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School of Foreign Languages

Publish:2013-08-14 14:40:31

The School of Foreign Languages, whose origin dates back to Jingshi Tongwenguan (The Capital House of Foreign Languages) founded in 1862, formed excellent traditions and distinguished features during its 150 years of history. Today, the School of Foreign Languages is carrying on the traditions in more fields to forge new milestones. In 2004 and 2008 national primary discipline evaluation, Foreign Language and Literature of Peking University ranked No. 1 successively.

The School of Foreign Languages consists of 12 departments and 2 institutes, namely the Departments of English Language and Culture, French Language and Culture, German Language and Culture, Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures, Russian Language and Culture, Japanese Language and Culture, Arabic Language and Cultures, South Asian Languages and Cultures, Southeast Asian Cultural Studies, West Asian Languages and Cultures, African and Asian Languages and Cultures, Korean Language and Culture, and the Institutes of Applied Linguistics and World Literature. There are 20 language majors that enroll undergraduates, including English, Russian, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Arabics, Mongolian, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Burmese, Indonesian, Philipino, Hindi, Sanskrit and Pali, Urdu, Persian, and Hebrew. The School of Foreign Languages has also offered courses in Latin, Malay, Bengali, Pahlavi, Akkadian, Sumerian, Hittite, Aramaic, and Tibetan. The studies in old Icelandic, Tahnyotho, Biblical Hebrew, Tocharian, Georgian, and Khotanese are being conducted and the number of language courses and studies is on steady rise.

The Department of English Language and Literature 

Department of English not only emphasizes the excellent basic skills, but also focuses on the basis academic training of professional disciplines, and the courses include Intensive English, writing, visual, oral, oral translation, writing translation and a set of related literature, culture, linguistics, cultural ideology, religion & myth, film and theater practice and other aspects of thematic courses. We are looking forward to our graduates have the following: having good & professional English quality, deep understanding of European and American culture, with a broad vision and a certain humanities. We believe that such graduates would have good adaptability to employment, continuing their education or developing abroad.

The Department of Russian Language and Literature

In 1978, the department was authorized to offer master’s degree in Russian Language and Literature, and doctoral degree in 1990. he Department currently have 21 faculties consisting of three professors, four associate professors and four lecturers , The Department of Russian Language and Literature has a strong faculty, and there are 21 existing in-service teaching and research staff, including 3 professors, 14 associate professors, 4 lecturers, 15 Ph.D. teachers, and about 120 undergraduate and graduate students in total .
The department opens the following courses for undergraduate: basic and advanced Russian, Russian writing, grammar, Audiovisual, rhetoric, interpretation, News Listening, translation and other language courses; Russian literary history, literary Readings, Russia's national conditions, the Russian art history, literary translation, Russian writers thematic studies, the history of Russian social thought, folk literature, Russian literature and music, folk customs, mass media, and political literature and culture courses.

The graduates are all over the Ministry of Culture, the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education, Xinhua News Agency, China Radio International, the Commerce Department and the respective foreign offices and major companies, the Commercial Press, Higher Education Press, China pictorial, people's Literature Publishing House and other publishing houses. Many of our graduates engaged in teaching, research and translation work of Russian literature and culture in many colleges and universities.

       In recent years, The Department of Russian Language and Literature further strengthened cooperation and exchanges with Russian universities, and signed an agreement to send outstanding students to Russian universities for further study in the form of exchange and learn camp, in order to consolidate students' knowledge of the language, and have  deepen perceptions of the Russian.

The Department of French Language and Literature

"French is the world's most beautiful language." When Tudor wrote down such a phrase in the "Last Lecture", he expressed not only the love for the motherland and the national language, but also the charm that the French language has.

The best place to learn French in China is undoubtedly PKU. The French Department has an excellent faculty of French studies nationwide, consisted of 13 distinguished elder intellectuals and brilliant young scholars, among whom there are 5 professors, 5 associate professors, 3 lecturers and one assistant.

    French Department is committed to students’ comprehensive and systematical skills in French and imparting knowledge of French literature and culture, humanities and history, cultivating a batch of high-level French talent. Currently, graduates’ main channels of employment are national authorities, foreign-funded enterprises, universities and research institutions.

In addition to undergraduate education we enroll four to five graduates every year to do studies in Spanish language and literature on a three-year graduate program. Outstanding undergraduates will have the opportunity to be recommended by the department to pursue a master’s degree without taking the National Graduate Entrance Examination.

The Department of German Language and Literature

The Department of German Language and Culture currently has a national first-class faculty consisting of four professors, five associate professors, four lecturers and one assistant, and 8 of them got a PHD from the somatic and foreign famous universities.

The department is committed to a comprehensive and systematic training to cultivate students’ German language ability, and explaining to and teaching students the German national language, literature, culture, society, history and other aspects of knowledge, to broaden their horizons and inspire thinking. our focus on quality education and emphasizing the humanistic ideas are designed to train students to become high-level talents in German language and expert in German national social and cultural history.

At present, after graduation, our undergraduates tend to pursue a career in government, research institutions, universities and colleges as well as foreign enterprise. Students who are willing to continue their studies can also pursue a master or doctoral degree in the department. Outstanding performance in all aspects of graduate school selection via the Ministry of Education sent, enjoyment, Germany University of joint training scholarship to study in Germany. Outstanding undergraduates will have the opportunity to be recommended by the department to pursue a master’s degree in German, Enjoying the joint training scholarship.

The Department of Spanish Language and Literature

The origin of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Language and Literature goes back to the Spanish language discipline of the Department of Western Languages, one of the oldest departments in Peking University. Established in 1960. the Department currently has a faculty consisting of two professors, three associate professors, four lecturers and one assistant.

We provide a four-year education for undergraduates, aiming at producing well-rounded language talents to serve as interpreters and translators in such areas as foreign affairs, international trade, international cultural communication, press and joint venture enterprises, as well as to be faculty members and researchers in universities and research institutes. At the same time, we shoulder the task to improve the teaching and research condition of Institutions of higher learning

We base our education on the fundamental training in listening, speaking, reading, writing and translating skills to enable students to master Spanish and Portuguese grammars and to use the languages fluently. We provide basic courses in language skills such as Intensive Reading, Extensive Reading, Listening, Spoken Spanish and Portuguese, Writing, Interpretation, Translation and Grammar. Additionally, our curriculum encompasses topics like introduction to a cultural history of Spain, Portugal, and Latin-America, a history of Spanish literature, a history of Latin-American literature, selective readings of foreign newspapers, and business Spanish etc. They are intended to widen students’ horizon and cultivate in them a sharp awareness of Western culture and civilization.

In the meanwhile, our students benefit greatly from the inter-disciplinary education system promoted by Peking University, which enables them, based on their own interests and ability, to choose courses offered by other departments, or to register a secondary major. After completing their undergraduate education, about one third students decide to continue their graduate study in such subjects as law, economy, international relations, international politics, art and archeology in US, Spain or China.

    In addition to undergraduate education we enroll four to five graduates every year to do studies in Spanish language and literature on a three-year graduate program. Outstanding undergraduates will have the opportunity to be recommended by the department to pursue a master’s degree without taking the National Graduate Entrance Examination.

    With the implementation of a rigorous and down-to-earth style of work in a democratic academic environment, our department has produced graduates enjoying more opportunities in the job market because of their noticeable advantages in knowledge structure, comprehensive competence at practical work, and huge potentials for a promising future.

The Department of Korean Language and Culture

The origin of the Department of Korean Language and Culture goes back to the Korean language discipline of Nanjing National College of Oriental Languages. A forerunner in China, it was initiated in 1945 and became merged into Peking University in 1949. The present title was adopted in March 2009. We have three professors, three associate professors, and three lecturers, all of whom are dedicated teachers and researchers. Seven of them have earned a doctoral degree, and three were conferred the Korean President Award. The department enrolls undergraduates, graduates and doctors in North and South Korean language and culture on an annual basis. We have for undergraduates Basic Korean, Korean Listening and Speaking, Korean Conversation, Korean-Chinese and Chinese-Korean Translation, History of Korean Literature, Korean Grammar, North and South Korean Economy, History of the Relations between North and South Korea, History of North and South Korea, and Contemporary Politics and Society of South Korea. Our teaching emphasis has been put on improving students’ basic language skills (i.e. listening, speaking, reading, writing, and translating). Besides, we provide our students with opportunities to go to North and South Korea to learn the target language.

Students with good academic performance are encouraged to choose a double or secondary major in economy or philosophy or arts. In order to produce well-rounded adaptable men of virtue with sound professional knowledge, we try to cultivate in our students the capability to apply what they have learned in class to practical use. Setting as an aim the production of highly qualified specialists, we offer for postgraduates and doctorate students such courses as History of the Korean Language, Theory on the Korean Grammar, History of Korean Cultural Communication, History of South Korean Ideas, Studies on the Korean Peninsula Problems, Introduction to Korean Culture Documents, Studies on Korean Translation. For more than sixty years, we have sent 500 undergraduates and 80 graduates to various fields like education, scientific research, foreign affairs, foreign trade, culture, and press and publication, making important contributions both to the construction of our country and to Sino-North/South Korea relations.

The department of Mongolian Language

    The department of Mongolian Language and Culture was established in 1949, which specializes mainly in teaching Mongolian Khalkha dialect and classical Jiliermeng, and also engages in teaching and researching of traditional Mongolian, Mongolian history, culture and literature.

There are 4 teachers of the department, including 2 associate professors, 1 lecturer, and 1assistant.As of July 2001, the department has co cultured more than 200 Bachelors, Masters and short-term students. Most of them work in the department of diplomatic, business, journalism, teaching and research, many of whom have become the unit's main leaders and business backbone.

The main courses include: basic Mongolian, Mongolian grammar, Mongolian translation tutorials, Mongolian writing, Mongolia profiles, Mongolian culture, Mongolian literature, history of Mongolia, Mongolian literature reading, senior Mongolian, Mongolian audiovisual speaking, Mongolia newspaper reading, Mongolia folk literature, modern literature of Mongolia, the Mongolian poetry, drama Mongolia, Mongolia folk Studies, history of Sino-Mongolian relations, Mongolia religious history.

The profession encourages students to elect other professional courses as their major or minor according to their specialty on the basis of learning professional courses well ,and strive to become high-quality compound talents with a widely established solid foundation of professional knowledge, a strong spirit of innovation and job strain capacity to engage with both the profession at the diplomatic, trade, news, Mongolian studies teaching and research work, and quickly become familiar with other work through a comprehensive and systematic education of high quality.

The department of Myanmar Language

The department of Myanmar Language and Culture was founded in 1949, and currently has 1 professor, 1 associate professor and 1 lecturer. The profession has trained more than 200 undergraduate and 20 graduate students and more than three doctoral students by now. Now they are working in the diplomatic, cultural, news, trade, security, higher education, broadcasting and other fields or domestic companies.

The program aims at cultivating specialized talents who are moral, intellectual and physical development, and grasp the basic theory, knowledge and skills of Burmese language and culture. Undergraduate students need to learn Burmese overview, culture, literature, politics, history and other aspects of knowledge in order to adapt various kinds of needs in addition to a comprehensive system to grasp Myanmar language listening, speaking, reading, writing and translation skills during four years’ study. The profession has opened Myanmar language, literature, culture, history, current situation, economic and other more than 20 courses for the undergraduate and graduate students.

The department of Thai Language

Now there are 1 Professor, 3 associate professors, 1assistantin the department and 12 undergraduates, 4 postgraduates, 1Ph.D candidate. There are 15 professional courses and 6 elective courses for undergraduate as follows: basic Thai, senior Thai, Thai grammar, Thai newspapers, interpretation, Audiovisual translation tutorials, presentations and narrative, literary history of Thailand, Thai culture, Thai Writing and Thai history profiles.

There are 12 required and elective courses for the postgraduates: Thai linguistics, Thai pragmatics, comparative study of Thai Chinese law, Thai-Chinese translation studies, classics REVIEW, Thai cultural studies, Sino-Thai relations research.

The department of Indian Language

The Hindi studies at Peking University was initiated in 1917. When the National Oriental Language College was established in 1942, the Hindi studies were started. Merged into Peking University in 1949, Hindi became one of the languages taught in the Department of Indian Language and Literature. In 1946, Mr. Ji Xianlin was employed to establish the Department of Oriental Languages and Sanskrit and Pali were two of the earliest languages taught in the Department where Ji was the first professor. In 1948 Mr. Jin Kemu also came to Peking University. Together with Mr. Ji, they began the teaching and research of Indian studies in the real sense.
The Department belongs to the sub-category studies announced by the Ministry of Education, is one of the first National Key Majors and one of the earliest majors that can offer master and PhD degrees in this field. It was assessed as one of the National Key Majors in 2002 and 2006, and is the only one that can grant PhD degrees in this field nationwide. Meanwhile, the Department is part of the National Undergraduate Student Training Base for Non-generic Language at Peking University and part of the Key Social Sciences Base for Oriental Literature Research of Ministry of Education.

In 2008, the Department was evaluated as the Specialized Major of Ministry of Education and in 2009 it was evaluated as Beijing Municipal Specialized Major.

The current faculty of the Department is consisted of 17 members with seven professors, five associate professors and five lecturers. Their research covers ancient Indian language and literature, cultural exchange between China and India, research on Buddhist history and literature, contemporary language and literature of South Asia, religions of South Asia, culture of South Asia, research on South Asia. Now we have eight master research tracks and eight PhD research tracks.

Department of Sanskrit and Pali

Sanskrit and Pali are both Indian archaics, and the research on them and the related issues constitute one basic discipline of the humanities. Sanskrit and Pali have been compulsory or elective courses of anthropology, philosophy, comparative linguistics, the Central Asian history, culture history, ancient culture of India, Buddhism philology, history of Sino-Indian cultural studies and other disciplines in the international.

Sanskrit and Pali ​​is one of the earliest established professions of the department of Oriental Languages. The department of Oriental Languages was established in 1946, Mr. Ji Xianlin was the Dean, and became the first professor of Sanskrit and Pali. In 1947, Mr. Jin Kemu joined the Department, and become the second professor of Sanskrit and Pali. Leading by Mr. Ji and Mr. Jin, the department has achieved fruitful results in academic research, as well as the significant achievement in teaching. Many graduates of 1965 and after have become experts in research field of the Sanskrit and Pali. Our Master's and doctoral candidates come from China, Europe, the United States, South Korea, Japan and other countries.

The Department of Japanese Language

The Department of Japanese Language and Culture of Peking University was formerly a major in the Department of Oriental Languages and Literatures. The teaching of Japanese was initiated in 1902 in Peking University and was once transformed to an independent department in the 1920s. In 1946, it was reduced to a major again with the name of “Japanese Language and Literature Division.” A forerunner in Chinese universities and colleges, the Japanese division started graduate program before the Cultural Revolution, and was authorized as the first in China to offer doctoral degree education in 1986.

Japanese Department has a crack team of teachers with rich research and teaching experience, which is reasonably-structured in terms of age distribution as well. The faculty is consisted of 18 in-service teachers (1 Japanese teacher), 5 professors (supervisors for doctoral candidates), 10 associate professors and 3 lecturers. 16 of them have earned a doctor’s degree. All the faculty members have the experiences either as students or as lecturers or visiting scholars in Japan. Their research interests can be divided into three areas: Japanese language, literature, and culture.

 We enroll undergraduate students, graduates for master’s and doctor’s degrees every year. We enroll 20 undergraduate students on an annual basis, and they are supposed to acquire professional capabilities for such areas as foreign affairs, foreign trade, intercultural communication, foreign enterprise management, media & publishing, language teaching, and Japanese studies. We enroll 10 graduates for a master’s degree and they are supposed to have a good command of fundamental academic theories and systematic knowledge in Japanese studies, and to equip themselves with professional capabilities for further research and academic innovations, teaching in universities or colleges, and intercultural communication. 4-5 doctorate candidates are admitted into our department and they are supposed to acquire broad knowledge and solid theoretical foundation of the Japanese language, literature, history, and culture as well as related disciplines. They are expected to be capable of in-depth academic innovations.

We have maintained close relations with several Japanese top universities and research institutions, inviting more than 50 Japanese visiting scholars to teach, give lectures and conduct research, among which there are such distinguished scholars as Haruhiko Kindaichim Ishida Ichirō, Ōe Kenzaburō, Yukiko Sakamoto, etc. We have kept inter-school communication with Waseda University, Keio University, Hosei University, Nihon University, Kansai University and Soka University, signed agreements for special exchange programs with Bunkyo University, Doshisha University, Fukuoka International University, and established the Kodama & Suzuki fellowship and scholarship.

The Department of Arabic Language and Culture

The Department of Arabic Language and Culture of Peking University was formerly the Division of Arabic Language and Culture in the Department of Oriental Languages and Literatures established in 1946, which is the first Arabic Division among Chinese universities and colleges. In the past half century, the Arabic Department has cultivated a great many talents for many related arenas, gained enormous teaching experience and formed an excellent faculty. The current faculty consists of two professors, seven associate professors and three lecturers, covering the entire teaching and research fields including Arabic Language, Arabic Literature and Arabic Islamic Culture, and is also authorized to offer bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree education.
We provide a four-year education for undergraduates. Our aim is to create practical special talents who are competent for jobs in foreign affairs, foreign trade, international cultural communication, management of enterprises, press, publication, foreign language teaching and studies of foreign problems etc. Our students are expected to command a sound basic knowledge of Arabic language and literature and the skills of listening, speaking, reading, writing, and translating as well as the knowledge of the society, history, culture, foreign relations, politics and economic situation of the target countries. They are also required to know well the Chinese culture and the world culture, be proficient in Chinese, and cultivate the abilities of independent study and research as well as the adaptability to different posts and positions.

After graduation, our students usually have three options to take: (1) Governmental ministries and committees, and big enterprises; (2) Pursuit of higher education in China through graduate recommendation system (candidates are recommended by their department to pursue a master’s degree without taking the National Graduate Entrance Examination), either in the Arabic Department, or other departments of PKU, or other universities; (3) Pursuit of higher education abroad, usually in Middle East Studies and Arabic Studies.

For more details of The School of Foreign Languages, please refer to: