China Scholarship Council
The University of St Andrews has a collaborative agreement with the China Scholarship Council to develop research collaborations between the UK and Chinese universities and research institutions.
Funding is available through the China Scholarship Council – University of St Andrews Scholarships (PhD programmes) to full and joint PhD students who have been offered a place to study a PhD at the University of St Andrews, and priority will be given to study within the following areas:
- International Relations.
Students studying other subjects may also be considered.
More information about the scholarships can be found in the CSC Scholarship leaflet 2020 (PDF) .
Please be aware that in-country language tests are no longer available. Any applicants who successfully took the University of St Andrews in-country language test in 2018 will meet the requirements, as the certificate is valid for 24 months.
Before applying for the China Scholarship Council and University of St Andrews Scholarship, please read the China Scholarship Council’s terms and conditions. During the scholarship application process, you will be asked to confirm that you have read and agree to these terms and conditions.
There are two types of postgraduate programmes available to you at St Andrews:
Four years in St Andrews. On successful completion, students will graduate with a PhD from the University of St Andrews.
Visiting PhD students
One year in St Andrews (6 to 24 months by agreement). Students will be supervised throughout their visit by supervisors at St Andrews. Students will return to China to defend their dissertation and, if successful, their PhD title will be conferred by their home institution in China.
We offer PhD programmes in all areas of Arts, Humanities and Sciences. Further information can be found in the Postgraduate Prospectus 2020 (PDF) .
Candidates should be intending to pursue study or research in one of the academic areas identified by the University of St Andrews and CSC as listed above. However, applicants to other study or research areas will also be considered subject to the availability of relevant programmes of study at the University of St Andrews.
Up to 30 scholarships will be supported for full PhD students entering the University in 2020-2021. Up to 10 scholarships will be supported for visiting PhD students.
The University of St Andrews will cover the full tuition fee and local research costs for the duration of the programme (in respect of any period covered by CSC funding).
The China Scholarship Council will cover the living costs to include accommodation and subsistence. The China Scholarship Council will also cover a return international air fare to the UK, together with passport and visa application fees.
More information on funding and the eligibility criteria can be found on China Scholarship Council Scholarship web page
You must meet the normal requirements for entry into a PhD programme at the University of St Andrews. This is usually a Bachelor's degree from a prestigious university with a mark of 80% (or equivalent of 3.2 GPA) and above for a Chinese university or 65% and above for a UK university, or a Masters degree. The degree of MD (Medicine) requires a medical qualification that is recognised by the UK General Council.
You must be a national of and ordinarily resident in mainland China (not including Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan). You must also be intending to return to China once your course is completed.
Scholarships will be awarded on the basis of academic merit, potential to become a leader in your field, and potential to become a decision-maker and opinion former within China.
Candidates should satisfy the selection criteria set out by CSC.
English language ability
The China Scholarship Council will only award funding to those applicants who receive an unconditional offer of admission from the University of St Andrews. You must, therefore, meet the English language requirements on application to this programme. We accept a range of qualifications as evidence of English language proficiency. Research students are generally expected to have a minimum level of English language ability of CEFR B2+ to C1 (IELTS 6.5 to 7.5 or an equivalent score in another English language test). Exact requirements may vary by School.
If you have completed the equivalent of a Bachelor's degree in a minimum of three years in a majority English-speaking country, we will not require further evidence of your English language proficiency. For further advice on qualifications and scores we accept, please read information for English language requirements for postgraduates.
The application is a two-stage process: applicants apply first to the University of St Andrews and, on receipt of a course offer, are then invited to apply to CSC. Full details are available at: China Scholarship Council and University of St Andrews Scholarship.
The University is delighted to welcome CSC students to St Andrews. Many of our students have shared their experiences of studying at St Andrews through the CSC collaboration; below are just a few of their statements.
'St Andrews is an ideal place to study. There is a peaceful atmosphere, impressive natural beauty to enjoy, and high-quality education. The university attracts students from all around the world, which exposes us to international culture and enables us to make friends with people from diverse backgrounds. Academic staff are always approachable and patient. The university’s modern facilities provide students with a convenient environment for pursuing knowledge. Advanced experimental equipment and passionate researchers motivate us to conduct cutting-edge scientific studies. From romantic surroundings to close relationships, the university and the town have left me with an unforgettable experience and good memories. The time I’ve spent here has been the most enjoyable period in my life.'
Bowen Zhang, CSC PhD student, School of Physics and Astronomy.
'St Andrews offers a truly amazing starting point for the challenging pursuit of an academic career. Situated on the east coast of Scotland, this historic town is an ideal place for life and work. As a medievalist, I can hardly expect a better place to indulge myself in a vibrant and supportive intellectual environment. Helpful staff members, knowledgeable and encouraging faculty members, and talented fellow students. Also, a variety of interdisciplinary research institutes beyond my own School and Department, which hold regular seminars, annual lectures, and conferences, and provide an abundant source of inspiration and an exciting arena for scholarly communication. Apart from research skills, the university also cares about training in pedagogy and communication skills, which would effectively prepare doctoral students for future career success. The scholarship scheme offered by the university in collaboration with the China Scholarship Council brings an extraordinary opportunity for Chinese students to explore their academic dream in this tranquil yet lively old town - do not hesitate to join us!'
Jiazhu Hu, CSC PhD student, School of History
'The University of St Andrews is an international institution with a world-class reputation. As a student here, you can benefit from the strong academic atmosphere, accessible resources and opportunities, supportive faculty and staff, whilst as a member of the local community, you are going to enjoy the beautiful scenery along the coast, the hospitality of local people, and the diverse range of activities on offer.'
Da Zhang, CSC PhD student, School of Psychology and Neuroscience
We have welcomed over 100 talented Chinese students on this scholarship. They each receive a unique four-week induction course, CSC-STARI, run by our English Language Teaching department, to help them integrate into the local community and prepare them for academic study.
The aim of the induction course is to help CSC students make the transition to doctoral research at the University. It is a non-credit-bearing module, which students starting in August take during the first month of their research programmes. The module is fairly intensive with over 75 hours of in-class study over four weeks, and is divided into three main strands:
- an introduction to doctoral-level study
- an induction to the University
- research and everyday communication skills.
The scholars are also involved in events and excursions which are designed to introduce the local area and encourage an appreciation of Scottish history and culture.
As a doctoral student at the University of St Andrews you will be part of a growing, vibrant, and intellectually stimulating postgraduate community. St Andrews is one of the leading research-intensive universities in the world and offers a postgraduate experience of remarkable richness.
St Leonard’s Doctoral and Postgraduate College is at the heart of the postgraduate community of St Andrews. The College supports all postgraduates and aims to provide opportunities for postgraduates to come together, socially and intellectually, and make new connections.
St Leonard’s College works closely with the Postgraduate Society which is one of the most active societies within the Students’ Association. All doctoral students are automatically welcomed into the Postgraduate Society when they join the University.
In addition to the research training that doctoral students complete in their home School, doctoral students at St Andrews have access to GRADskills – a free, comprehensive training programme to support their academic, professional, and personal development.
Watch this video about postgraduate study at St Andrews to find out more about student life here.