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Beijing University

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Beijing University

Coordinates: 39°59′23″N 116°18′19″E / 39.98972°N 116.30528°E / 39.98972; 116.30528

Peking University
Established 1898
Type National
President Wang Enge (王恩哥)
Academic staff 4,206[1]
Undergraduates 15,128[1]
Postgraduates 15,119[1]
Location Haidian District, Beijing, China
Campus Urban, 273 ha (670 acres)
Former names Imperial University of Peking[2]


Peking University (abbreviation PKU or colloquially known in Chinese as Běidà 北大), is a major Chinese research university located in Beijing, and a member of the C9 League. It is the first established modern national university of China, founded as the "Imperial University of Peking" in 1898 as a replacement of the ancient Guozijian.[3] By 1920 it had become a center for progressive thought. Today, Peking University is frequently placed as one of the best universities in China by many national and international rankings.[4][5][6] In addition to academics, Peking University is especially renowned for its campus grounds,[7][8][9] and the beauty of its traditional Chinese architecture.[10]

Throughout its history, the university has educated and hosted many prominent modern Chinese thinkers, including figures such as: Lu Xun, Mao Zedong, Gu Hongming, Hu Shih, Li Dazhao, and Chen Duxiu.[11] Peking University was influential in the birth of China's New Culture Movement, May Fourth Movement, the Tiananmen Square protest of 1989 and many other significant events.[12]


When it was established on July 3, 1898, the school was known as the Imperial University of Peking (simplified Chinese: 京师大学堂; traditional Chinese: 京師大學堂; pinyin: Jīngshī Dàxuétáng). It was established to replace Guozijian, or National Academy, as part of the Hundred Days' Reform. In 1902, the Faculty of Education was spun off as Beijing Normal University, the top teacher's college in China. In 1912, following the Xinhai Revolution, the Imperial University was renamed "National Peking University" (simplified Chinese: 国立北京大学; traditional Chinese: 國立北京大學; pinyin: Guólì Běijīng Dàxué). The noted scholar Cai Yuanpei was appointed president on January 4, 1917, and helped transform the university into the country's largest institution of higher learning, with 14 departments and an enrollment of more than 2,000 students. Cai, inspired by the German model of academic freedom, recruited an intellectually diverse faculty that included Hu Shih, Chen Duxiu, and Lu Xun. In 1919, students of Peking University formed the bulk of the protesters of the May Fourth Movement. Efforts by the Beiyang government to end the protests by sealing off the Peking University campus led to Cai's resignation. In 1920, Peking University became the second Chinese university to accept female students, after Nanjing University.

After the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937 (and the resulting expansion of Japanese territorial control in east China), Peking University moved to Changsha and formed the Changsha Temporary University along with Tsinghua University and Nankai University. In 1938, the three schools moved again, this time to Kunming, and formed the National Southwestern Associated University. In 1946, after World War II, Peking University moved back to Beijing. At that time, the university comprised six schools (Arts, Science, Law, Medicine, Engineering, and Agriculture), and a research institute for humanities. The total student enrollment grew up to 3,000.

In 1952, three years after the People's Republic of China was established, Yenching University was merged into Peking University and Peking University lost its "national" appellation to reflect the fact that all universities under the new socialist state would be public. In 1952 Peking University moved from downtown Beijing to the former Yenching campus. Also in 1952, Peking University's forestry department was spun-off and merged with faculty from Tsinghua University and the Beijing Agricultural University to form the new Beijing Forestry University.

The first disturbances of the Cultural Revolution began at Peking University in 1966; education there ceased between 1966 and 1970.

In 2000, Beijing Medical University was merged into Peking University and became the Peking University Health Science Campus. Peking University now has eight affiliated hospitals and 12 teaching hospitals.

In 2001, Peking University set up a satellite campus in Shenzhen. The university's second business school was launched on this campus in 2004.


Peking University is a national key university.[13] The university consists of 30 colleges and 12 departments, with 93 specialties for undergraduates, 2 specialties for the second Bachelor's degree, 199 specialties for Master's degree candidates and 173 specialties for Doctoral candidates. A leader in basic sciences research and teaching, the university has successfully developed applied sciences research and teaching as well. At present, Peking university has 216 research institutions and research centres, including 2 national engineering research centres, 81 key national disciplines, 12 national key laboratories. With 4.5 million holdings, the university library is the largest of its kind in Asia.[14]

The university has made an effort to combine the research on fundamental scientific issues with the training of personnel with high level specialized knowledge and professional skill as demanded by the country's modernization.

Peking University has been becoming a center for teaching and research, consisting of diverse branches of learning such as pure & applied sciences, social sciences & humanities, and sciences of management & education.

Over the past century, more than 400 Peking University alumni had become presidents of other major Chinese universities, including former Tsinghua President Luo Jialun, Renmin University President Yuan Baohua, Zhejiang University President Qian Sanqiang, Fudan University President Zhang Zhirang, Nankai University President Teng Weizao, Chinese University of Science and Technology President Guan Weiyan and many others.[15]

Many domestic rankings place Peking University amongst the top universities in China.[4][16] In 2010, the Chinese University Alumni Association in partner with China Education Center ranked Peking University 1st among national universities in the country,[4] while the China University Ranking placed Peking University 2nd among universities in mainland China, behind Tsinghua.[16]

Internationally, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings placed Peking University at 45th in the world in their 2013-14 rankings,[17] and its World Reputation Rankings considered it 45th.[18] Meanwhile, the QS World University Rankings placed the University at 46th worldwide in 2013/14 and the independent regional QS Asian University Rankings (2013) considered it 5th.[19][20] Further, ARWU (2013) ranked it to be among 151st-200th in the world and 1st-5th in mainland China.[21]

Campus, art and culture

The campus of Peking University was originally located north of the Forbidden City in the center of Beijing, and was later moved to the former campus of Yenching University in 1952. The main campus is in northwest Beijing, in Haidian district, which was concentrated with many well-known colleges and universities.

The Peking University's campus site is near the Summer Palace and the Old Summer Palace; the area is traditionally where many of Beijing's most renowned gardens and palaces were built.

The university campus is in the former site of the Qing Dynasty royal gardens and it retains many traditional Chinese-style landscaping including traditional houses, gardens, pagodas as well as many notable historical buildings and structures. There are several gates that lead into campus — East, West and South gates, with the West Gate being the most well known for the painted murals on its ceiling. Peking University is known throughout China, with its neighbour, Tsinghua University, for their beautiful campuses. Weiming lake is in the north of the campus and is surrounded by walking paths and small gardens.

The university hosts many museums, such as the Museum of University History and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum of Art and Archaeology.[22][23] Notable items in these museums include funerary objects that were excavated in Beijing and date back thousands of years from the graves of royalties of the Warring States period. There are ritual pottery vessels as well as elaborate pieces of jewelry on display. There are also human bones set up in the traditional burial style of that period.[23]

Beyond its main campus, Peking University Health Science Center (PKUHSC) is on Xue Yuan Road where the country's most distinguished colleges are. The PKUHSC's campus is less aesthetically appealing than the main Peking University campus but is nonetheless a fitting site for academics and research.

In 2001, Peking University's Shenzhen campus, the Shenzhen Graduate School, opened its doors. The campus is located in the northwest part of Shenzhen City.

In 2008, the THE-QS World University Rankings ranked the Peking University as the 23rd best university in the world in arts and humanities; it is also the highest ranked university from Asia in this field.[24] The Peking University was ranked as the 18th (2007 rankings),[25] 10th (2006 rankings),[26] 6th (2005 rankings),[27] and 7th (2004 rankings)[28] best arts and humanities university in the world.

Peking University is well known for its contribution to modern Chinese literature, poetry and art, and for the publications of groundbreaking modern Chinese books such as Hong Zicheng's A History of Contemporary Chinese Literature.[29] Peking University has participated in many joint art-research projects, such as the Center for the Art of East Asia (CAEA) with the University of Chicago,[30] and developing the Peking University, Department of Digital Art and Design with UNESCO.[31][32]

Peking University partners with Stanford University for its Asian cultural studies programs such as the Stanford Program in Beijing and the Stanford-Peking University Summer Program, which encourages Stanford students interested in exploring Chinese language, history, culture, and society to study on campus at Peking University.[33]

National School of Development

The Director of the National School of Development (formerly China Center for Economic Research), Professor of Economics of Peking University and Professor of the graduate school of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences is Prof. Fan Gang. Dr. Fan had more than 100 academic papers published in both Chinese and English academic journals, more than 200 articles in newspapers and magazines and had also published several books.

Justin Lin, the founding director of the institute, is the World Bank's chief economist. His appointment marked the first time the post went to a candidate outside Europe or the United States.[34]

Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School

Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School is a satellite campus of Peking University located in Shenzhen, Guangdong. It was founded in September, 2001 in collaboration with the Shenzhen Municipal Government and is located in University Town of Shenzhen along with satellite campuses of Tsinghua University and Harbin Institute of Technology. Dr. Wen Hai, a renowned economist in China and the vice-president of Peking University is the present chancellor of PKU Shenzhen.[35] The school houses seven research departments as well as the Peking University HSBC Business School and Peking University School of Transnational Law.[36]

International students

The dormitories for international students at the main campus are located at Shao Yuan (勺园). Every year, Peking University has approximately 2,000 international students studying on the Beijing campus and about 50 at the Peking University HSBC Business School, located at the Shenzhen Campus. Its international students are made up of students from most countries in the world including most of Western Europe, North America, South America, all parts of Asia, Australia as well as many countries in Africa.

In 2005, Peking University and Cornell University signed an agreement formally establishing[37][38] the China and Asia-Pacific Studies major[39] at Cornell, which requires students to spend a semester studying at Peking University while working at internships. One year later, Peking University launched a joint undergraduate program with Yale University;[40][41] students will spend a semester overseas, living and studying together with the host institute's students.[41] Peking University's School of International Studies also launched joint degree programs with London School of Economics, Waseda University, Seoul National University, and the University of Tokyo. Peking also has a longstanding relationship with Stanford University, and Stanford is currently constructing the Lee Jun Sen Stanford Center at Peking University, which will serve as a joint research center, and base for Stanford students and scholars at Peking.[42] The Peking University HSBC Business School has joint degree programs with University of Hong Kong and Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Notable faculties, administrators, and alumni

Peking University has produced many notable people, especially prominent thinkers in modern China. These include figures such as Hu Shih, Li Dazhao and Lu Xun. Peking University also has two Nobel Prize winners, Tsung-Dao Lee and Yang Chen Ning, although both conducted their Nobel winning work at Universities in the US. Since 1948, 586 Peking University alumni have been selected into the renowned Academic Division of the Chinese Academy of Science (两院院士), overshadowing any other universities in China.[43] Another notable alumni includes Hao Ping current Vice President of the Ministry of Education.

Peking University is the home to communist, nationalist and liberal thoughts in modern China.[12] Mao Zedong, Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao, all founders of the Communist Party of China, either taught or held offices in the university. Lu Xun, a notable contemporary writer and influential figure of the Chinese New-Culture Movement, which took place in 1919 and sparked China’s anti-imperialism and anti-feudalism march, was also attached to the university. During the Cultural Revolution, Peking University philosophy faculty Nie Yuanzi notoriously published the first big-character poster. Peking University students also led at the Tiananmen Square Protest of 1989 for democracy.

See also


External links

  • Official website (English)
  • Official website (Chinese)
  • Peking University Alumni Association

Template:The first batch of 16 national key universities of the People's Republic of China

Template:Faith and Globalisation Network Template:Associations of independent college admissions of Chinese universities

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