Yenching Academy Scholars Program

The Yenching Academy offers a highly customizable Master’s program in China studies for English speakers with varied levels of Chinese language competency. At the core of the program lies its emphasis on interdisciplinarity and the value it assigns to thinking about China; past, present and future – from both Chinese and international perspectives. It also aims to push the study of China beyond the boundaries of traditionally defined humanities and social science disciplines, and is designed to incorporate the experiences and intellectual training of its diverse student body.

Scholars are allowed flexibility in the design of their study programs and can choose courses from any of six research areas, one of which they will choose for their theses. A wide range of electives offered by the Academy and other Peking University schools and departments supplements core courses. This interdisciplinary approach encourages dialogue across academic disciplines, and creates an environment conducive to innovative and fruitful exchanges of ideas.

Research areas are as follows:

• Economics and Management

• History and Archaeology

• Philosophy and Religion

• Politics and International Relations

• Law and Society

• Literature and Culture


All admitted students receive the Yenching Fellowship for the first academic year, which covers tuition, accommodation in the Yenching Academy House, a travel stipend for one round-trip journey between your base city and Beijing (the base city must be a city within the country of your nationality; cost of this round-trip will be estimated and calculated by YCA), basic medical insurance, a monthly stipend, and expenses related to research.

Students who maintained a good academic standing, and plan to stay in Beijing during their second academic year can apply for the second-year Yenching Fellowship. This will cover the tuition, accommodation in the Yenching Academy House, basic medical insurance, and a monthly stipend.


The Yenching Academy annually enrolls approximately 120 new students from both the Chinese Mainland and abroad, to study, live, and learn together. International students comprise roughly 80% of the student body.

Applicants should have:

  • Minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in any field, or be currently enrolled in a Bachelor degree program and be on track to graduate no later than August 31, 2024*;
  • An outstanding academic record;
  • Strong interest in interdisciplinary study of China;
  • A record of extracurricular achievement, community engagement, social responsibility, and leadership potential;
  • English proficiency.

*Peking University does not allow students to be enrolled in other degree programs whilst studying at the university.

Selection Criteria

Successful candidates have outstanding academic backgrounds and broad curiosity. They demonstrate strong motivation and potential to become leaders in their chosen fields. Candidates’ personal statements should offer specific and persuasive explanations of how they could benefit from studying in our interdisciplinary China Studies program. Evaluation criteria include academic merit, leadership potential, international experience, and long-term aspirations.

Application procedures*:

The Yenching Academy Scholars Program requires institutional nomination. To apply as a 2024-2025 UW-Madison nominee, submit the following materials to by Monday, November 27, 2023, 10 a.m. CST.

  • Completed online application form (applicants should not submit the online application or upload recommendation letters until after the UW-Madison nomination decision is complete);
  • Personal statement (750 words or less);
  • Statement of Research Interest (maximum 1500 words, excluding citations);
  • Curriculum Vitae;
  • Official transcript(s);
  • Diploma(s) or Certificate(s) of Enrollment;
  • Two academic letters of recommendation (applicants should also arrange to have the two letters of recommendation forwarded directly to the IRIS Awards Office by the November 27 deadline. These recommendations must come from associate professors or professors only; letters must be from professors teaching in the field in which you are applying. Writers should email their signed letters on institutional letterhead directly to by the deadline above);
  • Certificate of English proficiency (IELTS 7.0 / TOEFL 100 / Cambridge 185) for students who have not yet graduated nor obtained a degree from an English-taught degree program.

*Mainland Chinese students must apply directly to the Yenching Academy through exemption from the National Postgraduate Entrance Examination. Further information available here.

**Candidates from Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan must also complete a supplementary application through the Peking University Graduate Admissions website. Further information available here.

Those considering applying for the Yenching Academy Scholars Program are encouraged to reach out to to register your interest so that we can support you in the application process.

The 2024-2025 application is now CLOSED.

UW-Madison nominating official: Sarah Linkert, IRIS Awards Office,

The campus deadline for the 2024-2025 application cycle was Monday, November 27, 2023, 10 a.m. CST

Thinking about applying? Have questions? Check out these FAQs or email