Shanghai has excellent universities, with a vast range of degree possibilities in both undergraduate and postgraduate programs. Unsurprisingly, some of them are very big indeed, with various campuses in different corners of the city and tens of thousands of students. The big three are traditionally Fudan University (strong in the arts), Jiaotong University (known for strong engineering and computing faculties) and Tongji University, which are renowned throughout the country, but there are many other fine institutions, such as East China Normal University and SISU (Shanghai International Studies University). Of course, the vast majority of courses are conducted in Chinese, but in a city as international as Shanghai it’s possible to find undergraduate and in particular postgraduate courses in English, particularly if you’re studying business. These universities also offer full- and part-time Chinese study courses at different levels; enrolling is a good way to kickstart your Chinese study while getting to know one of the local campuses.

Getting in is actually considerably easier for foreigners than locals. Chinese high school students suffer through years of preparation for the gaokao, the university entrance exam, which is intensely competitive. Students who get into the best universities earn it through blood and sweat. Foreigners, however, simply have to fill out an application form and pass a standard health exam (for the student visa). Anyone doing a course through Chinese has to prove language proficiency through the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK) exam, and most universities require level 4 out of 6. Foreign students pay higher tuition than their Chinese counterparts, but it’s still cheaper than in the United States or Europe. Tuition ranges wildly from about RMB20,000-50,000 per semester, and student housing is cheaper than in most Western universities. Don’t expect housing or campuses to be as impressive as in the best of universities in the West, but they’re comfortable enough for most.

In the last decade, Shanghai has become an increasingly popular destination for people looking to do an MBA or EMBA in an international setting. Prestigious Western universities set up satellite campuses here to appeal to young business people interested in getting a head start in China and Asia, building international contacts, learning the language or simply taking an opportunity to live abroad in an exciting city while furthering their career.

Among the most notable is the Rutgers International Executive MBA, ranked in the world’s top 25 by the Wall Street Journal and available on their satellite campus here. Hult International Business School has courses including a one-year MBA and an EMBA; affiliated with EF Education First, it offers rotation between Shanghai, London, Dubai, Boston and San Francisco.

CEIBS (China Europe International Business School) is a joint venture of the European Commission, Jiaotong University and the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Trade; despite being less than twenty years old, its MBA is ranked 24th in the world by the Financial Times. Its EMBA program (11th) is the largest in the world, with 700 students over three cities. Its Pudong campus was designed by I.M. Pei.

Universities in Shanghai

Jiao Tong University

1954 Huashan Lu, Xuhui District

Fudan University

220 Handan Lu, Yangpu District

Tong Ji University

1239 Siping Lu, Yangpu District

Hult International Business School

Jinling Haixin Building, 666 Fuzhou Lu
2111 2370

China Europe International Business School (CEIBS)

699 Hongfeng Lu, Pudong
2890 5890

Rutgers in Asia Shanghai Office

Rm 1206, 12/F, Regus Shui On Plaza, 333 Huaihai Zhong Lu
5116 0572 / 5116 0573

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