020 Updated February 18

The first ever ranking of the QS Mainland China University Rankings, released today, sees almost 100 Chinese universities feature among the best on the Chinese mainland. This new ranking was based on a methodology which assesses national employer and academic reputations, research impact, percentage of international students and more.  Read on as we count down to discover the 10 highest ranked Chinese universities in 2019, and find out more about studying in China here.

10. Harbin Institute of Technology

Harbin Institute of Technology

Ranked 10th in the new Mainland China University Rankings, Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT) was also ranked joint 285th in the latest QS World University Rankings®. HIT was founded in 1920 and is made up of three campuses in Harbin, Weihai and Shenzhen. A member of the prestigious C9 League of elite Chinese universities, HIT earns its strongest score of the five methodology indicators for the papers per faculty category, and is known for its bold and innovative scientific research in the engineering sciences, space and defense.

9. Wuhan University

Wuhan University

Wuhan University claims ninth place in the new ranking, earning its strongest score for the employer reputation category, and also received a position of joint 257th in the world university rankings. Established in 1893, Wuhan consistently features in lists of both the overall top 10 Chinese universities and the most beautiful campuses in Asia. It’s highly involved in international co-operations, having established agreements with hundreds of universities worldwide, while every year more than 2,000 students take part in exchange programs at partner institutions.

8. Sun Yat-sen University

Sun Yat-sen University

Heading to the south of China, Sun Yat-sen University, located in Guangzhou in the Guangdong province, is eighth in the Mainland China University Rankings this year and was featured at joint 295th in the World University Rankings. It was ranked fifth on the mainland for the ‘staff with PhD’ indicator, and is known for having one of only three triple-accredited business schools in China. It’s also the home of the world’s second-fastest supercomputer, as well as the largest affiliated hospital system on the mainland.

7. Nanjing University

Nanjing University

Ranked seventh in mainland China and joint 122nd in the world, Nanjing University was founded in 1902 as the Sanjiang Normal School and gained its current name in 1950. It now has around 33,000 students and enjoys a high level of prestige, earning its best scores in the academic reputation and staff with PhD indicators. It’s known for its stringent admission criteria, leading national media to call it the most selective university in mainland China.

6. Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) is ranked sixth in the Mainland China University Rankings and joint 59th in the World University Rankings, and is another member of the C9 League to make this list. Established in 1896, SJTU has around 48,900 students enrolled, including 2,400 international students, and is particularly well-regarded for its engineering programs. As well as earning perfect scores for its employer and academic reputations, it achieves the strongest score in China for the papers per faculty indicator.

5. Zhejiang University

Zhejiang University

Located in the picturesque city of Hangzhou in the eastern Zhejiang province, Zhejiang University is ranked fifth among the top universities in China and was also placed 68th in the most recent World University Rankings. Zhejiang is made up of seven campuses, with most first and second-year undergraduates living at the Zijin'gang Campus, which is the largest single university campus in mainland China. Zhejiang’s university library boasts a collection of more than seven million volumes, making it one of the largest academic libraries in the region.  

4. University of Science and Technology of China

University of Science and Technology of China

University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), a national research university located in the city of Hefei in eastern China, is ranked fourth in the mainland China ranking and 98th in the world in 2019. Established in 1958 (meaning it celebrated its 60th anniversary this year), USTC receives its best scores in the two indicators measuring research productivity and research impact (citations per faculty and citations per faculty member), and is regarded as China’s ‘Cradle of Scientific Elites’.

3. Fudan University

Fudan University

Heading to Shanghai for the next in our look at the top universities in China, Fudan University is ranked third in mainland China and has consistently been ranked within the global top 50 of the world university rankings for the last three years. Fudan was established in 1905 as Fudan Public School, and merged with Shanghai Medical University in 2000. As well as being a C9 League university, Fudan is a member of Universitas 21, a consortium of research-intensive universities.

2. Peking University

Peking University

Peking University, located in Chinese capital Beijing, is mainland China’s second highest-ranked institution and is also ranked 30th in the world in 2019. It earns the best scores for the employer and academic reputation indicators, as well as one of the highest scores in this list for the international student category. Founded in 1898 as the Imperial University of Peking, Peking University is the oldest university in China and is renowned for having one of the most beautiful university campuses on the mainland, with traditional Chinese architecture and gardens dating back to the Qing Dynasty.

1. Tsinghua University

Tsinghua University

Staying in Beijing, this year’s number one among the top universities in China is Tsinghua University, which was also ranked 17th (and first in China) in the QS World University Rankings® 2019. Since its founding in 1911, Tsinghua has educated some of the most prominent Chinese leaders in politics, business, academia, and culture, including two Nobel Prize winners. Following the motto of ‘Self-Discipline and Social Commitment’, the university is committed to the advancement and well-being of both the nation and the world. Like its rival, Peking University, Tsinghua is known for having one of the mainland’s most picturesque campuses, with a mix of both traditional and Western styles, with the latter reflecting the American influence on its history.

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This article was originally published in October 2018 . It was last updated in February 2020

Written by

The former Assistant Editor of, Sabrina wrote and edited articles to guide students from around the world on a wide range of topics. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and grew up in Staffordshire, UK. 


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