The Graduate School, whose office is located by the side of the Weiming Lake, was founded in 1917 when Peking University created its Research Institutes in the Red Building, Shatan. For over a century, Peking University has been an important part in the evolution of China's graduate education.
The graduate education of Peking University can trace its history back to the beginning of the twentieth century, when the university created the Research Institutes in 1917 and began to enroll graduate students. By 1919, the institutes had a total enrollment of 148 students. The number went up to over 1,200 from 1952 to 1966.
In 1978, after the Cultural Revolution, Peking University resumed its graduate education and was accredited by the Ministry of Education in 1981 to grant advanced academic degrees. Since then, rapid progress has been made in every area of graduate education, such as discipline construction, faculty team building and cultivation of learning, etc.
At present, Peking University has 42 first-level and 263 second-level disciplines authorized to confer doctoral degrees. And it has 86 national second-level key disciplines, 61 of which are included in 18 national first-level key disciplines. There are also 3 national prospective key disciplines. Besides, the university offers 28 programs leading to professional degrees.
Peking University currently has about 1,700 doctoral advisors, among whom 58 are members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering, 22 are senior professors of philosophy and social sciences, 136 are Cheung Kong Scholars, and 156 are awardees of National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars. Faculty from all age groups contribute to the university’s high teaching standards and academic excellence.
Up to January 2011, Peking University had over 26,000 registered graduate students, including over 7,000 doctoral candidates and over 19,000 master’s degree candidates. Meanwhile, 11,678 students had earned their doctorates and 47, 012 had earned their master’s degrees from Peking University.
During the decade between 1999 to 2010, 76 doctoral students had been selected to receive the National Excellent Docotoral Dissertation Award.
Committed to exploration and innovation, Peking University has been forging ahead in the area of graduate education, under the guidance of the Scientific Outlook on Development. Reforms in the enrollment of doctoral students and international students represent a realistic starting point for the transformation of the whole admissions system. Students are classified into different types and are advised accordingly. Programs of different duration are created. Students are encouraged to generate new knowledge through research, and their studies are under strict supervision. The university also deepens the reforms in the selection of advisors and adopts various kinds of selection methods. The Graduate School will keep offering programs across disciplinary boundaries, and therefore promote the development of cutting-edge and interdisciplinary studies. A wide variety of innovative plans are formed and implemented by the Graduate School to enhance the quality of its training programs.
The graduate education at Peking University is now entering a period of rapid growth. Looking toward the future, it will keep working on the basic principles of “straightening out the system, stabilizing the scale, optimizing the structure, and ensuring the quality”, cultivate top talent with creativity and practical abilities, follow the national policies, and help Peking University rank among the world’s best universities.
As Peking University always embraces changes, the Graduate School will embrace a brilliant future!