China: Political & Economic Development

IPD students at pagoda

About This Program

  • Location: Beijing, China - Peking University
  • Term: Summer Quarter
  • Language of Instruction: English
  • Eligibility: Open to NU and non-NU students meeting NU's minimum application requirements

Summer 2015

  • Application deadline: March 1
  • IPD study abroad fellowship application deadline: March 1
  • Program dates: Monday, June 22 (date of arrival in Beijing) - Sunday, August 16 (date of departure from Beijing)
Summer 2015: $12,875

Total fees charged by Northwestern: $8,175, includes: 

Estimated additional costs: $4,700, includes:

  • $2,500 for international airfare to Beijing, China (students book their own airfare; rates vary)
  • $200 for books and supplies
  • $2,000 for discretionary expenses, including meals, personal travel/transportation, etc.

Students applying to this program are eligible for IPD study abroad scholarships and may be eligible for external funding opportunities


The China: Political & Economic Development program examines the origins and development of Chinese communism and its influence on modern Chinese political economy. Students will learn about the evolution of Chinese institutions and policies, international trade and foreign investment, and legal reform in order to understand recent economic and policy developments and China's growing role in the global politics. Students will also take intensive language classes in Mandarin Chinese. Weekly cultural and historical excursions complement classroom content and offer students a glimpse of Beijing's storied past.

Host institution: Founded in 1898, Peking University, or “Beida,” was the first formally established modern national university of China. With over 30,000 students, of which seven percent are international students, Peking University is a premiere institution for education and research, particularly in natural and social sciences. It is frequently ranked as one of the best universities in China. The campus is located in northwest Beijing, in the Haidian district, which is concentrated with many well-known colleges and universities.

Housing & meals

Students live in the Zhong Guan Xin Yuan international dormitory in shared suites. Rooms are air-conditioned and furnished, and Internet is available via Ethernet connection. Group lunches are provided on weekdays, but students are responsible for breakfasts and dinners.


This program offers a set curriculum, so students must enroll in all courses listed below. Students will receive a Peking University transcript, and course credit will be eligible for transfer back to Northwestern as long as students earn course grades of C or better. Visit the Study Aboard Guide for more information about Credit Transfer and Grades, GPA, and Transcripts.

China in Transition: Ideology, Political Economy, Law, and Relations with the United States

This course aims to provide a hands-on introduction to Chinese politics, economy, and legal system, as well as US-China relations. It is intended to help students make sense of what they observe and experience, while also offering an opportunity to explore selected themes and topics in greater depth and to acquire a more visceral understanding of how institutions and processes operate in China.

China and the World: An Introduction to Contemporary Chinese Foreign Policy

  • 1 credit
  • Course Instructor: Tao Xie

This course discusses contemporary China's geopolitical and economic interactions with various regions of the world. Particular emphasis will be placed on the role of the United States in Chinese foreign policy.

Chinese Language

  • 2 credits
  • The courses are taught by Chinese language instructors from Peking University.

While there is no language prerequisite to participate in the China summer program, students are required to take intensive Mandarin language training while in China. Four to seven levels are offered, depending on the student’s skill levels.



Students will participate in weekend excursions to important historical and cultural sites, which will give context to Chinese society and civilization. Visits typically include guided tours of Tian'anmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, and the Summer Palace, among others. In addition, students will view cultural performance pieces, such as a classical Peking opera and an acrobatics show.

The Great Wall

An annual highlight of the program, students will have the opportunity to climb one of the most beautiful and well-preserved sections of the Great Wall of China, the Jinshanling section.