Department of International Relations

Established in December 2007, Tsinghua University’s Department of International Relations (IR Department) is an important education and research institution in China, with the mission of nurturing scholars and professionals in political studies, international relations and foreign affairs. Its predecessor, the Tsinghua University Institute of International Studies (IIS) was founded in 1997 with the former Ambassador of China to Kenya, the renowned diplomat Xue Mouhong as its founding chair. Currently, the Department consists of four research divisions, one research institute, and seven research centers. It has a total of 22 faculty members, including eight full professors, five associate professors, three lecturers and six post-doctoral fellows. The faculty team is balanced in terms of age and sub-fields. All faculty members are at the prime of their careers, hold Ph.D. degrees, have studied or been trained in prestigious universities overseas, and have excellent academic communication skills. Core faculty members have ample experience in teaching and research, have demonstrated outstanding achievements in the field and are influential both in China and overseas.

The Department of International Relations has established four program divisions: the political science program, which covers political theory, history of Western political thoughts, history of Chinese political thought and political philosophy; the comparative politics program, which covers American politics, Russian politics, European politics, Japanese politics, Indian politics, Latin American politics, African politics, regional politics and area studies, and comparative political institutions; the International Relations (IR) program, which covers international relations history, IR theory and research methods, and arms control and regional security; and the China Government and Politics Program, which covers Chinese political parties, the Chinese government and Chinese political history.

The Department has established the Institute for International Studies, which operates seven research centers, including the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy, the Center for China’s Foreign Policy, the Center for Chinese Strategy and Public Diplomacy, the Center for Research on Economy and Diplomacy, the Center for U.S.-China Relations, the Center for European-China Relations, and the Xinjiang University – Tsinghua University Center for Research on Central Asia. The Centers under the Institute for International Studies have already been acknowledged as core institutions within the fields of area studies and policy research. Through hosting, jointly hosting and participating in various diplomatic initiatives, the Institute has become a key player in the provision of policy advice related to Sino-U.S., Sino-Japanese, and Sino-European relations with smooth communication channels to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other relevant government departments.

For more than a decade, the Department of International Relations has built an outstanding reputation in scientific methodology and quantitative research analysis. It continues to offer training courses in research methodology for international relations research, training for diplomats and trainings in public diplomacy. It established Chinese and English language editions of the publication the Chinese Journal of International Politics, and initiated the Annual Conference on Political Science and International Relations and the Global Peace Forum, all of which continue to increase its influence domestically and internationally. As a result, the Department already has established a complete academic system. In 2003, it launched the Master’s and PhD programs in international relations, and started enrolling undergraduate majors in international relations who came to Tsinghua as part of the university’s experimental social science program. In 2010, International Relations was named a key center of the discipline by the Beijing municipal government. In the same year, the Department established an English-instructed Master’s program. In 2011, the Department applied for and received tier-one program status for its PhD program, and initiated a PhD training program for students from developing countries. In 2012, it received accreditation as a tier-one host center for Post-Doctoral fellows. It successfully held the globally influential World Peace Forum, and has become an influential department of international relations both in China and worldwide.

The need to continuously advance China’s reform policies in the era of globalization places high demands for well-trained experts and high-quality research in international relations and public affairs. Under the current Department Chair, Dr. Shi Zhiqin, the Department of International Relations has taken careful stock of the field, and correctly identified the cutting edge themes in the study of politics and international relations. It has positively advanced educational reforms and innovative research, deepened academic dialogue, and reformed its structure, enabled the Department of International Relations to make further progress in research, teaching and service to the society.