Skip to main content

China: Political & Economic Development

Beijing, China

Beijing, China

Program sponsor: Northwestern

One of the groups touring Peking University guided by the Language partners.
One of the groups touring Peking University guided by the Language partners.
A Northwestern undergraduate student enjoys the view at the Great Wall of China.
A Northwestern undergraduate student enjoys the view at the Great Wall of China.
Northwestern undergraduate students during a field trip.
Northwestern undergraduate students during a field trip.

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.

Professor Licheng Gu is the director of the NU in China programs, including China: Political & Economice Development. Professor Gu started working with the NU in China programs from the very beginning and will be with students in Beijing for the duration of the program. Professor Gu teaches in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures and serves as China Liaison for the Office of the Vice President for International Relations. He will be joined by assistant director Hongbing Zhang, prestigious faculty, and staff from the Office of International Relations at PKU.

Begin Application Process


POLI SCI 379-SA China in Transition: Ideology, Political Economy, Law, and Relations with the United States
Course Instructor: Tao Xie

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: Sun Xin

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 (2 units)
Course Instructor: 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.

Program Requirements


Open to Northwestern and non-Northwestern students from all majors meeting Northwestern's minimum application requirements.


No language requirement is needed.


Apply for permission to study abroad
All students are required to apply for permission to study abroad. Learn more about the process, deadlines, and access the application on the apply to study abroad page.

Program Contacts

Estimated Credit

Students are required to take all 4 courses. Visit Registration & Credit to learn more about credit types and requirements, registration, and other considerations.


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.

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.



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.

Program Cost

Summer program costs vary, but summer study abroad tends to be much less expensive overall than a regular quarter at Northwestern. Review the comparison.

Summer 2019: $11,900

Billed by Northwestern
  • Tuition: $5,700
  • Housing: $2,000
  • GeoBlue: $100

Total program fee: $7,800

Estimated Additional Costs
  • Airfare: $2,250
  • Books & supplies: $100
  • Meals & personal expenses: $1,750

Total: $4,100

Financial Aid & Scholarships

  • Students applying to this program are eligible to apply for GLO scholarships and are also encouraged to apply for other funding opportunities.
  • Northwestern students receiving financial aid during the academic year may be eligible to apply for summer aid for this program. Visit the summer aid & scholarships page for additional information.

Program Financial Details

This section outlines some of the billing and financial arrangements for Northwestern Programs, and is intended as a guide to help you navigate the financial aspects of your study abroad process. You should always refer to your program materials for the most current information and instructions. Contact your study abroad adviser (listed above) if you have any questions.

Program Confirmation

Once you are approved to attend a Northwestern study abroad program, you will need to complete a Program Confirmation form to confirm your participation. Northwestern students admitted to Northwestern programs are not required to pay a confirmation deposit, but will be charged a cancellation fee for withdrawing from the program after confirming.

Northwestern Invoice

Your Northwestern invoice will be issued through CAESAR on the regular quarterly schedule, and will include your program fee, which includes tuition, accommodations abroad, all related program activities, and international health insurance. Your program's billable costs and estimated budget are outlined above.

If you receive financial aid and/or loans, these funds will continue to apply directly to your CAESAR account. If you were awarded a ULA scholarship, it will also disburse to your CAESAR account.

If you use the Northwestern 9PAY plan, you may continue to use 9PAY for your NU-billed study abroad expenses, but you should request a study abroad 9PAY estimate to have your plan set up appropriately. The 9PAY plan is not available for summer programs.

Student Visa Financial Certification

If you are required to obtain a student visa, you may need to provide documentation that you will be supported financially for the duration of your time abroad. This may require bank statements from your parents and/or a financial aid award letter; review your visa application instructions carefully to be sure you are providing the appropriate documentation, and contact ULA for assistance.

If you primarily fund your education through financial aid and/or loans, you may also contact Krista Bethel in the financial aid office to request a letter of financial support.

Withdrawal & Refund Policies

If you withdraw or are dismissed from a Northwestern Program after submitting your program confirmation form, you are subject to the withdrawal & refund policies for Northwestern Programs.

Life in China

Video by: Matthew Queen - China 2018, McCormick 2022

Video by: Nikola Boskovic - China 2018, Medill 2020