Nanjing University

Nanjing University
The traditional badge emboding historical Nanking University

current logo in English
Motto 誠樸雄偉 勵學敦行
Motto in English Sincerity with Aspiration, Perseverance with Integrity (Official)
Sincerity, Simplicity, Sturdiness, Greatness, Endeavor to Learn, Urge to Act (Literal) [1]
Established Teachings since 258,
Founded in 1902,
reestablished in 1915,
renamed Nanjing University in 1949 [2]
Type National
President Chen Jun (陈骏)
Academic staff 3,000
Undergraduates 12,200
Postgraduates 9,900
Location Nanjing, Jiangsu,  People's Republic of China
Campus Urban: Gulou campus
Suburban: Xianlin campus
Affiliations APRU, AEARU, WUN, C9
Website (Chinese)

Nanjing University (NJU or NU, simplified Chinese: 南京大学; traditional Chinese: 南京大學; pinyin: Nánjīng Dàxué; colloquially 南大, Nándà), or Nanking University, is one of the oldest and most prestigious institutions of higher learning in China. It is a member of the C9 League. Following many changes through dynasties since CE 258, it was established as a modern new-type school in 1902 in the end period of Qing Dynasty, and became a modern university in the early 1920s, the early years of Republic of China, and is the first Chinese modern university with the combination of education and research.[3][4] Before the eve of establishment of People's Republic of China in 1949, the name was changed from National Central University to Nanking University.



Early establishments

南雍祭酒 湛若水 (Zhan Ruoshui, former 'president')

Imperial Nanking University, the predecessor of Nanjing University, was founded in the first year of Yong'an reign (CE 258) under the Kingdom of Wu by Emperor Jing of Wu, and the first president was Wei Zhao (韋昭). The Imperial University in Nanking (南京太學, Nanking Taixue) was reestablished by Emperor Yuan of Jin in the first year of Jianwu reign (317), 155 new rooms were built in the campus which was located in today's Fuzimiao (夫子廟) area situated on Qinhuai River banks, and the Nanking Imperial University began recruiting students from common families instead of only from families of high ranking officials. Like its forerunner Chengjun (成均) and succeeding Shang Hsiang (上庠) founded by Yu (禹, 21st century BCE) in Chungyuan, the earliest recorded imperial higher learning institutions and their successors, it was the Kingdom's central university.

In 470 during the Song Dynasty of Southern Dynasties, the Imperial Nanking University became a comprehensive institution combining higher education and research, with five divisions: Literature, History, Confucianism, Xuan Study and Yin Yang Study.[5] The campus of the School of Literature and School of History were located in today's Nanjing University Gulou campus, west to Gulou (鼓樓) mountain, and the campus was moved to today's Chaotian Palace (朝天宮) area at the time when Wang Jian (王俭) was university president. In the period the faculty members included such scholars and scientists as Zu Chongzhi (祖沖之), Ge Hong (葛洪), Wang Xizhi (王羲之), and students included such figures as Xiao Daocheng, Emperor Gao of Southern Qi who studied in school of Confucian studies, and Zhong Rong, a founding scholar of poetics who graduated from division of literature.

In 937 when the campus was again in Fuzimiao area, the school scholar Li Shandao established another national school outside capital city which is called Bailudong Shuyuan (White Deer Grotto Academy), a famous academy located in Lushan that later hosted many renowned scholars including Zhu Xi and Lu Jiuyuan.

In 1381 Imperial Central University (國子監, Guozijian) moved campus from Nanking Fuzimiao area to south of Qintian Mountain (欽天山), near Xuanwu Lake. The university developed and flourished in the period, consisting of six schools: three basic level colleges, two middle level schools and one advanced level school. In 1403 Peking Guozijian (Beijing Guozijian, Imperial Peking University) was established. Yongle Encyclopedia was completed in Nanking campus in 1408 after five years compilation, 9169 scholars selected from nationwide took part in it, thereinto 2180 were student scholars of the university of Nanking. The publishing house of Imperial Nanking University (南京國子監, Nanking Guozijian) had been a publishing centre for several hundred years. Wu Cheng'en and Zheng Chenggong studied there during the Ming Dynasty.

Each time when Nanking became a non-capital city, the Nanking Imperial University was changed to be regional Nanking Academy. The Imperial Nanking University was changed to Nanking Academy (江寧府學, Jiangning Fuxue) in 1650 after Qing Dynasty replaced Ming Dynasty, and the academy was relocated to Chaotian Palace after Taiping Rebellion. The current school authority took the year starting to establish the modern new type school Sanjiang Normal College as the school's new founding year.[6]

Modern Periods

North Great Building (北大楼)
Gate Paifang of "Tao is Universal Through All Times" ("道貫古今"), at the former campus site Chaotian Palace

In 1902, Sanjiang Normal College under new educational system, using Japanese modern higher institutions of learning as references, was beginning to be established to replace the traditional Chinese school Nanking Academy, and was opened in the next year. The name was changed to Liangjiang Normal College in 1906, and the new president Li Ruiqing (李瑞清) established the first faculty of modern art in China. In 1915 after the Republic of China replaced Qing Dynasty, the Nanking Higher Normal School (南京高等師範學校) was founded to replace Liangjiang Higher Normal School which was closed three years before due to Xinhai Revolution, Jiang Qian (江謙) was appointed as the president, and the school established the China's first faculty of modern gymnastics (physical education) in 1916.

The "China Science Society" (中國科學社), a major science organization in the modern history of China, founded its headquarters in the school in 1918. Its members established "Academia Sinica" (中央研究院) which was later moved to Taiwan and known as the "Chinese Academy of Sciences" (中国科学院) in mainland China. Numerous Chinese modern science pioneers, most of whom studied in America and some European countries such as Britain, France and Germany, converged there to found many fields of science in China. It became the Chinese cradle of modern science. Among 81 academicians of "Academia Sinica" elected for the first time in 1948, five entered or graduated from the university in 1920. More than half of the leading Chinese scientists whose works were published in scientific journals in the early period of Chinese modern science were graduates or academics of Nanjing University.

Guo Bingwen (郭秉文) was an influential university president, appointed in 1919 after Jiang Qian. The school meeting passed The Audit Law for Women Students (《規定女子旁聽法案》) on December 7, 1919, as result of efforts of the educationist Tao Xingzhi (陶行知), as well as the president Guo Bingwen, and the professors including Liu Boming (劉伯明), Lu Zhiwei (陸志韋), Yang Xingfo (楊杏佛), etc. In 1920 Nanjing Higher Normal school became the first in China to recruit coeducational students and enrolled eight women students.

In 1921 the National Southeastern University (國立東南大學) was founded, and in 1923 Nanking Higher Normal School was merged into it. The earliest modern scientific research laboratories and groups in China were established at the university. It integrated teaching and research, with status of university’s independence and academic freedom, and was regarded as the earliest Chinese modern university.[4] The Faculty of Business established in 1917 was moved to Shanghai to establish the first business school in China.

In October 1921, "Hsuehheng Society" (or Xueheng Society, 學衡社) was founded in the university which was the focus of the "Hsuehheng School" included the scholars Liu Yizheng (柳詒徵), Liu Boming (劉伯明), Mei Guangdi (梅光迪), Wu Mi (吳宓) and Hu Xianxiao (胡先驌). They reinvigorated Confucian culture and published the monthly "Critical Review" (Xueheng, 學衡 in Chinese) in January 1922. It enabled Nanjing University to become a center of Confucian thought and humanism. During this period, Nanjing University was known as the foremost "Oriental Education Centre" and recognized as an academic and cultural exchange centre for east and west. Many scholars visited and instructed there, including the American educationist Paul Monroe, W. H. Kilpatrick, E. L. Thorndike, philosopher John Dewey, British philosopher Bertrand Russell, German philosopher Hans Driesch and the Indian (also Bengali) poet Rabindranath Tagore.

The Chinese Association of Natural Science (中華自然科學社) was founded at the university in 1927. In August 1928 the school became National Central University (國立中央大學). During the Anti-Japanese War between 1937 and 1945, the university moved to Chongqing. The Natural Science Forum was founded by the university faculties in 1939 and then they founded the China Association of Scientific Workers (中國科學工作者協會) in 1944. In 1958 the associations were merged to be the China Association for Science and Technology (中國科學技術協會) in Beijing. The Natural Science Forum was renamed Sept. 3rd Forum and later again renamed Sept. 3rd Society in 1945. The Sept. 3rd Society, or called Jiusan Society, is a China organization for intellectual groups.

In 1949, during the Chinese Civil War, the central government of the Republic of China retreated from Nanjing and the National Central University was renamed National Nanjing University (國立南京大學) before the establishment of People's Republic of China. In 1952, many departments and colleges of former Nanjing University formed independent colleges and universities, and Nanjing University site became the campus of one of them, Nanking Institute of Technology which later renamed Southeast University, and at the same time University of Nanking (金陵大學), a private university established in 1888 and sponsored by American churches, was merged into Nanjing University (南京大學), which lost its "national" appellation to reflect the reality that all universities in the PRC would be public. Nanjing University moved campus to the site of University of Nanking where was also once site of imperial Nanjing University in ancient times. A separate National Central University was reinstated in Taiwan by its old alumni association in 1962.

In 1976, the faculty members and students of the university launched Nanjing Anti Cultural Revolution Force Movement which was called "Nanjing Incident" by the authorities of the time, spreading countrywide. In 1978, Hu Fuming, a faculty member of the Philosophy Department of Nanjing University, wrote the historic article entitled "Practice is the Sole Criterion for Testing Truth", and after being published it led to the nationwide "Debate on Standards for Judging the Truth", and thus liberated thought and promoted the ending of Cultural Revolution and the coming of reform era.

Many faculties, departments, institutes and schools have been re-founded or initially founded since 1978. In 2009, Xianlin Campus was opened, replacing Pukou Campus which was put into use in 1993, and Pukou Campus became the campus of Jinling College which was founded by Nanjing University. The Xianlin Campus is a main campus along with Gulou Compus.


In 2010 QS World University Rankings[7] ranked Nanjing University 177th overall in the world. Its individual subject rankings were: 140th in Arts and Humanities, 147th in Engineering and IT, 123rd in Life Sciences and Biomedicine, 107th in Natural Sciences, and 150th in Social Sciences.


Old Great Hall (大禮堂)
Nanjing University Library, Xianlin Campus

Schools and Departments

  • School of Liberal Arts
    • Chinese Language and Linguistics; Literature; Philology; Drama, Film and TV Arts
  • Department of History
  • Department of Philosophy; Religion
  • School of Foreign Studies
    • English; French; German; Spanish; Japanese; Russian; International Business
  • School of Government Administration
    • Politics; Government Administration; Labor, Personnel and Social Security
  • School of Law
  • School of Social and Behavioral sciences
    • Sociology; Social Work and Social Policy; Psychology
  • School of Business (NUBS)
    • School of Management: Business Administration; Human Resource; Accounting; Marketing; Electronic Commerce
    • School of Economics: Economics; International Economics & Trading; Industrial Economics; Finance
  • Department of Information Management
  • School of Journalism and Communication
  • Department of Mathematics
  • School of Physics
    • Physics; Modern Physics; Photoelectricity Science; Acoustic Science and Engineering
  • School of Astronomy and Space Science
    • Astronomy; Space Science
  • School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
    • Chemistry; Chemical Engineering; Polymer Material
  • Department of Material Science and Technology
  • School of Geoscience
    • School of Atmosphere Science: Meteorology; Atmosphere Physics
    • School of Earth Science and Engineering: Earth Science; Water Science; Geology Engineering and Information Technology
    • School of Geography and Ocean Science: Land, Natural Resources and Tourism; Earth Information Science; Coast and Ocean Science
  • School of Life Sciences
    • Biology; Biochemistry
  • School of Medicine
    • Clinical Medicine; Dentistry; Basic Medical Science; Laboratory Medicine
  • School of Environment
  • School of Architecture and Planning
    • Architecture; Urban Planning and Design
  • School of Electronics Science and Engineering
    • Electronic Engineering; Micro-electronics and Optoelectronics; Informational Electronics; Communication Engineering
  • Department of Computer Science and Technology; Software Institute
  • School of Modern Engineering and Applied Sciences (School of Engineering)
  • Department of Education
  • Institute for Gymnastics
  • Center for Arts (Music, Dance, Drama, Fine Arts, Film, TV, Literature)
  • Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Science
  • School for Basic Sciences Education
  • International School
  • School for Overseas Students Education
  • Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies (Hopkins-Nanjing Center)
  • Other research and education institutes in areas such as African Studies, Judaic Studies, International Affairs, Anthropology, Agriculture, Space Science, Engineering Management, etc.


Nju snow campus.jpg

Nanjing University has two campuses - Gulou and Xianlin, and there's another campus Pukou. The main campus, Gulou Campus, is located in Gulou District, at the center of Nanjing City. The main campus itself is divided into two sections by Hankou Road: North Garden, Bei Yuan, is where most of teaching and research take place, and South Garden, Nan Yuan, serves as the living area for both students and academic staff.

Pukou Campus is located in the suburban Pukou District and became part of Nanjing University in 1993. Once Pukou Campus hosted undergraduate freshmen, sophomore and junior students and was connected with the main campus by both shuttle bus and public transportation. The Pukou campus is now abandoned and become the campus of the independent Jinling College, which was founded by Nanjing University.

The newly constructed Xianlin Campus was opened in September, 2009. Line 2 of the Nanjing Subway has a stop near this campus.[8]

Nanjing University Student Activities Center, Xianlin Campus



Nanjing University Herbarium (N) was founded in 1902, it is the first modern herbarium in China. It is located in the Tianjiabing Building.

Western literature

Nanjing University established the first department of Western literature among Chinese universities, in 1921. Two years later the department was merged with English department and other faculties including French and German and renamed department of foreign languages and literature, later known as school of foreign studies. China Association for the Study of American Literature (CASAL) is located in Nanjing University.

Overseas students
  • In 2009 there are 2000 more students from abroad, with the largest number of students from United States of America among universities in China.

Notable alumni

  • Of 53 first-time elected members of Academia Sinica in natural science (including mathematics), 28 were Nanjing University faculty members or graduates[citation needed].
  • All four founding scientific leaders (president or vice president in natural science) of Chinese Academy of Sciences taught or studied at Nanjing University[citation needed].
  • Nanjing University faculty members also included scholars from abroad such as Matsumoto Kouzirou, Hans Driesch, Charles W. Woodworth and Pearl Buck.
  • In recent years Nanjing University is in third place in the number of academicians of Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering among faculty members, behind Peking University and Tsinghua University.
  • In sciences, there are 877 leading scientists with major contributions to modern sciences in China, as listed in an article on history of Chinese modern sciences by Li Peishan published on CAS journal, and among them 115 are graduates of Nanjing University during R.O.C. in mainland period, ranking No.1.
  • Among 1107 members of Chinese Academy of Sciences elected till 2007, 210 are Nanjing University people.
  • Among 30 First Class Prizes of National Natural Science Awards since 1956, which is the highest prize in natural science in China, 6 major winners (sole or first listed winner) studied at Nanjing University: Liu Dongsheng (劉東生), Wang Debao (王德寶), Qin Renchang (秦仁昌), Feng Kang (馮康), Hou Xianguang (侯先光), Min Naiben (閔乃本); in addition, another 2 were faculty members: Li Siguang (李四光), Qian Chongshu (錢崇澍); and Nanda people were in the list of winners of about half of the prizes.
  • A statistic in 2006[9] indicated that among about 120 directors (or presidents) of institutes of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 15 are graduates of Nanjing University, ranking No. 1, while the number of the university (Peking University) ranking No.2 is 10, and a recent statistic in 2010 shows that 14 holds bachelor‘s from Nanda which is the double of the number of the university (Beida) which ranks No.2.
  • Among winners of the National Science Foundation for Distinguished Young Scholars from 1994 to 2008, 108 are graduates of Nanda, ranking No. 1, 96 are of Beida, 76 are of University of Science and Technology of China, and 64 are of Tsinghua University which is listed in top 4.
  • Among 78 winners of Prizes for Young Scientists of China since 1992, 5 are Nanda graduates, both Beida and Tsinghua graduates are 4, consisting of top 3 rankings.
  • Wu Youxun (吳有訓), a leader of Chinese modern physical science and the physical scientist who verified Compton effect (X-ray diffraction);
  • Chung-Yao Chao (趙忠堯), the scientist that captured positron through electron-positron annihilation and tested the existence of antimatter;
  • Chien-Shiung Wu (吳健雄), "First Lady of Physics", the first Wolf Prize winner in physics;
  • Chiang Yee (蔣彝), litterateur, artist, the "Silent Traveller";
  • Tang Junyi (唐君毅), philosopher and modern Confucian scholar;
  • Chen Chung-hwan (陳忠寰), a scholar in ancient Greek philosophy and western philosophy;
  • Xu Boyuan (徐柏園), the founder of the Chinese central bank system;
  • Wang Zhixin (王志莘), the first General Manager of former Shanghai Stock Exchange;
  • Kwoh-Ting Li (李國鼎), "Father of Taiwan's Economic Miracle";
  • Luo Fuxin (羅福鑫), the first blind college student in China;
  • Chang Cheh (張徹), "Father of New Gongfu Film", "Godfather of Hong Kong cinema";
  • H. T.Loh (陸孝同), a leader of American Apollo program and Mars Exploration program;
  • Zeng Liansong (曾聯松), the designer of the Flag of the People's Republic of China;
  • Jiang Zemin (江澤民), former President of the People's Republic of China;
  • Zhu Guangya (朱光亞), the first president of Chinese Academy of Engineering;
  • Yuan-Cheng Fung (馮元楨), the founder of biomechanics;
  • Feng Kang (馮康), mathematician and founder of finite element algorithm;
  • Chen Deliang (陳德亮), climatologist and Executive Director of International Council for Science.

See also

  • List of Nanjing University people
  • Nanjing University alumni
  • Nanjing University faculty
  • Nanjing University Presidents



  1. ^ Official translation of the Motto appears in "Nanjing University Centennial Yearbook" (2002) published by Nanjing University Press and many other places such as ”President`s Message“. Motto counterparts between Chinese and English: Cheng (誠, Sincerity, Honesty), Pu (樸, Simplicity, Austerity, naturally being oneself), Xiong (雄, Sturdiness, Majesty, being vigorous and keeping ideal and ambition, being firm and persistent with fortitude), Wei (偉, Greatness, having great ideal and ambition, with great mind comprehending, containing and improving world), Li Xue (勵學, Endeavor to Learn), Dun Xing (敦行, Urge to Act).
  2. ^ According to The History Evolution of National Central University (R.O.C. 26, 1937 CE) (《國立中央大學沿革史》 中華民國二十六年), it was founded in the winter of the first year of Yong'an reign (258 CE). Since the origination in CE 258, the public higher learning institution in Nanjing changed in each dynasty or period. Liangjiang Higher Normal school was closed in the end of 1911 when the Qing Dynasty was overthrown. In 1915 after the Republic of China was founded, Nanking Higher Normal School was established to replace the Liangjing Normal School, and in 1949 when the Republic of China was replaced by the People's Republic of China in mainland, its name was changed from National Central University to Nanjing University.
  3. ^ Modern university means university (higher learning institution) that combines teaching and research, espcially including in modern sciences, and the model came from Germany, particuallay Berlin University founded by Wilhelm von Humboldt as it's called the "mother of all modern universities".
  4. ^ a b There were many comments from educators and scholars. For instance, John Leighton Stuart named it the first Chinese national modern university. The historic contributions of Nanjing University were not limited to higher education and academe. Under the leadership of Kuo Ping-wen and Tao Xingzhi, the primary school and the middle school attached to the university also became models. They laid the foundations for the establishment of modern educational system (壬戌學制, Renwu Xuezhi, 1922) in China. The Kindergarten attached to the university (Gulou Kindergarten) founded in 1923 was also adopted as the model for Chinese kindergartens in 1928, including its teaching system, teaching materials, teaching methods and teaching tools.
  5. ^ Confucianism is a culture covers a broad range of subjects such as moralities, ethics, convenience, life attitude and manner, social and political ideas. Xuan Study (玄學, Xuan Xue) is a Chinese metaphysics with the view that social and natural principle and order are uniform. Yin Yang Study (陰陽學, Yin Yang Xue) is a learning that studies the negative and positive features and changes of both nature and human beings. Yin Yang Xue supposes that Yin and Yang are two universal paired and opposite characters and elements. For instance, life world consists of Yin Jie and Yang Jie. Yang Jie is where people live and Yin Jie is where ghosts and gods live. The death of a person or an animal means that he, she or it goes from Yang Jie to Yin Jie. Human bodies are controlled by Yin Qi and Yang Qi, and the balance between them will keep a healthy body. This theory is one of the foundations of traditional Chinese medicine. According to the concept, female is Yin, male is Yang, moon is Yin, sun is Yang, cold is Yin, hot is Yang, soft is Yin, hard is Yang .... Using it to explain modern sciences, acid is Yin, alkaline is Yang, negatron is Yin, positron is Yang, antimatter is Yin and matter is Yang.
  6. ^ Nanjing University is sometimes called Nanyong which was one of the school names used in Ming Dynasty, the concert performed by Nanjing University Guqin Society is called Nanyong Qin Concert, and Nanjing University Publishing House has republished a series of Nanyong Academic Classics.
  7. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2010 Results". 
  8. ^
  9. ^ [1]

External links

Coordinates: 32°03′22″N 118°46′30″E / 32.05611°N 118.775°E / 32.05611; 118.775

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