Peking University

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

Peking University
Peking University seal.svg
Former names
Imperial University of Peking[1]
Type Public
Established 1898
President Lin Jianhua (林建华)
Party Secretary Zhu Shanlu
Academic staff
Undergraduates 15,128[2]
Postgraduates 15,120[2]
Location Haidian District, Beijing, China
Campus Urban, 273 ha (670 acres)
Peking University
Simplified Chinese 北京大学
Traditional Chinese 北京大學
Peking University's West Gate, one of the symbols of the university campus

Peking University[3] (abbreviated PKU and colloquially known in Chinese as Běidà 北大; Chinese: 北京大学, pinyin: Běijīng Dàxué), is a major Chinese research university located in Beijing and a member of the C9 League. It is the first modern national university established in China, founded as the Imperial University of Peking in 1898 as a replacement of the ancient Taixue or Guozijian, or Imperial Academy.[4] It also served as the highest administration for education (ministry of education) in China at the beginning of its founding.[5] By 1920, it had become a center for progressive thought. Peking University is consistently ranked as the top higher learning institution in mainland China.[6][7][8][9][10] In addition to academics, Peking University is especially renowned for its campus grounds,[11][12][13] and the beauty of its traditional Chinese architecture.[14]

Throughout its history, the university has educated and hosted many prominent modern Chinese thinkers, including figures such as: Mao Zedong, Lu Xun, Gu Hongming, Mao Dun, Li Dazhao, and Chen Duxiu.[15] 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.[16]


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 Taixue or Guozijian, or Imperial Academy, as part of the Hundred Days' Reform. 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 first Chinese university to accept female students.

View of the central campus

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 1949, after the People's Republic of China was established, Peking University lost its "national" appellation to reflect the fact that all universities under the new socialist state would be public. In 1952, Mao Zedong's government re-grouped the country's higher education institutions with individual institutions tending to specialize in a certain field of study. As a result, some arts and science faculties of Tsinghua University and former Yenching University were merged into Peking University. At the same time, however, the university lost its Law, Medicine, Engineering and Agriculture schools. These schools and faculties were either merged into other universities or to found new colleges. During the re-grouping, Yenching University was closed up. Peking University moved from downtown Beijing to the former Yenching campus.

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 back into Peking University and became the Peking University Health Science Campus. Beijing Medical University used to be Medical School of Peking University and was separated from Peking University at 1952. Peking University now has eight affiliated hospitals and 12 teaching hospitals.

In 2001, Peking University established the Yuanpei Program which was formalized in 2007 as Yuanpei College, named in honor of a highly respected former university president Cai Yuanpei. The college hosts an elite undergraduate liberal program for select students.

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


As of September 2016
University rankings
ARWU[17] 71
Times[18] 29
QS[19] 39
ARWU[20] 5
Times[21] 2
QS[22] 9
The Weiming Lake, located in the north center of the university campus
One of the administrative buildings with the huabiao
Peking University during spring
A stone bridge inside the campus

Peking University is a national key university.[23] 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 centers, 81 key national disciplines, 12 national key laboratories. With 11 million holdings, the university library is the largest of its kind in Asia.[24]

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, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Emory University jointly administer the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering Program, which is ranked the 2nd in the United States [25][26]

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.[27]

Many domestic rankings have placed Peking University among the top universities in mainland China.[6] In 2015, the Chinese University Alumni Association in partnership with China Education Center considered it 1st among all Chinese universities.[6]

U.S. News & World Report ranked Peking University 41st in the world, 1st in Greater China, and 2nd in Asia.[28] It also topped the newly launched Times Higher Education BRICS & Emerging Economies.[29]

Campus, art and culture[edit]

Peking University during winter. The campus is situated on a former imperial garden.

The campus of Peking University was originally located northeast 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, 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 imperial gardens and it retains much 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. 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.[30][31] 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.[31]

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.

A performance of Kunqu at Peking University

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.[32] The Peking University was ranked as the 18th (2007 rankings),[33] 10th (2006 rankings),[34] 6th (2005 rankings),[35] and 7th (2004 rankings)[36] 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.[37] 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,[38] and developing the Peking University, Department of Digital Art and Design with UNESCO.[39][40]

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.[41]

National School of Development (NSD)[edit]

Office buildings
The Life Sciences Building
Boya Pagoda by the Weiming Lake, one of the landmarks on the campus

The National School of Development (formerly China Center for Economic Research) is ranked amongst the top five most influential think tanks in China.[42] It organizes comprehensive interdisciplinary research and gathers top-notch academic intelligence in proposing forward-looking strategy, systems, policy and basic theory concerning the sustainable development of China and evolution of world patterns and nurturing talent to fuel this national development.[42]

The National School of Development (NSD) was founded as the China Centre for Economic Research by six returning professors of Peking University including Justin Yifu Lin, Hai Wen and Yi Gang in 1994. Over the years, NSD has made innovative contribution to China's economic education, scientific research and international academic discussion, especially for national policy consultancy.

In 1998, Justin Yifu Lin et al. jointly founded the Beijing International MBA at Peking University (BiMBA),[43] which is ranked among the top six MBA programs by Quacquarelli Symonds in its TopMBA ranking of the best MBA programs in Asia Pacific for the year 2014-2015.[44] BiMBA has also been ranked as the second most valuable full-time MBA in China by Forbes (after CEIBS) [45] and among Asia's best business schools by Bloomberg Business.[46][47]

Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School[edit]

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.[48] The school houses seven research departments as well as the Peking University HSBC Business School and Peking University School of Transnational Law.[49]

International students[edit]

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, and South America; all parts of Asia; Australia; and many countries in Africa.

In 2005, Peking University and Cornell University signed an agreement formally establishing[50][51] the China and Asia-Pacific Studies major[52] 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;[53][54] students will spend a semester overseas, living and studying together with the host institute's students.[54] 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, which operates a joint research center and base for Stanford students and scholars at the Stanford Center at Peking University, located in the Lee Jung Sen Building.[55] The Peking University HSBC Business School has joint degree programs with University of Hong Kong and Chinese University of Hong Kong.

The university maintains a partnership with the Freie Universität Berlin since 1981.

Notable people[edit]

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 three Nobel Prize winners: Tsung-Dao Lee, Yang Chen Ning and Tu Youyou. Another notable alumni includes Hao Ping current Vice President of the Ministry of Education.

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 Chen Duxiu and Lu Xun's people's democracy.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "History Peking University". Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c "Quick Facts". Office of International Relations. Peking University. 
  3. ^ Also written as Beijing University.
  4. ^ "百度--您的访问出错了". Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  5. ^ "History_Peking University". Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c "University in China. China Education Center". Retrieved 2012-04-22. 
  7. ^ "2009 China University Ranking". 2008-12-24. Retrieved 2012-04-22. 
  8. ^ "Univ ranking in China 200" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-04-22. 
  9. ^ "World University Rankings 2014-15". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  10. ^ "World University Rankings". Top Universities. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  11. ^ Francis Whittaker (July 14, 2011). "Most beautiful universities". MSN. 
  12. ^ Stirling Kelso (September 2012). "World's Most Beautiful Universities". Travel and Leisure. 
  13. ^ "15 Of The World's Most Beautiful Universities Revealed". The Huffington Post UK. July 11, 2013. 
  14. ^ "NUS PKU MBA - About Peking University - Overview". Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  15. ^ Peking University - Mingren
  16. ^ "Peking University". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2008-08-21. 
  17. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities: Global". Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. 2016. Retrieved September 8, 2016. 
  18. ^ "World University Rankings 2015-2016". Times Higher Education. 2015. Retrieved October 1, 2015. 
  19. ^ "QS World University Rankings® 2016/17". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 2016. Retrieved September 8, 2016. 
  20. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities: Global". Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. 2016. Retrieved September 8, 2016. 
  21. ^ "Asia University Rankings 2016". Times Higher Education. 2016. Retrieved 11 July 2016. 
  22. ^ "QS University Rankings: Asia 2016". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 2016. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  23. ^ "全国重点大学名录". Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  24. ^ Harvard News Office. "Harvard Gazette: Summers visits People's Republic of China". Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  25. ^ "Georgia Tech / Emory / Peking University BME PhD Program". 
  26. ^ "Georgia Tech Partnership". 
  27. ^ Club Yahoo!
  28. ^ "USNews Top World University Ranking". USNews. Retrieved October 10, 2014. 
  29. ^ "BRICS & Emerging Economies Rankings 2014". Times Higher Education. Retrieved October 2, 2014. 
  30. ^ Arthur M. Sackler Museum of Art & Archaeology
  31. ^ a b "A destination to be explored". Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  32. ^ "University rankings in the Arts and Humanities". 
  33. ^ "The world's top universities for arts and humanities 2007". Times Higher Education. 
  34. ^ "The world's top arts and humanities universities 2006". Times Higher Education. 
  35. ^ "The world's top arts and humanities universities 2005". Times Higher Education. 
  36. ^ "The world's top arts and humanities universities 2004". Times Higher Education. 
  37. ^ "A History of Contemporary Chinese Literature". Brill Publishers. 
  38. ^ "Center for the Art of East Asia". University of Chicago. 
  39. ^ Culture: Peking University, Department of Digital Art and Design UNESCO.
  40. ^ "Peking University, Department of Digital Art and Design". Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  41. ^ "Overseas Studies". Stanford University. 
  42. ^ a b "China Network– Peking University's National School of Development: The Brains behind China's growth". Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  43. ^ "National School of Development ranks in top five Think Tanks for Highest Professional Influence_Peking University". Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  44. ^ "The Top 10 Business Schools in Asia-Pacific 2014/15". Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  45. ^ Russell Flannery & Chloe Chen (26 April 2010). "China's Best Business Schools". Forbes. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  46. ^ Frederik Balfour; Bruce Einhorn; Moon Ihlwan; Mehul Srivastava & Hiroko Tashiro. "Asia's Top Business Schools". Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  47. ^ "Keeping the Bar High at BiMBA". Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  48. ^ "Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School - Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School". Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  49. ^ "Schools - Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School". Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  50. ^ "Rawlings heads to China to sign partnership agreement and deliver keynote address at economic summit in Beijing - Cornell Chronicle". Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  51. ^ Launching China and Asia-Pacific Studies, a 'revolutionary' new undergraduate major
  52. ^ "China and Asia-Pacific Studies". Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  53. ^ "Peking University - Yale University Joint Undergraduate Program in Beijing - Yale College". Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  54. ^ a b English - People's Daily
  55. ^ "Stanford Center at Peking University". 

Further reading[edit]

  • Lin, Xiaoqing Diana (2005). Peking University: Chinese Scholarship and Intellectuals, 1898-1937. State University of New York Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-8391-6.

External links[edit]