beijing market

Beijing Normal University

From the Forbidden City to the Temple of Heaven, there is no lack of famous places to see in Beijing.

Take in Chinese culture with a trip to the Peking Opera; the hutongs where the local culture of Beijing can be found; or participate in one of the many festivals that mark the lunar calendar. Beijing Normal is one of China's top 10 universities (QS 2020).

Beijing Normal University’s intensive Chinese program focuses on small class sizes and a multitude of levels from beginners to advanced, making it an excellent place to improve (or start) your Mandarin language skills. Ranked in the top 2% of Universities in the world (277, QS 2020), BNU is also China’s first normal school (faculty of education) and is home to 19,000 students.

Key information


Beijing, China


English, Mandarin


Fall, Winter, Academic year

Program type


Application information

Application status



2023-2024 applications

First come first considered for remaining spaces until

Fall: March 15

Winter: October 10

University-specific additional requirements

One or two references required - see the Eligibility section below.

These references will not be collected at time of application but during the partner application step.

2024-2025 applications

Open November 1, 2023

Program details

Areas of Study:

BNU offers a selection of English-taught courses each semester. However, although intermediate Mandarin skills are not required, they are still strongly recommended unless students are taking the intensive Chinese language course offered through BNU's College of Chinese Language & Culture.

ENGLISH: Chinese History & Culture, Development Studies, Ecology/Environmental Science, Economics/Business, Law & Society, and some for Political Science. Here are the most recent lists of English taught courses

CHINESE: Astronomy, Biology, Biotechnology, Business Administration, Chemistry, Chinese Language & Literature, Communications, Computer Science, Economics, Finance, Fine Arts, Geography, History, International Economics & Trade,  Management, Math, Museum Studies, Philosophy, Physical Education (Kines), Physics, Psychology, Public Administration (political science), Resource Environment & Urban, Rural Planning, Sociology and Statistics.

Students can choose to study Mandarin (beginner to advanced) through BNU's College of Chinese Language & Culture. Chinese 205 and/or 207 are still recommended before entering this program. 

Course requirements:
Students at BNU must take between 3-5 courses per semester, with all courses within one particular school or department, with the exception of one Chinese language course (optional). Course registration occurs on arrival at BNU. 

The academic year is divided into two semesters.

  • First Semester runs from early September to mid-January
  • Second Semester runs from mid-February to late June (or mid-July for students not in the Chinese language program)

BNU also offers a summer program of varying lengths between July-August. See "academic information" tab above for details. 



  1. Costs

    Exchange students pay their tuition and academic fees to the University of Calgary. Other expenses are paid directly to the service provider. The CLIC funding (below) should be sufficient to cover living costs in China on a reasonable student budget.

    A general monthly estimate of costs at BNU without funding (see funding info below): 

    Monthly ExpenseMonthly Costs (in CNY/RMB)

    Student Accommodation 2000-3000 CNY (60-95 CNY/day)

    Food/Meals1800 CNY (60 CNY/day)

    Toiletries60 CNY

    Laundry70 CNY for 10 washes

    Transit100-200 CNY

    Textbooks/Supplies150-250 CNY 

    Mobile/Cell Phone200+ CNY

    Internet60 CNY

    Gym48 CNY for 16 uses

    Total Estimate (not including funding)4488 - 5688 CNY per month

    Also, remember to include things like visas, insurance*, vaccinations etc in your budget planning.

    *If you are not on a scholarship with Chinese insurance covered, you will have to purchase the required plan by BNU.

    Student Experience: "Food was amazing. The university had five canteens and a billion restaurants, and on a side-note food delivery is also very cheap in China. But on-campus food was much cheaper because of student discounts." 

  2. Funding

    Did you know that you can take your UCalgary funding with you on exchange? Since you remain a degree-seeking student at UCalgary while on exchange you remain eligible for any awards and scholarships you are eligible to receive from the university as well as student loans.

    Our office administers several awards, including the Global Access Fund (based on a funding-first model where students apply prior to committing to a global learning program) and the Global Learning Award (students apply after being accepted to a global learnng program; the amount varies year-to-year as the money is split among chosen recipients). Students may only receive these awards once. Please see the funding page, linked below, for more information.

    CLIC Funding: The University of Calgary is a member of the Canadian Learning Initiative in China (CLIC) consortium. The China Scholarship Council (CSC) subsidises on-campus accommodation, Chinese insurance and pays a stipend which is 3000RMB/month. Canadian 

    Also, the Chinese Government has scholarships available for foreign students studying in China. The CSC scholarship is available to all Canadians, and there are also CSC scholarships specifically for Alberta residents

    China International Study Travel Award: offered annually to continuing undergraduate students enrolled at the University of Calgary. The award is generally distributed as 4 awards of $5000 per student. No application necessary - students will be internally nominated by their program/exchange advisor, via the Study Abroad Office. See funding page for eligibility and additional details. 

    CNOOC International Canadian Global Leaders in China Award of $2000 per student is offered to up to 20 students participating in an approved UCalgary study abroad program in mainland China for 2019/20. No application necessary - students will be internally nominated by their program/exchange advisor, via the Study Abroad Office. Preference will be given to students based on academic merit. See funding page for more details. 

    HKCBA Award 3 prizes awarded annually. Apply directly to HKCBA ($3000/$2000/$1000)See funding page for more details. Deadline: October 31, 2022

Exchange students can apply for accommodation on campus in single or double rooms in one of the 5 student dormitories for international students. Most rooms are furnished and have air conditioning and internet access. It is recommended to apply for housing as soon as you receive an admission notice with student ID number. 

For those that are CLIC-eligible, on-campus accommodation is provided free of charge through the CSC and no application for housing is required. 

See more info on accommodations here.

This exchange is open to regular, full-time students in any faculty at UCalgary, who have completed at least 1 full year (10 courses) at the post-secondary level, with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7 (B-).

For courses in English or through the College of Chinese Language and Culture, no Chinese knowledge is required (though some basic knowledge is recommended). For courses taught in Chinese, 180 points or above in HSK Level 5 is required, and certification will be required as part of the application. 

Please do not approach your professor for a reference until after you have been accepted by our office. Depending on the program you're applying to at BNU, 1 or 2 academic references may need to be submitted if you are accepted to this university, formatted with specific requirements. 

Please note: China restricts access to exchange programs to citizens of other countries. Students who plan to travel on a Chinese passport are not eligible for exchange in China.

What's special about BNU and Beijing?

Enjoy several Museums at BNU. 

Student Tips: "The climate in Beijing is like none other. First off, it is a polluted city at times, but that doesn’t mean that it is polluted every day. Believe it or not, some days are beautiful! I simply avoided being outside on those smoggy days. The fall and spring are beautiful times to be in Beijing. In terms of temperature, it ranges between 15 to 25 C. The winter is relatively cold - furnaces don’t turn on until mid-November, which can make for a cold few weeks. Winters range from -10 to 10 C. The coldest days are when the wind picks up so a good winter coat is definitely needed. It rarely, if ever snows, but if it does, it’s only centimeters, and melts away by the end of the day. Transit is very convenient and most of Beijing is safe. I would definitely go see the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, Hou Hai area, Nanluoguxiang street, Yuan Ming Yuan, Olympic Plaza, and DO explore the Hutongs, so many unseen treasure in there, etc. There are many great restaurants in Beijing too, so don’t be afraid to try something new. Ask your Chinese friends what restaurants they like. Chinese people love to talk about the foods that are native to their regions!"

Are there supports for students with accessibility needs or LGBTQ students? 

LGBTQ: There are no laws against homosexuality in China and it is legal to change one's gender, but positive/protective rights for LGBTQ people don't exist. BNU advises that students should keep a low profile in Beijing as one's sexuality is something that one might only discuss with close friends, and is not an identity that is shown publicly.

Accessibility: BNU has some facilities and services for people with disabilities, but no accessibility office. Students with accessibility needs are encouraged to contact our office early so that we may contact BNU to determine if they can meet your needs.  

What supports are available for new students at BNU? 

BNU offers airport pickup for incoming exchange students - you just need to register for it online once you've received an acceptance letter from BNU. 

BNU's semester starts with an orientation in mid-February; exchange students will receive some online resources during this time. The semester runs from late February to mid-July (some courses end in late June). 

A list of English-taught courses generally suitable for exchange students is found here:

  • Please note the mode of instruction is not yet confirmed for every course, so flexibility is recommended in your course selection. 

A full-time courseload at BNU is 3-5 courses, however virtual exchange students are welcome to take 1-2 in combination with UCalgary courses, if desired. You will pay only UCalgary tuition fees. 

Have questions?

Global Learning 101

Please watch this short YouTube playlist before reaching out or booking an appointment. In these videos, you will learn much of the basics about Global Learning, which may answer your initial questions.

Watch Global Learning 101

Academic Advising

Before applying to study abroad, you should ask your academic advisor how this program might align with your degree (e.g. best time to go, what courses you need).

After you are accepted, you should ask your academic advisor more specific questions about courses/transfer credits. It’s also recommended to follow up with your advisor again once you return to Calgary.

Find your academic advisor

Global Learning Advising

If you have questions, please reach out to our office! We offer drop-in advising for general inquiries, and if you have questions about this specific program or any others, you can book an appointment with the responsible advisor.

Please use the link below to find the most up-to-date information about our current advising options.

View the Global Learning Advising page

The exchange advisor for this program is: Flavien Niederst

How to Apply

Download the application guide

This PDF contains information on how to complete your application and what to do after you have applied.

Application guide

Identify three programs of interest

We recommend applying for your top three programs for the priority application deadline, as placement may be competitive. We will assess your applications in ranked order.

Check requirements and deadlines

These may vary by program, so check the individual program pages and make sure that you are aware of any different application deadlines or eligibility requirements.

Start your application

Once you have gathered everything you need, you can begin your application!

Please note: Applications will not be considered complete until all required documents are submitted in full.


International travel presents challenges that may not be found when attending classes on campus. There may be a lack of resources, emergency services, hospitals, accessibility issues and/or demands on the physical and the mental self, all of which can challenge individuals when away from their usual support systems and structures. Adequate preparation is essential.

For this reason, it is imperative that you evaluate all aspects of your own physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual condition against the rigors of the particular global learning program you are selecting. If you are unsure of whether or not this program is a good fit for you and/or if you have any circumstances that could impede your enjoyment of the program, please contact us. Our Global Learning Advisors will be happy to assist in finding the best options for you and arrange any supports or accommodations necessary to ensure your success.

If you have or are seeking a certificate from Student Accessibility Services, you should provide this early to your Global Learning Advisor to ensure that the option that you are seeking can support your needs.

Please note: All participants must adhere to COVID-19 and other vaccination-related requirements for the destinations visited on this program. Failure to do so may have consequences such as being denied access to accommodation/housing, program activities, or to the host country itself.