Nankai Universiy (NKU)

南开大学 Nánkāi Dàxué

Nankai University has been known since 1937 as the “North Star of Higher Learning.” The school counts amongst its graduates former Premier Zhou Enlai, playwright Cao Yu, mathematician Shiing-Shen Chern, and two Nobel Prize winning physicists: Chen Ning Yang and Tsung-Dao Lee. As one of China’s top-ranking, research-oriented, multi-disciplinary institutions, Nankai University is similar to an American Ivy League school. NKU is also an internationally-minded university, with connections that span continents, making it an excellent choice for international students seeking a degree in China.

Nankai University was founded as a small college in 1919 by the famous Chinese educators Zhang Boling and Yan Xiu. In its earliest days, the school’s courses were all taught in English and the curricula and textbooks were imported from abroad. In 1927, NKU established the Nankai Institute of Economics, which was the first non-foreign entity to calculate a Chinese Consumer Price Index. Accomplishments like this bolstered NKU’s reputation, but tragedy beset the university when it was heavily bombed by invading Japanese forces. In response to the pressures of the Second World War, Nankai University, Peking University, and Tsinghua University merged to form the National Southwestern Associated University (NSAU) which operated out of Kunming. At the end of the war, the NSAU dissolved and Nankai moved back to Tianjin. After the Chinese Civil War, Nankai University experienced rapid growth while maintaining its tradition of comprehensive, multi-disciplinary education. Today, NKU offers one of the widest ranges of disciplines in China, with 24 academic colleges spanning arts, sciences, and the humanities.

Modern Nankai University is strongly committed to international collaboration. NKU has established partnerships and relationships with over 300 institutions worldwide. Nankai has been named the Outstanding Confucius Institute Chinese Partner of the Year three times. The university maintains international connections through its participation in the Davos World University Leaders Forum, the Confucius China Studies Program, and the Oxford Program. NKU’s most important international partner is Glasgow University. Nankai and Glasgow University established the NKU-UoG Joint Graduate School in 2012. International students are eligible to pursue degrees in the NKU-UoG Graduate School beginning in 2018.

Nearly 10% of Nankai’s student body is international students. In total, NKU has over 13,000 undergraduate students, who can choose from 80 undergraduate programs and 403 masters and PhD programs. NKU’s program in chemistry research was ranked best in China in 2008, and economics, mathematics, and history were all ranked number 2 in China. NKU has three campuses; the main campus is on the original site in Balitai, Tianjin.

Students seeking academic variety in China will find Nankai University’s commitment to multi-disciplinary education exciting. The school has an international outlook and a proud history, making it a truly wonderful place to pursue a degree in China.


On-campus housing: Nankai University has built-in apartments for foreign students and foreign student restaurants. The apartment for international students is managed in the style of a hotel. There are double rooms and single rooms in the rooms. Each room is equipped with a separate toilet, bed, nightstand, writing desk, chair, wardrobe, and TV. Telephones, air conditioning, heating, internet, etc. 24-hour hot water is provided in the apartments. Washing machines are charged, and apartment service personnel regularly clean and change beds.

Palitai Campus Apartment: Yi Garden 2nd Building, Yi Garden 4th Building, Jingyuan
Jinnan Campus Apartment: International Student Apartment A, C, D, E Building

Renting off-campus housing: Overseas students are permitted to rent housing off campus, but they are required to register both with International Student Office and the police station responsible for security of the neighborhood where the rental house is located. Reference prices for off-campus apartments only covers rental and does not include water, electricity, gas, telephone internet or other expensesOne bedroom US$300-400; Two bedrooms US$400-500; Three bedroom apartment US$500-650.