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Study in Shanghai

By Niamh O

Updated July 28, 2021 Updated July 28, 2021

Shanghai offers booming industry, delicious food, and accessible travel across Asia. Let's take a closer look at what makes the city special.

Shanghai, China’s largest city by population, is not only the world’s busiest container port; it is also a huge global centre for finance, commerce, culture – and also education.

Eight universities in Shanghai feature within the QS World University Rankings® 2022, led by Fudan University at 31st in the world and Shanghai Jiao Tong University at =50th

Much like other thriving Asian cities such as Hong Kong and Seoul, Shanghai is often described in terms of contrasts – old and new, East and West, well-preserved traditions alongside rapid development – and there’s certainly more than enough to make each day different, no matter how long you are in the city for.

The city lines the banks of the Yangtze River, where it meets the East China Sea, and has a striking, and growing, skyline of skyscrapers. The Shanghai Tower, completed late in 2013, is the tallest structure of any kind in China and the second tallest building in the world after Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.

With the background of buzzing marketplaces, ancient temples, cuisines from around the world, theatres and galleries, all interwoven with a rich and interesting history, it's no wonder the city is in the top 50 cities in the world for student view (=44th).

Shanghai scores highly in the employer activity indicator (=22nd (it's strongest score)) showing that the city’s prestigious universities are viewed favorably by graduate employers.

One survey respondent commented, “It’s an international city, which is great because you get to meet people from all around the world and get to know the different cultures”, while another said that there was “lots of opportunities to experience new things.

Are you studying in Shanghai? Share your experience.

Best universities in Shanghai: QS Best Student Cities ranking: =37th

Fudan University (31st); Shanghai Jiao Tong University (=50th); Tongji University (211th); Shanghai University (=436th); East China Normal University (531-540); East China University of Science and Technology (571-580); Shanghai International Studies University (1002-1200); Shanghai University of Finance and Economics (1201+)

 More about Shanghai

Number of universities ranked by QS

8

Highest-ranked institution

Fudan University (31st)

Population

27,058,000

Average international fees (at ranked unis)

US$4,100

Desirability rank

69th

Employer Activity rank

=22nd

Affordability rank

40th

Student View rank 

=44th

 

To find out how each of the above categories is calculated, view the methodology.

Why study in Shanghai?

Delicious food

Think you know Chinese food? Think again! Shanghai boasts a large variety of Chinese cuisines in addition to its own local favourites.

From soup dumplings, and sweet and sour fish, to crispy fried sweet pork, sweet rice ball soup, and mooncakes, there are many delicacies to try.

Shanghai boasts a large expat community, meaning it’s easy to find foods from home too - from American, Indian, and Italian, to Thai, Bulgarian and much more.

Students studying at Fudan University are close to Da Xue Lu - an eclectic food area. With so many options available, you'll find a new favourite spot to become a regular in no time.

A travel hub for China and Asia

Students in Shanghai will be able to enjoy inexpensive and easy travel across the city, and travelling within China is also super accessible from Shanghai too.

The city has four train stations offering daily trips to major cities like Beijing, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Suzhou and Hangzhou. And there are also two major airports where you could travel to other locations in Asia, such as South Korea, Thailand, Japan and the Philippines. And these plane tickets are no more expensive than the cost of domestic flights within the USA.

Things to do and see

Shanghai boasts a large variety of museums, nightlife, cultural sites, and shopping, so there will never be a dull moment in the city.

Shanghai is home to over 20 museums that offer displays on Jewish history, fashion, art, automobiles and more. And if you're an adrenaline junkie, Shanghai has three major amusement parks including the largest Disney park in Asia - Disneyland Shanghai.

When the time comes to bust some moves on the dance floor, students can choose between local areas around Fudan or travel to popular nightlife destinations in the French Concession or The Bund.

Cost of studying in Shanghai

This year, Shanghai ranked in the top 50 most affordable cities in the world (40th). And with students on paying on a low US$4,100 on avergae in tuition, it's easy to see why. 

In fact, Numbeo estimates a single person's monthly costs are US$691.03 without rent - this is substantially lower than other major cities around the world, including New York (US$1,358.60).

A one-bedroom flat in the city centre will likely set you back US$1,382.65.

Careers in Shanghai

Shanghai just missed a spot in the top 20 cities in the world for employability - however, coming in at joint 22nd is still an impressive accolade.

Important industries in Shanghai include financial services, wholesale and retail, real estate, transportation, construction, and manufacturing. Shanghai has also undergone major industrial restructuring and developing its high-tech industries.

Graduates could land positions at a number of world-renowned companies including IBM, Deloitte, PwC and Microsoft.

This article was originally published in July 2021 .

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Written by

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (TopMBA.com; topuniversities.com), creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  

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