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Public Health in China

Beijing, China

Beijing, China

Program sponsor: Northwestern

Great Wall of China
Public Health in China, Summer 2016

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 Linlong 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.

Professor Licheng Gu is the director of the NU in China programs, including Public Health in China. 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


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.

GBL HLTH 332-SA-Public Health in China

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.

GBL HLTH 333-SA-Traditional Chinese Medicine

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 Linlong Mountain.

Chinese Language: Interdisciplinary Course (2 units)

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 Resources

Browse the program handbook for more detailed information about excursions, courses, and identity-based considerations. Note: This is the previous year's handbook and should be used for informational purposes only. Do not make any travel plans based off of the dates or information provided here. 

Review identity-specific information about China:

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 2020: $11,700

Billed by Northwestern
  • Tuition: $5,700
  • Housing: $2,200
  • GeoBlue: $100

Total program fee: $8,000

Estimated Additional Costs
  • Airfare: $2,250
  • Meals: $800
  • Local transportation: $100
  • Books & supplies: $50
  • Personal expenses: $500

Total: $3,700

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