Beijing, China

Sustainable Development

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Information for term Sustainable Development

Application deadline, and cost information.

Application Deadline

The application deadline has passed.

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Dates: Feb 12 – May 29, 2020 (15 weeks)
  • Credit: 15 - 16 semester hours / 22.5 - 24 quarter hours
  • Eligibility: 2.5 Overall GPA


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Challenge your ideas of sustainable development in one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing countries. Study abroad in Beijing and investigate the environmental, social, and economic dimensions of sustainable development. Ideal for students majoring in social sciences, STEM, or humanities with interests in sustainability, environment, policy and development studies, sociology, or Chinese language. Students take classes at CIEE Beijing with CIEE students only, and there’s no language prerequisite for this program. All courses are complemented with CIEE co-curricular activities and excursions beyond the city to enhance classroom learning and provide intercultural understanding.

Unique Experiences

  • Visit locations outside of Beijing

    experience daily life, and see firsthand the complicated effects of rapid development, industrialization, and urbanization in China.

  • Give back to your host location

    by painting a classroom in a village school, building a pipeline from a well to a village, or teaching English at an elementary school.

  • Experience Minzu University of China (MUC)

    a top university with many founding scholars educated at Harvard University, Columbia University, and the London School of Economics.

  • nature reserves

  • subway stations

  • museums and galleries


Location & Culture

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As the capital of the world’s most populous nation, Beijing is a city of more than 22 million people adapting as China emerges as a global player. Beijing reflects China’s long and evolving history and is home to some of the nation’s most well-known and culturally important sites such as the Great Wall, Forbidden City, and Summer Palace. In addition to being the political and cultural center of China, Beijing is known as the birthplace of Chinese cinema and modern art.

The Culture


  • Take a tour of a historic and culturally significant sites in and around Beijing - such as Tiananmen Square, the “wild” Great Wall, and the Forbidden City - the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty.
  • Explore the Thirteen Tombs of the Ming Dynasty - the lavish and elaborate burial sites of thirteen Ming emperors which have been designated as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Learn about environmental, social, and economic issues in contemporary China and enroll in Field Research Methods for a hands-on exploration of local sustainability issues.
  • Visit the 798 Art Zone, or Dashanzi Art District, a complex of 50-year-old decommissioned military factory buildings boasting a unique architectural style that blends aesthetic and functionality in rapidly growing cities.
  • Immerse yourself in Chinese culture by living in a homestay. Build relationships with your Chinese host family, live in an entirely Chinese language environment, and make rapid progress in Chinese language and culture study.


  • Volunteering. Volunteer for Chinese NGOs doing research, serving meals, or teaching.
  • Peer Tutoring. Meet weekly with your one-to-one tutorial teacher, a local student studying to be a teacher of Chinese as a second language. Together, you’ll do homework, chat about your daily lives, and engage in activities outside the classroom.

Daily Life

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    Homestays: Students stay with host families who live within 45 minutes of campus by public transportation and have two or three bedrooms. Students have their own room and share the living room, kitchen, and bathroom. (With some host families, students may have their own bathroom.) Chinese family members speak Chinese only. This option is highly recommended for students who want to live in an entirely Chinese language environment, and make rapid progress in Chinese language and culture study.

    International Student Apartments: The College of International Education at Minzu University of China (MUC) has a new housing complex, called the West Gate International House, with apartments for international faculty members and students. Two CIEE Study Abroad students are assigned to each apartment, which includes a bedroom, bathroom, living room, kitchen, and washing machine. The area surrounding the West Gate International House is culturally vibrant, offering a variety of ethnic restaurants, shops, bookstores, and an evening market.

    Housing between semesters is not included in the program fee, although CIEE center staff will be able to help advise students on possible options.


    Homestays: Students living with Chinese host families receive two meals per day from the family.

    International Student Apartments: Meals are not included in the program fee for students living in the international student apartments. Meals on campus may be purchased at the local student cafeteria.

Beijing, China

Where You'll Study

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Program Details

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What you need to know

The program details

CIEE’s Sustainable Development program introduces this critical field through lectures, discussions, student research, and experiential activities in China. This program explores the critical need to balance environmental, sociocultural, and economic needs in development, while considering the needs of future generations. All Chinese language courses are taught by adjunct faculty hired by CIEE who specialize in teaching Chinese as a second language. Content courses are taught by experts drawn from CIEE local partner universities (Minzu University and Peking University ) or other academic institutions.


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    All courses are for CIEE students only.


    Language classes: Language course grades are determined by regular exams, homework, quizzes, attendance, and participation. Content courses: Content course grades are determined by active participation in class discussions, attendance, writing assignments and presentations, and mid-term and final papers or other term projects. The following letter grades are assigned: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, D, and F.


    Classes are generally lecture-based, but students are expected to foster an interactive classroom dynamic through discussions, fieldwork, presentations, observation papers, and group or individual projects. Courses also integrate visits to local sites related to course content. Students should expect to have daily homework assignments and weekly quizzes.



    Students need to have a GPA of at least 2.5.


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Course Information

Program Credit
Total credit: 15-16 U.S. semester/22.5-24 quarter credits

Course Credit

  • CIEE elective courses: 3 U.S. semester/4.5 quarter credits; 45 contact hours
  • Chinese language courses: 4 U.S. semester/6 quarter credits; 60 contact hours
  • CIEE Directed Independent Research: 3 U.S. semester/4.5 quarter credits; 45 contact hours, 100-120 research hours

Language of Instruction
English and Chinese


  • Students with prior Chinese language study select five content course electives or four content course electives plus one language course.
  • Students with no prior Chinese language study take four content course electives plus one Chinese language course.

Course Notes
Students are placed into the appropriate Chinese language level based on written and oral tests taken onsite during orientation week.

Spring 2020 CIEE Courses

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Academic Projects

Semester Credit

Communication, Journalism, and Media

Semester Credit

Languages and Cultural Studies

Semester Credit

Natural Resources, Conservation, and the Environment

Semester Credit

Social Sciences

Semester Credit

Note: This course listing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a contract between CIEE and any applicant, student, institution, or other party. The courses, as described, may be subject to change as a result of ongoing curricular revisions, assignment of lecturers and teaching staff, and program development. Courses may be canceled due to insufficient enrollment.


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Scholarships & Grants

CIEE offers more than $8 million in scholarships and grants annually to help students like you make your study abroad dream a reality.

Students who apply to this program are eligible for the following scholarships and grants:

  • Ping Scholarships for Academic Excellence
  • Global Access Initiative (GAIN) Grants
  • Stohl International Undergraduate Research Scholarships
  • CIEE Gilman Go Global Grant
  • MSI Grant

To be considered, submit the CIEE Scholarships & Grants application within your CIEE program application. Learn more at the Scholarships & Grants section of our website.

See more scholarship info

Dates & Fees

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Dates & Fees

You get more for every dollar when you study abroad with CIEE, because our high-quality programs include everything from excursions to insurance. There are no hidden charges, and no disappointing surprises when you arrive.


  • Tuition
  • Housing
  • Visa
  • Advising before you depart to set goals and answer questions
  • Optional on-site airport meet-and-greet
  • Orientation – an introduction to Chinese culture, your academic program, and the city, plus practical information about living in your host city
  • Full-time program leadership and support in your host city
  • Cultural and/or Co-curricular Activities
  • Excursions and/or Study Tours
  • Insurance and other travel benefits, with CIEE iNext
  • 24/7 emergency on-site support


Application Due

Start Date

End Date

Fees & Housing

Spring 2020 15 weeks Deadline Passed Feb 12, 2020 May 29, 2020
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Program Fees

CIEE offers the most student support of any provider in its program fee, including an airport greeting, full-time leadership and support, orientation, cultural activities, local excursions, pre-departure advising, and CIEE iNext travel insurance with benefits.

Participation Confirmation = $300 *

Educational Costs = $15,021 **

Housing = $2,150

Insurance = $167

Visa Fees = $212

Total Fees = $17,850

Estimated Costs

Students are responsible and manage costs related to travel, meals, books, and personal expenses. Below are estimates for consideration.

Meals not included in program fee = $1,100

International Airfare = $1,300 ††

Local Transportation = $300

Books & Supplies = $50

Personal expenses = $1,500

Other = $150 †††

Total Estimated Costs = $4,400

Financial Aid

CIEE offers the most grants and scholarships of any study abroad organization, including $8 million/year in travel grants, merit-based scholarships, institutional and MSI grants, and Gilman Go Global Grants.

See Scholarships

This breakdown has been prepared from the program budget for the purpose of calculating eligibility for financial aid. During the course of program operations, actual figures may vary. It should not, therefore, be used as a basis for calculation of refunds. CIEE reserves the right to adjust fees at any time.

Students required to study on CIEE programs through a School of Record will be charged a $500 administrative fee in addition to the Program Fees listed.

* non-refundable

** direct cost of education charged uniformly to all students

for students in apartments; homestay students may spend less as they are typically invited to family meals four times during the week

†† round-trip based on U.S. East Coast departure

††† onsite visa change/extension fee (this includes the cost of the required medical/physical exam at a designated Chinese Hospital); for academic year students or for those that do not receive a multiple entry visa or a visa to cover the duration of the program pre-departure.

To help you budget, keep in mind that students are responsible for the cost of international airfare, local transportation, books and supplies, and personal expenses. In addition, ask your college or university study abroad advisor if your school charges additional fees for study abroad.

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