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Fields of Study: Humanities, Social Sciences, Science

In this immersive program, you will maximize your Chinese language skills, gain new perspectives on your field of study, and develop a deeper understanding of China and the world today. Depending on your term of study, you can pursue Chinese language and cultural studies, take select courses taught in Chinese or English, or pursue an internship.

Unique study opportunities

  • Take a Chinese language study course along with a course taught in English on Chinese politics, society, economy, or international relations.
  • Enroll in a series of Asian studies courses taught in English in the humanities, social sciences, economics and management, and the natural sciences.
  • If your Chinese is advanced, learn alongside locals in courses taught in Chinese. ​


Language of Instruction: Chinese, English

Chinese Language Study: Required

Chinese language study is required each semester unless you are fluent and taking courses taught in Chinese.

Courses and credit

Requirements While Abroad

To successfully complete this program:

  • Take a full-time course of study: A total of 21 quarter/14 semester UC units per term.
  • You may take up to one-third (33%) of your total unit load per term on a P/NP basis.
  • Attend class regularly. Excessive absences in some courses result in an automatic fail.

Current Program Courses

Chinese Language Study​

For many students, the focus of the Peking University (PKU) program is study of Chinese language taught with simplified characters. Instructions on how to complete a language assessment are included in your admission package. There are comprehensive and specialized courses that include newspaper reading, grammar, writing, cinema, and more.

If your Chinese is limited, you’ll take language courses through the School of Chinese as a Second Language at the International College of Chinese Language Studies (Hanyu Xueyuan). These classes improve proficiency in spoken and written Chinese and discuss Chinese culture and society. If you are admitted to Hanyu Xueyuan, you will take two mandatory courses—Hanyu (Reading and Writing Chinese) and Kouyu (Listening and Speaking Chinese).

If your Chinese language skill level is intermediate, you’ll take courses through the Chinese Department. These courses are taught in Chinese at a level more easily understood than that of regular university courses.

Coursework Taught in Chinese

If you have advanced Chinese language skills, you’ll be eligible to take regular Peking University courses in select fields taught in Chinese. If you plan to take regular Chinese-taught undergraduate courses, you’ll need either a special certificate or to pass the Chinese language placement test held at the beginning of each semester.

Coursework Taught in English

Chinese language study may be supplemented by a choice of one or two courses taught in English. The Peking University "On China Series" consists of English-taught courses specially designed for international students. These courses focus on Chinese topics in politics, economics, business, society, culture, history, and the environment.

In addition, PKU offers comprehensive English-taught courses, which are part of the regular degree curriculum. These courses are subject to availability and local students have first enrollment priority.

Note: Graduate courses taught in English are not open to exchange students.

Catalogs and resources

Academic culture

The Chinese University Structure

Each Chinese university is considered a community that also operates as a social unit. The university administration takes an active role in employee and family life and faculty, staff, and their families work together as part of the larger extended family.

It is helpful to understand that admission to Chinese universities is highly competitive and limited. A limited percent of Chinese youth complete high school and pass the national entrance exam for admission to institutions of higher education. A smaller fraction is accepted into institutions as prestigious as Peking University.

Relationship with Faculty

Relationships between students and teachers in China are quite different from those at UC. According to Confucian traditions, teachers in China are revered and respected by all and take great responsibility for the care of their students. Generally, Chinese instructors expect students to be deferential and appreciative; never confrontational, excessively argumentative, or demanding. If you have a difference of opinion with an instructor, express it at a time during class designated by the instructor or privately after class, but always with tact and respect.

Chinese teachers consider their students’ success or failure a measure of personal success or failure on their part, so students try to succeed for their teacher’s sake as well as their own.

Address an instructor as laoshi, which means teacher: “[Last Name] laoshi.” The use of first names is particularly unacceptable in Asia.


You will earn direct UC credit and grades for all coursework. Questioning an instructor about your test scores or grades in China requires tact. First discuss your concerns and questions with the UCEAP study center.

Final grades for spring and year are usually available in late September.


At the beginning of classes, inform your instructors about your status as an exchange student. In general, tests require more rote memorization than UC exams.

Although practices vary, regular university courses usually have one midterm exam and one final exam or written report. Frequent, short quizzes are rare. Homework may or may not be graded, but you will be penalized if you miss assignments or submit poor or incomplete homework.

In regular university courses outside the language curriculum, the tests are made up by the instructor. The instructor may permit you to do a term paper in lieu of the final exam or allow a longer period for writing the exam.

Exams in the language curriculum often are made up by staff, not necessarily in close consultation with the teacher. Tests are standardized for each level and may not always cover material exactly as it was provided in class.


At Peking University, if you miss more than 25 percent of a language course, you will not be permitted to take the final exam and will not receive credit for the course, thereby receiving an “F” grade.

Attendance is taken in Chinese language classes, and absences result in a lower or failing grade. Attendance policies are determined by the school and the instructor; it is your responsibility to know the policy for each course.