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Graduate Semester Programs

Peking University

Founded as the Imperial University of Peking in 1898, Peking University (PKU, also known as Beida) is widely recognized as the best university in China and is renowned for the beauty of its campus grounds and traditional Chinese architecture. Beida's School of International Studies (SIS) is the first school of its kind in China and is devoted to the training of specialized talents in international studies, international political economy and diplomacy.


Graduate students from AU who participate in this one-semester program enroll for a full courseload at AU (9 credits) and take courses within Beida's Master's program in International Relations alongside regular degree-seeking students.

Examples of courses include:

  • China-Africa and Middle East Relations
  • International Security and China
  • U.S.-China Relations
  • China's Frontier and Ethnic Issues
  • Chinese Foreign Policy Analysis

Language Requirement

There is no language requirement for AU students who wish to take courses in English. Students who wish to take any academic courses conducted in Chinese are required to demonstrate proficiency in Chinese as part of the application. Students also have the opportunity to take a Chinese language course to improve their language skills.

Academic Calendar

Fall: September - January
Spring: February - June

Students may spend one semester at Beida. Due to the differences between the AU and PKU academic calendars, students are encouraged to participate in the program in the spring semester.


  1. Students are required to meet with their AU academic advisor and obtain formal pre-approval for their chosen courses before enrolling at Beida. This ensures that credits earned on the Program can be applied toward the student's AU degree.
  2. Once accepted into the Program, students are registered through the SIS Office of International Programs for up to nine (9) SIS credits. These exchange credits cover the Program credits only; research and/or internship credits are registered under normal AU guidelines.

    Students are required to enroll in 12 credits at Beida. Students must be registered at AU for 9 credits while studying at Beida.

Credit articulation: Grades and credits earned at Beida are articulated through the SIS Office of International Programs upon receipt of an official transcript from Beida. For conversion purposes, students should expect 1 PKU credit to equal 1 AU credit.

Tuition and Fees

Students pay regular tuition, emergency international health insurance, and technology fees to AU. Students do not pay the student activity fee, sports center fee, or SIS fee while studying at Beida. Students must pay an application fee to Beida, and are also billed directly by Beida for any applicable student fees.

Students are responsible for any incidental costs, such as library fines and lab fees, incurred during the program. Students are responsible for all personal expenses including housing and transportation.


Only limited space is available for international students in on-campus dormitory facilities.

Students are responsible for making their own housing arrangements and for all associated costs.

Visas and Immigration

Once admitted to the Program, students are issued a letter of acceptance by Beida. Students use this document to apply for their student visa at the nearest Chinese embassy or consulate. 

Students are responsible for researching the most up-to-date immigration requirements and arranging all immigration documents.

Student Orientation

During the semester prior to the start of the Program, the SIS Office of International Programs conducts a mandatory pre-departure meeting. Topics covered include administrative, logistical, security, and cross-cultural issues. Beida holds a mandatory orientation for students prior to the beginning of classes.

How to Apply

NB: Students who wish to participate in this program must first submit an internal SIS application to the SIS Office of International Programs. Students may not submit any applications or documents to Beida until after they have received instructions from SIS.

  1. Complete and submit the SIS Semester Abroad Program at Peking University application to the SIS Office of International Programs by the application deadline. Do not apply directly to Beida.

  2. After applications are processed and reviewed, students are selected for nomination to Beida.

  3. Upon nomination, students must complete and submit the Beida application for exchange students. The application process also includes submission of an application fee, a passport-size photo, certification of the highest degree attained, official graduate and undergraduate transcripts, certificate of Chinese proficiency level (if you wish to take academic courses conducted in Chinese), two letters of recommendation, and a copy of the student's passport information page.

  4. Beida makes the final admissions decision and corresponds directly with Program participants.
The Program is competitive, and applying does not guarantee admission.

Contact Us!

Email: sisabroad@american.edu

Twitter: SISStudyAbroad

Application Deadlines

Spring 2016: October 16, 2015

Fall 2016: TBD

Apply Now!

PKU Grad Exchange Application

Academic Advisor Approval Form

Additional Information

Beida orientation guide

Travel information about Beijing from Lonely Planet and Wikitravel

China Consular Information Sheet from the U.S. Department of State

Peking University International Student Orientation Guide 

Semester Abroad Blog

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