navi Scroll & Click to Navigate something

Campus Life

Tsinghua University is one of the top universities in China and is quickly rising up the ranks of the best universities worldwide.

Tsinghua was founded in 1911, originally structured as a preparatory college for Chinese students before they were sent by the Chinese government to study in the United States. The first class of students at Tsinghua matriculated on April 29, 1911. The university’s four-year undergraduate degree program began in 1925 and, after changing its name to National Tsinghua University in 1925, Tsinghua established its graduate school in 1929. Soon after the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the university was reorganized into a multidisciplinary polytechnic university in 1952. Beginning in the 1980s, Tsinghua revamped the its mission to become a comprehensive university, adding schools of arts and design, economics and management, humanities, law, medicine, social sciences, among others. Tsinghua University now has 20 schools serving over 45,000 students as well as 55 research institutes.



When not in class or studying, IUP students have a wide range of extracurricular activities to choose from.

IUP organizes regular afternoon events, including

  • Screenings of Chinese documentaries and films
  • Voluntary reading groups on such topics as Chinese poetry, fiction, and current events.

IUP also arranges at least one group trip in or around Beijing each term.

The IUP alumni association holds monthly happy hours for current students and alumni to network and have some fun together.


Tsinghua also has a wide variety of student-organized clubs and organizations and IUP students are welcome to join. The student club and association fair is held within the first weeks of the university’s semesters. IUP staff will share event details after students arrive. When Tsinghua classes are in session, the campus is bustling with activity. Campus is much quieter during the first few weeks of IUP’s fall semester and the second half of the summer session.

A Note on Tsinghua’s Calendar:

IUP has slightly different schedule than Tsinghua and the university’s academic and extracurricular activities follow the Chinese academic calendar.

  • Tsinghua’s fall semester starts about one month after IUP, in mid- to late September.
  • Tsinghua’s spring semester begins after the Spring Festival holiday, in mid- to late February
  • Graduation ceremonies take place in late June and early July and Tsinghua goes on summer break from mid-July to late August.

In addition to extracurricular activities at IUP and Tsinghua, all public events at the Stanford Center at Peking University are also open to IUP students. IUP staff will share event listings with students and alumni, or you may follow SCPKU’s official WeChat account for more information



There are many dining halls throughout Tsinghua’s campus and some are within a few minutes’ walk from IUP. The food at campus dining halls is good and reasonably-priced. Most dining halls require the use of a rechargeable campus dining-card though there are also dining halls and restaurants that accept cash or digital payment. IUP staff will show you the best dining halls nearby and help you get dining-cards during the orientation activities during your first week in Beijing.

Many students also choose to use food delivery phone apps like Baidu Waimai, Dazhong Dianping, and Eleme to have their lunch sent directly to IUP. Please see IUP’s Useful List for Life in China for more information on food delivery phone apps.



As registered international students at Tsinghua, IUP students have access to all university libraries that are open to the public.IUP staff will help new students activate book borrowing privileges during orientation activities.

There are three main libraries very close to IUP’s language center.

  • Li Wenzheng Library (李文正图书馆), also called “North Library” (北馆) is the newest library on Tsinghua’s campus, about a 5 minute walk northwest of IUP. This beautiful new building’s collection includes Chinese language humanities and social sciences materials. There is a coffee shop on the south side of the building as well as a bookstore inside the library.
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Library (人文社科图书馆) is located about a 5 minute walk from IUP, across Xuetang Lu (学堂路) to the northeast. This library holds Chinese and English language social sciences and humanities materials. There is also a small coffee shop and bakery on the north side of the library.
  • Tsinghua University Library (清华大学图书馆), is the older main library for the university. This library is located just across the small river on the northwest of IUP’s building, in between the IUP Language Center in Wenbei Lou and the Li Wenzheng Library.


What is a typical day at IUP like?


The days are long and intense.

Most students have 4 hours of classes per day, including three hours of 3-on-1 and one hour of 1-on-1. IUP class run from 8 am to 12 pm and from 1 to 2 pm. After classes end for the day, students can visit their instructors during office hours, review the day’s lessons, and then start preparing for the following day’s classes.

IUP has “closed-book classrooms,” meaning students are not allowed to refer to their textbooks, notes, or phones during class. This means students will need to spend 4 to 6 hours every afternoon and evening preparing for the following day’s classes.

Can I attend Tsinghua lectures?


IUP students are able to audit Tsinghua classes without academic credit. Staff in Beijing will share course schedules at the beginning of Tsinghua’s semesters, which start in early September (fall) and after Lunar New Year (mid-February to early March).

All public lectures at Tsinghua are open to IUP students, including some lectures at Schwarzman College. All events at the Stanford Center at Peking University are open to IUP students as well. Academic, cultural, and professional events and lectures take place throughout Beijing daily.

Is it difficult to find vegetarian food?


Vegetarian food is very accessible on campus and in Beijing. But vegetarians need to be sure to double-check that there is no meat or animal oil used in cooking vegetarian dishes. There are two excellent vegetarian Chinese restaurants just off campus and vegan options are becoming more and more available as well.

Is the campus similar to an American University campus?


Yes and no. Tsinghua University has such a large campus that it depends on where you are. The old campus quad is very similar to an American university; some say it resembles the University of Virginia. Parts of the northwestern part of campus was originally an imperial garden and remains beautiful today. The university is walled-off from the outside neighborhoods, with 5 gates to enter and exit the campus. Walking from the main gate to IUP’s location takes 20-25 minutes. There is a mixture of architecture around campus. The oldest buildings were originally constructed in the early 20th century; many were built after the 1990s; and there are new buildings under construction all over campus.