Teh-Kuang CHANG

View of the Gardens at Tsinghua University. PHOTO BY JOAN LEBOLD COHEN.

Founded in 1911 and located in Beijing, Tsinghua University is one of China’s most respected universities. Although it has a varied and comprehensive course of studies, it is especially well-known for its sciences and engineering departments.

Tsinghua University, originally named Qinghua Xuetang, was established on 19 April 1911 as the preparatory school for students who wanted to study in the United States. It is located in the northwestern suburbs of Beijing, in the Haidian district; the campus was one of the former Royal Gardens and is called Qinghua Yuan. In 1912 it was renamed Qinghua School. In 1925, it established a university section, and was renamed National Qinghua University of The Republic of China in 1928; it consisted of four colleges and sixteen departments. At the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War (known in china as the War if Resistance against Japan), Tsinghua University moved first to Changsha (Hunan Province), and finally to Kunming (Yunnan Province), temporarily merging with Peking University and Nankai University as National Southwestern Associate University during the period of World War II.

In 1946 Tsinghua University moved back to its original location in Beijing. It then consisted of five colleges and twenty departments. After the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, Tsinghua University was reorganized to become a polytechnic institute of engineering in a nationwide restructuring of universities and colleges, which was undertaken in 1952. After 1978–1979, when China opened up to the West, Tsinghua University restructured as a comprehensive research university.

During Republican China (1912–1949), Mei Yiqi served the longest as president of the university, from 1931 to 1948. In 1955, the Republic of China set up another Tsinghua University in Taiwan, with Mei Yiqi as president until his death in 1962.

Today, Tsinghua University has 14 colleges and 56 departments; 123 doctoral programs and 159 master’s programs are available. Fields of study include science, engineering, the humanities, law, medicine, history, philosophy, economics, management, education and the arts. Tsinghua University employs 7,777 faculty and staff members. There are 32,152 full-time students. Over 13,000 are undergraduate, over 13,000 are MA students, and about 5,000 are doctoral students. There are more than 1,700 students from over 46 countries, and about 9,000 students are enrolled under the “distance education” program, in which the students do not need to be physically present in the classroom.

The tradition of Tsinghua University is to balance a liberal arts and science education, with emphasis on engineering, thus, Tsinghua University often has been considered as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) of China.

One special feature of Tsinghua University is that some of its graduates have become political leaders in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), including Rongji Zhu, former premier of the PRC; and Hu Jintao, general secretary and chairman of the PRC.

Further Reading

Tsinghua University (n.d.). General information: Introduction of Tsinghua University. Retrieved on January 2, 2009, from http://www.tsinghua.edu.cn/eng/about.jsp?boardid=32&bid2=3201&pageno=1

Source: Chang, Teh-Kuang. (2009). Tsinghua University. In Linsun Cheng, et al. (Eds.), Berkshire Encyclopedia of China, pp. 1843–1845. Great Barrington, MA: Berkshire Publishing.

View of the campus at Tsinghua University, Beijing, 2000. PHOTO BY JOAN LEBOLD COHEN.

Tsinghua University students train as cadet warriors. For two weeks at the beginning of their education, they live like soldiers. Seen here, Tsinghua students participate in athletic exercises. PHOTO BY JOAN LEBOLD COHEN.

Qinghua University (Q?nghuá Dàxué ????)|Q?nghuá Dàxué ???? (Qinghua University)

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