The IES Beijing Contemporary Issues program allows students to enroll in history, economics and Chinese culture, and language classes. Each course on the Contemporary Issues Program is supplemented by field trips directly related to the coursework.  Students participate in three intensive, 300-level area studies courses taught one-at-a-time, called “blocks”.  There are daily seminars and discussions of 2-3 hours, along with journaling, presentations, and other challenging assignments that provide an intellectually exciting and in-depth engagement with China

Fields of study:

Economics, Literature, History, Political Science, Chinese language and other disciplines


Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0; ability to live in a culture very different from one’s own and to adjust to the living conditions of the developing world.

Language Prerequisite:

Minimum 2 semesters of college-level Mandarin Chinese (Whitman requirement)

Semesters Offered:

Fall, Spring Academic Year


August – December; January - May


15 – 19 credits per semester - Required Courses:
Chinese Language (4 credits)
Understanding China (2 credits)
Three Elective Courses (3 credits each)

Credit Conversion:

1 IES credit = 1 Whitman credit


Homestay, group homestay, or in residence hall with a Chinese roommate


Homestays: Breakfast and one other meal per day
Rooming House: Meals are on your own, but students have access to kitchen facilities.




IES Abroad Scholarships

Program Link:

IES: Beijing Contemporary Issues in China