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.
Fall 2022 and Winter 2023
Apply from November 1, 2021 to January 10, 2022
University-specific additional requirements
One or two references required - see the Eligibility section below.
Open November 1, 2022
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.
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.
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)
Laundry70 CNY for 10 washes
Mobile/Cell Phone200+ 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."
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 the International Study Travel Grant for students travelling on approved UCalgary study programs that are credit bearing. The amount changes year to year as the money is split evenly between qualified applicants. Students may only receive the study travel grant once. Please see the exchange funding page 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 UCalgary students receive the International Study Travel Grant for this program as our portion of the CLIC funding. 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.
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.
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.
An academic reference is required for a complete application. Depending on the program you're applying to at BNU, a second academic reference may need to be submitted if you are accepted to this university, formatted with different 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?
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: http://iso.bnu.edu.cn/en/course?cid=10&pid=8&type_id=1&k=0&k=0
- 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.
Global Learning 101
Please watch this short YouTube playlist before reaching out or booking an appointment.
Before applying to study abroad, you should ask your academic advisor how an exchange 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.
Study Abroad Advising
If you have questions about this exchange program, you can meet with the specific advisor for this program by booking an appointment through the link below. Appointments are currently on zoom.
1. Select “Book an Appointment”
2. Select “Study Abroad Appointments”
3. Select “Book by Appointment Type”
4. Read through the list of appointment types to select the most appropriate type and view available times.
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.
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 study abroad 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 Study Abroad Team will be happy to assist in finding the best options for you and arrange any supports or accommodations necessary to ensure your success.
Please note if you have or are seeking a certificate from Student Accessibility Services, you should provide this early to your Study Abroad Advisor to ensure that the option that you are seeking can support your needs.