The number of foreign students enrolling in Chinese universities is increasing. About 320,000 overseas students came to China in 2012. Students from South Korea and the United States comprise the largest national groups among these students. By 2020, China plans to host 500,000 international students.
The hierarchy of Chinese academia, the parallel academic and political structures around and within it, can be difficult to interpret. Foreign students and teachers alike can find themselves puzzled as to when and with whom to approach student and professional relationships. This article is a short introduction to a few of the titles that graduate students will encounter when undertaking a degree in China, especially if they do so in a Chinese language programme in which most classmates are Chinese. 导师 Daoshi Taken independently the first of these two characters, 导 (dao3) means ‘to teach or give guidance to’. 师 (shi1) has the meaning ‘teacher or master’. Together, these form the word daoshi, which is Chinese for…