Nankai University

Nankai University

Coordinates: 39°06′04″N 117°09′53″E / 39.10111°N 117.16472°E / 39.10111; 117.16472

Nankai University
Nankai University Seal
Motto 允公允能,日新月异
Motto in English Commitment to society, persistent self-improvement
Established 1919
Type Public
President Gong Ke
Academic staff 4,336
Undergraduates 12,611
Postgraduates 10,378 graduates
Location Tianjin, China
Campus urban
Website (Chinese) (English)

Nankai University (NKU; simplified Chinese: 南开大学; traditional Chinese: 南開大學; pinyin: Nánkāi Dàxué), commonly known as Nankai, is a public research university based in Tianjin on mainland China. Founded in 1919 by educators Zhang Boling (1876-1951) and Yan Fansun (1860-1920), Nankai University is a member of the Nankai serial schools. It is the alma mater of former Chinese Premier and key historical figure Zhou Enlai. Nankai University is regarded as one of the top and first class universities in China.[1][2][3][4]



The university was founded as a private institution in 1919. Nankai's scale was relatively small at its inception partly because it received no funding from the government but instead was funded by foreign charitable funds and local entrepreneurs, with only 3 departments (liberal arts, science, and business) and 96 students. It was noted particularly for its courses which were taught in full English using foreign curricula and textbooks. By 1937, Nankai had expanded into a university of 3 colleges, 13 departments, and 2 research institutes, boasting 429 students and 110 faculty and staff members. It was compared to be “The North Star of Higher Learning”. In accordance with its motto of “Dedication to the public interests, acquisition of all-round capability and aspiration for progress with each passing day”, the University has produced batches of prominent talents such as late Premier Zhou Enlai, Dr. Shiing-Shen Chern, Dr. Ta-You Wu and Mr. Cao Yu. The well-known Nankai Institute of Economics was established in 1927 and soon became one of the most prominent in China being the first non-foreign entity to calculate a Chinese Consumer Price Index. [5]

In July 1937, during the Sino-Japanese War, Nankai campus was severely damaged by Japanese bombings. About two-thirds of the school buildings were destroyed including its library which was deliberately burnt down by the Japanese Imperial Army. A number of the school's artifacts, including the university bell were looted and remain in Japanese museums till this day. In August 1937, Nankai University, Peking University and Tsinghua University united together and formed the National Changsha Provisional University, which later moved to Kunming and was renamed the National Southwestern Associated University. In 1946, after the war, Nankai returned to Tianjin and was reformed into a national university by the government. At that time, Nankai had four schools (Liberal Arts, Science, Political Science and Economics, and Engineering) and 16 departments.

After the establishment of the People's Republic of China, Nankai was readjusted and became a comprehensive university with emphasis on the arts and sciences, with 14 departments and 3 professional specialties in total. Since then, leading scholars as Zheng Tianting, Lei Haizong, Wu Tingqiu and many overseas scholars from US, Europe and Japan have come to join the university.

From 1966 to 1976 the School's normal life was out of order due to the Cultural Revolution. Even worse, in 1976 a catastrophic earthquake broke out in Tangshan bordering Tianjin, causing damage of varying degrees to the School's buildings.

However, Nankai University soon stepped into a new era after China's Open and Reform policy. After 1980, in order to meet the demands for socialist modernization, the School added a batch of new specialties and institutes. In Arts, applied specialties on financing were set up and the School of Economics was reopened in 1983, while in Sciences, interdisciplinary, marginal and high and new technological specialties were added. By the late 1980s, Nankai University had grown to be a comprehensive university embracing Humanities, Natural Sciences, Applied Sciences, Life Sciences, Managements and Art. In 1994 Tianjin Foreign Trade College was incorporated into Nankai University. In the past few years, to cater to demands of fast social economic development, the University has created various brand-new modes of running school which have extended its education far into all walks of life. In 1999 under the combined efforts of Nankai University and TEDA, TEDA College was set up, which was entitled the SAR of higher education. In 2000 the State Ministry of Education signed an agreement with Tianjin Municipal Government on jointly establishing and developing Nankai University. Experimental cooperation between Nankai University and Tianjin University was initiated on the principle of independent school-running and close cooperation. In 2002 under the cooperative efforts of Nankai University, Shen Zhen Municipal Government and UC Berkeley, Financial Engineering College was established in Shenzhen.


  • Zhang Boling: 1919-1948
  • He Lian : 1948-1957 (acting)
  • Yang Shixian: 1957-1969, 1979-1981
  • Zang Boping: 1978
  • Teng Weizao: 1981-1986
  • Mu Guoguang: 1986-1995
  • Hou Zixin] 1995-2006
  • Rao Zihe: 2006-2011
  • Gong Ke: 2011-


A key multidisciplinary university directly under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education, Nankai University has long been given much attention by the central government. Nankai University is considered a comprehensive university with a complete curriculum that includes the humanities, natural sciences, technology, life sciences, medical sciences and the arts. The University believes in the equal importance of the sciences and the liberal arts, laying a strong foundation with practical and creative characteristics. Nankai University has a well-balanced faculty team in age and specialties, being equipped with excellent academic capability and creative spirit.

Nankai, as of the end of 2009, has 22 colleges and schools, and offers 73 bachelor's degree programs, 208 master's degree programs, and 122 Ph.D. programs. The total enrollment stood at approximately 12,000 undergraduate students and 10,000 graduate students.10% of the students are international students, mainly from South Korea, Japan, Africa and Europe. Nankai is always listed among the top ten universities in China in various rankings. Nankai's mathematics, chemistry, history, business and economics programs are among the best in China. In 2008, the quality of chemistry research was ranked 1st in China according to the statistics of the Ministry of Education. Economics, mathematics and history were ranked 2nd among more than 2000 Chinese universities. Chern, Shiing-Shen established the world's largest mathematics institute (in terms of office area) in Nankai University. The university is also very well known for its quality of undergraduate teaching. Many of the undergraduate lectures are selected as national elite lectures by the Higher Education Division of the Ministry of Education.

Nankai University has broadened international communications by establishing exchanges and collaborative relationships with more than 200 universities and academic institutions. Nobel Laureates Chen Ning Yang, Tsung-Dao Lee, Samuel Chao Chung Ting, Robert A. Mundell, and Reinhard Selten as well as former President of Korea Kim Dae Jung and former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger were all conferred Honorary Professorships by Nankai University. Many other world-known scholars and entrepreneurs have been invited as Visiting Professors at Nankai University. Nankai University, attracting a large number of talented mathematicians known at home and abroad, has thus become one of the most famous centers for mathematics worldwide. Also, Nankai established dozens of Confucius Institutes all around the world.

Colleges and schools

  • Business School
  • College of Chemistry
  • College of Chinese Language and Culture
  • School of Economics
  • College of Environmental Science and Engineering
  • College of Foreign Languages
  • College of History
  • College of Ideological and Cultural Education
  • College of Information Technology and Science
  • Law School
  • College of Life Sciences
  • School of Literature
  • School of Mathematical Sciences
  • School of Medicine
  • School of Pharmacy
  • School of Philosophy
  • School of Physics
  • College of Software
  • TEDA College
  • Zhou Enlai School of Government Administration


Nankai University is often ranked among the top twenty universities in China. In the ranking of top 50 universities in China published by Renmin University of China in June 2011, it was ranked 10th.[1] In the Netbig ranking of 2011 it was ranked 10th as well.[2] In the QS World University Rankings of 2011 it was ranked 73 among Asian universities, and 11th in China.[3] In the Chinese Academy of Management Science ranking of 2009 it was ranking 15th.[4]

Notable alumni

Zhou Enlai, first Premier of the People's Republic of China, is a Nankai University alumnus.


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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