The College’s program at Peking University (PKU) in Beijing, China, affords qualified Chicago students an opportunity to study at one of the strongest and most respected universities in China.
- round-trip airfare to and from the program site
- transportation on site
- course materials
- personal entertainment and travel
- communications (most students bring or buy a cell phone)
- health insurance and upfront payments for care
- other miscellaneous expenses
This is an intense academic immersion program in which students study their subject by taking regular courses at PKU alongside degree-seeking students at that university. Peking University, founded in 1898, was the first national comprehensive university in China, offering instruction in most all of the normal “arts and sciences” subjects. It is also well known for its architecturally beautiful campus, replete with traditional Chinese buildings. PKU is located in the Beijing neighborhood of Haidian, a major university district that is also home to the University of Chicago’s Center in Beijing. Beijing, China’s capital and largest city is a major financial, political, and cultural center.
PKU operates on a two-semester calendar with the autumn semester running from early September to the end of January, and the spring semester running from late February to the end of June. Students on this program are to study at PKU for the entire academic year. Students will normally be enrolled in the standard course load at PKU. This program will be most appealing for students with a strong command of Mandarin, although students who do not know Chinese may participate by enrolling in the School of Chinese as a Second Language.
You are responsible for arranging your own housing at PKU. Normally students will choose accommodation in the modern, international dormitory, Global Village, across the street from the university’s main gate. You will have the opportunity to sign up for housing once you have been selected for the program.
Participants in the Peking University Exchange Program remain registered as full-time students in the College. As an academic year participant in this program, you will receive 10-12 credits depending upon the number of courses you choose to take. Course titles, units of credit, and grades are placed on your Chicago transcript.
Peking University Exchange Program participants pay regular College tuition and a nonrefundable study abroad administrative fee. The tuition is paid in conformity with the home campus payment schedule, and the nonrefundable study abroad administrative fee is submitted when accepting a place in a program. Students pay additional miscellaneous living expenses, including food, books, travel, and incidentals while in Beijing.
Successful applicants for the PKU Exchange Program who are also US citizens will be eligible for a monthly stipend of 1700 RMB per month, provided by the Chinese Government Scholarship. The stipend will be available monthly after students register for their classes at PKU upon arrival and after completing the scholarship application form provided by PKU.
Precise figures for the Peking University Exchange Program for the 2024–2025 year are listed below:
Academic year tuition*: as set by the Bursar’s Office
Study abroad administrative fee: $675
*Semester participants will pay one half of the academic year’s tuition.
Out-of-pocket expenses include:
Study abroad students retain their financial aid eligibility. For more information about financial aid resources, please see our Tuition, Fees, and Funding section.
The Beijing exchange program at PKU is open to University of Chicago undergraduate students only who are not Chinese citizens and do not hold a Chinese passport. Applications from outside the University are not accepted.
For most students the third year is the most appropriate time to participate in this program. In most cases, fourth-year (or graduating third-year) students will not be able to participate in the exchange for the full academic year since the second semester grades and transcript cannot be issued until September, and will be posted the following autumn. The program is open to all majors.
Students who are proficient in Chinese can take content classes in the subject they choose. To do so, they must provide a qualified HSK certificate (international Chinese language exam) with a score of band 6 minimum, or pass the Chinese language test upon registration. Because you will be attending regular PKU courses, taught largely in Chinese to native speakers, there is a firm expectation that your Chinese will be at a high-functioning level.
Students who are not proficient in Chinese may only take classes in the School of Chinese as a Second Language. You may also choose 1-2 courses in English in other disciplines, if available (selection is limited). The Chinese language proficiency test is offered again at the beginning of the spring semester, and if you pass to the required level, you may enroll in regular on-campus content courses in the spring semester.
While the program specifies no minimum overall grade-point average, the admissions process is competitive, and you will be expected to present a transcript showing solid and sustained work, not only in Chinese, but in all of your courses. In general this is a challenging program, which assumes a high level of independence and resourcefulness.
In order to apply to this program you must first complete Chicago’s study abroad profile via the online application. Once you have completed this profile you will then select “Peking University Exchange Program” under the program list for program applications and click “apply.” Here you will be able to submit your intent to apply and will be given explicit instructions for completing the Peking University Exchange application.
To discuss the Peking University Exchange Program and the possibility of participating, please contact Naira Ovsepyan.