School navigation

Overseas and Off-Campus Programs

China: Beijing

Semester: Fall, Spring, Full Year
Offered: Annually
Estimated Dates: Fall: Late August to mid-December, Spring: early February to late May
Program Focus: Regional Area Study with Language Component
Prerequisites: CHIN 102. A “B” or better in the language. 3.0 cumulative GPA required and a 3.2 GPA in language study. Students must satisfy the Words and Numbers CORE requirement before participating in an overseas program.
Housing: Dormitories
Campus Contact: Keith Dede
Professor of Chinese
, 503-768-7445

Program Design

In cooperation with the China Studies Institute (CSI), this program includes study of the Chinese language, and a variety of courses that focus on the art, history, literature, economics, politics and sociology of China. Students live in dormitories on the Peking University campus with access to on-campus cafeterias, restaurants, libraries and athletic facilities. Students end the semester with a 14-day study trip; students can choose from four different study trips with different locations and themes.

As one of the world’s great ancient capitals, Beijing is home to some of the finest remnants of China’s imperial past. Its art treasures and universities have made it center of culture and art in China. Beijing has seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites – the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Ming Tombs, Zhoukoudian, as well as parts of the Great Wall and the Grand Canal. Beijing is a superb example of the great transformation China has undergone as it burst into the 21st century.

Onsite Staff: Dr. Hong Li is the Associate Director of the China Studies Institute.

Full Year Participation: After successful completion of this program you may be eligible to participate on one of our other language intensive programs. It is your responsibility to contact Keith Dede before registration to determine your eligibility to continue on one of our other programs. Full year participation after fall semester entails participation in the January Term program in Beijing.


Requirements Fulfilled: This program fulfills the 8-credit International Studies general education requirement, and the overseas study requirement for Asian Studies major and World Language major Chinese (Primary). Select courses can be applied to the Chinese minor. Students who complete Chinese 201 or higher fulfill the World Language proficiency general education requirement.

Credits: Credit earned varies based on courses completed. Students may earn up to 19 credits. Overloads are not permitted.

Curriculum: During their semester in Beijing, students take a 6-credit language study course (offered at the intermediate and advanced level). For the remainder of their classes, students can choose from a variety of area studies courses taught in English (3 credits each). Courses are offered in many disciplines, including art, international relations, economics, political science, literature, and history. Students also have the option of taking non-credit courses in Calligraphy, Taiji/Martial Art, and Traditional Folk Arts and Crafts. Students take their courses at Peking University, the most influential institution of higher learning in China.

Course Offerings: A sampling of the course offerings are listed below. Courses may change without notice.

Chinese Language

  • CH 201: Intermediate I (6 credits, Fall & Spring)

This course exposes students to commonly used sentence structures and practical situational dialogues. This course also reviews and increases students’ grammatical background and provides a stepping stone for further Chinese language learning.

  • CH 202: Intermediate II (6 credits, Fall & Spring)

This course aims to improve students’ skills in understanding spoken and written Chinese and expressing themselves in speaking and writing. It is also designed to enhance students’ Chinese communicative ability. Students will continue to expand their vocabulary and language knowledge and will also elevate their language competence to the next level.

  • CH 301: Intermediate III (6 credits, Fall & Spring)

This course helps students to develop their ability to use Chinese in a more advanced way. Students will continue to expand their vocabulary, enrich their knowledge of grammar and usage, and develop an ability to describe, narrate, and argue in the language.

  • CH 302: Intermediate IV (6 credits, Fall & Spring)

The goal of this course is to develop the students’ vocabulary and their understanding of the Chinese language. Students will also continue to learn fundamental structures. By the end of the course students will be competent in everyday interactions and usage of the Chinese language.

  • CH 401: Advanced I (6 credits, Fall & Spring)

After students already possess a basic foundation in Chinese grammar, this course will teach students how to effectively use and integrate various grammar structures in spoken and written language.

  • CH 402: Advanced II (6 credits, Fall & Spring)

Students in this course will continue to improve their spoken and written Chinese. They will also begin to practice reading and using complex sentences found mainly in formal Chinese in order to learn how to approach academic articles.

  • CH 501: Advanced III (6 credits, Fall & Spring)

This course is designed to perfect students’ skills in understanding spoken and written Chinese and in expressing themselves through speaking and writing. Through reading texts selected from modern Chinese literature, academic works, and newspaper articles, students will be asked to express more refined and sophisticated ideas and to process sentences with complex structures used mainly in formal speech and writing.

Social Sciences

  • IR 401: Sino-American Relations (3 credits, Fall & Spring)

The course concentrates on post-Cold War events in the context of American predominance, decline of Soviet power, and emergence of China as a new force on the international scene.

  • PS 401: China in the Global Economy (3 credits, Fall & Spring)

This course examines China’s increasing role in the global economy, including trade, investment, impact of WTO accession, regional integration, and international economic institutions.

  • PS 402: Chinese Political Reforms (3 credits, Fall & Spring)

This course discusses the two and a half decades of reforms in China’s post-Mao era with respect to the international contexts, policy options, achievements, failures and implications for the future.

  • PS 403: Chinese Media Studies (3 credits, Fall & Spring)

This course examines how Chinese media has emerged and evolved against the background of the modern Chinese history, how they interact with the government, sponsors, receivers, and other social institutions, and what all these mean to the Chinese social development.

  • SO 301: Chinese Women’s Studies (3 credits, Fall & Spring)

This course focuses on the contemporary status of Chinese women and their uphill struggle for equality in the 20th century.

  • SO 303: Social Stratification and Inequality in China (3 credits, Fall & Spring)

This course explores the changes of China’s social stratification structure brought by market-oriented reform.


  • AR 301: Chinese Architecture and Culture (3 credits, Fall & Spring)

The course traces the architectural history of China with a special emphasis on the Song and the Qing dynasties, when classical Chinese architecture reached its zenith.

  • HIS 303: China in Transformation, 1840s to 1960s (3 credits, Fall & Spring)

The course aims at an understanding of China’s transformation from a traditional society to a modern nation.

  • HIS 402: Language Reforms in Modern China (3 credits, Fall & Spring)

As part of the effort to westernize China, leading Chinese intellectuals in the 20th century tried to rid the nation of Chinese characters, the only living pictographic language. The course traces the rationale, the cultural conflicts, and the ultimate failure of this iconoclastic movement.

  • LIT 301: Contemporary Chinese Novels (3 credits, Fall & Spring)

This course surveys contemporary Chinese fiction from the 1980s to the present in terms of historical background, ideological content, artistic development and achievement, as well as foreign influences.

Non-Academic Courses (Non-Credit)

  • Calligraphy

This course introduces students to the basic skills of calligraphy, as well as its philosophy.

  • Taiji/Martial Arts

A martial arts or taiji master demonstrates this Chinese tradition and teaches students to practice these skills.

  • Traditional Folk Arts and Crafts

Professional practitioners of various crafts will be invited to show and teach students their skills each semester, such as Peking Opera, mask painting, paper cutting, Chinese painting, Taiji Fan making, etc.

Please note that students will not receive credit for independent study courses, or business courses taken on the program.

Internships: Students have the opportunity to complete an internship for credit during their time in Beijing. Students spend two days a week (180 hours total) at their internship sites, and they write a research paper related to their internship experience at the conclusion of the semester. Internships are arranged by the China Studies Institute. Students in the past have completed their internships with NGOs and nonprofit organizations, and media-related companies and organizations.

14-day Study Trips: At the end of the semester, students have the opportunity to choose from four unique study trips, each with a different theme and itinerary. These study trips give students a chance to experience different sides of Chinese culture and language.

  • Purple Line: Tibet and Buddhism - On this trip, students explore the role of Buddhism in China, as well as Tibetan culture, as they visit Luoyang, Xi’an, Xi’ning, Lhasa, and Leshan.

  • Green Line: Ethnic Minorities in Southwest China - Students learn about minority populations in modern day China by visiting Xi’an, Lijiang, Dali, and Kunming.

  • Orange Line: History and Culture in Central and South China - This trip gives students the chance to explore various topics related to Chinese history and culture, including Buddhism and Chinese art. This trip visits Luoyang, Xi’an, Longsheng, and Yangshuo.

  • Red Line: Long March through Rural China - Pursued and blocked by enemy forces, the Chinese Red army escaped and marched over 6,000 miles from the south to the northwestern part of China in 1934-35. They endured the unendurable, crossing rivers, snow mountains, marshlands, amidst enemy fire and all elements. Most died but the survivors went on to create the new China. The Long March came to symbolize idealism, courage, endurance, and camaraderie. To build up character for lifelong benefit, students will march at least 15 miles per day, with backpacks, sleeping bags and tents. This study trip will be available only in the spring semester.

Student Life

Housing: Students live at Peking University in double occupancy dormitories for foreign students that are equipped with private bathrooms, air conditioning, TV, internet access, and a telephone.  Students are responsible for purchasing and preparing their own meals, but the Overseas Office will give them a stipend to cover the cost of their food. Students can choose from on-campus cafeterias, nearby noodle shops, or neighborhood restaurants.

Cultural Activities: CSI offers a variety of cultural excursions and activities focused on language, culture, and engaging with local students. Every other weekend there will be an organized group activity, giving students a chance to visit cultural sites in and near Beijing. These sites may include the Capital Museum, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the 798 Art Zone, and the Summer Palace. Activities such as scavenger hunts and sports games will be arranged with program participants and Peking University students. Chinese speaking contests and roundtable debates offer students additional opportunities to get involved outside of the academic program and to practice their Chinese language skills. Click here to learn more about the variety of activities that CSI offers.

Volunteering: During the semester, students will have the option to participate in various volunteer opportunities, such as teaching English in a school for children of migrant workers.


2020-2021 Fee Breakdown*

Total Fee (includes Tuition, Program Fee, and Health & Wellness Fee): $34,921

Tuition: $27,416

Program Fee: $7,468

Health & Wellness Fee: $37**

Included in the program fee are room/housing, board/meals, and administrative fees. Not included are airfare, passport and visa expenses, primary insurance coverage, photographs, books, immunizations, and incidentals. 

*Fees are updated every February for the following academic year.

**The Health & Wellness Fee supports the operations of Wellness Services staff in delivering pre-program orientation services, as well as in providing health-related consultation regarding participant health needs. All students in the College of Arts and Sciences pay a mandatory fee of $37 per semester.

Stipend: Students will receive a stipend to cover the cost of meals and transportation costs not covered by the program fee.

Estimated Airfare (Round Trip PDX to PEK): $1,000 - $2,000

Estimated Travel Document Fees: $100 - $200

Estimated Health Insurance Fee: $1,350.50

All students participating in overseas programs are automatically enrolled in iNext, a supplemental travel insurance program. The fee for iNext is covered in the program cost. However, students are also required to have comprehensive health insurance during their time abroad. All students participating in overseas programs, both abroad and domestic, are automatically enrolled in the College’s student health insurance program. Similar to a regular semester on-campus, students participating in overseas programs may waive enrollment in the student health insurance program if they have other comprehensive health insurance (e.g., through a parent, guardian or employer) that 1) provides coverage for them in the geographic region in which they will be studying and 2) includes mental health benefits. Click here for more information regarding health insurance & overseas programs.

Program Preparation

Application Process: This program has a dual application process. Student must first submit a Lewis & Clark Application one year before the start of the program. Once admitted by Lewis & Clark, the students will receive instructions for submitting their second-step application to the China Studies Institute. Please note that this secondary application process can be as late as the semester preceding your scheduled participation.

For more information about the application process, click here.

Travel: Students usually fly into the Beijing Capital airport (PEK), where they are met by onsite program staff.

Visa: Students will be required to apply for a visa in order to participate in this program. More information will be provided upon admission to the program.

Country-Specific Health Information: Click here to view specific health information for people traveling to China.

State Department Country Information: Click here to visit the State Department’s China page.

China, Beijing GC