China Scholarship Council and University of St Andrews Scholarships

The University of St Andrews has a collaborative agreement with The China Scholarship Council to develop research collaborations between the UK and Chinese universities/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 in one of the following study areas:

  • Sciences - Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth & Environmental Sciences, Geography & Sustainable Development, Mathematics & Statistics, Medicine, Physics & Astronomy, Psychology & Neuroscience.
  • Arts and Humanities - Economics, Management.

Students studying other subjects may also be considered.

More information about the scholarships can be found in the China Scholarship Council and University of St Andrews Scholarships for PhD Programmes leaflet (PDF, 835 KB)

PhD options

There are two types of postgraduate programmes available to you at St Andrews:

Full-time PhDs

4 years in St Andrews

On successful completion, students will graduate with a PhD from the University of St Andrews.

Joint PhD students

1 year in St Andrews (6 to 24 months by agreement). Students will be supervised throughout their visit by supervisor(s) 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.

PhD projects

We offer PhD programmes in all areas of arts, humanities and sciences.  Further information can be found in the Research Programmes prospectus.

Candidates should be intending to pursue study/research in one of the academic areas identified by the University of St Andrews and CSC as listed above. However applicants to other study/research areas will also be considered subject to the availability of relevant programmes of study at the University of St Andrews.

Entrance requirements

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 an overall mark of 85% or above, 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 assessed on a case by case basis. Students are generally expected to have a score of IELTS 6.5 – 7.0 or equivalent.

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.

English language testing in China

The University of St Andrews will conduct language tests in China for students intending to apply to the CSC programme. The test can be taken instead of IELTS. If a student performs successfully in the test, the University will inform the UK visa authority (UKVI) that the student’s language competence is sufficient for their PhD in St Andrews. The test costs £50 and there are two sections: Reading and Writing, and Speaking and Listening.

There are currently two dates available for testing:

  • Beijing - Friday 20 October 2017
  • Shanghai - Friday 27 October 2017

To apply for a place at one of these testing sites, please complete the online booking form.

If you have difficulties accessing the form or wish further information then please email


Up to 30 scholarships will be supported per year for full PhD students. Up to 10 scholarships will be supported per year for joint 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.

How to apply

This section will be updated soon with information for 2018 entry.

The application is a two-stage process. Students apply to St Andrews and CSC separately.

Stage one

 Apply to the University of St Andrews:

  1. Candidates should submit a research application form to the University of St Andrews before the deadline of Friday 20 January 2017. Candidates should select the drop down option ‘I have applied for or I will be receiving a bursary or scholarship’ in the Fees and Funding section of the application form and specify ‘CSC St Andrews Scholarship (4 years)' or 'CSC St Andrews Scholarship (1 year)' in the free text box.
  2. Successful candidates will be issued with an unconditional offer letter from the University of St Andrews by Wednesday 15 February 2017.
  3. The offer will clarify that the University of St Andrews will cover the candidate’s full tuition fees and local research costs, subject to their obtaining CSC’s support.

Stage two

Apply to The China Scholarship Council (CSC):

After receiving the unconditional offer letter from the University of St Andrews candidates must also apply to CSC for funding by completing an application, including references,  for funding between Friday 17 February and Sunday 26 February 2017.  Please apply to The China Scholarship Council online.

Please see the CSC Information (Word, 685 KB) document for further details.

What happens next?

  1. CSC will review the candidates’ eligibility according to CSC requirements and priorities.
  2. CSC and the University of St Andrews will invite candidates to interview which will take place in China between Tuesday 14 March and Friday 17 March 2017.
  3. CSC will announce successful candidates at the end of March 2017.
  4. The successful candidates will be informed in writing with further information about becoming an entrant at St Andrews.