Peking University[3] (abbreviated PKU or Beida; Chinese: 北京大学, pinyin: běi jīng dà xué) is a major Chinese research university located in Beijing and a member of the C9 League. Founded as the Imperial University of Peking in 1898 as a replacement of the ancient Guozijian (Imperial College),[4] it is the second old modern institution established for higher education in China. It also served as the highest administration for education in China at the beginning of its founding.[5] In 1917, Cai Yuanpei became the president of the university and initiated a series of reforms that helped transform the University, including faculty governance and democratic management. By the early 1920s, Peking University had become a center for China's emerging progressive thought.The university had played an important role in the birth of China's New Culture Movement, May Fourth Movement, the Tiananmen Square protest of 1989 and many other significant events.[6] Throughout its history, Peking university has educated and hosted many prominent modern Chinese thinkers, including figures such as: Mao Zedong, Lu Xun, Gu Hongming, Mao Dun, Li Dazhao, Chen Duxiu, and the current Premier Li Keqiang.[7]

As of 2017, Peking University's faculty includes 76 members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, 15 members of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and 23 members of the World Academy of Sciences.[8] Peking University's school library is one of the largest libraries in the world with over 8 million volumes.The university also operates the PKU Hall, a professional centre for arts performance, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum of Arts and Archaeology. The University's affiliated Founder Corporation is the largest university affiliated company in China, with over 35000 employees and total assets valued at 239.3billion RMB in 2016.[9]

Peking University has been consistently ranked as the top academic institution in China.[10][11][12][13][14] In 2017, Peking University was ranked the best university in China by CUAA for the 11th consecutive year.[15] In addition to academics, Peking University is especially renowned for its campus grounds and the beauty of its traditional Chinese architecture.[16][17][18][19]



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 Dàxuétángd ). It was established to replace Taixue or Beijing Guozijian, or Imperial College, as part of the Hundred Days' Reform initiated by Emperor Guangxu, Liang Qichao drafted the University's organising regulations. On Sep 21,1898, Empress Dowager Cixi, with support from conservatives, abruptly ended the Hundred Days' Reform and put Guangxu under house arrest at Yingtai. Cixi's coup d'état was followed by immediate abolishment of all policies and laws enacted by the reformers, and the Imperial University of Peking was the only part of the reform that survived.

Plaque of the Imperial University of Peking

In 1900, the university was paralyzed by the Boxer Rebellion, later in the year, the "Eight-Power Allied Forces" (八国联军)entered Beijing and the university's operating was continually suspended. The university's inaugural commencement was finally held on Dec 27,1902. In 1904, the university sent 47 students to study abroad, which marked the first time for Chinese higher education institution to send students study in foreign countries. Following the Xinhai Revolution, the Imperial University of Peking was renamed "Government University of Peking" in 1912 and then "National University of Peking" in 1919[20] (simplified Chinese: 国立北京大学; traditional Chinese: 國立北京大學; pinyin: Guólì Běijīng Dàxué).

Peking University's West Gate, one of the symbols of the university campus

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.

Cai Yuanpei, president of Peking University 1916-1927.

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.

After the establishment of the People's Republic of China

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.

In 2014, Peking University established Yenching Academy as an interdisciplinary global leadership program to build a bridge between China and the world.


View of the central campus
Weiming Lake at the central campus of Peking University

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. American architect and art historian Talbot Hamlin designed some of the university's buildings constructed during the 1919 to 1922 period.[21]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.[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.


University rankings
ARWU World[24] 71
Times World[26] 27
QS World[25] 38
Times Asia[28] 2
QS Asia[27] 9
One of the administrative buildings with the huabiao

Peking University is a national key university.[29] 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.[30]

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[31][32] 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.[33]

Many domestic rankings have placed Peking University among the top universities in mainland China.[10] In 2015, the Chinese University Alumni Association in partnership with China Education Center considered it 1st among all Chinese universities.[10]

U.S. News & World Report ranked Peking University 41st in the world, 1st in Greater China, and 2nd in Asia.[34] It also topped the newly launched Times Higher Education BRICS & Emerging Economies.[35]

The Life Sciences Building
The Langrun Garden, located in the north-eastern area of the university, is the home of the Beijing International MBA at Peking University

Academic Schools:

  • Institute of Ocean Research
  • School of Mathematical Sciences
  • School of software & microelectronics
  • School of Electronics Engineering and Computer Science
  • Department of Chinese Language and Literature
  • School of Chinese as a Second Language
  • Institute of Computer Science & Technology
  • Department of Information Management
  • Institute of Social Science Survey
  • School of Foreign Languages
  • Department of History
  • School of Arts
  • Academy for Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies
  • The Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • College of Environmental Science and Engineering
  • Law School
  • School of International Studies
  • School of Government
  • Department of Philosophy
  • Medical School
  • School of Economics
  • Guanghua School of Management
  • HSBC Business School
  • School of Transitional law
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Urban and Environmental Sciences
  • Institute of Population Research
  • School of Marxism
  • College of Architecture and Landscape


A performance of Kunqu at Peking University

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.[36] 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,[37] and Department of Digital Art and Design with UNESCO.[38][39]

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.[40]

National School of Development (NSD)

The National School of Development (formerly China Center for Economic Research) is ranked amongst the top five most influential think tanks in China.[41] 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.[41]

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),[42] 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.[43] BiMBA has also been ranked as the second most valuable full-time MBA in China by Forbes (after CEIBS)[44] and among Asia's best business schools by Bloomberg Business.[45][46]

Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School

Peking University HSBC Business School at its Shenzhen campus.

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

On August 29th, 2016, Peking University signed a strategic agreement with the Shenzhen Municipal Government to further develop its Shenzhen Graduate School, the university plans build a brand new campus near the existed graduate school and open undergraduate programs.[49]

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, 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, Paris School of International Affairs[55], 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.[56] 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 and the Higher School of Economics since 2015.

Notable alumni

In Politics:

Mao Zedong, Chen Duxiu, and Li Dazhao, founding members of the Communist Party of China, either taught or held offices in the university. Mao Zedong worked as a librarian at Peking University's school library when Li Dazhao was director of the library, Chen was a professor and served as dean of the arts department from 1916 to 1919.

According to CUAA's 2015 ranking of notable alumni in politics, Peking University has produced the most notable politicians among all universities in China.[57]As of 2017, 88 Peking University alumni currently serve in the government at vice-ministerial positions or higher[58], two of the seven member Standing Committee of the CPC, Li Keqiang and Zhao Leji, are Peking University alumni. Bo Xilai, former member of the Politburo and Communist Party Secretary of Chongqing, who was convicted on corruption charges in 2013 and sentenced to life in prison,also graduated from Peking University.

See also


  1. ^ "History Peking University". Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c "Quick Facts". Office of International Relations. Peking University. [permanent dead link]
  3. ^ Also spelled as Beijing University.
  4. ^ 1959-, Hao, Ping,; 1959-, 郝平, (1998). Beijing da xue chuang ban shi shi kao yuan (Di 1 ban ed.). Beijing: Beijing da xue chu ban she. ISBN 9787301036617. OCLC 40906464. 
  5. ^ "History_Peking University". Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  6. ^ "Peking University". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2008-08-21. 
  7. ^ Peking University - Mingren Archived 2008-08-04 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ 北京大学计算中心. "北京大学". Retrieved 2017-10-26. 
  9. ^ 方正集团. "公司介绍_集团概况_方正集团". www.founder.com. Retrieved 2018-02-28. 
  10. ^ a b c www.chinaeducenter.com. "University in China. China Education Center". Chinaeducenter.com. Retrieved 2012-04-22. 
  11. ^ "2009 China University Ranking". China-university-ranking.com. 2008-12-24. Retrieved 2012-04-22. 
  12. ^ "Univ ranking in China 200" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-04-22. 
  13. ^ "World University Rankings 2014-15". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  14. ^ "World University Rankings". Top Universities. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  15. ^ "2017-2018中国大学排名700强排行榜(校友会最新完整版)_大学生必备网". m.dxsbb.com. Retrieved 2018-02-28. 
  16. ^ Francis Whittaker (July 14, 2011). "Most beautiful universities". MSN. 
  17. ^ Stirling Kelso (September 2012). "World's Most Beautiful Universities". Travel and Leisure. 
  18. ^ "15 Of The World's Most Beautiful Universities Revealed". The Huffington Post UK. July 11, 2013. 
  19. ^ "NUS PKU MBA - About Peking University - Overview". Archived from the original on 16 July 2015. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  20. ^ "[Anniversary Special] "In the beginning was the word"". Peking University. 2011-05-02. Retrieved 2017-09-09. 
  21. ^ http://library.columbia.edu/locations/avery/da/collections/hamlin_tf.html
  22. ^ Arthur M. Sackler Museum of Art & Archaeology Archived 2011-04-11 at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ a b "A destination to be explored". Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  24. ^ Academic Ranking of World Universities 2017
  25. ^ QS World University Rankings 2018
  26. ^ World University Rankings 2018
  27. ^ QS Asian University Rankings 2016
  28. ^ Asia University Rankings 2017
  29. ^ "全国重点大学名录". Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  30. ^ Harvard News Office. "Harvard Gazette: Summers visits People's Republic of China". Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  31. ^ "Georgia Tech / Emory / Peking University BME PhD Program". 
  32. ^ "Georgia Tech Partnership". 
  33. ^ Club Yahoo![permanent dead link]
  34. ^ "USNews Top World University Ranking". USNews. Retrieved October 10, 2014. 
  35. ^ "BRICS & Emerging Economies Rankings 2014". Times Higher Education. Retrieved October 2, 2014. 
  36. ^ "A History of Contemporary Chinese Literature". Brill Publishers. 
  37. ^ "Center for the Art of East Asia". University of Chicago. Archived from the original on 2008-10-10. 
  38. ^ Culture: Peking University, Department of Digital Art and Design[permanent dead link] UNESCO.
  39. ^ "Peking University, Department of Digital Art and Design". Retrieved 15 July 2015. [permanent dead link]
  40. ^ "Overseas Studies". Stanford University. 
  41. ^ a b "China Network– Peking University's National School of Development: The Brains behind China's growth". Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  42. ^ "National School of Development ranks in top five Think Tanks for Highest Professional Influence_Peking University". Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  43. ^ "The Top 10 Business Schools in Asia-Pacific 2014/15". TopMBA.com. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  44. ^ Russell Flannery & Chloe Chen (26 April 2010). "China's Best Business Schools". Forbes. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  45. ^ Frederik Balfour; Bruce Einhorn; Moon Ihlwan; Mehul Srivastava & Hiroko Tashiro. "Asia's Top Business Schools". Businessweek.com. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  46. ^ "Keeping the Bar High at BiMBA". Businessweek.com. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  47. ^ "Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School - Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School". Retrieved 14 April 2016. [permanent dead link]
  48. ^ "Schools - Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School". Retrieved 14 April 2016. [permanent dead link]
  49. ^ "北京大学将建深圳校区 拓展本科和医学教育". edu.sina.com.cn. Retrieved 2017-10-26. 
  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". Archived from the original on 30 July 2015. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  54. ^ a b English - People's Daily
  55. ^ http://www.sciencespo.fr/psia/content/dual-degree-peking-university
  56. ^ "Stanford Center at Peking University". 
  57. ^ "2015中国大学杰出政要校友排行榜 北大居首_教育_腾讯网". edu.qq.com (in Chinese). Retrieved 2017-10-28. 
  58. ^ www.360doc.com. "88位现任省部级以上北大校友丨最新名录". www.360doc.com. Retrieved 2017-10-28. 

Further reading

  • 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