Public Health in China

IPD students on mountainside

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 Public Health in China program introduces students to major public health issues in China and to the theory and practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Through seminars taught by faculty at Peking University Health Science Center and visits to local hospitals, clinics, and TCM centers, students learn about the Chinese public health system, key players and institutions, and significant public health challenges, successes, and debates, particularly around infectious disease control, environmental health, and food safety and nutrition. Students also gain an understanding of traditional Chinese medicinal practices, including acupuncture, massage, and herbal remedies, highlighted by an herb-collecting excursion to Lin-Long Mountain. The program also includes intensive language classes in Mandarin Chinese as well as weekly cultural and historical excursions, which 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 Abroad Guide for more information about Credit Transfer and Grades, GPA, and Transcripts.

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.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

  • 1 credit
  • Course Instructor: Jiang Wenyue

Students will learn about acupuncture, massage, and herbal remedies and the role of Traditional Chinese Medicine in contemporary Chinese culture. This course will also include a weekend herb-collecting excursion to Lin-Long Mountain.

Chinese Language: Interdisciplinary Course

  • 2 credits
  • 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.



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.