China Country Brief

Women dancing with red fans in front of Shanghai skyline

The University of Minnesota has a long and deep history with China, starting in 1914 when the first Chinese students enrolled. Today, the UMN community includes more than 3,000 students and scholars from Greater China. We have research and exchange partnerships with some of China's top universities, and in 2009 opened our first international office in Beijing. More than 5,000 of our alumni live in Greater China. University students are studying in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan in increasing numbers, while world-renowned faculty are working with Chinese researchers to address some of the world's most pressing problems.

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Research and Faculty Connections

2019: The UMN College of Design organized a symposium on Fashion and Active Aging in collaboration with the Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts. This joint symposium aimed to create an ongoing dialogue about fashion and active aging through a series of scholarly presentations, panel discussions, and creative design exhibits by academics, graduate students, researchers, and symposium participants.

2018: The Lions Gift of Sight, a program of the UMN Medical School’s Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Neurosciences, entered into an agreement for cooperation and exchange with Jinan Second People’s Hospital in Shandong, China, to promote the exchange of faculty members and students, and to lay the groundwork for future joint research activities and collaborations.

2015: The University of Minnesota and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Center for Disease Prevention and Control (Guangxi CDC) signed an Agreement for Cooperation and Exchange in March 2015. Learn more about the Guangxi CDC—China Partnership.

2014: The UMN College of Pharmacy joined pharmacy schools at the University of Michigan and Ohio State University to form the United States-China Pharmacy Consortium with five of China’s top pharmacy schools. The goal of the Consortium is to educate the next generation of Chinese clinical pharmacy leaders at top U.S. schools.  

2012: The UMN College of Veterinary Medicine organized the first Leman Swine Conference in Xi'an, China. The conference presented the latest developments on swine research and production, disease surveillance and control, integration of production and public health, and their impacts on the global economy to China — the world’s biggest pork-producing country. Speakers at the conference represented experts from North American and China. The annual conference is ongoing.

Institutional Partners

The University of Minnesota was one of the first U.S. institutions to resume exchanges with China in 1979. Today we have research and exchange partnerships with some of China's top universities. The following are a selection of our key partners in China.

  • Peking University
  • Tsinghua University
  • Renmin University
  • Beijing Film Academy
  • Beijing University of Sports
  • Fudan University
  • Shanghai Jiaotong University
  • Shanghai University of Finance and Economics
  • Zhejiang University
  • Xi’an Jiaotong University
  • Sun Yat-sen University
  • South China University of Technology
  • Jilin University
  • Northeast Normal University
  • China Agricultural University
  • China Pharmaceutical University
  • China Academy of Agricultural Sciences
  • Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Ocean University of China
  • Xiamen University
  • Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
  • Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen

UMN Partners and Related Units

China Center

For more than four decades, the China Center has supported the University's commitment to international research, teaching, and outreach by building bridges between the University, China, and Minnesota. Through its offices in Minneapolis and Beijing, the China Center provides advice and support to the University community, maintains important relationships, and fosters cultural engagement in the community. The center's Mingda Institute for Leadership Training provides high-quality training and development programs for professionals from China.

China Office (Beijing)

The China Office was established in Beijing in 2009 as the University of Minnesota’s first office abroad. The mission of the office is to further develop educational, cultural, and social collaborations among China, the University of Minnesota, and the State of Minnesota.

Asian & Middle Eastern Studies (AMES)

The Department of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies on the Twin Cities campus offers courses in the study of the cultures, media, literatures, and languages from Asia and the Middle East — including Mandarin Chinese.

Chinese Flagship

The Chinese Flagship program at the University of Minnesota trains the nation’s most qualified undergraduate students from diverse disciplines to achieve superior-level Mandarin Chinese proficiency and promotes their success as global professionals.

East Asian Library

Established in 1965, the East Asian Library is among the twenty largest East Asian collections in America. The library currently holds over 160,000 volumes of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean language materials.


Alumni Chapters

The University of Minnesota has established six alumni chapters in Greater China, including Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, ShenzhenXi’an, Hong Kong, and Taipei.

Distinguished Alumni

The University of Minnesota is proud to count Chinese alumni among the many University graduates who have excelled in their respective fields.

Student Mobility

Chinese Nationals at UMN

  • 2,665 students (2019-20)*
  • 440 visiting scholars (2018-19)*

Students from China make up the largest group (44%) of international students on the Twin Cities campus. 

UMN Students in China

  • 200 students (2018-19)+

UMN students can choose from several learning abroad programs in China.

The Carlson School of Management offers student exchanges with Antai College of Economics and Management, Lingnan College at Sun Yat-sen University, Tsinghua University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and City University of Hong Kong.

*Source: ISSS Annual Report (Twin Cities only)
+Systemwide, source: Learning Abroad Center

Community Engagement

The University of Minnesota partners with many Minnesota Chinese community organizations, mainly through its China Center, to enrich the campus life and academic experience for students, contribute to the Minnesota community’s cultural diversity, and build relationships with external audiences.