Applying for an SCPKU Graduate Seminar

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For Students: Applying for an SCPKU Graduate Seminar


The Stanford Center at Peking University (SCPKU) offers Stanford graduate students a special opportunity for short-term study in Beijing. These three-week seminars are taught by Stanford faculty (Academic Council members, Medical Center Line Faculty, and Active Emeriti) representing disciplines and schools spanning the entire campus and are specifically designed to integrate course content and program location. Each seminar is limited to 16 students (8 Stanford students maximum; up to 8 Chinese university students may be invited to join some seminars). One Stanford teaching assistant (TA) will support each seminar. No China expertise is required.

There is no fixed window during which Stanford graduate seminars will be offered at SCPKU. Seminars will be scheduled based on faculty availability but SCPKU anticipates that the majority of seminars will occur during the Summer Quarter. For a current list of our seminar offerings and corresponding application deadlines, please see SCPKU Seminar Schedule.

Doctoral students selected to participate in an SCPKU graduate seminar can also apply for an SCPKU Pre-doctoral Fellowship that would allow them to extend their stay in China to further advance their dissertation research.

Course Credit and Grading

SCPKU graduate seminars are non unit-bearing and grades will not be assigned. However, students who would like to enroll for credit may consult with faculty and their individual departments to explore "directed research" opportunities.

Seminar Length and Dates

SCPKU graduate seminars will typically last 19-22 days. A standard breakdown is: 1 travel day, 1 arrival day, 1 orientation day, 15 seminar days, 4 free days, and 1 departure day. Student accommodations will be arranged from the evening of the arrival date until the night prior to the departure date and will not exceed 21 nights.

Student Eligibility

All currently-enrolled (and enrolled at time of seminar) Stanford graduate students in good academic standing are eligible to participate. In addition, faculty members may allow advanced undergraduates with sufficient knowledge in the field to apply (refer to SCPKU Seminar Schedule and click on individual seminars for more information). Seniors or Co-Terms are eligible as long as they do not have their undergraduate degrees conferred before participating in the seminar.

Application Process

Eligible students may apply here. An official Stanford transcript via Axess is also required - details are provided in the application form. Seminar instructors may also ask interested students to submit a proposal  and/or separate/initial application directly to the instructor. See SCPKU Seminar Schedule for a list of our seminar offerings and corresponding application deadlines.Applications will be reviewed and selected by the seminar instructor. Some faculty may conduct interviews as part of the selection process. Students will be notified of the selection results within approximately two weeks after the application deadline. No action is required for students who are waitlisted; should a space open up in the seminar, the waitlisted student will be contacted with further instructions on how to enroll. All accepted students must confirm their status to the SCPKU Graduate Seminar Program by the confirmation deadline to be communicated in their acceptance letters.

To determine an applicant’s qualifications, standing at the University, and readiness to participate in a program, the following offices may be consulted: 1) Office of Accessible Education, 2) Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education, 3) Undergraduate Advising and Research, 4) Office of Judicial Affairs, and 5) Vaden Health Center/Counseling and Psychological Services (Note that Vaden will not share confidential health information with the program, but may identify a concern with an applicant’s readiness to participate, to be further addressed with the applicant).

SCPKU reserves the right to revoke admission at any point prior to the seminar should there be any changes to student’s qualifications, standing at the University, and readiness to participate in the program. SCPKU will notify the student should there be any concerns and if the student is no longer eligible to participate in the Graduate Seminar Program.

Program Cost

SCPKU will cover participating students’ international round-trip economy airfare to Beijing and airport transfers up to $1500, lodging and meals for the duration of the seminar, and class-organized travel expenses within China. Students will be responsible for visa and passport application fees, pre-departure immunization costs, health insurance, and all other incidental expenses. Note that participants cancelling after commiting to attend will be charged a $300 cancellation fee.

Participation Requirements

All seminar participants are required to attend the entire seminar, from the scheduled arrival date/time through the scheduled departure date/time. Late arrival and/or early departure is not permitted under any circumstances. Seminar participants must adhere to the SCPKU participation requirements set forth in the SCPKU Graduate Seminar Program Participation Commitment and Assumption of Risk, Release of Claims, Indemnification and Hold Harmless Agreement (“SCPKU Graduate Seminar Student Agreement”). Students acknowledge understanding and compliance with the terms of this agreement within the SCPKU Graduate Seminar Program student application form. Students must also attend any pre-departure orientations on campus held by the seminar instructor to prepare students both academically and culturally. The seminar will also have a mandatory on-site orientation shortly after arrival in Beijing to address practical issues including safety and health precautions, emergency procedures, as well as any cultural challenges. Participating students must also turn in all required application materials by the designated deadlines in order to remain eligible. Finally, there may be seminar-specific prerequisites that will be detailed in individual seminar descriptions. Refer to SCPKU Seminar Schedule and click on individual seminars for more information. Students should carefully review all participation requirements outlined here prior to submitting an application. If a student fails to meet all requirements after being selected for a seminar, they will be removed from the program. This allows SCPKU to effectively prepare students for the program and ensures fairness to students on the waitlist who have completed all requirements.

Health and Safety

Students on international programs should be aware that attitudes toward medical conditions, disabilities, and psychological conditions vary by culture and under the laws of the host countries. These differences impact the level of treatment and accommodation available abroad. Students should give serious consideration to their health and personal circumstances when accepting a place in an international program and should consult with their physicians.

Students should understand that the conditions in Beijing can present difficulties and challenges not encountered at Stanford University. Students should be prepared for a varying level of lodging and amenities, new climate, new foods, and potentially having less privacy and personal space than they are used to at the home campus. Dietary selections may be limited, so students with severe restrictions should carefully evaluate their ability to participate comfortably. Additionally, some seminars may have specific prerequisites involving physical fitness and/or accessibility (e.g., hiking in remote locations, etc.). Students should refer to SCPKU Seminar Schedule and click on individual seminars for more information regarding seminar-specific prerequisites. Students who have concerns about the specific living and traveling conditions should consult with the SCPKU Graduate Seminar Program before submitting their application.

Students must be aware that certain immunizations are required to protect their health in overseas locations. Students must review the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website for complete information on health conditions and vaccinations for China. Students must also consult the on-campus Vaden Health Center Travel Clinic. Students are expected to make an appointment with the on-campus Vaden Health Center Travel Clinic as soon as they are accepted to the program at (650) 498-2336 ext. 1 to discuss any health concerns, pre-departure immunizations, and any personal prescriptions before going abroad.

Students must review the U.S. State Department’s consular information website for complete information on safe and security in China.

As with any foreign travel, emphasis will be placed on staying away from questionable situations, avoiding injury, and preventing infectious disease. While in China, students are advised to be alert to their surroundings, and be particularly aware of any health and safety advisories for the areas in which they will be visiting. Additional issues of personal health and safety and precautions will be discussed in detail during the pre-seminar orientation(s) and upon arriving in Beijing.

Program Modification and Cancellation

Each seminar is subject to a minimum enrollment of 6 Stanford students. If student enrollment does not reach this minimum capacity, or if safety, security or health concerns arise in relation to the seminar, SCPKU reserves the right to re-evaluate the seminar in consultation with the faculty and responsible university authorities, which may result in the cancellation of the seminar. SCPKU must adhere to Stanford University’s international travel policy that states Stanford-sponsored or Stanford-organized trips are prohibited to countries where a State Department Travel Warning has been issued or where there is other reliable information of significant health or safety risks. SCPKU will communicate any programmatic changes to the faculty, TA and students in a timely manner.

Stanford reserves the right to make alterations to this published website description or cancel the SCPKU Graduate Seminar Program before or during its operation for any reason, including natural disasters, emergencies, low enrollment, or unavailability of facilities or personnel or in compliance with the University’s travel policies. The specific seminar dates, facilities and activities are subject to change depending on available resources at the time and other important considerations that may arise for a successful implementation of the seminar.


For More Information

Contact Leigh Wang for more information about SCPKU's Graduate Seminar Program and other programs and events at the center.