The number of overseas students in China has increased significantly, and the education level of overseas students has also improved. In 2008, among all overseas students in China, there were 80,005 degree students, which accounted for 35.8 percent of total enrollment, representing an increase of 17.29 percent year-on-year, higher than the increase of overseas students coming to study in the country.
In the past, most international students selected short-term classes or long-term classes to study Chinese. Others chose to study business Chinese or Chinese cultural courses, such as traditional Chinese medical science, medical massage, acupuncture, Peking opera and tai chi. For students looking to enter Chinese universities, they can take the Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK). Qualified overseas students can pursue their disciplines together with Chinese students. International students who passed corresponding specialty courses can receive bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.
Nowadays, fields of study for international students cover 11 discipline categories, namely literature, medicine, economics, management, engineering, law, education, natural science, history, agriculture and philosophy. Students who studied literature were most prominent. According to 2007 statistics, 135,600 students or 69.3 percent of all international students that year studied literature, among which 119,100 students studied Chinese and 2,500 students studied art. Students who chose to study medicine came in second place, with a total number or 25,600. Among those, 16, 900 students studied western medicine and 8,700 students studied traditional Chinese medicine. In recent years, more international students have selected to study economics, management, engineering and law.