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How North American Universities Evaluate Your Chinese Degree

Thursday | December 21, 2017 | by WES Advisor

Chinese international students

During the 2016 – 2017 school year, Chinese students accounted for over 30 percent of the international student populations in both the U.S. and Canada. In fact, China as a country is the top source of international students for U.S. and Canadian universities.

If you are a Chinese student interested in studying in North America, you will be happy to learn that the Chinese higher education system is similar to that of the U.S. and Canada.

There are some important considerations you should take into account, however, when applying to North American universities and beginning the credential evaluation process as a Chinese international student.

WES Advisor sat down with the Quality Assurance Director at WES to learn more about how Chinese credentials are evaluated. Continue reading to see the answers to common Chinese credential evaluation questions.

How is a Chinese associate’s degree evaluated?

For U.S. evaluations, WES considers a Chinese associate’s degree as the equivalent of a U.S. associate’s degree. With a course-by-course evaluation, the education level is categorized as “undergraduate,” and all courses taken as well as credits earned are categorized as “lower” level.

For Canadian evaluations, the Chinese associate’s degree is equivalent to a two- or three-year Canadian diploma. It depends on the length of the Chinese associate’s degree, whether it was two or three years’ long. With a course-by-course evaluation, the education level is categorized as “post-secondary.”

Can Chinese students who are in their third or fourth year of college, but haven’t completed their degrees yet, be evaluated?

Yes. In fact, approximately 85 percent of WES Chinese applicants have not graduated and are still completing their studies. WES equates however many years of undergraduate or professional studies you have completed accordingly. For example, if a Chinese applicant is in the final year of their degree program, WES will add the following remark to their credential evaluation report:

Enrolled in the final year of a program leading to a bachelor’s degree, which is equivalent to a bachelor’s degree in the United States (or a four-year bachelor’s degree in Canada); the anticipated date of degree conferral is July 2018.

This remark serves a couple of purposes. It shows that the applicant is a degree candidate, and it indicates their expected graduation date and degree awarding date.

This way, graduate admissions offices in the U.S. or Canada will make their admission decision on the basis of the applicant’s WES credential evaluation report.

Note: Upon completing your program of study and earning your degree (and assuming your U.S. or Canadian graduate school requires a degree evaluation), you can return to WES for a second credential evaluation.

Does WES evaluate incomplete studies at the graduate level?

Although WES also evaluates incomplete and in-progress graduate-level studies, remarks are not offered in these instances.

How are Chinese self-study programs evaluated?

It is important to note that WES does evaluate Chinese self-study programs. If you earn a Zhuanke graduation certificate in a self-study program, WES will equate the certificate to an associate’s degree in the U.S. and to a diploma in Canada. If you earn a bachelor’s degree in a self-study program, WES will equate your bachelor’s degree to a bachelor’s degree in the U.S. or Canada. For a course-by-course evaluation, WES requires examination results instead of an academic transcript issued by the self-study examination committee.

What should Chinese international students know before they apply for a WES evaluation?

Students should provide complete academic transcripts listing all the courses taken, as well as all grades and credits earned.

If you took a gap year or completed a semester at a different university during your academic career, you must ask the university registrar for a letter or statement documenting that semester or year. If you studied abroad and have transferred credits, your home university transcript needs to list course titles, credits, and grades, as well as the name of the institution or university where the exchange study took place. If this information is not on your home university transcript, you will need to request that the exchange institution or university send the transcript directly to WES.

WES cannot provide an accurate evaluation if anything is missing because U.S. and Canadian admission offices require this information. In order to avoid unnecessary delays, we encourage students to gather their documents and begin the evaluation process well in advance of school application deadlines.

How to Apply to WES

Carefully review the required documents for China. Certain documents must be verified and sent directly to WES by one of the following Ministry of Education-designated agencies:

Review the information for each agency and select the one that is appropriate for you.

Before you order a credential evaluation report, you can also check out our free tools to see the U.S. equivalency for your GPA and degree certificate:

  • WES Degree Equivalency ToolThis tool includes most degrees awarded by recognized degree-granting institutions; however, not all degrees and institutions may be available.
  • WES GPA CalculatorThis tool provides a U.S. GPA calculated on a 4.0 scale.

WES Advisor is an initiative of World Education Services, a non-profit organization with over 40 years of experience in international education. We provide tips and advice for international students and skilled immigrants to help them make informed decisions about education, employment, and immigration opportunities in the U.S. and Canada.