Energy Technology & Policy: Wanxiang Fellows Program

Students with solar panels

About This Program

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

Summer 2015

  • Application deadline: March 1
  • Program dates: Monday, June 22 (date of arrival in Beijing) - Sunday, August 2 (date of departure from Shanghai)
Summer 2015: $5,000

Total fees charged by Northwestern: $3,500, includes: 

  • $2,600 tuition fee covers courses and excursions
  • $900 housing fee covers dormitory lodging and lunches served on weekdays in Beijing

Estimated additional costs: $1,500, includes:

  • $200 for books and supplies
  • $1,300 for discretionary expenses, including meals, personal travel/transportation, etc.

Wanxiang Fellowship Support: $4,270, includes:

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


This competitive summer fellowship program, sponsored by the Wanxiang Group, IPD, and ISEN, allows students to study renewable energy in the United States and China while gaining exposure to Chinese language and culture. 

Program structure:

  • On-campus lectures and a visit to Wanxiang America Corporation’s solar panel manufacturing facility during Spring Quarter provide students with a foundation for understanding energy and sustainability within a comparative context.
  • Wanxiang Fellows begin their summer abroad experience with four weeks of courses at Peking University in Beijing and program excursions to historic sites.
  • Students then participate in a two-week intensive program at Hangzhou Wanxiang Polytechnic, where they explore issues of energy technology and application through lectures by Wanxiang researchers and practitioners and site visits.
  • Students develop group projects on energy and sustainability topics of their choice and present these upon return to Northwestern in Fall Quarter.

Host institutions:

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. The campus is located in northwest Beijing, in the Haidian district, which is concentrated with many well-known colleges and universities.

Hangzhou Wanxiang Polytechnic, where students will spend the final two weeks of the program, specializes in science and technology.

Housing & meals 

  • In Beijing, students will live in the Zhong Guan Xin Yuan Global Village international student dormitory in shared suites. Lunches are provided on weekdays, but students are responsible for breakfasts and dinners.
  • In Hangzhou, students will share a double-occupancy room at a hotel near Hangzhou Wanxiang Polytechnic campus, and most meals are provided.


This program offers a set curriculum, so students must enroll in the courses listed below.

ISEN 390-SA: Special Topics in Energy and Sustainability - Energy and Sustainability in China

  • 1 credit
  • This is a Northwestern course, which will appear on students' Northwestern transcript. Grades for this course are figured into students' Northwestern GPA.
  • Course Instructor: Yip-Wah Chung

In this course, which involves a two-week experiential program at Hangzhou Wanxiang Polytechnic, students will learn about the unique energy challenges that exist in China and innovations that are being developed to respond to these challenges. The course begins during Spring Quarter at Northwestern with an introduction to the study of the energy landscape in China and a visit to the Wanxiang America solar panel assembly and production plant in Rockford, IL. While in Hangzhou, students will learn from researchers at Wanxiang Polytechnic and practitioners from the Wanxiang Group, and will go on various field trips, such as to a solar farm, electric vehicle factory, and energy storage station. Upon returning to Northwestern, students will report on their experience.

Courses in Beijing: For the following courses, 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 Abroad Guide for more information about Credit Transfer and Grades, GPA, and Transcripts.

Chinese Language: Interdisciplinary Course

  • 1 credit
  • The courses will be 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 level.

And one of the following courses: 

  • China in Transition: Ideology, Political Economy, Law, and Relations with the United States (1 credit; Course Instructor: William Hurst): 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.
  • Public Health in China (1 credit; Course Instructor: Peiyu Wang): This seminar consists of a series of lectures on the health care system and public health in China. Lectures will introduce students to the most common health problems in China, the role of government, the organization of the health care system, and issues such as environmental health, nutrition and food safety, and control of epidemics.



While in Beijing, 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 Jinshanling section of the Great Wall, among others. In addition, students will view cultural performance pieces, such as a classical Peking opera and an acrobatics show.


The financial hub of Mainland China, Shanghai is also the largest city in the world by population and the flashy, vibrant centerpiece of the booming Chinese economy. Students will have the opportunity to tour Shanghai at the end of the program and visit such sites as the Bund, the Yuyuan Gardens, and the shopping districts, among others.