China: China Scholarship Council

PhD Scholarships for Chinese Students

Chinese students have an opportunity to apply for funding to do their PhD studies abroad through the China Scholarship Council (CSC) for a maximum of 48 months. UMCG supervisors who are in touch with a Chinese prospective PhD student may request support from the Graduate School of Medical Sciences to facilitate the candidate's application to CSC funding. Prospective Chinese PhD students interested in biomedical and health sciences may consult the UMCG website and the Research Portfolio for the most important research lines available.

UMCG representatives will be conducting interviews during the PhD Workshop China in Beijing (23 & 24 November 2019) and Shanghai (26 November 2019).

For Prospective PhD Students

We welcome you to look into our Research Portfolio or download the brochure. You can find the outline of the PhD curriculum in the PhD Study Guide. Chinese students applying for a PhD position through the China Scholarship Council must meet the following requirements:

  • You are a Chinese student graduated from a Chinese or international university
  • You are in the final year of your master's degree or in the first year of your PhD at the time of the application
  • You would like to apply to CSC funding for a full PhD scholarship (max. 48 months) at the University of Groningen/UMCG, or a sandwich PhD scholarship (max. 24 months) in case you are already enrolled in a PhD program in China
  • You meet the selection criteria set out by CSC by completing the CSC Application Form and the CSC Employer Reference Form which can be found on  the website of the China Scholarship Council
  • Your supervisor at the University of Groningen/UMCG has accepted you and obtained a letter of acceptance from the Graduate School of Medical Sciences. Your supervisor has positively assessed important criteria for admission, such as your academic qualifications as well as proficiency in English (guidelines TOEFL 92 IBT or IELTS 6.5)
  • You agree to return to China upon completion of your PhD project in case you will be awarded the CSC scholarship

Feel free to contact us or the University of Groningen's Chinese representative Ms. Yang LIU for more information. Make sure to include your CV and a summary of your main research interests.

Important update 2020

As of 2020, CSC applicants to a full PhD (3-4 years) at the University of Groningen (UG) are recommended to apply via the CSC "cooperation channel" and not via the "individual channel". In accordance with the agreement between UG and CSC, students applying through the cooperation channel compete amongst each other for the full PhD scholarships reserved by CSC for UG. Students applying through the individual channel compete with all other Chinese applicants to CSC.

Note that this information does not apply to Chinese students who are already enrolled in a PhD program and wish to apply to a Sandwich PhD position of up to 24 months at UG or visiting scholars; they should follow the instructions on the CSC website and always apply through the CSC "individual channel".

For UMCG Supervisors

  • The primary responsibility for the evaluation of the Chinese prospective PhD candidates lies with you. In addition to academic skills, proficiency in English is extremely important. Guidelines for language assessment are TOEFL 92 or IELTS 6.5. This is not a strict condition, but the Graduate School of Medical Sciences trusts that language skills will have been thoroughly checked by the PI via (Skype) interviews
  • You should request the letter of acceptance for your Chinese CSC candidate with Mathilde Pekelaer of the Graduate School of Medical Sciences. 
  • In case of questions or doubts about the Chinese Higher Education system, you may contact Ms. Jing Zheng of the department for International Strategy and Relations at the University of Groningen
  • The official application period for Chinese candidates to apply to CSC is March - April. In most cases, the student's home university will conduct a pre-selection of the candidates they will propose to CSC. These deadlines vary per university, but may sometimes be as early as December. Therefore, consult with your candidate about internal university deadlines.
  • The results of the CSC application will be published in May 2020. Due to practicalities such as visa applications, a realistic possible start date of the PhD project in Groningen is 1 October.

In accordance with the agreement between CSC and the University of Groningen, the CSC scholarship covers a maximum of 48 months of individual student costs. The University of Groningen waives all institutional fees. Principal Investigators of the UMCG may request the standard bench fee for externally financed CSC candidates with the Graduate School of Medical Sciences for the period of stay of the candidate.

In addition to full PhD scholarships, CSC also provides sandwich PhD scholarships up to 24 months. The same internal UMCG admissions procedure applies in case you have a sandwich PhD candidate who would like to apply to CSC.

Letter of Acceptance for CSC candidate

In order to prepare the letter of acceptance for CSC applicants, UMCG UMCG Principal Investigators should provide the Graduate School of Medical Sciences with the following supporting information and documents:

CV of the candidate, including:

  • Full name (in English and Chinese)
  • Place & date of birth as it should appear in the Letter of Acceptance for CSC (calendars in China and Europe may differ, please check with candidate!)
  • Candidate's e-mail address
  • Name of the university the candidate graduated from or, in case of sandwich PhD, name of the candidate's home university

About the project:

  • Total number of months of CSC funding requested (max. 48 months)
  • Provisional start date PhD project (realistically: 1 October 2020 or later)
  • PhD project title
  • Title(s) and name(s) supervisor(s) and their departmental affiliation

Information should be sent to the Graduate School of Medical Sciences no later than 15 March 2020.

Important Deadlines

  • 15 March 2020: deadline for UMCG Principal Investigator to request a letter of acceptance with the Graduate School of Medical Sciences
  • 20 March 2020: deadline Graduate School of Medical Sciences to provide PI supervisor & candidate with a letter of acceptance
  • 10 March - 31 March 2020: Chinese PhD candidate applies to CSC
  • May 2020: results published by CSC


  • To request a Letter of Acceptance: Mathilde Pekelaer
  • Information on UMCG & CSC: prof. dr Nico Bos
  • If you are a prospective Chinese student looking for a UMCG supervisor: prof. dr Nico Bos