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Tsinghua University

Tsinghua University
Motto 自强不息, 厚德载物[1]
Motto in English
Self-Discipline and Social Commitment[2]
Established 1911
Type Public
President Qiu Yong
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Undergraduates 15,184
Postgraduates 16,524
Location Beijing, China
Campus Urban, 395 hectares (980 acres)
Flower Redbud and Lilac
Colors Purple and White          
Affiliations AEARU, APRU, C9, BRICS Universities League
Tsinghua University
Simplified Chinese 清华大学
Traditional Chinese 清華大學
The inscription at the entrance of "Tsinghua Yuan" ("Garden of Tsinghua"); the garden is among the oldest components of the campus of Tsinghua University
A glimpse of Xichun Garden, a Qing Dynasty garden on Tsinghua University Campus
The traditional He Tang Yue Se (moonlit pond) is part of the Qing Dynasty Prince's Residence and Garden located on the grounds of Tsinghua University
Built in 1917, the Grand Auditorium with its Jeffersonian architectural design is a centerpiece of the old campus

Tsinghua University[3] (abbreviated THU; Chinese: 清华大学, pinyin: Qīnghuá Dàxué) is a research university located in Beijing, China, and one of the nine members in the elite C9 League of universities. Tsinghua was established in 1911 as "Tsinghua College," and renamed to "Tsinghua School" in 1912 and "National Tsinghua University" in the 1928.[4] With its motto of Self-Discipline and Social Commitment, Tsinghua University describes itself as being dedicated to academic excellence, the well-being of Chinese society and to global development.[5] Alongside Peking University, Tsinghua University is consistently ranked as the top higher learning institution in mainland China.[6][7][8][9][10]


  • History 1
    • Present 1.1
  • Academics 2
    • Academic organisation 2.1
      • Department of Mathematical Sciences 2.1.1
      • School of Life Sciences 2.1.2
      • School of Economics and Management 2.1.3
      • School of Journalism and Communication 2.1.4
      • Graduate School at Shenzhen, Tsinghua University 2.1.5
    • Library collections 2.2
    • Tsinghua History Museum 2.3
    • Research 2.4
    • Rankings 2.5
  • Student life 3
    • Student associations 3.1
  • Campus 4
  • People 5
    • Qinghua clique 5.1
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


In the aftermath of the Boxer Rebellion, American Secretary of State John Hay suggested that the US $30 million plus Boxer indemnity paid by China to the United States was excessive. After much negotiation, President Theodore Roosevelt obtained congressional approval in 1909 to reduce the Qing Dynasty indemnity payment by US$10.8 million, on the condition that these funds would be used as scholarships for Chinese students to study in the United States. Using this fund, the Tsinghua College (清華學堂; Qīnghuá Xuétáng) was established in Beijing, on 29 April 1911 on the site of a former royal garden, to serve as a preparatory school for students to be sent by the government to study in the United States. .[11] The faculty members for sciences were recruited by the YMCA from the United States and its graduates transferred directly to American schools as juniors upon graduation. In 1925, the school established its College Department and started its research institute on Chinese studies.

In 1928, Tsinghua changed its name to National Tsing Hua University (NTHU). During World War II in 1937, Tsinghua University along with Peking University and Nankai University, merged to form Changsha Temporary University in Changsha, and later National Southwestern Associated University in Kunming of Yunnan province. After the war, Tsinghua moved back to Beijing and resumed its operations.

After the communist revolution at the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, which led to the creation of the People's Republic of China (PRC), Tsinghua University's then President Mei Yi-Qi, followed by many professors, fled to Taiwan where they established the National Tsing Hua Institute of Nuclear Technology in 1955, which later became National Tsing Hua University of Taiwan.

In 1952, the Chinese government regrouped the country's higher education institutions in an attempt to build a Soviet style system, with individual institutions tending to specialize in a certain field of study. When the Cultural Revolution began in 1966, many university students walked out of the classrooms, and some went on to be part of the Red Guards, resulting in the complete shutdown of the university. It was not until 1978, after the Cultural Revolution had ended, that the university began to take in students again.[12] Even so, Tsinghua University remained in the top tier of schools in China. The school is sometimes even called the "MIT of China" in recognition of its specialty in the sciences and engineering.[13][14]

Since the 1980s, the university has incorporated a multidisciplinary system. As a result, several schools were re-incorporated. These included the School of Sciences, the School of Economics and Management, the School of Life Sciences, the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Tsinghua Law School, the School of Public Policy and Management, and the Academy of Arts and Design.


Most national and international university rankings place Tsinghua amongst the best universities in mainland China.[15][16][17] Admission to Tsinghua is extremely competitive. Every year, many applicants scoring the highest in the National College Entrance Exams choose Tsinghua. According to a report in 2008, 215 out of 300 students who scored the top 10 in the 30 tested provinces and regions chose Tsinghua and 21 out of the 30 top scorers in each province and region chose the university.[18] Admission to Tsinghua's graduate schools is also very competitive, with, for example, only about 16% of MBA applicants admitted each year.[19]

Tsinghua alumni include the current General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and Paramount Leader Xi Jinping, who graduated with a degree in chemical engineering in 1979, as well as the CPC General Secretary and former Paramount Leader Hu Jintao, who graduated with a degree in hydraulic engineering in 1964. Tsinghua has a reputation for hosting some of the most distinguished guest speakers of any university in the world, with international leaders such as Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Henry Kissinger, Carlos Ghosn, Park Geun-hye, and Henry Paulson, all recently giving lectures to the university community.[20]

As of 2003, Tsinghua University has 12 colleges and 48 departments, 41 research institutes, 35 research centers, and 167 laboratories, including 15 national key laboratories. In September 2006, Peking Union Medical College was renamed to Peking Union Medical College, Tsinghua University, although the Peking Union Medical College and Tsinghua University remain two separate institutions.[21] The university offers 51 bachelor's degree programs, 139 master's degree programs and 107 PhD programs. Recently, Tsinghua has become the first Chinese university to offer a Master of Laws program in American law, through a cooperative venture with the Temple University Beasley School of Law. The university is a member of LAOTSE, an international network of leading universities in Europe and Asia. Each year, the University celebrates the Intellectual Property Summer Institute in cooperation with Franklin Pierce Law Center of Concord, New Hampshire. It has its own editorial, Tsinghua University Press.

Announced in 2013, the Schwarzman Scholars program will consist of 200 scholars to be chosen annually to work towards a one-year Master’s Degree in Public Policy, International Relations, Engineering, Economics & Business. These scholars will live on the university campus at Schwarzman College, a residential college being built specifically for this program.


Academic organisation

The Tsinghua Bell

As of 2014, Tsinghua University has 19 schools and 55 departments covering a broad range of subjects, including science, engineering, arts and literature, social sciences, medicine. [22]

Department of Mathematical Sciences

Department of Mathematical Sciences (DMS) was established in 1927. As one of the premier Departments of Mathematical Sciences in China, DMS has produced many famous Chinese mathematicians such as Shiing-Shen Chern and Luogeng Hua.

In 1952, Tsinghua DMS was merged with the Peking University Department of Mathematical Sciences. Then in 1979 it was renamed "Department of Applied Mathematics", and renamed again in 1999 to its current title.

Tsinghua DMS has three institutes at present, the institute of Elementary Mathematics which has 27 faculty members, the Institute of Applied Mathematics and Probability and Statistics which has 27 faculty members, and the Institute of Computational Mathematics and Operations Research which has 20 faculty members. There are currently about 400 undergraduate students and 200 graduate students.

School of Life Sciences

School of Life Sciences was first established in 1926 under the name Department of Biology. Botanist Qian Chongshu took up the first dean.
Old Building of the School of Life Sciences

During the nationwide reorganization of universities in the early 1950s, the Department of Biology was merged into other universities, namely Peking University etc.,resulting in a vacancy in the field of biological research in Tsinghua for almost 30 years.

In June 1984, decisions were made about the reestablishment of the Department of Biology, and the department officially reopened in September. During the reestablishment the Department of Biology of Peking University, the Institute of Biophysics of Chinese Academy of Sciences, and many other institutes as well as biologists provided valuable support and help. The department changed its name to the current name in September 2009. As of 2013, structural biologist and foreign associate of National Academy of Sciences of United States[23] Dr. Yigong Shi is the current dean of School of Life Sciences. The school currently has 38 professors, around 600 undergraduates (including the candidates of Tsinghua University - Peking Union Medical College joint MD program) and 200 graduate students.

School of Economics and Management

New York Institute of Technology offers an Executive M.B.A. (E.M.B.A.) program to senior Chinese business managers in partnership with Tsinghua University.[24]

School of Journalism and Communication

The Tsinghua School of Journalism and Communication (TSJC) was established in April 2002. Its predecessor was Communication Studies in the Department of Chinese Language and Literature and its establishment of coincides with the development of media increasingly influencing world affairs in a time of fast-growing globalization. The school's research fields include International Communication, Film and Television Studies, New Media Studies, Media Operation and Management, and Business Journalism and are based on comprehensive academic research in journalism and communication theories. The objective of the school is to bring full advantage of Tsinghua University's comprehensive academic structure to Chinese and international media, to construct a first-rate discipline in journalism and communication studies, to cultivate talented professionals in the field and to explore advanced concepts in journalism and communication. The school also offers a two-year graduate program in international business journalism, sponsored by Bloomberg L.P. and the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), that trains talented students and media professionals from around the globe in financial media and corporate communication.[25]

The school has five research-oriented centers to organize and conduct academic research activities. They are: Center for International Communications Studies, Center for New Media Studies, Center for Film and Television Studies, Center for Media Management Studies and Center for Cultural Industry Studies.[25]

The first and present dean of the school is Fan Jingyi, a notable chief editor of People's Daily during the period of the 1990s.

Graduate School at Shenzhen, Tsinghua University

The Graduate School at Shenzhen, Tsinghua University, was jointly founded by Tsinghua University and the Shenzhen Municipal Government. The school is directly affiliated with Tsinghua University in Beijing. The campus is located in the University Town of Shenzhen since 18 October 2003.[26]

Library collections

One of the buildings of the Tsinghua University Library System
The original Tsinghua Xuetang

Tsinghua University Library's collection is emphasized on Science and Technology and also covers broad subjects of Humanities, Social Sciences and Management. The total collection amounts to more than 4.79 million items as of the end of 2014, including:[27][28]

  • Printed Collections
    • More than 220,000 thread-bound ancient books;
    • More than 570,000 bound periodicals;
    • More than 126,000 Tsinghua University dissertations and theses;
    • Other books.
  • Electronic Resources
    • More than 67,000 full-text e-journals;
    • 486 electronic databases;
    • More than 7,998,000 e-books.

Tsinghua university library system includes the university library, 6 subject branch libraries and more than 10 school or department reading rooms. In the past few years the library has expanded its collection very fast especially in the e-resources. The total physical collections have been over 4.0 million item/volumes, full-text e-journals in Chinese and foreign languages are over 57,000 and e-books are more than 2.39 million by end of 2010. In 1996, the Library introduced Integrated Library Management System (INNOPAC) for cataloging and circulation management, which was the first one in China. In 2005, the library brought in MetaLib+SFX, an e-resources integration system, and established Tsinghua Academic Information Resource Portal.

Tsinghua university library is undergoing the transformation from a traditional library based on physical collections preservation and service to a modern library abundant in digital resources, with a rapid developing network service, and faces many challenges as well as great developing opportunity.

Tsinghua History Museum

The Tsinghua History Museum covers a construction area of 5,060 m².[29] A collection of old documents, pictures, artworks, maps, graphics, videos and music tells the visitors the history of Tsinghua University. The exhibition also pays tribute to talented people who contributed to the prestige and development of the institution. The use of multimedia is remarkable, inviting visitors of different ages to learn more about Tsinghua.


The scientific and technological research and projects at Tsinghua University are mainly supported by special projects and funding from the national science and technology programs. Together, funding from these programs totals over 20 billion yuan, which funds more than 1400 projects every year for the university. With the prospective increase of state investment in science and technology, research at Tsinghua is to receive more financial support from the state.[30]


University rankings
ARWU[31] 101-150
Times[32] 47
QS[33] 25
ARWU[31] 6-15
Times[32] 5
QS (Global version)[34]
QS (Asia version)[35]

Tsinghua University has been constantly placed as one of the top two universities in mainland China by most domestic and international rankings, along with Peking University.

Nationally, it had been continuously ranked to be the best in mainland by the Chinese university ranking from 2003 to 2010 and has become the second since then. The Netbig had also regarded it to be the best in 2008, 2009 and 2010,[36] and it was placed at 2nd by the China's Education Center in the same consecutive years.[15]

Tsinghua was regarded as the most reputable Chinese university by Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings (2015) where it was ranked 26th globally.[37] It also topped the newly launched independent regional QS BRICS University Rankings (2013).[38] It was 23rd in the Times Higher Education rankings by subjects (2014–15) for Engineering and Technology, which is its strength.[39] The US News and World Report Best Global University Ranking puts Tsinghua at 59th in 2015 and 4th in Asia.[40]

Student life

Student associations

Tsinghua University has more than 110 student associations covering five domains: science and technology, physical training, humanities, arts and public welfare. To name a few: Students' Association for Global Affairs (SAGA), Student Association of Educational Poverty Alleviation (SAEPA) and the Students' Performing Arts Club, Zijing Volunteer Service, Students' Association of Science & Technology, Photography Association, Foreign Languages Association, Association of Student International Communication (ASIC), etc.

International students are encouraged to participate in various extracurricular activities and join the student associations of the University. FSAO also organizes extracurricular activities for international students, including welcome party for new students, New Year’s party, graduation party, tourist visits to Chinese cultural and historical destinations, sports competitions, etc.


The Old Gate is a symbol of Tsinghua University
The administration building, built in the 1950s.

The campus of Tsinghua University is located in northwest Beijing, in the Haidian district which was designated for universities and other academic institutes.

It is located on the former site of Qing Dynasty royal gardens and retains Chinese-style landscaping as well as traditional buildings, but many of its buildings are also in the Western-style, reflecting the American influence in its history. Along with its rival and neighbor the Peking University, it is known throughout China and the wider world for having one of the most beautiful campuses. Tsinghua University's campus was named one of the most beautiful college campuses in the world by a panel of architects and campus designers in Forbes in 2010;[41] it was the only university in Asia on the list.[42][43]

T. Chuang, a 1914 graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, helped design the campus grounds of the Tsinghua University with influences of American architectural style and architectures.[44]

The University's Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology is on a separate campus in a northern suburb of Beijing.


Liang Qichao was one of China's most groundbreaking scholars, journalists, philosophers, and reformists of the 20th century.

Tsinghua University has produced many notable graduates, especially in political sphere. These include former General Secretary, president Hu Jintao, the current Party General Secretary Xi Jinping, the former chairman of the National People's Congress Wu Bangguo, former premier Zhu Rongji, and the former first vice premier Huang Ju. Tsinghua also has two Nobel Prize winners, Tsung-Dao Lee and Yang Chen Ning. The latter is currently residing on Tsinghua campus.

Qinghua clique

The term Qinghua clique refers to a group of Communist Chinese politicians that have graduated from Tsinghua University. They are members of the fourth generation of Chinese leadership, and are purported to hold reformist and hesitantly pro-democratic ideas (a number have studied in the United States following graduation from Tsinghua, and some are said to be influenced by the reform ideals of Hu Yaobang). In the PRC, their ascendance to power began in 2008 at the 17th National Congress of the CPC.[45]

Tsinghua graduates who have political prominence are disproportionately greater in number than graduates of other famous universities. Among the nine standing committees at the Politburo, there are four Tsinghua graduates; among the 24 Politburo committee members, there are five; and of all the "leaders of the party and the country", there are 10.

The Tsinghua clique also referred to a group of Nationalist Chinese politicians who held high power in the Republic of China government and fled to Taiwan with the government during the Chinese Civil War. All of them are deceased.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Also sometimes written as Qinghua University.
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  15. ^ a b
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  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ [1] Archived 27 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ a b
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ See the Tsinghua opens New Tsinghua Xue Tang and University History Museum.
  30. ^
  31. ^ a b
  32. ^ a b
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^
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  41. ^
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  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^

External links

  • (Chinese) Official website of the Tsinghua University
  • (English) Official website of the Tsinghua University
  • (Chinese) Tsinghua University Library
  • (English) Tsinghua University Library
  • (Chinese) Tsinghua University News
  • (English) Tsinghua University News
  • Official website of the School of Life Sciences
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