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This is Where to Fix Your Crappy Chinese

All the details you need on seven of Shanghai's most popular university Chinese language programs.
By Aug 27, 2019 Education

TELL EVERYONE

You’re gonna have to do it. You know it. You don’t want to. But you can’t talk to your ayi, or anyone else, really, and you don’t answer phone calls because they might be in — gasp! — Chinese. Every one of us comes to that breaking point, when the fantasy that you’ll just “pick Chinese up” comes to a grinding halt against the reality of a tonal language written in simplified pictograms. Time to go to school! But which one? University, private school or one-on-one tutor? They all have their place.

We’ll get to the others in the months ahead. But here are a selection of the more popular university programs in Shanghai, along with details about registration and tuition.

Keep in mind, some of these schools will require students to purchase private insurance, usually for about 600rmb per year, and it may or may not be included in the tuition. Where it was clear-cut, we included it in this article.

Fudan University ICES
(复旦大学国际文化交流学院)



Fudan has clout. First established in 1905, it’s one of China’s best schools. Its Chinese language program, International Cultural Exchange School (ICES), started in the 1960s and offers single semester and full-year programs. During July and August, they offer short-term summer studies and a Professional Chinese Business Immersion Program (PCI) for students who want an internship. There are also long-term programs about Chinese society and the Chinese economy, both in Mandarin, which you’ll need to have passed HSK Level 5 for.

The Programs:
The program is divided into three different levels: fundamental, intermediate, and advanced. Each level will take about nine weeks, and you will be sent into an appropriate level according to the grades you get from an online placement test. Class is about 20 class hours per week. Main courses are: extensive reading, listening, speaking and writing — that’s right, they use the word “extensive”. Expect some serious studying.

The Timeframe:
Fall: early September to mid-January
Full year: early September to late June

The Deadline:
Applications accepted from March 14 - June 10
400rmb application fee

The Tuition:
Semester: 10,500rmb
Full year: 21,000rmb

How To Apply:
This link

The International School of Tongji University
(同济大学 - 国际文化交流学院)



Tongji University is among the top three universities in Shanghai (along with Fudan and Jiaotong) and among the top 20 in the country. It was first established as a medical school in 1907, then gradually expanded into other fields. The International School of Tongji University dates to the 1970s.

The Programs:
Like Fudan, there are three levels: fundamental, intermediate, and advanced, and you take a placement test to go into a suitable level. You can choose to take the program for one semester only or up to two years, doing 20 class hours per week. For advanced students, the curriculum includes a section on Chinese society. There’s also a Business Chinese program.

The Timeframe:
Fall semester: early September to mid-January
Spring semester: late February to late June

The Deadline:
Entry for fall semester ends on July 31
Entry for spring semester ends on January 15
410rmb application fee

The Tuition:
Semester: 8,200rmb
Full year: 16,400rmb
Both require student insurance at 600rmb/year

How To Apply:
Contact the international student office: 6598 3611; send an e-mail: iso-zhaosheng@tongji.edu.cn or istju@tongji.edu.cn; or visit in person — their website doesn’t work so well.



Shanghai International Studies University
(上海外国语大学)



This school in Hongkou, opposite Lu Xun Park, is nicknamed “Shangwai”(上外) and until 1985 was called the “Shanghai Foreign Language Institute”. Like its name suggests, this is a language-focused university that has been going for decades, initially founded to teach Russian to Chinese students. They’ve since expanded their horizons and re-named, and now teach more than 30 languages in their halls, as well as a highly regarded simultaneous interpretation program.

Their non-degree language training includes Comprehensive Chinese (grammar, conversation, and Chinese characters), Listening Comprehension, Reading and Conversation at various levels, 20 class hours per week in total.

The Programs:
Ongoing non-degree Chinese language classes in fall and spring, 20 hours per week.

The Timeframe:
Fall semester: early September to early January
Spring semester: early March to late June
Monthly classes also available

The Deadline:
Entry for fall semester ends on June 30
Entry for spring semester ends on December 31
450rmb application fee

The Tuition:
Semester: 9,200rmb
Full year: 18,400rmb
Monthly: 3,700rmb for one, 6,000rmb for two or 7,600rmb for three months

How To Apply:
Fill in the application form here, print and sign. Submit all the application documents to the Office of International Student Affairs, Shanghai International Studies University.

Shanghai University of Finance And Economics
International Cultural Exchange School
(上海财经大学 – 国际文化交流学院)



This school started as a business program in 1917 then grew into one of China’s top finance universities. Language education was not originally a specialty, but it is the first institution in China to offer a business Chinese language program, which emphasizes practical use of Chinese language in a business setting, and only accepts incoming students during the fall semester.

The Programs:
Regular Chinese language or Business Chinese. In order to qualify for Business Chinese, you must have passed HSK Level 3, scoring 180 or above.

The Timeframe:
Fall semester: early September to early January
Spring semester: late February to late June

The Deadline:
Entry for fall semester ends on July 31
Entry for fall semester ends on January 10
400rmb application fee

The Tuition:
Semester: 10,800rmb including textbooks and insurance

How To Apply:
Online application here or contact admissions: 6536 1944 / ices@mail.sufe.edu.cn.



East China Normal University
(华东师范大学)



East China Normal University (ECNU) is a reputable public research institution. “Normal” means it does teacher training too. Surprisingly, even though the focus of this university is not on foreign language education, its Global Education Center at ECNU offers a good number of Chinese language programs, with different durations, areas of focus, and start dates.

The Programs:
The typical Standard Chinese program is at least a one-semester commitment, with 20 class hours per week, and admits students twice each year.

Intensive Chinese Program: divided into five different levels, each with nine more class hours per week than the standard program. Business Chinese Program, limited only to applicants holding a HSK Level 5 certification. 3-month beginner class each April, focusing on the elementary stuff like pinyin, basic reading and conversation.

The Timeframe:
Fall semester: early September to early January next year
Spring semester: late February to late June

The Deadline:
Entry for fall semester ends on July 31
Entry for three-month beginner class ends on February 28
415rmb application fee

The Tuition:
Semester: 10,800rmb with insurance
Business Chinese: 16,000rmb with insurance
Three-month beginner class: 7,600rmb with insurance

How To Apply:
Apply online here or contact admissions at 6223 1997, 6223 3283 or lxs@ecnu.edu.cn.

Shanghai Normal University
(上海师范大学-对外汉语学院)



The International College of Chinese Studies (ICCS) at Shanghai Normal University is one of the earliest schools to provide Chinese language programs, starting in 1965. It also trains teachers to teach Chinese as a foreign language.

The Programs:
The long-term program here requires at least a one-semester commitment, either General Chinese or Business Chinese. In order to qualify for Business Chinese, you must have a 1000-word vocabulary. The third option, Intensive Chinese, is designed for beginners who want to get a boost in Chinese proficiency. This program has 10 more extra class hours each week, and upon finishing, you will be able to advance towards HSK Level 3.

The Timeframe:
Fall semester: early September to late December
Spring semester: early March to late June

The Deadline:
Fall entry: June 15
Spring entry: December 31
Application fee: 450rmb

The Tuition:
Semester: 9,000rmb
Year: 18,000rmb
Intensive program: 17,000rmb

How To Apply:
Go to their website or contact admissions: 6432 2452 / 6432 2824. Through email: iccs@shnu.edu.cn (EN, CN); yeewen@shnu.edu.cn (Korean, CN); or ysm@shnu.edu.cn (Japanese, CN).

Shanghai Jiaotong University
International Chinese Education Center
(上海交通大学 汉语国际教育中心)



Jiaotong University has perhaps the longest history among the many universities in Shanghai. It was founded as Nanyang Mission College in 1896, making it one of the two earliest colleges in China. The university has been teaching Chinese as a second language since the 1990’s, and the location of Xuhui campus makes the program very popular.

The Programs:
Their long-term language program has 20 class hours per week, and it has four different areas of focus. The score you get from a placement test upon entry will tell if you are able to take the desired track.

General Chinese track: divided into nine different levels, placement determined by test.
New Chinese: improves your proficiency in just one semester.
Special Course: for those who already can have conversations using Mandarin.
Advanced Culture and Business: for experienced students who are high in proficiency.

The Timeframe:
Fall semester: early September to late January
Spring semester: late February to early July

The Deadline:
Fall entry: June 15 or until filled
Spring entry: December 15 or until filled
Application fee: 450rmb

The Tuition:
Semester: 9,900rmb
Elective class: 200rmb
(HSK tutoring, calligraphy, tai chi, English-taught course in Chinese studies)

How To Apply:
Go to their website or contact admissions: 6293 2277 / iso@sjtu.edu.cn.

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Looking for more language school options? See our Education Directory for plenty of private language schools in Shanghai!

TELL EVERYONE

2 comments.

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  • 5 months ago Benoit518 Unverified User

    Good article. Could you also test and compare after-work schools and online courses for those of us who are working full-time?

  • 5 months ago Pincenoire Unverified User

    Same as @Benoit518! ‘Been thinking about after-work classes to learn Japanese (or whatever language) at a serious university, not private schools with random teaching levels.
    Not sure where to find these.

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