Beijing: Renmin University Exchange Program

Students explore a historical site in Beijing

Program Term:

Academic Year

Language Requirement:



 Naira Ovsepyan

Application Deadline:


The College’s program at Renmin University in Beijing, China, affords qualified Chicago students an opportunity to study at the “People’s University,” one of Beijing’s leading universities.

    This is an intense academic immersion program in which students study their subject by taking regular courses at Renmin University alongside degree-seeking students at that university. Renmin University, founded in 1937, is a highly regarded, comprehensive university offering instruction in most of the normal “arts and sciences” subjects, and is known as the most prestigious university in the humanities and social sciences in China. It operates exchanges with roughly 190 universities from all over the world (including Chicago). Renmin University is directly adjacent to the University of Chicago’s Center in Beijing in the Haidian neighborhood, a major university district. Beijing, China’s capital and largest city, is a major political and cultural center.

    Renmin University operates on a two-semester calendar with the autumn semester running from early September to mid-January, and the spring semester running from late February to the end of June. Students on the program are to study at Renmin University for the entire academic year. Students will normally be enrolled in the standard course load at Renmin University. 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 content courses that are offered in English on campus.

    You are responsible for arranging your own housing at Renmin University. Normally students will choose accommodation in the modern, international dormitory, International Cultural Exchange Center, located on campus. You will have the opportunity to sign up for housing once you have been selected for the program.

    Participants in the Renmin 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.

    Renmin 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 living expenses, including housing, food, books, travel, and incidentals while in Beijing. Precise figures for the Renmin 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:

    • round-trip airfare to and from the program site
    • passport/visa fees
    • transportation on site
    • accommodation
    • meals
    • 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

    Study abroad students retain their financial aid eligibility. For more information about financial aid resources, please see our Tuition, Fees, and Funding section.

    The Renmin University Exchange Program 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 a placement test upon arrival to determine whether they have the competency to take content classes in the subject they choose in Chinese. If you choose to take classes in Chinese, there is a firm expectation that your Chinese will be at a high-functioning level because you will be attending regular Renmin University courses, taught largely in Chinese to native speakers. Students who are not proficient in Chinese may take classes offered in English.

    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 (if you choose to take classes 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 “Renmin 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 Renmin University Exchange Program Application.

    To discuss the Renmin University Exchange Program and the possibility of participating, please contact Naira Ovsepyan.