This FAQ page is directed primarily to applicants.
What are the important Schwarzman Scholars application dates?
Applicants who hold passports or permanent resident cards from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macao apply online from January to May 31. Candidates invited to interview are notified before July, and attend interviews at Tsinghua University in Beijing in early July. Final admissions decisions for Chinese Schwarzman Scholars are announced before October each year.
Applicants holding a passport from any other country apply between April and September. The application, including all supporting documentation such as reference letters, must be submitted by the deadline. Some universities or colleges, especially those in the United States, may opt to establish an earlier deadline for completion of letters of recommendation. We encourage all currently enrolled undergraduate students to check with their university or college contact about any internal/campus-specific procedures that need to be followed. Candidates invited for interview are notified in mid-October. Interviews take place in three locations around the world with candidates often being invited to the location that is geographically closest.
What is the eligible age range?
Candidates must be at least 18 but not yet 29 years of age as of August 1 of their enrollment year.
Are there any fees associated with the Schwarzman Scholars application or the program?
There is no fee associated with applying to the program. Interview expenses, such as economy class air or train travel, group meals, and one night in a hotel if needed, are arranged and covered by the program. Expenses for Schwarzman Scholars are also fully covered by the program, including the following: tuition, fees, room and board, travel to and from Beijing at the beginning and end of the academic year, in-country study tours, required course books and supplies, a Lenovo laptop, health insurance, and a personal stipend.
Does the reputation of my undergraduate institution affect my chances of being admitted?
The selection process prioritizes academic excellence and leadership potential without regard for the university or college where the candidate studied, assuming the institution was properly accredited. Outstanding scholars and leaders have come from a wide variety of institutions.
If I have a previous Master’s Degree, can I still apply? How might this impact my chances of being admitted?
We welcome applications from candidates who have already pursued advanced degrees, provided they meet all of the other eligibility criteria for the program. Like all other applicants, you must make a compelling argument in your personal statement regarding how the Schwarzman Scholars program will advance your professional, academic, and leadership goals.
What is the Make-up of the class? Do you have specific targets?
The only firm targets are broad: 40% of the class will come from the United States, 20% from China, and 40% from the rest of the world; we will build a diverse geographic mix within each broad category but will not commit to specific national or regional targets beyond those listed above. We also expect that because of the diversity of Tsinghua’s campus, the interactions between Scholars and students from China and other countries will be much higher than the percentages suggest. The selection process also produces a class that is diverse in terms of nationalities, academic interests, gender, professional goals and other factors, to ensure multiple perspectives in the classroom and a diverse Schwarzman Scholars alumni network in the future.
What is the most important part of the application? What will the selection committee focus on?
There is no single most important element of the application. Our global selection committee reads each application carefully, examining academic abilities and leadership potential and considers all of the required application components equally in making a holistic evaluation of each candidate. Leadership is the focus of the selection process, and all parts of the application should reinforce the candidate’s profile as a young leader in her/his field and culture.
How will the selection process assess my leadership potential?
The Schwarzman Scholars selection process strives to understand candidates as individuals and to assess them within their own academic, professional, and cultural contexts. This applies to our assessment of applicants’ leadership potential. We look at essays, in particular the leadership essay, and at the letters of recommendation as key tools in understanding an applicant’s personal experience and approach to leadership. We want candidates to provide specific examples of their leadership that explore their abilities to understand challenges and opportunities, envision solutions, take initiative to act, inspire others to join an effort, and push through resistance and/or challenges to reach results. The applicant's example(s) of leadership might address some but not all of these characteristics. Examples might include efforts such as founding a student organization that successfully addressed a pressing need on campus; taking on an influential role in an existing organization to redirect or revitalize it in the context of a new challenge; founding and running a startup to take advantage of an emerging opportunity. Candidates should NOT let these examples limit their thinking and should draw on their own personal experiences for similar examples of leadership. Candidates should avoid describing situations that might fall into one of the following categories, all of which are valuable learning and growth experiences, but do not give the committee a deeper understanding of the applicant's leadership over extended periods of time:
1) accomplishing a difficult but typical task assigned to you in the workplace;
2) solving brief problems of cultural miscommunication while traveling or studying overseas;
3) simply winning office in a student or community organization (It is, however, helpful to describe the challenges faced and accomplishments achieved in office);
4) brief situational challenges (Focus instead on longer term projects and challenges).
What should I focus on in the other essay?
The personal statement asks for candidates to describe their professional interests and goals and how they relate to some current affairs or global business issue of importance. We are asking that candidates make a connection between their work/interests and the world around them. We are interested in how the candidate describes the things they are passionate about and their ability to understand how they can both contribute to and learn from participation in the Schwarzman Scholars program.
What is an ideal GPA for a candidate applying for this scholarship?
GPAs and grading practices can vary enormously around the world, and our applicants come from a range of schools that use different grading scales. Academic excellence is mandatory for successful applicants, but there is no minimum GPA or class rank required to apply. Applicants are expected to have demonstrated agility and superior performance in their academic studies, and the most competitive candidates will be among the top students in their graduating class. Our assessment of candidates' academics abilities draws on global experts who know a variety of grading systems and academic cultures in different world regions.
Who should write my letters of recommendation?
Applicants, especially those who have already graduated, should select the mix of types of recommenders that can best speak to their current intellectual and leadership abilities. This is our suggested guidance:
Currently Enrolled Undergraduates:
- 2 letters from professors who have taught them in the classroom and can speak to their academic abilities
- 1 letter addressing their leadership abilities (this can be from an employer, supervisor, mentor, faculty member, or other)
Graduate Students or Young Professionals:
- At least 1 academic letter from a professor who can speak to their academic abilities
- 1 letter of recommendation addressing their leadership abilities
- For the last letter, the applicant should choose from the following, focusing on a letter that will best reflect their current profile as an applicant: a letter from an employer or mentor commenting on leadership abilities, a second letter from a professor or a letter from the fellowship office.
How do I submit a letter of recommendation on behalf of an applicant?
All recommendations must be submitted through our online system. An applicant will enter contact information for letter writers into our system which will automatically produce an email to the recommender. Note that this will be an automated message and will not connect you with a Schwarzman Scholars representative. Also note that because the message is automated, it often is caught by spam filters. If you believe you are missing an invitation, reach out to the applicant first. Upon receipt of the automated message, follow the prompts to submit your letter to our online system. We are unable to accept any materials by mail or email. Only letters included in our system and submitted by the application deadline will be reviewed during the selection process.
What type of transcript should I submit?
Our preference is for a scanned copy of an official transcript. We are aware that universities have different practices in issuing transcripts directly to students and sometimes issue a formal document, produced by the registrar that might be considered unofficial. We will accept any transcript that has been produced by the registrar that clearly shows the student’s name and all courses and grades. We will not accept a screen shot or PDF of a website that allows students to check their own grades and credits. If a student is selected as a Schwarzman Scholar, we will require a hardcopy of the official transcript(s) upon enrollment.
What are the English proficiency requirements for applicants?
Applicants must demonstrate strong English skills, as all teaching will be conducted in English. If the applicant’s native language is not English, official English proficiency test scores must be submitted with the application. This requirement is waived for applicants who studied at an undergraduate institution where the primary language of instruction was English for at least two years of the applicant’s academic program. The requirement is also waived for applicants who have studied in English for two or more years at a Master’s degree level or higher.
Acceptable test options and minimum test requirements are:
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL PBT). Minimum score 600.
- Internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT). Minimum score 100.
- International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum score 7.
For applicants using the China Application System, refer to guidelines on the Schwarzman College Admissions page.
I did not major in Chinese, Asian Studies, Public Policy, Economics, Business, or International Relations. Do I still qualify for the program and will I be competitive?
Yes, you are eligible to apply, but like applicants from all fields, you must make a compelling argument in your statement of purpose how the Schwarzman Scholars program will advance your professional, academic, and leadership goals. We will put together a cohort that is professionally diverse and that brings together promising leaders from a wide variety of fields, with the key being that spending a year with the program will advance your goals and that you will be an active member of the community. The program has had many successful applicants from science, engineering and the humanities in addition to social sciences and business.
(I am a dancer/singer/etc.) Is it appropriate to submit any additional videos or recordings demonstrating a skill to supplement my application?
Given the large number of applications, we ask that candidates only submit the materials requested. Any supplemental materials submitted that are not required, such as portfolios and writing samples, will not be shared with the selection committee.
Is the selection criteria the same for applicants from China?
The application and selection process is jointly designed and administered by the admissions teams at Tsinghua and in the Schwarzman Scholars office in New York. Staff at Tsinghua manage recruiting and will manage selections for greater China, including Macao, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, following the same process used for applicants from the rest of the world.
International candidates will often articulate how understanding China builds on their leadership and professional interests. Chinese candidates, in contrast, often express an interest in further developing their leadership and intercultural skills in the international context of our program.
Who conducts the interviews?
Interview panelists are distinguished senior figures from politics, business, universities, and the non-profit world, typically but not exclusively from the same region as the candidate being interviewed.
Is there a single round of interviews or are applicants ever interviewed twice?
There is one round of interviews, but in some rare cases there may be a brief phone or Skype call to clarify some aspect of the application before decisions are finalized.
I will be out of the country when interviews are conducted. May I be interviewed at a different place or time?
We host interviews at four locations around the world. Dates and locations are shared via email once an application is submitted. We ask that applicants reserve the date for the location that is geographically most convenient and presents minimal visa complications. Video interviews will be conducted only for a limited number of candidates who cannot secure a visa to travel to an interview site.
If I am selected for an interview is the cost to attend the interview covered by Schwarzman Scholars?
Yes, the program will provide economy class airfare or train fare and one night in a hotel, if needed.
If invited, is participation in the interviews required?
The in-person interview component is an integral part of the Schwarzman Scholars selection process and all candidates invited to interview are expected to attend. In very rare instances, such as a serious health matter or inability to secure a visa to an interview site, the program may opt to make an exception and conduct a video interview with a candidate. Such exceptions will only be made at the discretion of the Schwarzman Scholars admissions team.
What should I expect and how can I prepare for my interview?
Interviews are free-flowing conversations, driven by but not limited to your written application. Come to the interview prepared to discuss your application in detail, ready to answer specific questions about your essays and experiences, but also be flexible as the conversation follows tangents and evolves over the course of 25 minutes. A typical panel has 5-6 members, high level figures from business, politics, non-profit organizations, and universities, and note that program leadership may join for portions of the interview.
The 25 minutes will be allocated along the following general guidelines:
- The chair will ask you to introduce yourself very briefly, approximately one minute, describing your background and professional interests. Please do not bring notes for your self-introduction.
- The chair will then invite panelists to ask questions, prompted either by your application or your introduction. Questions and follow up questions may also cover new topics introduced or prompted by your answers, so that the conversation evolves to topics not covered in your written application.
- At the 20 minute mark, the time keeper will pause the conversation, and one panel member will ask a randomly selected question from current news events, outside of your area of specialty, asking you to offer your thoughts on the topic.
- The interview will wrap up very promptly at 25 minutes. Candidates should be prepared for transitions at 20 minutes and 25 minutes and not interpret an abrupt or early ending as a negative sign.
You may want to prepare by having “practice interviews” using the framework above with friends or colleagues who have read your application and can ask you questions about your leadership. If your university or college has a fellowships or career office that offers mock interview assistance, feel free to share this information with them. We cannot predict what questions interviewers will ask, and request that candidates not memorize answers to anticipated questions. To prepare, be sure you are comfortable answering questions related, even tangentially, to the essays (statement of purpose and leadership), to discuss additional examples of your leadership, and to discuss how being a Schwarzman Scholar advances your academic and professional interests and/or builds on what you have already studied and experienced.
Will the Schwarzman Scholars program help me obtain a visa to China?
The Tsinghua University International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) will provide the necessary paperwork for requesting a visa. This process begins in the spring after a Schwarzman Scholar is accepted. The Schwarzman Scholars staff will assist with advice but the university and the relevant consulate will issue official documents.
Will the Schwarzman Scholars program help me to obtain a passport?
Securing a valid passport is the responsibility of the Schwarzman Scholar. Given that some candidates will need to travel internationally to participate in their interviews, we recommend that applicants secure a valid passport before applying to the program.
How long is the program of study for Schwarzman Scholars, one year or two?
The program of study, including all required courses and activities, is one year, beginning with mandatory orientation in late August and concluding with a graduation ceremony early the following July. Students who are from China mainland, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan are required by the policy of the Ministry of Education for the master degree to remain registered as full-time students at Tsinghua University for two years so their diplomas are issued approximately one year after completing the program. In some instances, students from those areas may experience complications with signing employment contracts with some Chinese employers until the certificate of graduation is awarded. Please consult with the Beijing Schwarzman Scholars admissions office firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
If I am not admitted the first time, can I apply the following year?
Yes, an applicant is eligible to reapply, but we strongly advise waiting until something significant has changed in your profile before reapplying. We ask that, if you are applying again, please explain what has changed or what have you learned since your last application.
If I am not selected to interview and therefore not admitted, can I request feedback from the selection committee regarding my application?
Due to the volume of applications, we are unable to offer individualized feedback on applications submitted.
Do you accept transfer students?
Due to the structure of the program, we do not allow students to transfer into the program. Schwarzman Scholars are all identified through our annual admissions process and participate in the full degree program.
Am I required to provide my diploma from my undergraduate institution? What if I do not have my diploma issued by the start date of the Schwarzman Scholars program?
To be eligible, applicants must complete all of the requirements for their undergraduate degree by August 1 of the year they enter the Schwarzman Scholars program. For example, Schwarzman Scholars entering in August 2020 would need to have all undergraduate degree requirements completed by August 1, 2020. Official verification of this is required prior to the start of the Schwarzman Scholars orientation program. If you are not able to obtain your diploma by this date, you must provide your official transcript and a letter from your institution verifying that you have completed the degree. This letter must contain an official signature from the appropriate official at your university, such as the office of the registrar or the office of academic affairs. Verification letters should include the following information: student name, degree(s) earned, college/department awarding the degree, date of completion, and a statement confirming when the diploma will be issued, such as: A diploma and final transcript reflecting degree completion will be issued by [Authorized University Office] to [scholar name] on [Date]. In the interim, this letter and an official transcript serve as confirmation that [scholar name] has completed all of the requirements and has been awarded [list degree].
What costs will be covered/what costs am I responsible for as a Schwarzman Scholar?
The following costs are covered as a Schwarzman Scholar: tuition, fees, room and board, travel to and from Beijing at the beginning and end of the academic year, in-country study tours, required course books and supplies, Lenovo laptop (to be returned upon graduation), health insurance, and a personal stipend.
Are funds available to support scholars' spouses/partners? I am married and interested in applying, what opportunities are available to my spouse? Is married housing available?
Married applicants may apply and will be at no disadvantage in the selection process. Spouses/partners may accompany Schwarzman Scholars to Beijing, but Scholars are expected to live in the dormitory and participate fully in the program. Spouses/partners may not live in the dormitory, and no additional funding will be provided to support spouses/partners living off-campus. Schwarzman Scholars and Tsinghua will not be able to facilitate or sponsor Chinese visas for spouses/partners.
Are funds available to support non-Schwarzman Scholars related research, fieldwork or conferences?
No, this type of expense should be paid from the scholar’s stipend or personal resources.
How much travel is paid for by the scholarship? Is any travel not affiliated with the program covered by the program?
The scholarship covers economy class travel to and from Beijing at the beginning and end of the program and the Deep Dive travel seminar, which is an official part of the program. Other travel, for example, for job interviews or family visits, must be covered from the stipend or personal resources.
Is health insurance covered?
Yes, health insurance is provided as part of the scholarship.
Will I have access to English speaking doctors? Is Medvac insurance covered in case of emergency?
Yes. There are English speaking doctors near the university and the program’s insurance plans cover Medvac if needed.
Am I permitted to travel home/abroad during the program?
The only extended break during the academic year is Chinese New Year. For the remainder of the year, Schwarzman Scholars are expected to remain in residence with the exception of weekend travel. Any other travel plans should be reported to the Associate Dean of Students before flights are booked.
What will the housing be like at Schwarzman College? Can I choose my suitemates?
All Scholars have a private single room with private bathroom. Rooms are grouped in clusters of eight, sharing a common lounge/study space. The program will assign rooms to maximize international interactions among students.
Is drinking permitted at Schwarzman College?
The legal drinking age in China is 18. Drinking is permitted at Schwarzman College, and there is a pub in the building. Scholars are expected to drink responsibly both on and off campus.
Are meals provided at Schwarzman College? Am I required to eat there or will I be able to apply my food stipend elsewhere? Is there a separate cafeteria for Scholars or is it combined with Tsinghua University’s students?
Three meals per day on weekdays are provided at Schwarzman College, and Scholars eat most of their meals within the College. Scholars may use their stipends to dine in other cafeterias on campus and are encouraged to do so to build contacts with others students. Scholars may also invite other Tsinghua University students to dine with them at the college.
Is Schwarzman College’s housing divided by gender? Are there separate restrooms for men and women?
Each Scholar has their own bedroom with private bathroom. Floors/areas are not divided by gender.
Can non-scholars use Schwarzman College’s facilities? Do they need to be accompanied by a Schwarzman Scholar?
Due to building security systems, access to the College requires a Schwarzman Scholars identification card. Tsinghua students have access to Schwarzman College while accompanied by a Scholar or when the College is open for public events.
What are visiting hours? Can I have a guest sleep over?
In accordance with Tsinghua University campus security rules, overnight guests are not permitted in the dormitories or within Schwarzman College. Guests must leave the College by 11pm.
If I am a Schwarzman Scholar am I required to live at Schwarzman College?
Our goal is to build a strong cohort experience for Schwarzman Scholars, so all Scholars are required to live at Schwarzman College.
WHAT CAREER DEVELOPMENT is AVAILABLE TO SCHWARZMAN SCHOLARS BOTH IN CHINA AND THE REST OF THE WORLD? Does CAREER RECRUITMENT TAKE PLACE ON-CAMPUS OR THROUGH THE PROGRAM?
Schwarzman Scholars has a dedicated career development team located within the building, designed specifically for the needs of the students in the program. A number of multinational employers recruit in the Schwarzman Scholars program, and the career development team maintains relationships with employers in Beijing and around the world. Given Chinese visa restrictions on employment of foreigners, non-Chinese Schwarzman Scholars should anticipate seeking employment (or further study) in their home or a third country after completion of their degree, but the career development office and mentors serve as resources for Schwarzman Scholars seeking employment both within and outside China.
What is the professional benefit of participating in the program:
The program offers benefits for all Scholars in terms of expanding professional networks, deepening academic and experiential knowledge of China, and expanding intercultural capacities. The importance of these vary from Scholar to Scholar depending on their professional background and on prior experience in China, but are enormously valuable.
What’s the mix of recent graduates and people with some work experience?
The first two classes of Schwarzman Scholars were roughly 50% recent graduates from undergraduate studies and 50% who had pursued either graduate studies or professional work. The average age falls between 23 and 24. Given that some employers and university alumni networks have been actively promoting Schwarzman Scholars as a professional development opportunity, the applicant pool and subsequent classes of Scholars may have a larger percentage of young professionals in the mix.
What should I do the summer before the program begins to help with my career development?
Various organizations tend to hire from within summer internship pools and hire a year in advance. Given that Schwarzman Scholars is a one-year program, it is in your professional interest to find an internship in your intended field. Be mindful to do your research in advance to find a program that will allow you to enroll at Tsinghua at the end of August. Schwarzman Scholars will not allow incoming Scholars to miss orientation. Incoming scholars are responsible for securing their own internships and should not pursue opportunities in China before enrolling due to complications with the timing of your student visa.
What is the practical training project and how will I find one?
The Practical Training Project (PTP) provides an opportunity for students to pursue their particular interests and learning goals, and develop their first-hand experience and understanding of China, in a setting outside the College. Each student can pursue an internship-type or volunteer project that meets their own particular learning needs and goals. Ideally, the PTP will also allow students to do one or more of the following: gain new skills; further explore concepts they have learned in class; participate in activities related to their Capstone project; develop their concept of leadership; practice their language skills in a real-world setting; and/or gain work experience in their field or explore a potential new path of interest. Students can arrange their PTP location on their own, or reference our database of PTP contacts and organizations open to hosting students.
IS THERE A LIST OF POSSIBLE MENTORS AVAILABLE?
The program will provide Scholars with a list of mentors shortly after arrival.
If I want to go to law school/medical school/business school after my year as a Scholar, would the program support me in that process?
Schwarzman Scholars supports students in their post-graduate plans through the career development office. Scholars who are considering further graduate education should contact the career development team during the summer term to begin preliminary planning.
Is there a chance that participating in Schwarzman Scholars might affect security clearances in the future?
Spending the year as a student in China (or in any country outside your home country) has benefits for a career in national security in terms of expanding your knowledge and awareness of other societies and political systems, but it also requires planning. There can be no over-arching guarantee about security clearances since individual students might engage in activities that could complicate a clearance. Having lived outside your home country, you may be asked for details on your contacts while abroad, both people and places, so it will be important to keep detailed records of your interactions with foreign nationals. Nonetheless, despite this need for careful record keeping, prospective Schwarzman Scholars who may need security clearances for their work in the future should have no concerns about a fundamental conflict between studying abroad and their career plans.
What is the inaugural class doing now?
The inaugural class of Schwarzman Scholars, diverse in their backgrounds, experiences, and countries of origin pursued post-program endeavors that reflect these diverse interests and experiences. For example, 75% have entered the public, private, and non-profit sectors, across myriad industries and geographies, joining organizations such as
- Bain & Company
- Boston Consulting Group
- Bridgewater Associates
- Hillhouse Capital
- J.P. Morgan
- McKinsey & Co.
- National Committee on U.S. – China Relations
- The Belfer Center
- The Wilson Center
In addition, almost 19% of the class continued their education, pursuing PhD, law, and medical degrees; destinations include the University of Cambridge, Tsinghua University, Harvard Medical School, and the Columbia Law School. Finally, 3% of the class are fulfilling military commitments and 3% are pursuing personal endeavors such as writing professionally and running for office.
What degree will I receive following my year as a Schwarzman Scholar?
You will receive a Master’s Degree in Global Affairs awarded by Tsinghua University, and accredited by the Chinese Ministry of Education.
Is there a thesis or final project associated with completion of the program? What is it?
All Schwarzman Scholars will complete a final Capstone project, and they will work with tutors and faculty to shape this project to meet their academic and professional goals. For some students the project will be professionally-oriented or linked to experiential learning from the Deep Dive. For others, it may be research based and more academic. The Capstone project can take one of three forms, a policy analysis, case study, or research project.
Where can I find the course catalogue and a full list of faculty for the Schwarzman Scholars program?
Courses are listed on the Course Listing Page. Schwarzman Scholars are also encouraged to take other courses at our partner schools at Tsinghua: the School of Economics and Management, the School of Public Policy and Management, the Department of International Relations, and related fields.
What is the schedule for classes and other activities? Will classes be Monday to Friday?
Classes and other program activities will primarily take place Monday through Friday at Schwarzman College. Experiential learning events are scheduled in the evenings, whereas weekends are usually unscheduled to allow students the opportunity to explore Tsinghua, Beijing, and other parts of China. Classroom time will be intensive throughout the year, with more time allotted for extracurricular activities, projects, and travel in the spring.
What will the work-load be like? Will I have time to travel on my own/explore Beijing?
The program will award 28 credits in 11 months – of which 18 credits are earned from academic courses, 6 credits are earned from experiential learning, and 3 credits are awarded for Capstone. Nonetheless, the program is designed so that Scholars will have free time for cultural immersion and exploration, especially in the second half of the year.
How many classes will I take at one time? Will examinations be written or some other format?
Scholars will take 3–4 classes per module for a total of 6–8 classes a semester. Examination formats will vary depending on the course and instructor.
Will I have classes with students not in the Schwarzman Scholars program?
All core courses will primarily enroll Schwarzman Scholars. Elective courses are likely to include some students from outside the Schwarzman Scholars program, and Schwarzman Scholars will also be required to take at least one course outside of Schwarzman College at one of Tsinghua's other schools and departments. Tsinghua offers 13 graduate programs taught in English, providing the opportunity for Scholars who do not speak fluent Mandarin to explore other Tsinghua classes.
How many students will be in each class?
Class size will vary depending on the course, with some seminar-sized, and other case study sized. All courses will have discussion or breakout sessions for more in-depth learning and conversation.
Will classes be pass/fail or graded?
All module-long classes will be graded.
Is there an attendance policy or will I be graded on my testing alone?
Attendance and class participation will count towards your final grade and attendance policies at Tsinghua are strictly enforced.
Is there a certain curriculum I must follow or is there some flexibility based on my interests?
The curriculum is designed to give students both structure and a great deal of choice and flexibility. The core curriculum is structured and required of all Scholars. Elective courses have been specifically chosen to reflect current topics in global political and business affairs, to help students meet their diverse academic and professional goals, and also provide students with an opportunity to explore new fields of study.
If I need academic support are TAs or tutors available?
Teaching Assistants (TAs) and tutors will be available to support Scholars. TAs and tutors will be comprised of Master’s, PhD, and postdoctoral students from inside and outside of Tsinghua University.
I’ve never heard of Tsinghua, is it a good university?
Tsinghua University is one of China's and Asia’s top institutions, with more than 100 years of history in teaching the future leaders of the country. The Times Higher Education Supplement recently ranked Tsinghua number 26 in the world, the highest ranking of any university in China.
Why did you choose to base Schwarzman Scholars at Tsinghua?
Tsinghua was founded to strengthen ties between China and the West and as a result has a very international outlook. In addition, it counts among its alumni some of the key leaders of the country. That combination of an international outlook and a track record of leadership development in China, along with its record of academic excellence, made it an ideal partner for Schwarzman Scholars.
Are the professors high caliber? Will all of my professors speak English? Where can I find a list of professor profiles?
Key faculty from Tsinghua’s School of Economics and Management, School of Public Policy and Management, and Department of International Relations have all served as core faculty for Schwarzman Scholars and all have deep experience teaching graduate level classes in English for international students. Other leading faculty from around the world teach as visiting faculty on a rotating basis, so there is a diverse mix of Chinese and global faculty in the program. Profiles of faculty teaching core courses are listed in the Course Listing page.
How will Schwarzman Scholars handle issues of academic freedom?
The Schwarzman Scholars program has the support of the highest levels of the university and Chinese government, and all agree that students and faculty in Schwarzman College can research and write openly. Students in the program will come from education systems around the world and working together to handle different experiences and expectations of academic freedom will be an important part of the learning experience for all Scholars.
Am I required to study Mandarin as part of the program?
Mandarin instruction is offered at all levels throughout the year. Mandarin classes are mandatory for international Schwarzman Scholars as part of orientation and in the summer and fall terms, and then become optional the remainder of the year. International students who already speak Mandarin will have instruction to improve their writing and presentation skills. Advanced English language instruction, focusing on writing and presentation skills, will be available for Chinese students.
Are there any student-run publications or clubs? If I am interested in starting one is funding available?
Yes, there are student-run publications and clubs to join on the Tsinghua campus. We also support the formation of student organizations within the Schwarzman Scholars program.
Are there exercise facilities on campus available for student use? Are there intramural sports available to Scholars?
Schwarzman College has its own exercise facility and Scholars are able to use the Tsinghua campus facilities as well. Scholars are welcome to join Tsinghua intramural clubs.
What kind of travel will we do as a formal part of the program? How many days will we spend traveling?
Travel related to the program takes place throughout the year, in differing formats. In the fall, Scholars travel with their classmates as part of the program’s Deep Dive, intensive travel seminars examining a topic or set of topics in one location (away from Beijing and Shanghai). In addition, throughout the year, many individual classes organize short field trips relevant to the topic being studied. Students are also expected to self-organize additional trips on weekends and engage in exploration around China.
What guest speakers are scheduled for this year?
The program is in the process of scheduling its speaker series and will announce speakers closer to the beginning of the program. Join our mailing list to stay up-to-date on new developments.
Please describe the air and water filtration systems in Schwarzman College.
Schwarzman College is designed to ensure students’ health, safety, and comfort. The building has LEED Gold certification, the first academic building in China with that status, and is equipped with state-of-the art filtration systems for water and air. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a green building certification that rates site sustainability; water efficiency; energy and atmosphere; materials and resources; and indoor environmental quality.
What should students be prepared for in terms of air quality? Should they purchase any additional equipment or masks? Will a student living with asthma be ok living in Beijing for a year?
Dealing with Beijing’s air quality is part of learning how to live and work in China. Some residents of the city wear air masks when pollution levels peak, and all students are provided with air masks should they wish to use them. Health services are also be available for temporary discomfort. Students with specific respiratory ailments should plan to bring appropriate medications and discuss any health concerns with their physician before traveling to Beijing.
Is it safe to drink tap water at Schwarzman College? Is it safe to brush my teeth with tap water?
Yes. The building has treated drinking water throughout, including dining halls, the pub, common areas, lounges, and dormitory bathroom sinks.
I have a physical disability; is Schwarzman College accessible?
Yes, Schwarzman College is accessible.
Is Beijing safe? Is it safe to travel alone at night? Is it safe for men and women?
Beijing is safe for men and women, but it is a busy and crowded city, and students should take the precautions they would observe in any major city. It is safe to travel alone and taxis are reliable.
How will Schwarzman Scholars address student safety in the event of a national emergency/military situation?
Schwarzman Scholars has a crisis management plan in place to protect the safety of its students, faculty and staff. Staff are trained and a communication system is in place to notify all students and families if any issues arise.
Where is Tsinghua located in Beijing? Are there restaurants and bars close by? Is public transportation easily accessible?
Tsinghua University is located in the Northwest area of Beijing. There are many restaurants and bars in close proximity to the campus. There is public transportation nearby with a Metro station approximately a 20 minute walk from campus and public bus stops surrounding campus.
How will the program support interaction between Chinese and non-Chinese Schwarzman Scholars?
First, we promote interaction by choosing candidates who are inclined to seek out international contacts and experiences, but we have also designed a number of structures to ensure those bonds form early. Students live in internationally mixed groups of eight, with private dorm rooms and common living spaces for each cluster. Chinese and non-Chinese Scholars take all core classes together. Scholars also meet other Chinese and non-Chinese students at Tsinghua in some of their elective courses and in elective courses offered in our partner schools and departments at Tsinghua. We also encourage international Schwarzman Scholars to participate in regular Tsinghua student groups, sports, and the language exchange partner system in the broader university. The ground floor of Schwarzman College welcomes visitors to further encourage interaction.
What are the circumstances for an openly LGBT+ student in the program?
Identifying as LGBT+ in China is legal (homosexuality was decriminalized in 1997 and declassified as a mental disorder in 2001) though no specific laws protect LGBT+ citizens from discrimination. Prior Schwarzman Scholars have not reported instances of discrimination or difficult situations, and the College is a welcoming environment. However, China is more socially conservative than many Western countries in a number of ways, and personal displays of affection of any kind are less prevalent in public - both homosexual and heterosexual. There are LGBT+ students in both Schwarzman College and the wider Tsinghua community, as well as LGBT+ friendly venues in Beijing and other Chinese cities.