Peking University PhD in International Education Development (IED) Admission Guide 2021



Peking University PhD in International Education Development (IED)

Admission Guide 2021

Admission Period: October 1st, 2020 – February 28st, 2021

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Our program

The international education system has made tremendous progress in recent decades, having transformed the educational outcomes of hundreds of millions of children globally through both financial and political commitments. Yet the quality of education received by many is far from that promised by governments and international organisations, representing a substantial education deficit, a key challenge for the future. This, compounded with inequality across countries and social strata, shifts the focus of International Education Development (IED) from targeting access to education to ensuring its continued quality and equality. Indeed the former Millenium Development Goal to ensure universal access to primary education has since been modified to ensure quality education by 2030, as the fourth Sustainable Development Goal. Furthermore, looking to the future, there is an ever growing demand for the education system to produce the relevant skills required by the economy. In the meantime, the advent of the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are transforming labour markets globally and the skills required by employers. Thus there has never been a more pertinent time to establish this program and to ensure that IED can rectify these prominent global social issues.


To solve such problems, it is insufficient to simply transplant Western solutions to less developed countries, due to the differences between Eastern and Western perspectives, as well as between countries in the global North and South. Local solutions to local problems must be pursued. Thus, this program is uniquely able to draw from the experiences of China's unprecedented forty-year period of economic growth, poverty alleviation and educational development. Drawing on the former challenges of Chinese educational and economic development, in mere decades, China has created an internationally renowned educational system including universal, high-quality, nine-year compulsory schooling; Project 211 and Project 985 directives rocketing Chinese universities up international university ranking tables; and the transformation from cheap, semi-skilled labour to a skilled labour force enticing huge FDI, focusing on local and novel solutions. China's educational development has surprised the world, not least by Chinese students first topping the PISA international examinations in 2009, and presents learning opportunities for other countries to follow in China's footsteps. With China seeking to be a key global leader, change instigator and participant in global governance, Chinese initiatives will seek to meet global challenges, using local knowledge to help develop a global vision. Only through innovative policy could the shortcomings of the Chinese economic, social, and educational system be corrected. This impetus is needed in other nations, which the program aims to instil within its participants. Thus, through considering both the history and trajectory of economic development and education globally, participants can develop a more holistic understanding of the field and its future.


The PhD in International Education Development (IED) is an English language PhD program offered by the Peking University Graduate School of Education, established first in Fall 2019 and designed to further talented students' desire to learn more about, and contribute to research in the development of international education. Education Development issues transcend all nations, and our program based in the ever growing and influential China, represents the successes, lessons and experiences to be learned, seeking to address global issues.


The program boasts an intellectual agenda promoting internationalism, innovative research methods, challenging case studies and research opportunities, emphasizing pragmatic solutions and bolstering leadership skills, in seeking to reflect the agendas of prominent international organisations. Our curriculum reflects both a cross-national, cross-cultural and comparative focus for better understanding educational development and our passion for bolstering education development across the globe, at all education levels. Coupling a strong theoretical and empirical grounding with practical solutions, program participants will be able to consider issues of international education development more critically and analytically.


This program leverages both the high-quality teaching resources and research capabilities of Peking University, the Graduate School of Education therein, and the China Institute for Educational Finance Research, as well as the practical training and expertise of the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, United Nations and other international organisations. Thus, this program focuses on expanding students' horizons internationally and allowing students to fully understand international education development, both in theory and in practice. Several of our faculty have served in international organizations and the program reflects their unique viewpoints, work experiences and international perspectives. These top scholars and practitioners will not only be your teachers, but also assume the role of mentors, advisers and experts. An intimate cohort of talented international students will enable students to develop an impressive network and to really get to know their peers and their faculty.


This program addresses the growing demand within universities and other public bodies, namely government, international organizations, research institutes and NGOs, for individuals with intellect, wisdom and creativity to solve global issues of education development. Thus, we offer our students opportunities to gain hands-on professional experience through our practicum and internship programs.


The program is a four-year, full-time program, with both courses and dissertation instructed in English. After completing the required credits and then submitting and defending a PhD dissertation, students will be allowed to graduate and will receive a doctorate in Education or Management from Peking University.


Peking University

Peking University was founded in 1898 and is located in Haidian District, North-West Beijing, where it stands as a comprehensive and national key university. Upholding a spirit of academic freedom and inclusiveness, Peking University has been devoted to excellence in teaching, learning, and research in a wide range of disciplines, and has been home to a number of experts and scholars renowned both in China and around the world. Peking University is a prominent bastion in the course of China's modernization, with the university's traditional emphasis on patriotism, progress and science, together with its educational standards of diligence, precision, factualism, and innovation, have been passed down from generation to generation.


The university has effectively combined research on important scientific subjects with the training of personnel with a high level of specialized knowledge and professional skill as demanded by the country's socialist modernization. It strives not only for improvements in teaching and research work, but also for the promotion of interaction and mutual promotion among various disciplines. Peking University embraces about 7,000 outstanding faculty members and over 42,250 undergraduate and graduate degree candidates, including almost 3,000 international students. It has become a cradle for high-caliber talent, an incubator for innovation and research, and a platform for international cooperation and exchanges. According to "The Times Higher Education World University Rankings", Peking University ranks 23rd in 2020.


Graduate School of Education (GSE)

Education faculty at Peking University has a long history. In 1902, the Imperial University of Peking (the predecessor of Peking University) set up a teacher-training college that was devoted to the preparation of pre-service teachers. In 1924, an education department was established. Several esteemed educators and university presidents such as Jiang Menglin and Hu Shi took the helms of the school. In 1949, the education department was transferred to another university in accordance with the central government's new higher education plan.


Since the 1980s, the education discipline has gradually regained the recognition in Peking University. The years 1980, 1984 and 1999 have witnessed successively the establishment of the Research Centre of Higher Education, the Institute of Higher Education, and the Institute of Economics of Education. Due to the fast-growing need for higher education research and senior university administrators’ training, the Graduate School of Education was established in 2000.  The current Dean is Professor Yan Fengqiao, and Professor Min Weifang, President of the China Society of Education Development Strategy, is the Honorary Dean.


At present, the Graduate School of Education contains four departments, two institutes, and seven research centres. The departments are the Department of Education and Human Development, the Department of Education Economics and Administration, the Department of Education Leadership and Policy, and the Department of Educational Technology. The two institutes are the Institute of Higher Education and the Institute of Economics of Education, the latter of which is one of the Key Research Bases for Humanities and Social Science approved by China Ministry of Education. The centres include Centre of Basic Education and Teacher Education, Centre for International Higher Education, China Centre for Doctoral Education, China Centre for Education and Human Resource Research, E-learning Future Lab, Business-Education Research Centre, and International Research Centre of Education and Information. The Graduate School of Education sponsored a peer-reviewed quarterly journal entitled Peking University Education Review, which has been considered as one of the leading education journals in China. It is also the sites of the UNESCO Higher Education Chair for the Asia-Pacific Region and the Secretariat for China Cai Yuanpei Research Association. The education discipline at Peking University ranks high in the world university rankings.



Program Requirement

?             Research Concentrations

The program offers four different research concentrations, each with different focuses, taking advantage of a large and well-established faculty with a wider-range of interests and experiences.


1.Higher Education. This concentration focuses on the history and scientific methodology of International Education Development. Instructed by Ma Wanhua, Shi Xiaoguang and Shen Wenqin, upon completing this research concentration, students will obtain a Doctorate of Education.


2.Principles of Education. This concentration focuses on the theory of formation and development of pedagogy; and International Education Development in the context of globalization. Instructed by Wang Liping, upon completing this research concentration, students will obtain a Doctorate of Education.


3.Educational Technology. This concentration focuses on theory, research, and best practices to advance knowledge as well as mediate and improve learning and performance through the strategic design, management and implementation of learning and instructional processes and resources. Instructed by Jia Jiyou, Guo Wenge and Shang Junjie, upon completing this research concentration, students will obtain a Doctorate of Education.


4.Education Economics & Management. This concentration focuses on the relationship between education and the economy, international organizations and international development. Instructed by Min Weifang, Yan Fengqiao, Yue Changjun, Yang Po, Ha Wei and Zhang Ran, upon completing this research concentration, students will obtain a Doctorate of Management.


?             Curriculum

All IED degree candidates have course load requirements to ensure the successful completion of their designated degree program by the date of graduation. The following table shows the number of credits required for graduation in the doctoral degree program offered at the Graduate School of Education. In order to complete the program, it is required that at least 18 course credits should be completed, alongside the completion of a dissertation, of which 15 must be core courses and at least 3-4 credits of elective courses.



























?             Chinese Language

?             Lecture Series on Contemporary China

?             Qualitative Research Method

?             Education Statistics and Econometrics 

?             China’s Education and Its Cultural Foundation

?             Lecture Series on International Education Development Ⅰ

?             Lecture Series on International Education Development Ⅱ

?             Introduction to International Development Investment

?             International Higher Education 

?             Introduction to Contemporary Chinese Higher Education

?             Sociology of Education

?             Economics of Education

?             Comparative Economics of Education and Finance

?             Artificial Intelligence and Education

?             Emerging Technologies in Education in the Time of MOOC

?             Media Technology as an Agent of Education Evolution: From Oral to Internet

?             Theories and Practices of International Organizations

?             Retrospect and Prospect of International Development Cooperation in China

?             Government and Education 



























Required Required Elective Elective














?             Dissertation

The Doctoral dissertation shall be written in English, and under the guidance of an advisor. The dissertation shall demonstrate that the candidate has obtained a deep understanding of international education development theories and has made serious and thorough reflections in this regard. Under the guidance of an advisor, and on the basis of the independent research conducted previously, students are expected to make use of the theories, knowledge and analytical skills acquired from the program to examine phenomena, analyze inherent principles, and finally produce a dissertation with both academic value and realistic significance. A student shall choose a professor as his/her advisor in the first semester, and determine the subject matter of research under the guidance of an advisor in the second semester. After successfully passing the comprehensive examination by the end of the second year, students are expected to spend the next two years searching for evidence in the real world, conducting academic research and composing the dissertation. In the eighth semester, they shall finalize and defend their dissertation. A Doctoral dissertation must pass high standards, and will be evaluated on the basis of its originality, academic contribution and practical value.


?             Internship/Practicum

IED students are encouraged to apply for internship at Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank (WB), United Nations (UN) and other international organisations. Outstanding students would receive strong recommendation letters from our faculty. Students will also have the opportunities to participate in research projects led by GSE faculty which involve the above international organisations.


Online Learning During Covid-19

Peking University has adopted multiple online teaching methods to facilitate international students’ learning. Teamwork, group discussion, individual counselling can also be conducted virtually.

?             Synchronous and interactive online classroom

The first cohort of IED program uses synchronous livestreaming online learning which has lived up to our expectation in most cases. Recorded video is also available for students to review after class.

?             Online-merge-offline (OMO) teaching

In the autumn semester 2020, Peking University has restored face-to-face teaching for most courses. Students who are not on campus can also participate in offline courses simultaneously via OMO teaching.

Application Instructions

Our four-year Doctoral Program in International Education Development is designed to prepare high-caliber talents and national leaders who are equipped with theories and knowledge and are capable of making decisions and policies related to international education development. Candidates who have demonstrated a proven record of high academic and professional accomplishment and who wish to further hone their skills of leadership and elevate their knowledge are encouraged to apply.


?             Application Requirements

To be eligible to apply, all applicants must meet the following admission requirements:


a)         Applicants must be non-Chinese citizens with a valid passport. Residents of mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan who have emigrated to other countries and are applying to Peking University as international students must present valid passport or citizenship documents dating from before April 30, 2015, along with proof of cancellation of Chinese nationality;

b)        must have obtained a master’s degree, and students who graduated from a non-Chinese institution must have a master’s degree from an institution recognized by the Ministry of Education of China;

c)         must have English proficiency as either a native English speaker; having attended an undergraduate program where the language of instruction was English; or submit valid TOEFL or IELTS scores of at least 100 or 6.0 respectively;

d)        be in good health and physical condition;

e)       and comply with the laws and regulations laid out by both the Chinese Government and Peking University.

?             Application Procedure

We have two rounds of application. The first round starts from October 1st, 2020 to December 31st, 2020. Applicants who passed the initial screening will receive an online interview invitation in January, 2021. The second round starts from January 1st, 2021 to February 28th, 2021. Online interview will be conducted in March, 2021. We encourage students to apply sooner than later as the admission is on a rolling basis. Applicants shall prepare the following materials and submit them for inspection:

a)         Peking University Application Form for International Students with a photograph affixed (International Students Service System

b)        Notarized copies of Bachelor's and Master's degree certificates in Chinese or English. Original copies must be shown upon admission.

c)         Students expecting to graduate should provide an official letter stating their expected graduation date and they should obtain master degree before enrollment.

d)        Notarized copies of official transcripts in Chinese or English, indicating academic achievement up to the present, including courses taken and standards achieved.

e)         A personal statement of no more than 3,000 words, written in English, focusing on academic background, work experience, achievements, study purpose and future career plans.

f)          Valid TOEFL (above 100) or IELTS (above 6.0) test scores.

g)        A resume, written in English.

h)        Two recommendation letters from professors or professionals in relevant fields. The recommendation letters should be original and in Chinese or English. Recommendation letters can also be sent to the e-mail address directly by the recommender.

i)          One photocopy of your valid passport. Diplomatic passports are not accepted.

j)          Published academic articles and abstracts, or other original work (not compulsory).

k)        Proof of payment of application fee.


Applicants are required to pay an application fee of 800RMB online through the Peking University China International Student Service System at  Applications will be considered invalid until this payment has been completed. All application materials must be submitted by post to Peking University in duplicate. No exceptions will be made for posted application materials that were not received by the application deadline. The envelope should be addressed in both English and Chinese to “IED Project Doctoral Application Materials, Room 330, New Sun Student Center, International Students Division, Office of International Relations, Peking University, Beijing 100871, People’s Republic of China”. In addition, the application form must be submitted online, at the Peking University China International Student Service System. Application materials cannot be returned. The application fee is not refundable, irrespective of application success.


Upon reviewing the application materials, professionalism, academic level, morality and development potential of each candidate, shortlisted candidates will be contacted for interviews. Based on candidates' application materials and interview performance, the Admissions Committee of the program will make a comprehensive evaluation of each candidate and make a final decision whether the candidate is admitted or not.

?             Admission Evaluation

1.    Initial screening. After Graduate School of Education get the applicants' materials (those who have met the basic application requirements) from the International Students Division, the admission committee will select qualified students based on the applicant’s academic record, his/her research agenda, the strength of the recommendation letters, and other application materials that could be evidence of his/her intellectual ability and commitment to an academic and research career.
2.    Evaluative Interview. Applications who passed the screening will receive an evaluative interview. Based on the interview result, the admission committee makes its recommendations for admission to the Graduate School of Education. The Graduate School of Peking University reviews the admission results and makes a formal admission decision. The International Students Division, Office of International Relations of PKU will issue the Admission Notice to the successful candidates before the end of June 2021.

Tuition Fee and Financial Aid
The annual tuition fee for this program is 50,000RMB. Generous scholarships are to be made available for outstanding students irrespective of nationality. We strongly encourage all applicants to apply to multiple scholarship programs. More information regarding scholarships currently available to foreign students can be found at the International Students Division website:


?             Chinese Government Scholarship (CGS)

In order to promote the mutual understanding, cooperation and exchanges in various fields between China and other countries, the Chinese government has set up a series of scholarship programs to sponsor international students, teachers and scholars to study and conduct research in Chinese universities. China Scholarship Council (CSC), entrusted by the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China (MOE), is responsible for the enrollment and the administration of Chinese Government Scholarship programs.


Coverage and Standard (CNY Per Year):

Supporting Categories

Field of Study




Medical Insurance


Doctoral Students








?             CGS-Bilateral Program

Bilateral Program includes a full or partial scholarship established by MOE in accordance with educational exchange agreements or consensus between the Chinese government and governments of other countries, institutions, universities or international organizations. Applicants should apply to the Chinese Embassy or Consulate in your home country between early January and early April. Please consult the Chinese Embassy or Consulate for the specific deadline of each year. Applicants shall visit and submit a type-A application.


?             CGS-EU Window Program

Under the framework of China-EU High Level People-to-People Dialogue (HPPD), entrusted by the China Scholarship Council (CSC), the Mission of P. R. China to the EU will provide the Chinese Government Scholarship through EU Window Program. This program is a full scholarship for EU citizens. Applicants shall visit and submit type-A application. CGS online system won't allow applicants to fill more than one Agency Number in Type-A program. The agency No. is 00006. Please noted that the system does not allow one account apply for two type-A scholarship programs, therefore applicants who want to apply both bilateral program and EU Window program shall create a new account in the system.


?             CGS-Chinese University Program

Chinese University Program is a full scholarship for designated Chinese universities and certain provincial education offices in specific provinces or autonomous regions to recruit outstanding international students for graduate studies in China. It only supports graduate students. Applicants shall visit and submit a type-B application. The agency No. of Peking University is 10001.


?             Confucius China Studies Program

In order to foster a deep understanding of China and the Chinese culture among young generations from around the world, enable the prosperous growth of China studies, promote the sustainable development of Confucius Institutes, and enhance the friendly relationship between China and the people of other countries, the Confucius Institute Headquarters has set up the “Confucius China Studies Program”. The program supports foreign students to pursue full-time PhD degrees in the humanities and social sciences at Chinese universities. Applicants should be non-Chinese citizens and HSK test score level 5 is required, and priority is given to applicants with higher level of proficiency in Chinese under the same conditions. Applicants shall submit the online application at, and then post the application forms and other supporting documents to the Confucius Institute Headquarters.


Contact Information

Graduate School of Education, Peking University

(For program enquiry)


Tel: +8610 62750049



International Students Division, Office of International Relations, Peking University

(For application)

Tel: (86-10)- 6275 1230

Fax: (86-10)-6275 1233




Admission Office, Graduate School, Peking University (For admission enquiry)

Tel: +8610 62751354; +8610 62756913