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Yenching Academy of Peking University

The Yenching Academy offers international students a fellowship to pursue a Master of Arts degree programme in China Studies. The programme is open for students from all programmes and faculties.

15 November
Target group
Countries/ nationalities
Destination country: China
Scholarship type
Archaeology, Humanities, Governance and Global Affairs, Law, Social and Behavioural Sciences, Science

COVID-19 considerations

Please be aware that due to the coronavirus situation, there is no guarantee that travel to China will be permitted in the coming period. If you plan to study abroad, always draw up a plan B in case your plans cannot go ahead. If travel is not possible, Yenching Academy may offer an online programme to accepted candidates. 

Eligibility requirements

Applicant qualifications: 

  • Minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in any field, awarded no later than 31 August in the year in which you wish to enrol.
  • Outstanding academic record.
  • Strong interest in the interdisciplinary study of China.
  • Record of extracurricular achievement, community engagement and social responsibility.
  • Indications of leadership potential.
  • Proficiency in English - see details below.

English proficiency

To demonstrate your English proficiency, you must submit one of the following test results. Note that native English speakers and students/alumni of English-taught degree programmes are exempted from submitting an English test result. 

  • IELTS Academic: overall 7.0 (taken after 1 Sept 2020)
  • TOEFL iBT: overall 100 (taken after 1 Sept 2020)
    We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Scores or TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition.
  • Cambridge English (Advanced): overall 185 
  • CET 6: overall 600 
  • TEM 4: pass level of “良好or above 

Important: If you take an IELTS, TOEFL or Cambridge test, also ask the test organisation to send your results directly to “Yenching Academy of Peking University”. The TOEFL institution code is C488.

What qualities should a Yenching Scholar possess?

The Yenching Academy seeks talented, high potential individuals whose collective diversity will create a rich learning and living environment. The best way to understand what the Yenching Academy is looking for in candidates is to review the bios of previous scholars, available on the programme’s website. Note that candidates should have a strong interest in China, but do not need to have Chinese language study experience.


  • Yenching Academy does not set a strict age limit for applicants, but to date, no students over the age of 28 have been admitted to the programme. The average age of students entering the programme is 23.
  • Whilst following the Master of Arts in China Studies, Yenching scholars are not permitted to join other degree programmes at Peking University.

Scholarship or loan amount

The Yenching Academy provides a generous postgraduate scholarship that covers tuition fees, a travel stipend for one round-trip journey between each scholar’s base city and Beijing, accommodation, a monthly stipend and field study costs.

Application process

1. Prepare application materials

First prepare the following materials:

  • Completed Yenching Academy application form.
  • Personal statement written in English (max. 750 words). 
    a personal introduction and the reasons why you wish to be a Yenching Scholar. The name of the document must be 'Your full name + Personal Statement'.
  • Statement of research interest (max 1500 words excluding citations).
  • Curriculum Vitae.
  • Copy of your current Leiden University transcript(s).
  • Copy of any other university diplomas/transcripts.
    If your university documents are not issued in English or Chinese, also include a certified English translation. 
  • English test result: for required scores and exemption criteria see 'Eligibility requirements' above. 

2. Request recommendations

Next, ask two professors or associate professors to complete the recommender form. They should then send the form directly to: Studyabroad@sea.leidenuniv.nl before 15 November. The email title should mention 'Yenching Academy' and your name.

3. Submit application to Leiden University

Submit all your application materials by email to Studyabroad@sea.leidenuniv.nl, before 15 November. The subject line of your email must include ‘Yenching Academy’.

For mainland Chinese candidates
Recruitment for the 2022 cohort of Mainland Chinese candidates is currently ongoing. More information will be available through the Graduate School of Peking UniversityApplication information for the 2023 cohort will become available in the spring of 2022.

For Chinese Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan candidates
Applications are open for the 2022 cohort: deadline 3 December 2021 (12:00 noon Beijing time). Students/alumni of partner universities must apply through both their university’s internal application process and the Yenching Academy admissions portal, then submit a supplementary application through the Graduate School of Peking University.

Selection process

  • Leiden University will pre-select up to three students. 
  • You will be informed by early December if you have been selected.
  • Leiden University will nominate selected students to Yenching Academy by 10 December.
  • Nominated students must complete the Yenching Academy online application procedure by 10 December
  • Upon receipt of the nominee's complete application, Yenching Academy will consider applicants for a finalist interview.
  • Yenching Academy will contact selected candidates* directly to schedule interviews in the winter or early spring. Most will be held via Skype.
  • Acceptances may be issued on a rolling basis. The majority of admission decisions will be made in March 2022.

* Note that candidates nominated by their home university are not guaranteed a place, but Yenching Academy does give them extra consideration.

Programme information

Programme duration

The Yenching Academy programme is two years in duration. However, international students are only required to stay in Beijing for the first year. All scholars in good standing have the option to extend the fellowship for a second year, if they wish to remain in Beijing. Those who leave campus after one year may complete their theses and thesis defence via Skype.

Residential College

The Yenching Academy classrooms and offices are located in the Jing Yuan Courtyard in the heart of the Peking University campus. Yenching Scholars and visiting faculty will reside nearby, in dormitory facilities that have common lounges, a library and a cafeteria.

Further information

Poster Yenching Academy
Poster Yenching Academy
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