China Studies


The PhD in China Studies is a strategic research collaboration between Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University and the University of Liverpool. Upon successful completion of your programme, you will receive a University of Liverpool-issued degree that is recognised by China’s Ministry of Education.

Students will become engaged scholars in humanities and social sciences, with a specific focus on China. The Department of China Studies welcomes applications from various disciplinary backgrounds. Doctoral students can construct research in a wide range of fields, including history, literature, sociology, anthropology, geography, politics and international relations.

Students in this programme are formally registered with the University of Liverpool as off-site postgraduate research students. You will carry out research at XJTLU under supervision. As a PhD student you will have a designated principal supervisor at XJTLU who is a full-time academic staff member, as well as a designated co-supervisor based at the University of Liverpool.

Pursuing a full-time PhD typically involves three years of conducting research and one year of writing a thesis, supported by subject-specific and general skills training and development. A full-time PhD student must submit their thesis within four years (or six years for part-time PhD students).

Why should I do my PhD in China Studies at XJTLU?

Key benefits of this PhD programme:

  • The PhD degree is awarded by the University of Liverpool in the UK. The degree is recognised by the UK Department of Education as well as China’s Ministry of Education;
  • As a registered full-time PhD student, you have the opportunity to apply for a research visit to the University of Liverpool for up to six months. Your accommodation and travel costs will be covered by XJTLU and the University of Liverpool;
  • XJTLU provides every registered PhD student with a conference fund of up to 16,500 RMB. The purpose of this fund is to support students’ academic experience, encourage the dissemination of research, and enhance XJTLU’s research profile nationally and internationally;
  • The programme offers academic training. Students will be able to develop research skills, analyse theories and evidence, design and approach questions systematically, synthetise findings and present them to the broader academic community; and
  • The programme develops the scientific competence in students’ core disciplines, and also equips them with transferable skills, such as problem-solving, project and time management, and writing and communication skills. Students will contribute to and expand the field of China Studies through an extensive piece of original scholarship.

Research areas

  • Chinese society
  • Chinese politics and economy
  • China’s international relations
  • Chinese history, literature and culture

Research environment and facilities

The School of Humanities and Social Sciences provides an international faculty within an intellectually exciting community. This programme benefits from being situated within an English-speaking research university in Suzhou, one of the country’s most vibrant cities. As one of the international business hubs in China, Suzhou provides a wealth of resources for the study of China’s social and cultural changes, as well as the dynamics of economic development.

Potential supervisors

Find out potential supervisors from:

School of Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of China Studies.


Apply for a Scholarship with your own project:

Each academic year includes two application rounds for PhD candidates’ proposed projects.

Application Rounds Deadline Release of results
First Round 17:00 CST(UTC+8), 15 October End of December
Second Round 17:00 CST(UTC+8), 15 April Early July

The scholarship application is only open to those applying for a full-time doctoral programme. For more information, please visitPostgraduate Research Scholarships page.

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