Beijing Normal University


This post is sponsored by the Beijing Normal University School of Social Development and Public Policy, an international program comprised of students and faculty from around the world. Visit www.ssdpp.net.cn/en to find out more.

The master’s degree in Contemporary Development of China at Beijing Normal University’s School of Social Development and Public Policy is a two-year course of study that includes 32 academic credits and a Master’s thesis related to a development topic. The program boasts a 35-member strong international faculty of educators specializing in a variety of academic interests. Courses are taught in English and focus on social policy, social welfare, civil society development, public health and governance. 

There are currently 20 graduate students from over 15 countries enrolled in the program, all of whom share an interest and passion in further exploring China. 

Nigerian Tony Tope Igbekele had a background in biochemistry before he came to the program, and he appreciates the program’s scientific approach to development. “[The study of] policy is in every field and to be scientific minded when you start your career could help you because it makes you think critically,” he explains, adding that he would like to stay another few years after he finishes the program to witness China’s development first-hand by being at the “eye of the storm.” 

Fellow student Dafne Esteso came from a government job in her native Argentina to learn about China’s development and intends to take what she learns back home after she graduates. “[I came to Beijing because] I wanted to know some different perspectives about how China perceives the [world],” she says, adding that she has found the friendships she has made during her studies to be an equally important part of her experience. “At the end I will have learned a lot from the experience of living abroad in a very different culture.”  

Still others go on to pursue further academic studies after graduation. Long-time Beijing resident and PR-industry veteran Olivier Ruelle made the transition from the corporate world to academia through the program, where he studied China’s Civil Society. Since graduating he gone on to pursue a PhD in the same area of study at Hong Kong University. 

The diversity of students and the different perspectives they bring is precisely what Professor Karl Johnson appreciates the most about the program. “It’s an unprecedented opportunity to teach in a classroom with mixed foreign and Chinese students,” says the Wisconsin native. “They both have very unique sorts of attributes, talents and proclivities. Combine them together and it really makes for an exceptional classroom experience.” Professor Hu Xiaojiang agrees: “I think making connections [between] countries that are very distant and distinct is very important … it will lead to business opportunities, collaboration and many other things … we are all cultural ambassadors.”

If you are interested in experiencing this diversity, development and dynamism for yourself visit the school’s website. But be sure to apply as soon as possible – the application deadline for next semester’s enrollment is this coming Sunday, March 15th. 

Photos courtesy of Beijing Normal University


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