The following notice describes in exhaustive detail the process by which graduate students at Zhejiang University applied for a major Chinese government-funded study abroad program in 2019. The notice describes the ideological, academic, foreign language, demographic, and other qualifications for the program, which seeks to send graduate students from top-tier Chinese universities to prestigious foreign universities and research institutes for up to four years, after which time the students are expected to return to China. Although this notice is unusually detailed relative to comparable documents on other Chinese university websites, the application process it describes is probably representative of the workings of current PRC state-sponsored study abroad programs.
Translator: Etcetera Language Group, Inc.
Editor: Ben Murphy, CSET Translation Lead
The Chinese source text is available online at: http://grs.zju.edu.cn/redir.php?catalog_id=16313&object_id=178144
Words highlighted in bold in the Chinese source text are similarly highlighted in this translation. All footnotes are additions by the translator; they do not appear in the Chinese source text.
In order to closely cooperate with the implementation of the Outline of the National Medium- and Long-Term Science and Technology Development Plan (国家中长期科学和技术发展规划纲要) and to train a group of top-notch innovative talents from all sectors who will be needed for national construction for some years, the China Scholarship Council (国家留学基金; CSC) established the “National Construction State-Sponsored Study Abroad Program for Graduate Students from High-Caliber Universities” (“国家建设高水平大学公派研究生项目”) in 2007.
The 2019 “National Construction State-Sponsored Study Abroad Program for Graduate Students from High-Caliber Universities” plans to send 10,000 graduate students to study abroad (including 7,500 joint-training PhD students [联合培养博士研究生] and 2,500 graduate students studying for PhD degrees [攻读博士学位研究]). In order to effectively carry out this work, the following implementation plan has been formulated:
I. Selection Principles
1. Each school1 (department) must formulate its own implementation method for the “2019 National Construction State-Sponsored Study Abroad Program for Graduate Students from High-Caliber Universities” based on the overall work arrangement of the school. The implementation method must specify the time during which the school (department) will receive application materials, the evaluation method and evaluation time of the school (department), and the time the school (department) will announce the evaluation results (the results must be ranked). The implementation method of each school (department) must be published on the homepage of the official website of the school (department), with notifications sent to the relevant instructors and students.
2. The selection work of each school (department) shall be carried out in combination with the construction of discipline talent teams (学科人才队伍) and scientific research work. This work shall focus on assisting study abroad students in attending prestigious universities, research institutes, laboratories, and other institutions in countries and regions that are highly developed in terms of education and science and technology. This work shall focus on assisting joint-training PhD students in studying abroad through existing scientific research cooperation projects/agreements between instructors at home and abroad.
3. Support the selection of candidates from various disciplines and fields related to national strategies and focus on funding applied basic research (应用基础研究), major national S&T projects, key general-purpose technologies, cutting-edge technologies, modern engineering technologies, disruptive technological innovations, and other fields.
4. Each school (department) shall set up a working group for the graduate students to be sent abroad, organize expert reviews, and take full responsibility for the selection and management of students in this school (department). Outstanding students with firm political convictions (政治过硬), academic excellence, and scientific research potential shall be selected. Candidates shall be strictly screened based on political and psychological qualities.
II. Applicant Criteria
1. Applicants shall embrace the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), love the socialist motherland, have good ideological and moral character (思想品德) and political qualities, integrity in academic work, excellent academic performance, good physical and mental health, no record of violations of the law or of discipline, and the dedication and sense of responsibility to return to China to serve in the construction of the motherland.
2. Applicants must be citizens of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
3. Give priority funding to talents urgently needed to serve major national strategies, important industries, key fields, major special projects, cutting-edge technologies, and basic research; actively support study abroad by persons engaged in the construction of world-class universities and world-class curricula (“双一流”建设); and focus on subsidizing students who study in “Belt and Road”2 countries or engage in research in related fields.
4. At the time of application, the applicant shall be no older than 35 years old (born after March 10, 1983).
5. The applicant’s foreign language attainment must meet one of the following conditions (for specific explanations see: Foreign Language Requirements for CSC Scholarships):
(1) Possess a bachelor’s degree or above with a major in the foreign language used in the country of study.
(2) Have studied in a country with the same language for one academic year (8-12 months) or worked continuously for at least one year within the past ten years.
(3) Participated in the “National Foreign Language Proficiency Test” (WSK; 全国外语水平考试) and received a passing score.
(4) Have taken the IELTS (academic), TOEFL, or German, French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, or Korean proficiency test and received a score meeting the following criteria: IELTS 6.5, TOEFL 95, Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) level of B2 for German, French, Italian, and Spanish, Level 2 (N2) for Japanese, and TOPIK level 4 for Korean.
(5) Have participated in relevant language training and obtained a certificate of completion from a study abroad training department specified by the Ministry of Education (applicants must complete the advanced class in English or the intermediate class for other languages).
(6) Meet the language requirements of the educational institution where the applicant intends to study based on interviews or examinations. This must be indicated on the foreign institution’s admission letter or formal invitation letter, or be indicated in a separate document.
Those who apply for a cooperation scholarship (合作奖学金) to attend relevant educational and scientific research institutions abroad through the CSC must also meet other conditions for the cooperation scholarship.
(7) Explanation of foreign language qualifications:
1. The above foreign language qualifications are unified standards for the application and dispatch of study abroad students. At the time of application, qualifications and proof of foreign language attainment must be valid. If this is the case, such qualifications will be deemed valid at the time students are sent abroad. National Foreign Language Proficiency Test (WSK) results, certificates of completion of study abroad training recognized by the Ministry of Education, and IELTS, TOEFL, CEFRL, Korean (TOPIK), and Japanese (JLPT) test results are valid for two years.
2. The proof of National Foreign Language Proficiency Test (WSK) results is the National Foreign Language Proficiency Test (WSK) score notification. For test dates, check the website of the National Education Examinations Authority of the Ministry of Education (www.neea.edu.cn) in January each year.
3. The proof of graduation with a bachelor’s degree or above with a major in a foreign language is the applicant’s degree certificate (学历) or diploma.
4. The proof of studying or working in a country/region that uses the same language can be: the Returned Overseas Student Certificate (《留学回国人员证书》) issued by a Chinese embassy (consulate) abroad or a certificate of study or work abroad issued by the foreign school or the HR department of the foreign organization where the applicant studied or worked. If the language used by the country were the applicant previously worked or studied abroad is not the same as that of the country where the applicant intends to study abroad, the organization where the applicant worked or studied must issue an additional certificate indicating that the applicant worked or studied in the relevant language.
5. The requirement for a CEFRL level of B2 for German, French, Spanish, and Italian can be satisfied by taking the corresponding language test and obtaining a certificate or score equivalent to CECRL B2. This includes the following: For German: TestDaF 12 or above; for French: TEF 541 or above, TCF 400 or above, or DELF B2; for Spanish: TELE B2; and for Italian CELI 3, CILSDue B2, or PLIDA B2.
6. Description of foreign language qualifications for non-English speaking countries:
The invitation letter from the foreign institution must specify the working language. When the letter of invitation from the foreign institution clearly states that study abroad students can use English as their working language, applicants can apply for study abroad scholarships if they meet the CSC program’s English qualification requirements. Before leaving to study abroad, the applicant can choose to attend an overseas study training program approved by the Ministry of Education for training in the primary language of the destination country. During application, the applicant only needs to submit the English language qualification materials. If the letter of invitation from the foreign institution clearly states that a foreign language other than English is used as the student’s working language (or if no working language is specified in the invitation letter), the applicant shall meet the corresponding language qualification requirements stipulated in the above foreign language qualification criteria and submit proof of proficiency in the relevant foreign language.
7. To receive training from foreign language instructors at study abroad training programs designated by the Ministry of Education, the applicant shall contact the relevant training department to participate in the training program. Please refer to the Ministry of Education Designated Language Programs for Study Abroad Students and Contact Phone Numbers for the training languages and phone numbers of each training department. Before the training, the applicant must participate in a language level test organized by the relevant training department. Then, the applicant can attend a training program in accordance with the results of the test. Those who participate in an advanced English training program must take the National Unified Completion Examination (全国统一结业考试) upon completing the program.
Generally, it is not expected that the Chinese and foreign instructors are the same people or that foreign instructors are part-time professors in Chinese universities.
III. Application Types and Requirements
1. PhD Students (who go abroad to study for a PhD)
(1) Applicants must be outstanding students currently studying for a master’s degree (or who have received a master’s degree in June 2019 or later), recent bachelor’s degree recipients, or first-year PhD students (recommended by their departments based on the actual situation). master’s degree candidates and PhD candidates shall possess certain scientific research capabilities and scientific research achievements, and recent bachelor’s degree recipients shall have attained a level comparable to graduate students (but need not have taken the relevant exams). Before applying, the applicant shall have already received an admissions notice for a PhD program or postgraduate study (only for recent bachelor’s degree recipients) or an official letter of invitation issued by a foreign instructor and a tuition waiver or tuition subsidy certificate issued by the institution where the applicant intends to study. Tuition assistance is not provided to those who study for a PhD at foreign universities or scientific research institutes through the “unit or individual cooperation channel” (“所在单位或个人合作渠道”).
(2) The duration of study abroad programs is generally 36-48 months, subject to the academic system of the country and institution of study. In principle, the funding period shall not exceed 48 months. PhD students (including students who bypass a master’s program and go directly into a PhD program3) who have entered the second academic year of the PhD stage or above cannot apply as PhD students.
Addendum: Under the 2019 National Construction State-Sponsored Study Abroad Program for Graduate Students from High-Caliber Universities, PhD students can study in the following countries:
United States, Canada, Cuba, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Israel, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Germany, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, United Kingdom, Ireland, Hungary, and Serbia.
2. Joint-training PhD students (who go abroad for research purposes while studying for a PhD)
(1) At the time of application, the applicant shall be a full-time PhD student in good academic standing (directed4 and sponsored5 applicants must first submit a letter of consent from their original organizations and shall not have graduated before June 2019). At the time of application, the applicant shall already have received the official invitation letter issued by the institution where the applicant intends to study and the joint-training plan jointly developed by Chinese and foreign instructors. Those who apply for a cooperation program (合作项目) to attend relevant educational and scientific research institutions abroad through the CSC must also meet other conditions for the cooperation program. We recommend that applicants have already selected the topic of their doctoral theses when applying. If, at the time of application, applicants have not completed the required credits and not yet entered the doctoral thesis research stage or are in their graduation year, the school (department) shall focus on the feasibility of studying abroad when recommending the applicant.
(2) The study abroad period shall be 6-24 months.
Graduate students who have not yet entered the PhD level cannot apply as a joint-training PhD student.
3. The Following People Cannot Apply:
(1) Persons who have already obtained a PhD degree or who have obtained a full scholarship to study abroad.
(2) Persons who have already qualified for funding from a national state-sponsored study abroad (国家公派留学) program or school program and whose qualifications are still valid, or persons who are currently studying or working abroad.
(3) Persons who have applied for a national state-sponsored study abroad program or school program that has not yet announced admission results.
(4) Persons who have obtained national state-sponsored study abroad qualifications and dropped out of the program without approval by the CSC within the past 5 years, or dropped out after approval by the CSC within the past 2 years. These principles shall also be enforced, mutatis mutandis, with respect to school programs.
(5) Persons who received study abroad funding from the CSC, returned home, and have not completed their five-year service term. For programs with special rules, the relevant rules shall be enforced. These principles shall also be enforced, mutatis mutandis, with respect to school programs.
(6) Persons who have obtained the right of permanent residence abroad.
IV. Application and Selection Process
1. Each department shall organize its selection and recommendation work in accordance with the principles of justice, fairness, and openness, and in consideration of the curriculum development (学科发展) and faculty construction of the department.
2. The expert review conducted by each department shall mainly consider the following aspects:
(1) Overall quality of the applicant: This includes the applicant’s professional foundation, academic grades, experience and abilities, comprehensive performance, international communication abilities (including foreign language level), and development potential.
(2) The research level and international reputation of the foreign educational institution in the selected disciplines and professional fields.
(3) The academic backgrounds and influence in their fields of the relevant foreign instructors, the guidance they have provided to national state-sponsored study abroad program students in previous years, and the number of students they will supervise during the same period.
(4) Whether the study abroad major is urgently needed for national strategies, and whether it is a strong or distinctive discipline of the intended foreign educational institution.
(5) The necessity of studying abroad and the feasibility of the study plan.
The CSC will also conduct a key review of the recommendations of the work unit (单位) and the preparation of application materials. If any processes, such as material review or expert review, do not pass review, applicants from the unit will not be accepted.
|January to February 2019||External contact||The Graduate School of Zhejiang University will launch a series of program publicity activities. Interested students should pay attention to such activities. Instructors and counselors of various schools (departments and institutes) guide or help students who are interested in studying abroad to actively contact foreign instructors to obtain a letter of invitation or admission notice as soon as possible.|
|Starting on January 14, 2019||Online application||The Graduate School shall activate the Online Registration System. Applicants can log in to this system to enter their registration information for the State-Sponsored Graduate Student Program (公派研究生项目). Bachelor’s students must send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive authorization. In the email, that applicant must specify his/her Student ID and name. After receiving authorization, applicants can use their Zhejiang University Pass (浙大通行证) to log in to http://grs.zju.edu.cn/cg/page/|
student/gpyjsp.htm (please use the Chrome browser).
|Before January 28, 2019||Publication on school (department) official website||Each school (department) publishes its implementation method on the homepage of its website|
|Before March 4, 2019||Submit materials to school (department)||The applicant prepares the materials according to the “Materials List and Requirements for the 2019 National State-Sponsored Graduate Student Program Application” and submits them to the school or department for preliminary review.|
|Before March 11, 2019||School (department) review and recommendation||The school or department organizes experts to evaluate the application materials. After a preliminary selection or interview, the evaluation results are truthfully entered in the “School Expert Evaluation Opinion Form.” Then, the recommendation lists (the list of joint-training PhD students needs to be ranked, but the PhD and master’s degree lists do not) together with the application materials to the Graduate School. (Room 812-1, Graduate School Comprehensive Education Building, Zijingang Campus (west side of South Gate))|
|Around March 20, 2019||School review and recommendation||The Graduate School reviews the application materials and produces a list of Zhejiang University candidates for the 2019 “National State-Sponsored Graduate Student Program.”|
|March 21-29, 2019||Final candidate application material preparation and submission||The persons to be recommended will become final candidates after their names are announced without objection. The final candidates will log in to the “CSC Online Registration System” (http://apply.csc.edu.cn) and complete the online registration process. Then, they will print out the “CSC Study Abroad Application Form” (国家留学基金管理委员会出国申请表) and prepare the written application materials to be submitted to the CSC. (Separate notification will be provided.) (The Graduate School will hold a meeting of all the final candidates to provide guidance on online registration and written material preparation. The date of this meeting will be announced later.|
|Before April 12, 2019||Application submission by the school||The Graduate School reviews the online registration information, receives and reviews written materials, and submits them to the CSC.|
|April to May 2019||CSC review||The CSC organizes experts to conduct a review and determine the list of candidates to be admitted. The admission results will be announced through the National State-Sponsored Study Abroad Management Information Platform (国家公派留学管理信息平台).|
|From June 2019||Departure||Accepted applicants apply for the necessary visas, book plane tickets, and prepare for departure.|
V. Departure and Management
1. In principle, study abroad students should depart in the year of application. The study abroad qualifications of accepted applicants are valid until March 31, 2020.
2. The management of study abroad students follows a procedure whereby students sign a contract to depart and are liable to pay compensation for any breach of contract (“签约派出、违约赔偿”). Specifically, management shall be implemented in accordance with the current regulations governing graduate students who study abroad through national state-sponsored study abroad programs.
3. Before departure, while still in China, study abroad students must sign and notarize the Agreement for Subsidized Study Abroad. Then, the student shall complete the departure procedures through the Ministry of Education Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange, Shanghai Pre-Departure Training Center of the Ministry of Education, or the Guangzhou Service Center for Scholarly Exchange. (For more information, see Information for Overseas Study Students.) Study abroad students will only receive CSC funding after they report to the Chinese embassy (consulate) in their destination country within 10 days of arrival and present the Qualification Certificate for Studying Abroad Funding by the CSC and the National State-Sponsored Study Abroad Study Certificate of Registration.
4. During the study abroad period, students shall abide by the laws and regulations of the host country, the relevant regulations for CSC-sponsored study abroad students, and the relevant provisions of the Agreement for Subsidized Study Abroad. They shall consciously accept the management of Chinese embassies (consulates) and shall fulfill their obligation to return home to serve the country after completing their studies.
5. At the end of each semester, the joint-training PhD students must submit a study report signed by their foreign instructors to their Chinese schools and Chinese instructors.
6. The CSC carries out an annual review of the academic progress of graduate students pursuing PhD degrees. The review method will be set out separately. At the end of each semester, joint-training PhD students must submit a study report signed by their foreign instructors to their Chinese schools, Chinese instructors, and relevant embassies (consulates). The CSC will conduct spot checks.
7. During the study abroad period, students shall abide by the laws and regulations of the host country, the relevant regulations for CSC-sponsored study abroad students, and the relevant provisions of the Agreement for Subsidized Study Abroad. They shall consciously accept the management of their recommending units (推选单位) and Chinese embassies (consulates) and shall fulfill their obligation to return home to serve the country after completing their studies.
8. Study abroad students who receive funding shall indicate “This research/achievement/paper has been funded by the CSC” when writing, publishing, or publicizing papers, research projects, or research results produced with the support of CSC funding.
9. Each department shall submit an electronic version of their annual work summary for this program to the Graduate School before the end of December each year. The annual summary shall include information on the current year’s selection process and the list of accepted applicants who did not depart during the current year and their reasons; the academic situations, preliminary or incremental results, and typical examples of students sent abroad in previous years; the whereabouts of the people who have returned to China and their main work accomplishments; and the main problems, improvement measures, and suggestions for the implementation work. The Graduate School formulates the annual program work summary of the school based on the annual work summaries submitted by all departments and submits it to the CSC.
After study abroad students depart, they should strengthen their self-guidance and self-inspection, maintain regular contact, assist the Graduate School, the CSC, and Chinese embassies (consulates) abroad in their foreign management activities, return to China to study/work on schedule, and create favorable conditions to attract outstanding overseas students to return to work in China.
VII. Funding Procedure
The CSC covers round-trip international travel expenses and living expenses during the period of the study abroad scholarship. The funding standards and methods are implemented in accordance with current national regulations.
VII. Key Information
QQ Group for information on the Zhejiang University 2019 National State-Sponsored Study Abroad Program: 589770781 (student ID + name)
Phone number of the State-Sponsored Study Abroad Office of the Graduate Student Training Division: 0571-88981407 (this phone line is busy during the application period, so please carefully read the 2019 National Construction State-Sponsored Study Abroad Program for Graduate Students from High-Caliber Universities news column and these Implementation Measures before calling).
Graduate Student Training Division
January 23, 2019
- Translator’s note: “School” (院) here refers to one of the schools of Zhejiang University (e.g. the School of Computer Science and Technology, etc.).
- Translator’s note: The “Belt and Road” (“一带一路”) refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
- Translator’s note: “Students who bypass a master’s program and go directly into a PhD program” (直博生) are students who excel in their undergraduate studies to such a degree that the PRC Ministry of Education allows them to enroll in PhD programs immediately after receiving their bachelor’s degrees, as if they had earned a master’s degree. The Ministry bestows this designation on only about 500 students per year.
- Translator’s note: “Directed students” (定向生) are students who, upon enrolling as university undergraduates or graduate students, sign a contract to work for a specific employer after graduation. The employer provides the student with a scholarship or pays part of the student’s school fees. Upon graduation, the student is directed to work for the employer. The program is designed to help employers in remote regions, in ethnic minority regions, and in industries with difficult or dangerous working conditions recruit college graduates.
- Translator’s note: “Sponsored students” (委托培养学生; 委培生) are workers who apply to attend a high school, vocational school, or university and sign a contract stipulating that they will go back to work for their original employer after graduation. In exchange, their employer sponsors them and pays their school fees.