Wuhan University

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Wuhan University
Wuhan University Logo.png
自强 弘毅 求是 拓新[1]
Motto in English
Self-improvement, Perseverance, Truth-seeking, Innovation[2]
EstablishedNovember 29, 1893; 129 years ago (1893)
PresidentDou Xiankang
Academic staff
Location, ,
CampusUrban, 3.5 km2
Wuhan University logo with name.png
Wuhan University
Simplified Chinese武汉大学
Traditional Chinese武漢大學

Wuhan University (WHU; Chinese: 武汉大学; lit. 'University of Wuhan') is a public research university in Wuhan, Hubei. The university is sponsored by the Ministry of Education. Wuhan university was founded as one of the four elite universities in the early republican period of China and is considered as the oldest university in China according to its university history document. Wuhan University is located at Luojia Hill, with palatial buildings blending Chinese and Western styles. It is ranked by many as one of the most beautiful (or the most beautiful) campuses in China for decades.

Wuhan University is one of the most prestigious and selective universities in China, and was recognized by the Chinese Ministry of Education in Double First Class University.[3] It is a Project 985 and Project 211 institute. The university is well known for research in fields such as the social sciences, remote sensing, survey engineering, and hydraulic engineering. Wuhan University has been perennially ranked among the top-tier universities in China. Nationally, it was ranked fourth in 2016 and third in 2017 by CUAA. [4] It also features in the top 200th global universities as ranked by the Academic Ranking of World Universities, the QS World University Rankings, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and the U.S. News & World Report.[5][6][7][8]


Qing Guangxu Emperor's approval of establishing the Ziqiang Institute.
A congratulation calligraphy given to the first class of graduates of National Wuhan University by Cai Yuanpei

The university dates back to the Ziqiang Institute (traditional Chinese: 自強學堂; simplified Chinese: 自强学堂; pinyin: Zìqiáng Xuétáng), which was founded in 1893 by Zhang Zhidong, governor of Hubei and Hunan provinces in the late Qing Dynasty.[9]

It changed its name several times before it was named National Wuhan University in July 1928 and was among the first group of national universities in modern China. (There is a dispute on the establishment of Wuhan University: Some believe that its history should date back to 1913, when the National Wuchang Higher Normal College was founded.)

In the early time of its establishment, Ziqiang Institute provided four courses: Chinese, Mathematics, Nature, and Business. After combining the Institute of Minerals and the Institute of Chemical, courses provided were enlarged, with Nature Science and Engineering added. Chinese was extended to English, French, German, Russian, and Japanese.

In October 1902, Ziqiang Institute moved to Dongchang kou, Wuchang, and changed its name to Foreign Languages Institute (方言學堂), teaching Geography, History, Mathematics, Law, and Communication.

With the approaching Xinhai Revolution of 1911, the Foreign Languages Institute was forced to pause due to lack of funding. In October, the Wuchang Uprising and the end of the Qing dynasty made it impossible for the school to go back to normal. The Foreign Languages Institute stopped running.

In 1913, the Ministry of Education of Beiyang Government decided to found six higher normal colleges in China. Based on the original location, book resource, and faculties of Foreign Language Institute, the Wuchang State Superior Normal Institute (國立武昌高等師範學院) was founded.

In 1922, faculties were extended to Education Philosophy, Chinese, English, Mathematics, Physics and Chemical, History and Sociology, Biology, and Geography.

In August 1923, the school changed its name to the National Wuchang Normal University (國立武昌師範大學). In 1924, it changed its name to National Wuchang University (國立武昌大學).

In 1926, National Wuchang University merged with the National Wuchang Business University (國立武昌商科大學), Hubei University of Medicine (湖北省立醫科大學), Hubei University of Law (湖北省立法科大學), Hubei Arts and Humanity University (湖北省立文科大學), Wuchang Private Chinese University (私立武昌中華大學) to form National Wuchang Sun Yat-Sen University (國立武昌中山大學), alias National No. 2 Sun Yat-Sen University (國立第二中山大學), with Department of University, and subjects of Arts, Science, Law, Business, Medicine and Yu (文、理、法、經、醫、預), 17 faculties, 2 departments.

In 1928, the National Government in Nanjing formed National Wuhan University (國立武漢大學) on the basis of the original National Wuchang Sun Yat-Sen University, consisting of four colleges: Arts, Law, Science, and Engineering (文、法、理、工).

Chiang Kai-Shek inspecting Chinese soldiers on the Wuhan University parade grounds as Japanese forces approach the city, 1937

In February 1929, the jurist Wang Shijie became the first president of Wuhan University. During the War of Resistance Against Japan, Wuhan University moved to Leshan, Sichuan Province and returned to Luojia Hill after the war.[10][11]

By the end of 1946, the university had six faculties: liberal arts, law, sciences, engineering, agriculture and medicine. Wuhan University enjoyed a very high academic status, with Wang Shijie, Wang Xinggong, and Zhou Gengsheng as its successive presidents.[11]

Scholars such as Gu Hongming, Zhu Kezhen, Wu Baoliang, Zha Qian, Gui Zhiting, Ye Yage, Li Siguang, Wen Yiduo, Huang Kan, Yu Dafu, Shen Congwen, Zhu Guangqian, Liu Ze, Liu Yongji, Ye Shengtao, Yang Duanliu, and Li Jiannong taught here successively. According to the university, in 1948, the University of Oxford wrote an official letter to the Ministry of Education of the Chinese National Government, stating that Bachelors of liberal arts and sciences that graduated from Wuhan University with average grades above 80 could enjoy "the senior status of Oxford".[11][12]

A notice given to Wuhan University that it will be taken under Communist control.

In 1952, after a general reshuffle of the colleges and departments of the higher education institutions throughout the country, Wuhan University became a university of liberal arts and sciences directly under the administration of the Ministry of Higher Education.[13] Professor Li Da, delegate to the First Congress of the Chinese Communist Party and a celebrated philosopher, economist and academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, held the post of president of the university for 14 years. The Wuhan University School of Medicine and Tongji University Medical School jointly formed Central-south Tongji Medical College (later Wuhan Medical College), then Tongji Medical University.[11]


On August 2, 2000, with the approval of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, the new Wuhan University was established as a combination of four major universities close together: the former Wuhan University, the former Wuhan University of Hydraulic and Electrical Engineering (WUHEE), the former Wuhan Technical University of Surveying and Mapping (WTUSM), and the former Hubei Medical University (HBMU).[14]


Historical names[edit]

Year School name
in English
School name
in simplified Chinese
School name
in traditional Chinese
School name
in Pinyin
1893 Ziqiang Institute 自强学堂 自強學堂 Zìqiáng Xuétáng
1902 Fangyan Institute 方言学堂 方言學堂 Fāngyán Xuétáng
1913 National Wuchang Superior Normal College 国立武昌高等师范学校 國立武昌高等師範學校 Guólì Wǔchāng Gāoděng Shīfàn Xuéxiào
1923 National Wuchang Normal University 国立武昌师范大学 國立武昌師範大學 Guólì Wǔchāng Shīfàn Dàxué
1924 National Wuchang University 国立武昌大学 國立武昌大學 Guólì Wǔchāng Dàxué
1926 National Wuchang Zhongshan University 国立武昌中山大学 國立武昌中山大學 Guólì Wǔchāng Zhōngshān Dàxué
1928 National Wuhan University 国立武汉大学 國立武漢大學 Guólì Wǔhàn Dàxué
1949 (Original) Wuhan University (老) 武汉大学 (老) 武漢大學 (lǎo) Wǔhàn Dàxué
2000 (New) Wuhan University (新) 武汉大学 (新) 武漢大學 (xīn) Wǔhàn Dàxué


In 2018, Wuhan University's student body consisted of 29,405 full-time undergraduates and 19,699 full-time master's degree candidates, 7,163 Ph.D candidates and 2,453 international students.[15]

Rankings and Reputation[edit]


Wuhan University is ranked among the top 10 universities in China.

University rankings
Global – Overall
ARWU World[16]101-150 (2022)
QS World[17]194 (2022)
QS Employability[18]101-110 (2020)
THE World[19]157 (2022)
THE Reputation[20]151-175 (2020)
USNWR Global[21]150 (2023)
Regional – Overall
QS BRICS[22]15 (2019)
THE Emerging Economies[23]11 (2022)
USNWR Asia[24]24 (2023)
National – Overall
BCUR National[25]9 (2021)

In 2016, CUAA ranked it the 4th.[4]

In 2015, CUAA ranked it the 4th[26] and Wu Shulian ranked it the 7th.[27]

In 2014, CUAA ranked it the 5th[28] and Wu Shulian ranked it the 7th.[29]


In 2022, QS World University Rankings ranked it 194th in the world and 8th in China.[30]

In 2022, U.S. News & World Report ranked it 150th in the world, 24th in Asia and 11th in China.[5]

In 2022, Academic Ranking of World Universities ranked it between # 101-150 in the world and 15th in Asia.[31] In 2020, it ranked 23rd in Greater China (including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan).[32]

It came 157th in the 2022 Times Higher Education World University Rankings where it ranked 25th in Asia and 8th in China.[33][34] Internationally, Wuhan University is regarded as one of the most reputable Chinese universities by the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings where it ranked 151st globally.[35]

In Q4 2020, it was ranked 1st among Eastern Asian universities by the amount of venture capital funding raised by unicorn startups founded by its alumni.[36]

Former library situated on top of the old dorms, as depicted in the university's logo.
The administrative building houses the president's office.

Schools and colleges[edit]

School of Law
The building that housed the College of Chinese Language and Literature and School of History
School of Economics and Management (previously known as the School of Business)
College of Foreign Languages and Literatures


Campus map of Wuhan University (excluding the Medical Campus)
Cherry blossoms in Wuhan University

The university has rolling physical features with the scenic Luojia Hill and the beautiful East Lake. Its campus is heavily wooded and green, with fragrant flowers everywhere year-round. Wuhan University is widely known as one of the most beautiful universities in China, especially for its cherry blossom garden. A cherry blossom festival is held every spring.[37]

Most stylish old buildings were designed by F. H. Kales (1899–1979).[38] Educated in MIT, Kales was a pioneer to blend western architectural styles with traditional Chinese elements, which is most evident from his roof designs.

Wuhan University boasts a campus covering an area of 5508 mu and has a floor area of 2.42 square kilometres. The university's libraries have a collection of approximately 5.4 million volumes and subscriptions to more than 10,000 Chinese and foreign periodicals.[39]


Wuhan University has established cooperative relationship with more than 300 universities and research institutes in over 40 countries and regions.

Art and culture[edit]

  • Luojia Golden Fall Art Festival
  • Luojia Golden Fall International Cultural Festival
  • Students' Associations Cultural Festival
  • Campus Supermarket of Cultural Activities

Notable alumni[edit]


In 2009, the university had been cited as part of a scandal involving corruption by its administrators.[47]


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  4. ^ a b 《2016中国大学评价研究报告》出炉 2016中国大学排行榜700强. Archived from the original on 2019-12-10. Retrieved 2016-01-28 – via www.cuaa.net.
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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 30°32′27″N 114°21′40″E / 30.54083°N 114.36111°E / 30.54083; 114.36111