Online Seminar:
Undergraduate to Graduate Study Sharing Seminar


Should I continue to pursue my studies at a graduate school, or should I enter the workforce instead?

How to apply to graduate school?

What are the differences between undergraduate and graduate courses?

How can I pursue a Master’s degree in a different field?

In order to answer the above questions, the organizer invited four seniors with different professional backgrounds to share their valuable experiences with us on November 21st.

Moreover, we have compiled all the key takeaways for you to refer to. Let’s have a review on the Guide to Graduate School shared by the seniors!

Lim Xiang Xu (STEM)

Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Graduate Degree: Industrial Engineering ’19

Undergraduate Degree: Industrial Engineering ’17


Personal Experience

Reasons for studying: To have a deeper understanding of my profession; Get ready to enter the workplace.

Advantages and Disadvantages of studying graduate courses at SJTU: 

  • Advantages: Familiar with the environment, having your own interpersonal network, good ranking, low cost, scholarships and financial support.
  • Disadvantages: Due to the epidemic situation, we have to attend online classes, thus there is no geographical advantages; Eastern education.


The choice of research institutions

Region: Consider from the perspective of country and city.

The goodness of fit of the field of study: Choose from three aspects including teaching cadre, faculties and research.

Scholarship and university rankings: Generally, the lower the university ranking, the easier to apply for scholarships; higher-ranking institutions have difficulty applying for scholarships.


How to apply to graduate school?


  1. Academic achievement (intuitive judgment of students’ undergraduate learning outcomes).

  2. Relevant competitions and organizations (deepened the understanding of relevant majors and enhance competitiveness).

  3. Scientific research projects (accumulating personal scientific research experience and ability).

  4. Others (language proficiency or other materials that can emphasize your value).

Generally, early admission will be opened at the end of the year. Applicants can find out the application information by browsing the official website of each university and make preparations in advance.

It is recommended to apply to at least two universities.

Different universities or faculties may have different requirements. You should prepare corresponding application materials according to the situation. For example, transcripts, personal statements, letters of recommendation, TOEFL (studying in the United States, valid for 2 years), IELTS (studying in Europe, valid for 2 years), etc. Therefore, it is not recommended to apply to too many universities, because it is very time-consuming and laborious.

International students who apply for graduate studies in China usually apply with their undergraduate scores through the official website of each university (unlike the undergraduates could be assisted by Dong Zong).

There may be differences in the application methods, achievement standards and special requirements among universities and majors. Hence, you should review the program-specific application standard on the official website according to your situation.

Chau Yong Qi (Business)

Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Graduate Degree: Applied Economics ’19

Undergraduate Degree: Economics ’15


Personal Experience

Reasons for studying: Interested in academic research, hoping to get in touch with more relevant projects.

Reasons for choosing SJTU: 

  • I am interested in the curriculum arrangement and training plan of my graduate program.
  • I want to continue my research with my undergraduate thesis advisor.


Graduate student’s life

It varies from person to person, depending on majors, tutor and personal planning.

Take the guest speaker’s major and her own arrangement for example:

The period of academic master’s degree in Applied Economics is 2.5 years. In the first 1.5 years, I arranged to complete the credits, do research with my tutors, and prepare my graduation thesis in the final.

Every week, I attend a group meeting organized by my tutor, and have academic exchanges with my seniors, such as sharing the academic thesis I have read or research progress. Besides, I will also attend academic conferences.

Academic master’s degree not necessarily to do scientific research or publish articles. It depends on the professional training plan.


Selection and advice on getting along with tutor

You can get in touch with your tutor in the class or by email. If you want to apply for graduate programs in other universities, you may browse the research directions of the tutor on the website. If you are interested, you can email the tutors and ask for more information.

When choosing a tutor, you can put forward your own requirements to the tutor in advance.

Each tutor’s requirements are different, so it depends on whether the tutor meets your requirements.

A good tutor is very important, because he or she is closely related to how you arrange your graduate life.

Your mentor is not only an academic tutor, but also gives guidance in other aspects, such as future planning.

Getting along with your tutor sincerely. Be honest and don’t exaggerate your strength.


Preparations and tips for graduate studies

Academic performance: Try not to fail the course.

Mathematics: Graduate students majoring in business will definitely use mathematics; If you don’t take the math class in your undergraduate study, it might affect your admission, but it will mostly depend on the performance of other applicants and your comprehensive performance.

Application: Be sure to look at the course arrangement in the professional training plan.

Interview: Including self-introduction, future planning, graduation thesis topic selection, etc.

It is suggested to consider the universities from the aspects of university rankings, professional teachers, course content, tuition fees and scholarships.

Hong Wan Wen (Arts)

Shanghai Conservatory of Music

Graduate Degree: Musical Singing ’20

Undergraduate Degree: Musical Theatre & Drama Performance 16′

Personal Experience

Reasons for studying: There are relatively more professional development opportunities in Shanghai. If you want to stay in Shanghai to apply for a work permit after graduation, you should have a graduate degree or above. Besides, I am very interested in my major and want to study it in depth.

Curriculum differences between graduate and undergraduate students:
(Take Musical Theatre and Drama Performance as an example)

  • Undergraduate courses are relatively comprehensive, and there are more collective courses.
  • Graduate courses are more flexible. Students are free to choose courses they are interested in, and have a better chance for deep learning.

How to apply for graduate courses in art institutions?

If you are interested in studying for a graduate degree, please download the application form from the university’s official website, submit it with the required materials, and pay the application fee.

The difference between the application of art institutions and other universities lies in that applicants must take the entrance exam (commonly known as the “art exam”), and only those who pass the exam can get admission from the school.

Applicants of art institutions must download the admission brochure for recruiting foreign students for graduate studies, which will list the examination contents, time and place, etc.

Examination procedures of art institutions

The entrance examination is divided into preliminary examination and final examination, and candidates must pass each professional examination. Different majors have different examination contents. The school will select the candidates according to their scores.

The number of international students enrolled is separated from that of China students. An exact headcount of enrolment depends on the candidates in that year.

Application for scholarship

Take Shanghai Conservatory of Music as an example:

  • Shanghai Government Scholarship (SGS) and Chinese Government Scholarship (CGS): Only for freshmen in the first year.
  • Application method: Official website of the university and the notice from the counsellor.
  • Content of evaluation: Academic achievement and comprehensive achievements.
  • The number of places awarded will be selected according to the applicants each year.

Tips on graduate entrance examination in art institutions

For those who are interested in art graduate study, it is recommended to start your preparation as early as possible. Art institutions pay great attention to students’ professional level. You can prepare in advance according to the general rules of enrolment in previous years.

You may ask the seniors of the applying institution for private counselling, by doing so, you would have a better understanding of the professional level requirements of the institution; If your financial condition is allowed, you may also find a teacher to have private classes.

It is recommended to apply to 1-2 universities at the same time, provided that there is no conflict between the examination time.

Phoebe Le (Arts)

Northwest University (Undergraduate)

East China Normal University (Graduate)

Graduate Degree: Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages ’21

Undergraduate Degree: Cultural Relics & Museology ’17

Personal Experience

Reasons for studying: Settle myself down; Job consideration (because it is difficult to find a job for Cultural Relics & Museology in Malaysia).

Reasons and considerations for cross-disciplinary graduate studies:

  • You must have a certain foundation before choosing the major. For example, liberal arts students can choose language courses.
  • Students with an International Chinese major can work in Malaysia as well as working abroad.
  • She doesn’t want to spend too much time on her graduate’s study, so she chose this major.
  • She doesn’t want to apply the graduate degree in her undergraduate university because she wants to change her study environment.

Difficulties encountered in admission and solutions:

  • Difficulties: Doesn’t understand the professional vocabularies, only know some learning requirements and the sense of urgency after entering school; unfamiliar with her teachers, which leads to anxiety.
  • Solutions:
    1. Prepare professional books, learn professional vocabularies, and read a lot of literature before school starts.

    2. Create a timetable, take concrete action to relieve anxiety, and chat with friends regularly.


Introduction of “Teaching Chinese to Speaker of Other Languages” (TCSOL):

Take East China Normal University as an example:

  • It can be divided into professional masters (usually for international students) and academic masters (for Chinese students).
  • The core training program of professional master’s degree is to train excellent international Chinese teachers and pay attention to the application and practice of professional knowledge, while academic masters is inclined to write and publish articles.
  • The duration of study is two years.
  • Learning schedule: 36 credits must be completed in the first and second semester; Thesis proposal presentation at the end of the second semester; Professional internship and graduation thesis preparation in the third semester; Graduation thesis writing and graduation defense in the fourth semester.

University application process

The choice of research institutions: First, choose the environment, then choose the school according to the academic department, and finally choose two universities with a clear objective.

How to apply: Official website of each university (Please pay attention to the deadline of each university).

Application materials (take TCSOL as an example): Self-recommendation letter, relevant thesis (according to the length required by the university you are applying for), professor’s recommendation letter, certificate of no criminal conviction (prior application is required), registration fee, HSK, HSKK (mandatory requirement of TCSOL), etc.

Application for scholarship

Shanghai Government Scholarship (SGS)

International Scholarship for Chinese Teachers (Confucius Institute Scholarship): 

Performance requirements after entering the school—the scores of all subjects should not be less than 85 marks, and the Confucius Institute Scholarship cannot be reserved for students with suspension or withdrawal from school. HSK (level 5) and HSKK intermediate exams need to be taken every year.

Chinese Government Scholarship (CGS)

Cross-disciplinary interview questions for graduate students

For example:

  • Reasons for cross-disciplinary graduate studies and why didn’t apply for a graduate degree in your undergraduate university?
  • What’s your understanding of the Chinese Language for International Education?
  • What is your research direction in the future?
  • What are your HSK, HSKK results?
  • Did you apply to any other schools? Which school is your first choice?
  • Will you continue pursuing your study in our school without a scholarship? (Must answer truthfully)

You can check out the recap video below!

Greatest gratitude to our guest speakers for their meticulous preparation and sharing. We hope that this sharing session can give you some direction when you feel confused and helpless.

We wish you all the best in your future studies, and make your own path in life. 

Hope to see you again in the next sharing session!

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Chan Hui Min

Copy Editing

Lim Xing Yi