📖 Introduction

The Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) is a prestigious public university located in Beijing, China, specializing in the field of fine arts. Established in 1918, CAFA has a rich history and is considered one of the leading institutions for artistic education in China. As a comprehensive academy, CAFA offers a wide range of programs covering traditional Chinese art, contemporary art, design, and other related disciplines.

CAFA is renowned for its commitment to artistic innovation, cultural heritage, and academic excellence. The academy has played a significant role in shaping the art scene in China and has produced many influential artists and designers. While specific global rankings may vary, CAFA is often recognized internationally for its contributions to the field of fine arts. Its distinguished faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, and emphasis on both traditional and contemporary artistic expressions make it an attractive destination for aspiring artists and designers seeking a world-class education in the heart of China's cultural capital.

🏫 About Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA)

General Information

The Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) is the only institution of higher education for fine arts under the administration of the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China. The academy has eight specialty schools: School of Chinese Painting, School of Plastic Arts, School of Design, School of Architecture, School of Humanities, School of Urban Design, School of Experimental Art, and Institute of Arts Administration and Education. Besides, the Fine Arts Research Institute, the School of Continuing Education, and the Fine Arts School Affiliated with the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, also come under the umbrella of CAFA. The academy offers specialized secondary programs (the Affiliated High School of Fine Art), college certificate programs (the School of Continuing Education), undergraduate programs, Master’s degree programs, doctoral degree programs, and visiting scholar programs. At present, there are 662 teachers and staff, over 4,700 domestic undergraduates and graduates, as well as hundreds of international students coming from a dozen countries. The school covers a teaching and research area of 495 mu (around 330,000 square meters), with a total floor area of 247,000 square meters.

The academy is committed to building a disciplined structure of modern education for fine arts where disciplines such as plastic arts, design, architecture, and humanities support and influence each other. It strives to take lead in building an art education system with Chinese characteristics in the new century so as to be highly praised by the international art education community for its high teaching quality and excellent research results with distinctive Chinese characteristics. CAFA has become a leading academy in the field of high education for fine arts in China as well as plays an important role in world-class fine arts schools.

Celebrated Teachers

Over the past 95 years, CAFA has gathered a group of top artists represented by masters in the field of fine arts in China to form a high-quality faculty team.

Prior to the founding of the People’s Republic of China, CAFA, though went through a tortuous path, attracted many famous artists to serve as its faculty members. Among them were masters of Chinese painting such as Chen Shizeng, Qi Baishi, Huang Binhong, Pan Tianshou, Lyu Fengzi, Chen Zhifo, Jiang Zhaohe, Ye Qiaoyu, Fu Xinshe, Wu Jingting, Li Kuchan, Li Keran, and Wang Xuetao. Some art masters and historians returning from overseas also joined CAFA, including Lin Fengmian, Xu Beihong, Wu Fading, Wen Yiduo, Teng Gu, Wu Zuoren, Chang Shuhong, Ai Qing, Pang Xunqin, Hua Tianyou, and Zhu Guangqian. Some influential literati and artists also once taught full-time or part-time here, such as Yu Dafu, Zhou Zuoren, Xie Bingxin, Xiong Foxi, Xiao Youmei, and Liu Tianhua. The academy has cultivated many talents with great influence, including Wang Ziyun, Liu Kaiqu, Tan Zuyao, Xian Xinghai, Lei Guiyuan, Li Jianchen, Wang Manshuo, and Fu Tianchou.

After the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, CAFA has been joined by a large number of talented artists with progressive ideas and profound humanistic qualities. The outstanding faculty team, good at both creation and teaching, is phenomenal in the country’s fine arts circle and the fine arts education community at that time. It boasts the strongest faculty team among such academies in the country. Besides the above-mentioned teachers, the academy has trained more artists and art theorists with a great reputation across the country. Outstanding Chinese Painting artists and art theorists include Tian Shiguang, Liu Lingcang, Zong Qixiang, Li Hu, Guo Weiqu, Gao Guanhua, Zhang Ding, Xiao Shufang, Li Qi, Liu Boshu, Lu Shen, Zhou Sicong, Huang Runhua, Yao Youduo, Jia Youfu, Guo Yicong, and Zhang Lichen. Outstanding Oil Painting artists and art theorists include Hu Yichuan, Ai Zhongxin, Luo Gongliu, Dong Xiwen, Wang Shikuo, Xu Xingzhi, Feng Fasi, Ni Yide, Wu Guanzhong, Dai Ze, Sun Zongwei, Wei Qimei, Li Zongjin, Zhao Yu, Lin Gang, Hou Yimin, Zhan Jianjun, Jin Shangyi, Sun Zixi, Du Jian, Li Tianxiang, Zhong Han, Wen Lipeng, Pan Shixun, Zhu Naizheng, and Yuan Yunsheng. Outstanding Printmaking artists and art theorists include Jiang Feng, Li Hua, Gu Yuan, Yan Han, Wang Qi, Huang Yongyu, Xia Tongguang, Chen Xiaonan, Hong Bo, and Wu Biduan. Outstanding Sculpture majors include Liu Kaiqu, Zeng Zhushao, Wang Bingzhao, Fu Tianchou, Liu Xiaocen, Situ Jie, and Qian Shaowu. Outstanding Art History artists and art theorists include Wang Xun, Wang Chaowen, Cai Yi, Chang Renxia, Zhang Anzhi, Jin Weinuo, Shao Dazhen, Li Chun, Bo Songnian, Tang Chi, Li Songtao, Sun Meilan, and Li Shusheng. These experts constitute the most outstanding team for fine arts creation and historical research in the country’s fine arts circle after the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

Academics and Disciplines

The academy offers 20 undergraduate majors: Chinese Painting, Calligraphy, Painting, Sculpture, Experimental Art, Visual Communication Design, Industrial Design, Product Design, Digital Media Art, Clothing and Apparel Design, Photography, Fine Arts, Theory and History of Arts, Cultural Industries Management, Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Film and Television Photography and Production, Environmental Design, Public Art, Animation.

Since 2004, the academy has started to try out an academic credit system for teaching management and a new academic calendar. There are 38 teaching weeks in every academic year. Every academic year is divided into three semesters. The first 20-week semester is for compulsory courses required by the academy and schools. The second 10-week semester is for professional courses and courses taught off-campus. The third eight-week semester is for professional electives and public courses. Students can choose to study interdisciplinary courses according to their own hobbies and professional development needs.


The academy covers a teaching and research area of 495 mu (around 330,000 square meters), with a total floor area of 247,000 square meters. The Wangjing Campus covers an area of 205 mu, with a total floor area of 144,000 square meters. The Yanjiao Campus covers an area of 205 mu, with a total floor area of 68,000 square meters. The Houshayu Campus covers an area of 67 mu, with a total floor area of 29,000 square meters. The Xiaoying Campus covers an area of 18 mu, with a total floor area of 6,000 square meters.

Classrooms, professional experiment workshops (laboratories), libraries, art galleries, gyms, multimedia classrooms, and other teaching facilities are all in good condition at the academy. Professional experiment workshops (laboratories) are well-equipped with high technologies, strongly supporting the academy’s professional teaching and discipline construction. The library is one of the most advanced libraries for fine arts in China with nearly 400,000 books. The museum houses precious collections, including more than 2,000 scroll paintings by artists since the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Besides regularly organizing exhibitions of work by the academy’s teachers and students, the museum also exhibits fine arts work with high academic levels by artists at home and abroad. What’s more, both gyms and multimedia classrooms can meet various teaching requirements.

In addition, CAFA also has two Class A academic publications at the national level: Art Research and World Art.

About Beijing

Beijing, the capital of China, is a city where the ancient culture and modern civilization are well integrated. It attracts tens of millions of visitors and tourists both at home and abroad each year to enjoy its rich culture and wonderful scenery.

Beijing is endowed with rare cultural heritage by its long history. The Great Wall, one of the world wonders and the only piece of man-made architecture that can be seen from the space, meanders through mountains and valleys for hundreds of kilometers in the region of Beijing. The poetic and picturesque Summer Palace is a classic work of the imperial garden. The Forbidden City is the most splendid architectural complex of imperial palaces in the world. The Temple of Heaven is the place of worship for emperors of Ming and Qing dynasties as well as a masterpiece of ancient Chinese architectural art. The above four have all been listed in the World Cultural Heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). 

January is mostly sunny month in Beijing, but it can be very cold and windy. Temperatures can drop to -20°C (4°F)

Clothing Advice: Thanks to heating systems, a thin sweater is usually enough if you are staying inside. If venturing outside you have to wear a thick sweater, a warm down coat, boots, gloves, hat, and scarf to keep warm.

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🏠 Accommodation

If accommodation on campus is important to you we advise you to arrive a few days before so you can try to register. You can also to choose accommodation off campus, we have an article about that here.

💸 Living Expenses in Beijing

Expense Average costs
Accommodation On average, a single room student dormitory accommodation will cost about RMB 1500 per month, or about RMB 18,000 per year, including utilities.
Food A meal at the university canteen/restaurant or in a fast-food restaurant outside would cost about RMB 7 to RMB 30. The average monthly bill for students that will study in Beijing, China can be between the range of RMB 1800 to RMB 4000.
Transportation A one-way local transport ticket in Beijing costs about RMB 4. The taxi start rate costs about RMB 13, plus the additional taxi rate per kilometer of about RMB 2.30. A monthly transport pass for university students in Beijing would cost around RMB 200.
Extra costs: Some extra costs for university students who will study in Beijing, China are books and study materials around RMB 210 to RMB 350 per month (increased costs for those studying Sciences, Medicine, or Art), and medical insurance of about RMB 400 per six months.

📬 Admissions Process

3 Steps to Apply to a Chinese University

Application step 1

Application step 2

Application step 3

Please choose the programs here , "You are advised to select 2-3 programs to increase your chances of getting accepted.

Required documents:

  • Passport
  • Graduation certificate
  • Passport size photo

Preparing documents:

You can start your application now and send the application documents during your application. Some documents you can send later if you don’t have them right away. Some more info about preparing application documents is here

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Application process:

Applying Online is simple in just a few steps. More information is available here.

The first steps are to choose the programs, pay the application fee and upload the application documents.

Once submitted to China Admissions, we will review your application within 2-3 days and proceed to the university or ask you for further clarification

After it has been processed to the university you will receive your unique application ID from each university.

The university may contact you directly for further questions.

We will then follow up each week with the university for updates. As soon as there is any update we will let you know. If you have made other plans, decide to withdraw / change address at any time please let us know.

After you have been accepted you will receive your admissions letter electronically and asked to pay the non-refundable deposit to the university.

Once you have paid the deposit the university will issue you the admissions letter and visa form to your home country.

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Here is some more information about the enrollment process after you have been accepted.

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