CFD Online Discussion Forums

CFD Online Discussion Forums (
-   Main CFD Forum (
-   -   PhD in China (

Rui March 16, 2007 13:42

PhD in China

I'd like to hear opinions about doing a PhD in CFD in China.

I suppose, nowadays, there are good universities and very well qualified people working in Chinese universities. But what's your opinion? And what about resources? Do you think the access to information, books, scientific publications, is comparable to european universities? And the language? I don't think so, but would domain of Chinese be necessary?

And what would be the best universiy to do a PhD in CFD?


Harry March 17, 2007 18:18

Re: PhD in China
Resources are no problem if you are qualified to enter our good research institute/university, e.g. the first 20 university. Please note that CFD is only a research tool, thus the reputation of your expected university completely depends on your research project. The point is also valid to other counties. Hence it is extremely difficult to identify the best CFD university. If you really want to find a institute/university in China to pursue Ph.D degree, same to the situation about finding a study opportunity in other country, you are supposed to ask yourself the following questions:

Do you only want to get a tool (CFD)? If yes, I suggest you join other countries' university like Empire College in England. It is because she is one of the best. When you say "no" and want to drive CFD to serve your major, I can say there are some research groups available in China and they are conducting world-leading research work. In the Internet website, you can directly get this information which is open to anybody in the world. Your final conclusion and decision can be made on base of significance research work and publications from the research group of interest.

I think I can only provide you such general information as your questions are really big.

KKKhan March 18, 2007 22:26

Re: PhD in China
It is very diffucult to persue your Phd in any field here in china, because of the language barear, even their are strong group but of no use for you, if u can't understand chinese language. i made a big mistake by choosing china for my PhD studies in CFD as major as i only depend on self studies and no advantage of any group discussion and seminars even in my own institute. I suggest you that , if you have an option for other countries then prefer them on china.

Harry March 19, 2007 07:54

Re: PhD in China
Language is a big problem for non-Chinese speaking students. You need be careful of it when you choose your supervisor. But English communication is no problem in some institutes, thus the thing is not bad as what KKKhan said. Any way this is a comprehensive decision. I hope there are some institutes/universities which deserve your concern.

Wenxuan March 20, 2007 16:14

Re: PhD in China
I guess the best university to do phd in CFD should be Peking University (or Beijing University, same thing). For the supervisor, there is a famous professor at that university, Chen Shiyi. Have you heard anything about him? He is the guy who did some distinguished initial work on Lattice Boltzmann Method. He is the dean of the dept of mechanical engineering at jhu, US and spends around 6 months there every year. However he has some graduate students in peking university. I f you go there, you won't encounter any language problems while working with him.

But for your living, it is quite tough if you can not speak Chinese. Almost nobody speaks English in China. You may think the situation will be better in universities. But the truth is that the students there know English well but they can't communicate with other guys. Of course, there are some exceptions. Anyway, my point is, you can survive in China especially in campus if your only needs are studying in lab, eating in the cafeteria, or playing basketball in the hall. The students' English is enough to help you to face those matters. But if you want smth more, I would say you'd better make another choice.

xqy March 21, 2007 00:27

Re: PhD in China
There are a lot of foreign student studied in China. As I know, they live and study very well although only a few chinese people can communicate in English at the moment. If you really want to study Ph.D in China, these matters are minor.

A famous supervisor is better but not important. He is only famous in one typical area, in other area, he is the same as you. As a student, the knowledge you accumulated is mainly from yourself, not your supervisor.

anon March 21, 2007 00:47

Re: PhD in China - don't do it!
The biggest problem with doing PhD research in Asia is the different approach taken towards a PhD, compared to a typical western university.

The western concept usually considers a PhD to require ground-breaking research, in some form ie. develop new ideas which can form the platform for new research.

The Asian model typically thinks that one can simply follow an almost copy-&-sightly-improve approach. In other words, a glorified masters degree.

Another problem you will discover in Asia is that once you get past the level of expertise of your advisers, that suddenly their input comes to a grinding halt in an effort to save face & preserve their pride. Either that, or they will try & steer you towards something they are comfortable with & understand, rather than your new area of research.

My sincere advice is for a western researcher to rather study in a society which has a similar thought process to you. Don't waste your time getting involved in cultural paradigms with all their bias & frustrations.

I have personally learned through bitter experience on this one & would not wish it on my worst enemy - besides the almost total waste of money.

Ben March 21, 2007 10:38

Re: PhD in China - don't do it!
I seriously think that "anon" is too biased in his/her statements, although he/she seems to have experienced it before.

I agree that this may be happening in some universities, but saying that "The Asian model typically thinks that one can simply follow an almost copy-&-sightly-improve approach. In other words, a glorified masters degree." is pretty unfair, if you know the size of Asia.

Also, "The western concept usually considers a PhD to require ground-breaking research, in some form ie. develop new ideas which can form the platform for new research." is simply unfair too. Good universities in the west I agree, but definitely not all.

But I must agree if u don't know Chinese (or Mandarin), it will be difficult. Of course, selection of the correct universities and spervisor are just important. I believe this is true anywhere.

anon March 21, 2007 12:11

Re: PhD in China - don't do it!
Ben, I have studied in Asia, as a westerner, for over 3.5 years at a so-called leading university. My coursework component runs at GPA 3.94 & I've been top of my class.

I do have first-hand experience of what I mentioned. Take it or leave it as you will.

Harry March 21, 2007 19:42

Re: PhD in China
We'd better stop here. Everyone has his own experience. It is hardly to identify your experience is good or not as it is associated both research environments and your own ability. You may complain your institute/university no matter where you are studying in the earth when your research outputs and others are not satisfying. Who is wrong? You? Or the university? Nobody knows the truth except you. This type of argues is not what we want in this forum.

Best wishes,


anon March 21, 2007 20:55

Re: PhD in China
The most important thing that should be considered when undertaking a PhD research program is the level of support & experience of the academic faculty at the university of choice.

Most Asian universities have relatively inexperienced professors & young post-graduate programs. The academics are often poorly-published, with consequent shallow depth of experience. When your work begins to bypass that of their support is where the problems will creep in.

In western universities, this experience is available, should it become necessary.

The ethical issue & degree-buying should also not be overlooked - it is rife & endemic in Asia.

Just be careful, before you walk in all starry-eyed is what I am saying. Better to do a long-distance program through a reputable university.

a student March 22, 2007 01:13

Re: PhD in China
No doubt,China has well established lab, but still every appratus name/Manual/Software is in chinese character, which atleast need three years extensively to be learned. So, you need all time to depend on ur chinese fellows. some time hurt your ego. For Phd Student, i think, Peace of mind is very importnat. China is not at that level and their system is yet not mature to accommodate foreign students. I have friend in Peking, Beihang, Singhue, etc, but no one has level of satisfiction as a Phd Student need.

xqy March 22, 2007 01:44

Re: PhD in China
Actually, different people has different experience. The academic level of western Ph.D are not higher than the chinese Ph.D, as my know. I have the experience to understand the academic level of western Ph.D. They have more publications than chinese Ph.D because of the good facility and supervisor. Chinese Ph.D student starts his research from a very low level, and he must do everything by himself which is a very good pratice especially for a student.

As a example, one of postdoctors from western country in our Lab has a very good academic publication list, but knows almost nothing about the details he have done. Because he use the existed software to do his Ph.D thesis, he only need setup different input file and let the code run. Now, he must do his postdoc. project from the top to toe. He get no publications for two years, maybe no publication in the third year. what that means?

anon March 22, 2007 02:26

Re: PhD in China
He get no publications for two years, maybe no publication in the third year. what that means?

What that means is that he should not have obtained a PhD in the first place. Be interesting to see what Uni he studied at - western, or not.

xqy March 22, 2007 18:16

Re: PhD in China
sorry! I can't post the details here, but I can tell you he come from north american. I did my Ph.D in a chinese university.

llaw ko March 22, 2007 21:30

Re: PhD in China
quote from anon: Better to do a long-distance program through a reputable university.

I agree because especially for PhD one should not depend so much on supervisor. S/visor is merely to guide, inspire, provoke, test the candidate; full spectrum of the philosophical game. Frustrations could often be due to the candidate itself. Studying in a new language should be a very big advantage as one could then access a totally different school of thoughts based and henceforth complementary approach to CFD. No point in judging this or that approach or school of thoughts but rather to deserve the philosophical from said school of thoughts.

On the other hand, for the sake of transcending current research or make breakthroughs, no need to go anywhere of do PhD for that matter. If one still needs a PhD while doing the above, long-distance program would suffice. Access to libraries, papers, forums, seminars, etc are NOW overrated! (due to wonders in Internet, In2 and p2p). Utilizing breakthroughs in internet or network research by doing long-distance program may just allow one to achieve one's aspirations just as well without further unnecessary "activities" associated with traditional scholarship.

desA March 23, 2007 00:02

Re: PhD in China
Excellent comments. I would concur.


anon March 23, 2007 13:57

Re: PhD in China
In many Asian universities, so-called 'International Programs' are often offered.

The concept is for classes to be held in English & for international lecturers to provide tuition of international standard. The idea is to try & have local learners stay in their home country, instead of going abroad. These programs come at a price - often 5-10 times higher than equivalent local mother-tongue programs.

The problem occurs when international lecturers don't actually get employed & local lecturers try to fill the role. Unfortunately, their lack of experience & poor English language skills defeat the original aim of these programs.

The issue is that any foreign national who may want to study at said university has to use the international program - at elevated prices - & may not use the local course. In the end, though, most of his/her classes will end up being held in the local tongue, anyway - due to lack of international lecturing staff. It all becomes a money-spinner, but in the end, the foreigner trying to study under such programs, usually has difficulties.

Another fallacy is that of much-touted 'different philosophy' in Asia, versus that in the West. This is not true, as all local classes generally model themselves of either US, or UK models - even down to copied versions of the course text.

I would say that perhaps India & Russia may offer some alternative experience due to their long history in Mathematics. Russian thought on non-linear theory is pretty good. I'm not sure where the Chinese really sit on this one.

I hope that these thoughts help folks seriously considering study programs in Asia. Buyer beware, is what I hope to get across.

Harry March 25, 2007 00:00

Re: PhD in China

From your related comment, I can conclude that you have not achieved what you wanted during your PhD study, right? As a looser, your experience is obviously negative to others. So you are not qualified to provide any neutral information. Any way, I appreciate you could share your failure experience with others. To answer this kind of questions, I really hope we could not only provide personal opinions, but also redirect others to a research group's publication information, website and related link when commenting their work, especially academic achievements. This way seems more fair and positive to the person who needs help.



anon March 25, 2007 03:54

Re: PhD in China
Harry spewed forth: From your related comment, I can conclude that you have not achieved what you wanted during your PhD study, right?

No, you are not interpreting matters correctly, at all.

Ironically, I have achieved way more than I had originally aimed for. In fact, I am still registered with the said institution & have been going through their process. So, actually, no - I'm not a looser. The main problem is that my research work has simply risen above the level of local academic support - period. There is little they have been able to add for at least the past year.

In parallel, I have made plans towards converting my research work over to a reputable Distance Learning university where the academic support personnel will hopefully push my research work a little further towards the end-game.

Once the alternatives are clear, I will make the decision on which path to follow.

My previous comments were made so that others can learn from the difficulties faced by intelligent, hard-working, serious western researchers who end up studying in Asia - with all good intentions.

(So thank you Harry for your vitriol, but it was not warranted. This was not meant as a personal attack session, please refrain from a flame-war. Thank you.)

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 05:54.