CIEE Beijing: Advanced Chinese Studies
The CIEE Study Center at Peking University (PKU) was founded in 1980. The Advanced Chinese Studies program, which started in 2009, is appropriate for highly motivated, superior-level Chinese language students interested in taking content classes completely in Chinese with Chinese undergraduate students at Peking University.
Founded in 1898, Peking University (PKU) was and still remains one of China’s most prestigious universities. The university focuses on advanced research in the natural and social sciences and its campus, which was previously an imperial garden during the Qing Dynasty, is home to the university’s 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
For additional information, visit the CIEE Beijing: Advanced Chinese Studies website
The City of Beijing
As China’s capital and cultural center, Beijing is arguably China’s most important city. With a population of 22 million and counting, people from all over China, and the world, have flocked here for new opportunities as China’s economy and international power grow. Beijing is home to some of China’s most treasured historical sites, like the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. It is also very cosmopolitan and is home to some of China’s best theaters. Beijing boasts the highest concentration of top research institutions and technology companies.
Did you know…?
There are around 800 buildings in the Forbidden City, one of Beijing’s most popular tourist spots.
The program at CIEE Beijing: Advanced Chinese Studies is for College and Huntsman students.
Minimum GPA Requirement: 3.0
Language Prerequisite: Successful completion of 8 or more semesters of college-level language or the equivalent, by the end of the academic semester (fall or spring) prior to departure.
*Students must take the initial PKU placement test in Beijing to qualify for direct enrollment. Students who speak and write at the Superior level on the ACTFL scale are likely to pass the PKU placement test. Students who do not pass the test are required to switch into the CIEE Beijing: Intensive Chinese Language program.
*Students are strongly encouraged to provide a current HSK (National Chinese Language Proficiency Test) score along with their application to expedite the admissions process. HSK tests should be taken within one year prior to applying to the program. Students who have already received an intermediate B certificate or above on the HSK advanced exam may be exempt from the PKU language proficiency exam. HSK testing sites, which are available throughout the U.S., typically offer testing once each year in the spring or fall.
Other Requirements: Completion of at least two full years of undergraduate study by the end of the academic semester (fall or spring) prior to departure is required.
Peking University will not accept students who are citizens of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Taiwan ROC, Hong Kong SAR, or Macau. This includes those who are permanent U.S. residents.
Language of Instruction
A full course load at CIEE Beijing: Advanced Chinese Studies at Peking University consists of four to five classes per semester. Penn students must maintain a full course load while abroad and may only enroll in courses at the undergraduate level.
All students are required to take the CIEE Core Course, Advanced Research and Writing
, plus three or four additional courses via direct enrollment at Peking University.
CIEE Beijing Advanced Chinese Studies Academic Calendar
CIEE Beijing Advanced Chinese Studies Course Catalog for Incoming Exchange Students
Students are not permitted to depart during their semester abroad until all final exams/assessments have been completed. This program does not permit re-scheduling or remote proctoring of exams.
As on all Penn Abroad programs, grades are recorded on the Penn transcript and are calculated in the cumulative grade point average. The pass/fail option can be exercised according to the Penn on-campus policy of your home school. Be sure to review Penn Abroad’s academic policies
- For students abroad in the spring semester, this program concludes at the end of June. Students are expected to stay abroad until the last date of their last final in June.
- For students abroad in the fall semester, exams for Mandarin-taught courses at Peking University will conclude in mid-January. Depending on when Penn's academic calendar begins for the spring term and when the exam period ends at Peking University, there may be a conflict with the start of the spring semester at Penn. Therefore, students interested in studying abroad in the fall term must express this interest to their Penn Abroad Global Programs Manager at the time of their advising appointment. If there will be an academic calendar conflict for the intended semester abroad, then the student will be advised to defer his/her abroad term to spring and/or consider a different abroad program, as students may not study abroad on a program where there will be an academic calendar conflict with Penn's spring term dates.
All Penn students are required to attend the orientation activities organized by CIEE prior to the start of each semester.
Students will begin their study abroad experience before leaving home by participating in a CIEE online pre-departure orientation. Upon arrival, a mandatory orientation session conducted at the beginning of the program introduces students to the academic culture at PKU and life in China. Several group sessions involving CIEE students and peer tutors are included as an integral part of orientation.
Cultural Activities and Field Trips
Guided field trips are organized to cultural destinations or events in and around Beijing, and might include historic sites such as Tiananmen Square, the Great Wall, and the Forbidden City. Activities may include more contemporary events, such as plays, rock music performances, or day hikes near Beijing. Extracurricular classes in Chinese calligraphy, painting, seal carving, and martial arts are also offered each semester.
Peer Language Tutor Program
CIEE students are paired with local students from the PKU department in which the CIEE student is enrolled. These tutorials provide students guided support in academic writing and research in a Chinese context, which is integrated into the required CIEE core course, Tutorial for Advanced Research and Writing. They also provide students extra conversation practice in Mandarin and guidance with homework assignments, while giving students an opportunity to befriend a Chinese peer.
CIEE Community Language Commitment
On this program, students are asked to take part in the CIEE Community Language Commitment. During orientation, all students sign an agreement specifying in what contexts Chinese is required. This fosters a program environment and learning community that encourages regular use of the Chinese language for daily communication, thereby improving proficiency in the language.
Participants must be willing to live under local conditions for students.
Students are required to live in either the PKU foreign student complex
– Zhongguanyuan Global Village dormitory – or in a homestay
. Students may not live in accommodations that are not arranged by CIEE.
Living conditions in Zhongguanyuan Global Village are inviting and comfortable, providing standard amenities such as beds, desks, armoires, private bathrooms, and Internet access. Shared kitchens are available, but location varies by building. Students live in suite-style units and each student has his or her own private bedroom. Each unit shares a common living space and bathroom, and depending on the layout, students will live with one to two other roommates. Roommates are either CIEE students or other international students.
Homestays are located within 45 minutes from campus by public transportation and have two or three bedrooms. Students have their own room and share the living room, kitchen, and bathroom. Chinese family members speak Chinese only. This option is highly recommended for students who want to establish relationships with Chinese people, live in an entirely Chinese language environment, and make rapid progress in Chinese language and culture study.
Information regarding accommodation can be found on the CIEE website
Penn Abroad Financial Policies
Students are charged Penn tuition and academic fees for all Penn Abroad programs. Additional expenses will typically include items such as housing, visas, and airfare. Please see the program budget sheets below for more information. Be sure to review Penn Abroad’s financial policies
Financial Aid and Study Abroad
In most cases, financial aid applies to Penn-approved semester abroad programs. Student Financial Services reviews program budget sheets each semester to determine how to appropriately adjust your aid package. Visit SFS's website for more information on how Financial Aid will work during your semester abroad
Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program
: Competition for awards for study abroad, for US citizen students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding at a 2-year or 4-year college or university.
David L. Boren Undergraduate Scholarships for Study Abroad
: Supports undergraduate study abroad focusing on geographical areas, languages, and fields of study deemed critical to US national security. (Excludes study in US, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.) These US government grants entail a service obligation.
CIEE Scholarships & Grants
: Provides both merit-based and need-based scholarships and grants for undergraduate studying abroad on CIEE programs.