Study Abroad

The University of Minnesota ranks fourth in the U.S. among research institutions in numbers of students who study abroad. It was one of the first U.S. universities to take students to China in the 1980s. The past three decades have seen sustained growth in U.S. international education, and more University students are choosing to study abroad in China to absorb new knowledge and skills, enhance intercultural competency, and broaden their international perspective. Today the University has more than 15 study abroad programs in China, including short-term seminars and semester exchanges.

The First Programs to China

U of M students in Nankai, 1980

University students studied in China in 1980


In 1980, University of Minnesota students had their first opportunity to study in China through the “Summer Intensive Chinese Language Institute” held at Nankai University. Students from the University joined some 30 other students from various U.S. universities. 

Ralph Rapson, head of the School of Architecture, sent the first group of architecture students to Tianjin University in Tianjin, China, in 1981. Since then, the architecture program has sent many more students to study abroad in China.

From 1984 to 1988, University of Minnesota-Duluth Professors Cheng-Khee Chee and Terry Anderson led annual study abroad programs to Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts. The program was called “Chinese Landscape Painting and Watercolor Painting” and had an average enrollment of 25 students each year.

Architecture students in 1981

School of Architecture students studied at Tianjin University in 1981


A Variety of Options

Today, University students have a wide variety of programs to choose from that allow them to study, work, or volunteer in the greater China area. The 2013 study abroad program “Cutting-Edge Circuits and Systems in China” gave students the opportunity to explore current research and development activities in electrical and computer engineering in China.

The University of Minnesota-Duluth’s Labovitz School of Business and Economics course “Business and Economy in China” in 2013 took students to China to tour various companies and learn about doing business in China.

Another business course offered in 2013 was “An Introduction to Global Entrepreneurship” through the Carlson School of Management. Students studied the conceptual and empirical knowledge about entrepreneurship at the individual, organizational, and industrial levels in China.

While the Humphrey School of Public Affairs has a long history with China, it kicked off its first study abroad program to China in 2013. The program provides University students the opportunity to meet with government, academic, and non-governmental organizations to learn about policy and planning challenges and innovations, and economic and environmental aspects of urban development.

Duluth students in 2013

University of Minnesota-Duluth students traveled to China to learn about doing business in China in 2013