Focus: Chinese independent colleges – 独立学院

UK NARIC has recently seen a steep rise in the number of enquiries about Chinese independent colleges.

These institutions tend to be developed by a private education provider and are affiliated to a degree awarding institution known as the ‘mother’ higher education instutition (HEI). The link between the college and HEI should be approved by the Ministry of Education but the colleges are independent from the ‘mother’ HEI in terms of admission, teaching and funding. Entry requirements to these institutions are generally lower and, as they are private/semi-private, tuition fees tend to be higher. Upon graduation from an independent college, students are awarded a Graduation Certificate (毕业证书) by the college and a Degree Certificate (学位证书) by the ‘mother’ HEI if the course has met the requirements of the Academic Degrees Committee of the People’s Republic of China.

From early 2012, a large number of independent colleges have been granted their own degree awarding power. Students graduating from independent colleges with degree awarding power are awarded both a Graduation Certificate and a Degree Certificate by the college itself. Colleges with such power are overseen by the provincial education bureaus and, to date, no central list of independent colleges with degree awarding power has been published by the Ministry of Education. UK NARIC are working with the Chinese authorities to establish the status of these institutions and will publish a complete list of these institutions for UK NARIC members as soon as it becomes available.

Elizabeth Evans, December 2012

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