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China-UK dual degrees made more obtainable

He Wei
Updated: Dec 7,2016 9:34 AM     China Daily

Chinese students will have better chances of obtaining top-notch dual China-UK degrees-and at a lower cost-thanks to an initiative advancing student mobility and educational exchanges between the countries.

The China-UK Association for the Humanities in Higher Education joined forces with 12 top-tier universities to strengthen academic ties and promote people-to-people exchanges.

“We should take full advantage of the ‘cluster competency’ of the alliance to forge a multilateral academic collaboration model,” said Minister of Education Chen Baosheng, who witnessed the formation of the alliance in Shanghai.

Chen said the collaboration strives to help schools attract talented international students, and improve global visibility and prestige.

The top schools include Tsinghua University, Peking University, Oxford University, London School of Economics and the University of Cambridge’s Needham Research Institute.

In addition to joint research projects and forums, universities will offer teaching and research activities comprising double degree programs, summer schools and research trips for prospective students.

The Young Scholar Forum serves as the core cultural and academic exchange avenue for the association, while the Young Talent Program is set up to encourage students to tap into innovative projects and startups.

Among the latest effort is the LSE-Fudan Institute for Global Public Policy, a school preparing future leaders, and contributing to global governance and public affairs. The double-degree program to be rolled out next year will feature cross-disciplinary teaching and recruit master students from China and abroad.

“With China making strides on the international stage, we see pressing needs for talented people who will be able to properly present our stances in global arenas such as international organizations. That, in part, propels us to establish this joint program,” said Jing Yijia, vice-director of foreign affairs at Fudan University and a professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs.

A collection of scholarships are up for grabs for students to relieve their financial burdens, Jing said. The school is also mulling the possibility of offering students the option to take all courses in China, but still be able to get two degrees, which would further trim tuition fees and living expenses.

“We foresee a growing number of leading dual-degree programs between China and UK universities,” he added.

“I managed to access research opportunities at two institutions and diversify my education,” said Che Rui, a recent graduate with a dual master’s degree in global media and communications from Fudan and LSE, a predecessor program that dates back to 2007.

Che, who now works for a renowned securities broker in Shanghai, said the double degree gives him a competitive edge in the job market.

With the aid of dual-degree programs, schools can pool educational resources and use complementary teaching expertise to build study programs that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to offer, according to Katherine Morton, professor and chair of Chinese international relations at the University of Sheffield.

“Many Chinese students come to study at our university each year, and I expect the number to grow. It’s highly important that we have such a dialogue mechanism, and we’ll get more exchange programs up and running,” she said.

China remains the largest source of international students to the UK.

According to the British Council in June, more than one in five non-UK students and one in three non-EU students studying in the UK in 2014-15 were from China.