Higher Education

, Volume 70, Issue 2, pp 217–234 | Cite as

Internationalization for quality in Chinese research universities: student perspectives

  • Wanhua Ma
  • Yun Yue


China’s rapidly expanding university system aims to balance quantity and quality through a variety of measures, including internationalization. This paper employs data from a survey of 1264 students from 39 higher education institutions in order to understand students’ view on institutional approaches to internationalization. The data show that “the Project 985” universities (elite research universities in China) have used internationalization to sustain two objectives: elite education and innovative research for quality, because there are high levels of agreement on three indicators with internationalization of these universities: student and faculty mobility, internationalizing curriculum and program, and international research collaboration and partnership. In “the Project 211” universities (second-tier research universities), the data show that internationalization activities are highly related to curriculum reforms and faculty mobility. While the other degree-offering universities provide less opportunity for internationalization, the non-degree-offering institutions find their distinct way for institutional internationalization by providing more “international internship” opportunities. Our analysis also indicates that institutional internationalization is disciplinary oriented. In disciplines like law and art, students do not think that many activities are taken for internationalization by their institutions, while such disciplines as economics, management, and education have a higher level of internationalization. The paper will explain these findings in detail.


Higher education system Chinese research universities Institutional internationalization Internationalization for quality Student perspectives 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for International Higher Education, Graduate School of EducationPeking UniversityBeijingChina

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