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Programs : Brochure

Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction: English, Mandarin Chinese Language Prerequisite: 3 semesters of college level language (or equivalent)
Minimum Cumulative GPA: 3.0 Credit Available For: College
Other Eligibility Requirements: 1 Area Studies Course in Language or Culture (Recommended), Grades of B or better in Mandarin Chinese Type of Program: Semester/Year Study Abroad
Housing Options: Apartment/Off-Campus, Homestay, University Residence Hall/Apartment Application Deadline: Fall/Year: March 1, Spring: October 1
Program Description:

Program Snapshot

CIEE LogoCIEE Beijing: Intensive Chinese Language

The CIEE Study Center at Peking University (PKU) was founded in 1980. The Intensive Chinese Studies program, which started in 2000, offers students an opportunity to improve their fluency in spoken and written Mandarin Chinese through intensive language training

Founded in 1898, Peking University (PKU) was and still remains one of China’s most prestigious universities. The university focuses on advanced research in the natural and social sciences and its campus, which was previously an imperial garden during the Qing Dynasty, is home to the university’s 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
For additional information, visit the CIEE Beijing: Intensive Chinese website
The City of Beijing

As the capital of the world’s most populous nation, Beijing is the center and international focal point of much of what happens in contemporary China. Beijing is considered China’s political, educational, and cultural capital.  With a population of approximately 22 million, the city’s official language is Mandarin Chinese.

Did you know…?

There are around 800 buildings in the Forbidden City, one of Beijing’s most popular tourist spots. 



The program at CIEE Beijing: Intensive Chinese Language is for College credit only.

Minimum GPA Requirement: 3.0

Language Prerequisite: Successful completion of at least 3 semesters of college-level Mandarin and Grade of “B” or better in all language courses. 
Additional Course Pre-requisite(s): Successful completion of 1 Chinese Area Studies course by the end of the academic semester (fall or spring) prior to departure is recommended, but not required.  

Other Requirements: Peking University does not accept students who are citizens of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Taiwan ROC, Hong Kong SAR, or Macau. This includes those who are permanent U.S. residents.


Language of Instruction

English, Mandarin Chinese


A full course load at CIEE Beijing: Intensive Chinese consists of 16 CIEE credits per semester, which is equivalent to four to five courses on this program.  Penn students must maintain a full course load while abroad and may only enroll in courses at the undergraduate level.

All students take the required CIEE course, “Language and Culture Practicum,” as well as “Readings in Chinese” and “Spoken Chinese.” Students then take an additional one or two elective courses in various aspects of Chinese language, literature, culture, and history. Courses vary each semester.  Due to the language learning goals of this program, students are only allowed to enroll in a maximum of one English course.

CIEE Beijing Intensive Chinese Studies Academic Calendar
CIEE Beijing Intensive Chinese Studies Course Catalog for Incoming Exchange Students

Grading Scale

As on all Penn Abroad programs, grades are recorded on the Penn transcript and are calculated in the cumulative grade point average. The pass/fail option can be exercised according to the Penn on-campus policy of your home school. For more information on Penn Abroad’s academic policies, click here

Special Features

BPK Special FeaturesOrientation Activities

All Penn students are required to attend the orientation activities organized by CIEE prior to the start of each semester.  More information on CIEE Beijing’s orientation activities can be found here.

Students will begin their study abroad experience before leaving home by participating in a CIEE online pre-departure orientation. Upon arrival, a mandatory orientation session conducted at the beginning of the program introduces students to the country, culture, and academic program, as well as practical information about living in Beijing.

Target Language Meals

To encourage students to utilize their Chinese in an informal setting, CIEE arranges bimonthly group meals for students, their language teachers, peer tutors, and resident staff. Students attending the optional meals are encouraged to speak only Chinese with their teachers and peers.

Cultural Activities and Field Trips

Guided field trips are organized to historic and cultural sites in and around Beijing, such as the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, the Temple of Heaven, and the Artist Colony.  Cultural activities may include the Beijing Opera and an acrobatic performance. Classes in calligraphy, painting, taijiquan, and traditional Chinese musical instruments may also be offered.

Extended Weekend Excursion

BPK Special FeaturesAn extended weekend excursion to Xian, Hangzhou, Nanjing, or Henan allows students to learn about areas outside of Beijing and to utilize their Chinse language skills under the leadership of the Resident Director. The location is selected prior to each term and changes each semester. Several Chinese students accompany the group to help foster a Chinese-speaking environment during the trip.

Peer Language Tutor Program

The CIEE Peer Language Tutor program at PKU is a unique feature of the program and ensures that students’ linguistic and cultural fluency progresses throughout the program. CIEE students are paired with PKU students for weekly one-on-one Chinese language tutorials for a total of three hours per week, with more hours available upon request.


BPK CampusParticipants must be willing to live under local conditions for students.

Students are required to live in either the PKU foreign student complex – Zhongguanyuan Global Village dormitory – or in a homestay. Students may not live in accommodations that are not arranged by CIEE.

Living conditions in Zhongguanyuan Global Village are inviting and comfortable, providing standard amenities such as beds, desks, armoires, private bathrooms, and Internet access. Shared kitchens are available, but location varies by building. Students live in suite-style units and each student has his or her own private bedroom. Each unit shares a common living space and bathroom, and depending on the layout, students will live with one to two other roommates. Roommates are either CIEE students or other international students.

Homestays are located within 45 minutes from campus by public transportation and have two or three bedrooms. Students have their own room and share the living room, kitchen, and bathroom. Chinese family members speak Chinese only. This option is highly recommended for students who want to establish relationships with Chinese people, live in an entirely Chinese language environment, and make rapid progress in Chinese language and culture study.

Information regarding accommodation can be found on the CIEE Beijing Intensive Chinese website.

Cost and Finance

Penn Abroad Financial Policies

Students are charged Penn tuition and academic fees for all Penn Abroad programs.  Additional expenses will typically include items such as housing, visas, and airfare.  Please see the program budget sheets below for more information.  For more on Penn Abroad’s financial policies, click here.

Financial Aid and Study Abroad

In most cases, financial aid applies to Penn-approved programs.  Student Financial Services reviews program budget sheets each semester to determine how to appropriately adjust your aid package. For more information on how Financial Aid will work during your semester abroad, click here.

Budget Sheets

Academic Year

Scholarship Opportunities

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program: Competition for awards for study abroad, for US citizen students who are receiving federal Pell Grant funding at a 2-year or 4-year college or university. 

David L. Boren Undergraduate Scholarships for Study Abroad: Supports undergraduate study abroad focusing on geographical areas, languages, and fields of study deemed critical to US national security. (Excludes study in US, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.) These US government grants entail a service obligation. 

CIEE Scholarships & Grants: Provides both merit-based and need-based scholarships and grants for undergraduate studying abroad on CIEE programs. 

Next Steps

For information on the Penn Abroad application process, click here.

To open an application or learn more about the program, please click here to schedule an appointment with a Penn Abroad Global Programs Manager.

For a student perspective on life and academics in Beijing, contact a Penn Abroad Past-Participant or Exchange Student.