About > Overview

The Beijing Normal University School of Chinese Language and Literature was founded in 1902, making it China’s oldest language and literature institute. Previously known as the Department of Chinese Language and Literature, the School acquired its present name in 2003, with the Department of Chinese Language and Literature as its flagship program. 

The past century has seen the School branch out into new programs, fields and methods, thus contributing to China’s drive to excel and develop the fields of Chinese linguistics, culture and literature. 

Today’s successes reflect on the generations of highly-accomplished scholars who provided the school with insight and inspiration, setting an example of how to pursue academic excellence while building social well-being. Eminent figures from the school’s history include Lu Xun, Qian Xuantong, Liu Bannong, Li Jinxi, Shen Congwen, Shen Jianshi, Gu Sui, Yu Jiaxi, Wu Chengshi, Huang Yaomian, Zhong Jingwen, Tan Pimo, Mu Mutian, Ye Dingyi, Liu Pansui, Li Changzhi, Li Helin, Lu Zongda, Xiao Zhang, Yu Min, Qi Gong and Guo Yuheng.



The BNU School of Chinese Language and Literature maintains a leading position in its field. It is the home to many “top”: the first-class key discipline in the first round of national recognition, one of the country’s first two postdoctoral programs for Chinese linguistics and literature, the first-round base for basic-science training and research, the first-round master's and doctoral degree programs for Chinese language and literature, and two first level key research bases for humanities and social sciences accredited by the Ministry of Education (MOE), namely, the Center for Literary Theory and the Center for Research on Chinese Folklore and Ancient Writing.

Subjects taught in the BNU School of Chinese Language and Literature frequently earn the highest ranking by the Academic Degrees and Graduate Education Center of the Ministry of Education. In 2016,  the school’s Chinese language and literature discipline was awarded an A+ rating; in 2017, both the Chinese language and literature and the linguistics disciplines were included in the national "Double First-Class" initiative.

The School houses thirteen institutes, two interdisciplinary research platforms and one research center. Departments include Ancient Chinese Language, Modern Chinese Language, Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, Art and Literature, Traditional Chinese Literature, Classical Chinese Philology, Modern and Contemporary Chinese Literature, Comparative and World Literature, Literary Writing, Chinese Folk Literature, Chinese Folk Culture, Chinese Language Education, International Chinese Education. There are two interdisciplinary platforms: Interdisciplinary Platform for Chinese Culture Research and Communication, and Laboratory for Chinese Character Research and Modern Application, and Research Center for Studies and Standardization of Chinese Characters, a collaboration with the State Language Commission.

There is also the Beijing Normal University International Writing Center, interdisciplinary working groups like the College of Cross-cultural Studies, Research Center for Overseas Communication of Chinese Literature, and Research Center for Contemporary Literary Writing and Criticism, as well as the multimedia integration studios for Chinese language teaching and research, Chinese character research laboratory and digital folklore laboratory.

The School has 107 faculty members whose high caliber enables the School to be of the first ranking among all universities and colleges in this field. Among them, three are members of the Disciplinary Review Panel of Academic Degrees Committee of the State Council, one sits in the Social Sciences Committee of the MOE, seven were named Changjiang Scholars, the highest academic award issued to individuals in higher education by the MOE, and three are included in the “10,000 Talents Plan”, initiated by the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee. 

The mentor team is also joined by five eminent writers, including Mo Yan and Su Tong, directors from the China Writers Association and the Chinese Folk Literature and Art Association. The school’s faculty have degrees from among the most prestigious universities in China and the world.

All this is dedicated to nurturing our students. The School has two undergraduate programs in Chinese language & literature and Chinese language & culture open to international students, 15 graduate programs and 9 doctoral programs. About 1,180 students are enrolled in the full-time undergraduate programs, more than 700 are in full-time graduate programs, nearly 200 for doctoral degrees, with more than 200 students coming from foreign countries. Among the school’s programs, the total number of students enrolled is over 2,500. 

The School has nurtured such eminent figures as former vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Xu Jialu, the Nobel literature laureate Mo Yan, business magnate Qiu Jiduan, and educator Chen Tianmin, to name a few. These people have made significant contributions to China’s cultural and educational progress, to the academic study of Chinese linguistics and literature, and to creation, innovation and theoretical construction in literature and art. Their contributions speak volumes about the School’s abiding mission to give back to the country and society.

The School is proud to deliver an education focused on both knowing and doing. Remarkable achievements have also made in the field of applied research as well as social services. The School published the Table of General Standard Chinese Characters, established a large-scale resource library to deepen natural language understanding, and released the report titled “The Language Situation in Beijing” on a yearly basis. 

The School has taken an active part in the applying, auditing and writing work about Intangible Cultural Heritage commissioned by the United Nations and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the PRC, and has organized and hosted conferences for writers from BRICS countries, and from countries along the Belt and Road. It has held cultural exchange events for Chinese, American and British writers. At present, the School has undertaken 16 national initiatives for social sciences and over 150 programs initiated by provincial governments and ministerial departments.

The School has forged extensive links with universities and departments across the world. It sends hundreds of students each year to study overseas during winter and summer vacations, and undergraduates and graduates are jointly trained by universities such as the University of Manchester, the University of Iowa, and Cardiff University. English-edition journals including Chinese Literature Today, Global Chinese and Comparative Literature & World Literature were marketed in the United States, Germany and other countries. The journal Chinese Literature Today enjoys high global circulation in the research and promotion of contemporary Chinese literature.

In addition, the School has launched the Cardiff-Beijing Chinese College in the UK, and signed agreements with Moscow State Pedagogical University and the University of Oklahoma to build Chinese language programs.

The BNU School of Chinese Language and Literature will continue to grow, integrate and innovate in order to build world-class research in Chinese linguistics and literature, and foster talent in Chinese language education and cultural innovation.

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