China: Political & Economic Development

  • IPD students at pagoda
  • Students stand in group with scrolls
  • Two students practice calligraphy
  • Image of interior of pagoda
  • Student stands in front of bathhouse

About This Program

Summer 2018

  • Application deadline: March 1
  • IPD study abroad fellowship application deadline: March 1
  • Anticipated program dates: Monday, June 25, 2018 (date of arrival in Beijing) - Sunday, August 19, 2018 (date of departure from Beijing)
Summer 2018: $12,150

Total fees charged by Northwestern: $7,700, includes: 

Estimated additional costs: $4,450, includes:

  • $2,250 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, transportation, personal expenses, and incidentals

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

Students participating in this program are subject to the Withdrawal and Refund Policies for Northwestern-Sponsored Programs.


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 premier 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 has a concentration of many well-known colleges and universities.

Housing & Meals

Students live in the Zhong Guan Xin Yuan Global Village international student 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 with a combination of Northwestern courses and courses offered by Peking University. Students must enroll in the courses listed below. For courses with Northwestern course numbers students will receive a Northwestern transcript. Both the courses and grades appear on students' Northwestern transcript and are factored into their Northwestern GPA. For courses offered by Peking University 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.

POLI SCI 379-SA 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.

POLI SCI 381-SA Political Economy of Contemporary China

  • Course Instructor: To be announced

This course offers in-depth discussions of contemporary Chinese political economy, with emphasis on state capitalism, the role of state-owned enterprises in China’s economic development, China as a regulatory state, social consequences, and financial reforms.

Chinese Language

  • 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 level. Please note that all students who plan to continue their language studies at Northwestern after the program will be required to take an oral and written language placement exam to determine the appropriate language 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 Tiananmen 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.