The Drs. Charles C. & Marie S. Yu P83 Global Seminar

The Global Seminar in China for Summer 2020 has been cancelled due to the evolving global health emergency caused by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).  This cancellation only applies to 2020.  Please see this site this fall for information on the 2021 Global Seminar, China.

PIIRS and the Paul and Marcia Wythes Center on Contemporary China adhere to Princeton University policy, which currently prohibits university-sponsored travel to China.  Please see for more information on Princeton’s current policy.

We extend our thanks to the students who have already applied to the program and look forward to resuming the program in 2021.

If you have any questions, please contact Yan Bennett,


For Reference Only 

2020 Application Notice

Apply Here!

June 29 - August 6, 2020

(Arrive June 27; Depart: August 7)

Tserang talking about stuffThis is a particularly exciting time to know what is going on in China today. After its unification in 1949, China remained poor, undeveloped, and isolated from the rest of the world until 1978, when economic reform initiated a new era. Since initiating market reforms in 1978, China has shifted from a centrally planned to a market-based economy and has experienced rapid economic and social development. GDP growth has averaged nearly 10 percent a year — the fastest sustained expansion by a major economy in history — and has lifted more than 700 million people out of poverty. China has been undergoing a social transformation of which the scope, rapidity and impact are unprecedented in human history; all aspects of Chinese society are changing fundamentally and forever.

Dana Harris and boyfriendThe seminar will offer an introduction to some of the most prominent features of modern Chinese society; the government; politics and the economy; the educational system; differences between rural and urban China; wealth disparity and social inequality; migration; marriage and family; minorities and ethnicity; and religion. Through in-class lectures, student presentations, and field excursions, the seminar will provide a substantive introduction to sociological perspectives of China that will allow an understanding of social changes in China and their long-term impacts not only on the 1.3 billion Chinese now living in China — the largest population in the world today — but also on people living elsewhere in developed as well as developing countries.

girls jumpingPrevious guest lecturers have included: Jet Li, Chinese actor and producer, to speak about his philanthropic activities; C.H. Tung, the first Chief Executive of Hong Kong, to speak on Sino-US relations; venture capitalists; Chinese health care experts and lawyers; among others.

Classes will be held at Yuanpei College, Peking University’s preeminent residential college. The group will make numerous excursions throughout the country to examine China’s growing wealth and social disparities and the impact of fast-paced economic growth on society as well as the regional differences in culture and traditions of China. Excursions will include a weekend Yungang Buddhist Prayer Grottoes and Hanging Monastery in Datong, where students will learn about rural life, minorities, and religion in China. The ancient town of Pingyao may also be included. Another weekend excursion is a visit to Shanghai, a highly historical city and unique economic zone. China is unique in its economic development model and Shanghai is representative of China’s phenomenal growth. The visit to Shanghai will include tours of its stock exchange, factory and business incubators, and other historic facets of Shanghai.

This seminar fulfills the Social Analysis (SA) general education requirement.
chinese men

“Contemporary Chinese Society” is co-sponsored by the Paul and Marcia Wythes Center on Contemporary China, and generously funded by the Drs. Charles C. and Marie S. Yu P83 Global Seminar Fund.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is a federal law that helps protect the privacy of student education records. Rights afforded to students under FERPA include the right to inspect and review your educational records, the right to seek amendment of those records and the right to prevent disclosure of information from the educational records without prior consent, subject to some specific exceptions.  

What PIIRS cannot disclose:
This includes, but may not be limited to:

  • Account and billing information 

  • Grades and transcripts

  • Health or medical information

  • Housing and contact information of student while abroad

  • Course or schedule information

Please contact the program administrator, Yan Bennett, with any questions.

Faculty Director

Yu Xie joined Princeton University in 2015 as the Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor of Sociology and PIIRS. His main areas of interest are social stratification, demography, statistical methods, Chinese studies and the sociology of science. 

Seminar Manager

Yan Bennett | 609-258-7149 | 365 Wallace Hall

Distribution Requirements

visit to an incubatorThe course fulfills the Social Analysis (SA) requirement and the departmental requirements for Sociology (SOC) and East Asian Studies (EAS). It may be used to fulfill the requirements for the East Asian Studies Program Certificate or the East Asian Studies Department Language and Culture Certificate. Language instruction will be offered at the beginner (no prior training) and advanced (conversational) levels.

Costs and Financial Aid

The course fee is $5,200, which includes all housing, required course excursions, related academic expenses, visa, and estimated airfare ($1,700). World Travel, the University travel agency, will book all participants’ flights. Details on the required booking process will be provided by the seminar administrator.
little girl in doorAll participants should budget an additional $700 for personal expenses. Participants should also be prepared to cover costs of required and routine immunizations as recommended by University Health Services. Immunization costs are fully covered in the University’s Student Health Plan. For students covered by other insurance plans, please check with the insurance company for their fees.
Financial Aid
PIIRS provides generous funding to help meet these costs to participants who receive term financial aid. Students accepted into a Global Seminar and receive term financial aid will automatically receive funding toward the course fee based on the level of term aid. Possibilities for additional financial support may be available through the Student Activities Funding Engine (SAFE). Princeton Subsidized Student Loans, available from the Office of Financial Aid, are also highly recommended over charging costs to a credit card. Please consult Financing Options for Students and Parents 2018–19 and contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information.

If you are selected, a non-refundable deposit of $500, charged to your student account, will be required to hold your place in the program. The remaining balance will be handled through Student Accounts by late April.

This seminar is sponsored by the Paul and Marcia Wythes Center on Contemporary China and generously funded by the Drs. Charles C. and Marie S. Yu P83 Global Seminar Fund.