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Intro to IUP




The Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies (IUP) is the premier U.S.-sponsored Chinese language program. IUP was founded in 1963 with a mission of delivering advanced Chinese language competency for academics and professionals.


IUP teachers


Years of IUP tradition


Alumni living in China


Average hours spent speaking Chinese in a semester


Average number of characters a student learns a semester


At IUP, intensity ensures Chinese language proficiency. Students can expect 4-6 hours of class preparation and 4 hours of closed-book class sessions daily ( 2 hours of individual attention). All classes and program activities operate under a "Chinese-only" language pledge.


3maximum class size

4hours of class per day (2 hours of individual attention)


IUP's academic sessions run according to an 8-week course module. After each module is completed, students level up to more difficult textbooks, switch teachers, and potentially switch classmates. Students can choose to enroll in an 8-week summer session, 16-week fall or spring semester, or 32-week academic year courses.

Throughout its history, IUP’s primary mission has been to improve the Chinese language capability of each student, typically from an intermediate to an advanced level within nine to twelve months. This certainly was the goal during my student days and my directorship. The language instructors were demanding and thorough, and it was my observation that almost all the students willingly worked hard to improve their language ability. missiondots

William M. Spiedel

Independent Scholar, Associate Member of East Asia Center of the University of Virginia

IUP Field Director (Resident Director) | 1975-1980

Share your daily life with China's top students

Established in 1911, Tsinghua University is widely considered one of the best universities in China and continues to move up worldwide university rankings. IUP students may benefit from Tsinghua’s academic environment by joining clubs, attending public lectures, and auditing Tsinghua courses. Additionally, the academic and cultural events at the Stanford Center at Peking University are also open to all IUP students.

Many students make time during their busy academic schedule to participate in cultural events around town, learn about industries they aspire to join, and network with local students and scholars who share common research interests.

Most IUP students live off campus in Wudaokou, a diverse, lively neighborhood that caters to thousands of Chinese and international students enrolled in the many nearby universities. IUP’s location in Beijing affords the opportunity to explore the political and cultural capital of the People’s Republic of China and all this fascinating city has to offer.


Graduates use language skills learned at IUP to find success in such areas as academia, business consulting, management, public relations, law, education, and journalism.


Where is Terry now?

Lawyer, Entrepreneur, Co-founder InitialView

I arrived at IUP with one of the lowest levels of Chinese for my year, but its intensive language program helped propel my language skills so far forward that China has now become the central part of my career. I've now lived in China for over ten years with most of that time spent as a founder and CEO of a growing organization. None of my success in China would have been possible were it not for first having the language ability that one needs in order to get things done.

Where is Rosalyn now?

Assistant Director Middlebury in China Kunming Program

I came to IUP with an intermediate-high background in Chinese, and was already proficient with working with students and their families, but IUP was instrumental in helping me polish my formal Chinese, especially to help me in communicating with vendors, company management, and university leaders much more professionally. What's more, my time at IUP allowed me to pursue my passion for Chinese Literature and read novels in Classical Chinese, which would have been impossible during a busy work schedule. It was also beautiful that teachers took some of their own free time to hold a Lit Appreciation discussion group during the afternoons

Where is Professor Davis now?

Professor of Sociology Yale University

I had 6 hours of one-on-one tutorials with three fantastic teachers on Monday and Wednesday afternoons for 7 weeks in spring of 2017 and spring of 2018...Outside of these tutorial sessions I spent about 20 hours a week reviewing the materials and preparing for my short "quizzes." Because I rarely write Chinese, the greatest challenge was the written work, but I made gains in reading comprehension of professional materials. I am immensely grateful for IUP staff and teachers for hosting senior scholars like myself for short term "interventions"; of course, I remain insanely jealous of anyone who can go full time for one year. When I am not in China I read newspapers, blogs, and statistical reports, and, when not teaching semester, try to read a novel or memoire. When I am in China, I use Chinese in to immerse myself as deeply as possible into the flow of everyday life as well as to conduct interviews and read daily news and professional articles that relate to my teaching and research.

Where is Alec now?

Writer and Managing Editor Los Angeles Review of Books China Channel

My year at IUP was one of the most stimulating and challenging times of my life. The learning curve was very steep for me, as I only had quite basic Chinese to begin with, but the dedicating tutoring at IUP knocked it into shape. I especially enjoyed branching into guwen and Tang poetry at the end. I use Chinese in all of my on-the-ground interviews and research in China, to write articles and books about China for audiences back home. Without the excellent training at IUP, I would not have been able to write my book Wish Lanterns profiling six young Chinese.

Where is Jesse now?

Comedian and Founder US-China Comedy Center

I spent my time there doing everything from learning Chinese comedy routines to working with a teacher one-on-one to help me write a bilingual movie script. It was a fantastic environment for me to drill into the deep places of the interests I had in China and know that I had a supporting group of teachers to push me to learn, write, and create. Since I do Chinese performance, I need to be able to speak Chinese well enough that I can create my own works. In addition, it turns out to be really important to be able to "pitch" ideas in Chinese as well.

Get in Touch

In English or Chinese, we are always happy to talk to you.