Despite the surge in interest in the educational attainment of Chinese political leaders over the past decade, previous studies have primarily focused on the highest educational degree obtained. There is a paucity of quantitative assessment on the educational dynamics of Chinese political leaders. This article attempts to trace the educational trajectories of 1,891 Chinese provincial leaders from 1990 to 2013 by distinguishing full-time education from the highest educational status attained, and by delineating the route of educational advancement. The interpretation of the empirical findings is able to better explain the elite transformation of provincial leaders in reform-era China and the corresponding changing political legitimacy.