The Trajectory of Chinese Doctoral Education and Scientific Research


Dramatic enrollment expansion at the undergraduate level and institutional diversification are characteristics frequently used to describe major trends in China's massive higher education system. A less understood phenomenon is the relatively new and rapid establishment of graduate level programs that have implications for national economic development. As described in this study, beginning in the early 1980s, the Chinese government launched the first of a number of reforms meant to encourage the development of graduate programs and to change the face of China's higher education system. These programs were a substantial success. The quick development of the Ph.D. programs and the increasing number of students are part of a larger effort by the national government to increase China's national economic competitiveness and to both retain talent and attract Chinese nationals with graduate degrees to return to a robust economy with growing universities and research centers. At the same time, Chinese graduate education is still developing, and it faces many challenges. There is a need to both increase enrollment and to significantly improve the quality of its faculty and academic programs, with a focus on increasing the ability of students to pursue both scientific research and their knowledge of other nations and cultures.

Wanhua Ma
Publication date: 
August 1, 2007
Publication type: 
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS)
The Trajectory of Chinese Doctoral Education and Scientific Research. Wanhua Ma. CSHE.12.07 (August 2007)