The education system in Hunan, as elsewhere in China, can be simply summarized as "four educations" and "7 levels". The "four educations" refers to pre-school education, primary education, secondary education and higher education. The "7 levels" refers to kindergarten, primary school, junior high school, senior high school, higher college education, undergraduate education and postgraduate education.

As one main base for higher education in south China, Hunan is famous for her many famous universities, institutes and academies, including Hunan University, Central South Univetsity, Xiangtan University, Hunan Normal University, Hunan University of Science and Technology, Jishou University, Changsha university of Science and Technology, Hunan University of Technology, Changsha Medical University and so forth.

Hunan University

Hunan University is situated at the foot of the picturesque Yuelu Mountain and on the west bank of the rippling Xiangjiang River in the historically and culturally renowned City of Changsha, capital of Hunan Province. It enjoys the title of an "Ancient Millenarian Academy, Famous Centennial University". As one of the key and most comprehensive universities affiliated with the Ministry of Education, it has been included in the state's "Project 211" and "Project 985" for priority investment and construction. Professor Liu Keli is the Party Secretary of the CPC Hunan University Committee and Professor Zhao Yueyu the President of this highly reputed institute.

Hunan University, an extension of one of the four famous Academies of the Song Dynasty, dates back to the period of the founding of Yuelu Academy in 976 AD. The university has maintained the glorious culture and education standards inherited from the historical institute in the process of the numerous changes faced with during the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. It was reconstructed into Hunan Institute of Higher Learning in 1903, renamed Hunan University in 1926, and subordinated to the Republic of China's Ministry of Education as one of several state universities in 1937. After liberation and the founding of the People's Republic of China, the Central People's Government appointed Li Da, a well-known philosopher and educator, as the first President of Hunan University. Chairman Mao Zedong inscribed the name of the University. In 1953, when readjusting China's higher education institutions, Hunan University was named the Central-South Institute of Civil Engineering. Later it was renamed Hunan Polytechnic College, and was finally, named Hunan University in 1959. Since 1963, the University has been affiliated with the Ministry of Mechanical Industry and in 1978 it was approved as a key and comprehensive university of China, and became directly affiliated with the Ministry of Education in 1998. In 2000, Hunan University and Hunan Institute of Finance and Economics merged to give shape to a new wide-ranging Hunan University.

The university enjoys academic exchanges with 140 universities and research institutes across the world. More than 300 recruited experts come every year for long or short term courses. The enrollment of overseas students from over 40 countries and regions is around 1000. Confucius Institutes of Honam University, University of Regina, and Colorado State University have been established cooperated by Hunan University, which make HunanUniversity the one who set up most overseas Confucius Institutes in the province.

The university covers a total area of 1,536,000 square meters with a construction area of over 1133,300 square meters. Boasting a total collection of over 6.2 million books and 76 TB of digital resources (Chinese and English), the university is equipped with advanced IPv6 campus network, with 10Gb wired cable backbone network covering all the teaching buildings, office buildings and students' apartments, accompanied by simultaneous coverage of wireless campus network. The computers connected with the campus network amount to over 30, 000, enjoying a bandwidth of 4.5 G, which realizes a multi-channel informationized teaching, administration and service based on mobile technology. The digital campus of HunanUniversity is taking shape. Furthermore, National Supercomputing Center of Changsha is under construction in the university.

Central South University

Situated in the famous historical and cultural city of Changsha, Central South University (CSU) is a comprehensive and national key university under the direct administration of the Ministry of Education of China. The University is among the first group admitted into both Project 211, a project of building national key universities and colleges for the 21st century, and Project 985, a joint constructive project of building world-class universities co-sponsored by the Chinese central government and local governments.

CSU covers 11 fields of study, including engineering, science, medicine, management, literature, law, economics, philosophy, education, history and agriculture, and offers military science as well. It consists of 30 colleges offering 83 programs for bachelors' degrees, and a graduate school comprising a number of national key disciplines, including 6 at first-level (ranking 8th in China), 12 at second-level and one in development. 27 first-level disciplines are authorized to confer masters and doctoral degrees. 191 programs are offered for doctoral degrees, 307 programs for masters' degrees and 19 programs for professional masters' degrees.CSU also has 24 post-doctoral exchange centers, ranking 9th among Chinese universities and colleges in term of the numbers.

Xiangtan University

Xiangtan University, located in Xiangtan City, the home town of Mao Zedong, is a comprehensive university operating under the joint support of the Hunan Provincial Government and the Ministry of Education. It is one of China's first educational institutes authorized to award master's degree and is also among the earliest schools approved to enroll overseas students and students of national defense. In an evaluation conducted by the Ministry of Education, the university's bachelor degree education was rated as excellent.

The university was established in 1958 as a result of Chairman Mao's proposal. On September 10th of the same year, Chairman Mao himself wrote the name of the school and enjoined the authorities to work hard to make a success of it. Thanks to the concern and care by Deng Xiaoping, Hua Guofeng, Li Xiannian and other government leaders, the university kept growing and was thus approved by the State Council as a key state university in 1978. In 1998, on the fortieth anniversary of the school's founding, ex-President Jiang Zemin wrote: "Work for a better Xiangtan University, train competent graduates and make more contribution." On December 17th, 2005, the Ministry of Education and the Hunan Provincial Government signed a treaty agreeing to provide joint financial support to the university.

The university boasts a beautiful campus and excellent teaching and working facilities. It has a staff of 1475, among whom there are 3 inter-university academicians,1 Changjiang Scholarship holder (a program jointly financed by the tycoon Li Ka-shing and the Ministry of Education), 2 national outstanding young science foundation holders, 1 teaching state-level group, 2 famous state-level teachers, 6 excellent state-level teachers, 1 model state-level teacher, 42 outstanding teachers entitled to special subsidies from the State Council, 10 distinguished professors of Hunan "Furong Scholar Program", 2 excellent social science experts of Hunan Province, and 1 sci-tech leading talent of Hunan Province. The staff holding title above the deputy advanced is 628, and there are 312 person-time being granted as: the 3rd group of "4 in 1 group" talent in the national publicity & culture system, the national selected person for "New Century Hundred-Thousand-Myriad Talents Engineering", the selected person of the Ministry of Education of "New Century Excellent Talents Support Program", the selected person of the Ministry of Education of "Subsidy Program for Excellent Teachers in University", the selected person of Hunan Province of "New Century 121 Talents Engineering", and the culturing selected persons for Hunan provincial inter-century leader of science and technology. The school covers an area of 2600 mu and a floor space of 870,000 square meters. Xiangtan University Press has been established. The Journal of Xiantan University (consisting of social science and natural science volumes) is rated as "Double-Benefit Periodicals" and "Double-Houndred Periodicals", among it, the volume of social science is rated as CSSCI journal, core journal of Chinese humanities and social sciences, and 100-top journals in China. In addition, other journals like Xiaofei Jingji ( Consumption Economics), Mao Zedong Yanjiu (Mao Zedong Studies), Zhongguo Yunwen Xuekan (Journal of the Chinese Verses), Xiangjiang Falv Pinglun ( The Xiangjiang Review of Laws), Zeng Guofan Yanjiu (Zeng Guofan Studies) and Xiang Xue (Hunan Studies) exert profound influence on Chinese academic circles. The library has a collection of 2,426,000 books and 2,846 periodicals in Chinese and foreign languages. The scale and administration of student apartment buildings are first-class in China.

In the past decades, the school has been expanding its exchange and cooperation with over thirty universities in more than twenty countries, including France, Spain, Japan, Russia, USA, Britain, and Australia. In China, the university is the only non-military institute training reserve army officers. It has been chosen by Guangzhou Military Command as a base for the selecting and training of reserve officers, and by the Army 61046 under the PLA General Staff as a base for the training of postgraduates. Training officers and soldiers suited for both military and civilian jobs is a feature of training talent in Xiangtan Universtity. Every year many graduates leave the school to work for Guangzhou Military Command, South China Sea Fleet, Chengdu Military Command, Beijing Military Command, and the other army units.