IUPUI and Sun Yat-sen University

World-class educations halfway around the world

IUPUI and Sun Yat-sen University have an extensive portfolio of collaboration with students at the center of their endeavors.

Located nearly 8,000 miles from the IUPUI campus in Indianapolis, the sprawling port city of Guangzhou houses Sun Yat-sen University, one of China’s top ranked universities.

The partnership of IUPUI and Sun Yat-sen University is a tale of two world-class institutions of higher education discovering that they complemented each other not only in their academic missions, but also in their commitment to and active involvement with their surrounding communities.

The commonalities are many: Both universities are public, urban, research universities with strong commitments to civic engagement. Both have become centers of innovation in institution-building, student learning, and advanced research. Both see universities as playing a critical role in the health, well-being, and development of society. And both recognize the importance of thinking globally as well as locally.

Building on their commitments to education and civic engagement

A series of visits began between IUPUI and Sun Yat-sen University in 2007. Although individual faculty members in public affairs and medicine at both universities had a long history of relationships, there was growing interest and support to deepen the relationship.

A delegation from Sun Yat-sen University visited IUPUI and signed a statement of intent to forge a comprehensive partnership. In September, a delegation from IUPUI representing diverse disciplines visited Sun Yat-sen University.

IUPUI delegates included representatives of the Office of International Affairs, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, School of Informatics and Computing, School of Liberal Arts, School of Medicine, and Kelley School of Business. Faculty members gave presentations to their Chinese colleagues in a wide range of academic fields, including cancer, neuroscience and HIV/AIDS research, informatics, public policy, sociology, Southeast Asian Studies, and world languages.

The short-term exchange program with Sun Yat-sen University integrated academic work with field study and helped establish international perspectives in understanding common social issues in China and the U.S.

Associate Professor of Sociology Wan-Ning Bao

Broadening the reach of the partnership

That same year, IUPUI and Sun Yat-sen University jointly proposed a Confucius Institute in Indianapolis to serve as the hub for collaboration between Indiana University/IUPUI, the Office of Chinese Language Council International (Han Ban)/Sun Yat-sen University, and local businesses, with a mission to enhance intercultural understanding in Indiana. The grand opening of the Confucius Institute was held April 25, 2008.

At that time, IUPUI's Chinese programs had already worked closely with local agencies and businesses in Indianapolis. The new Confucius Institute would collaborate with Lilly, Baker & Daniels, Cummins, the Indiana Department of Education, the International Center, WFYI, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, among others.

In 2009, IUPUI and Sun Yat-sen University formalized the partnership and set to work identifying concrete ways to expand collaboration.

By the time of the signing, the Confucius Institute had already collaborated with the Office of the Mayor to establish the highly successful Chinese Festival of Indianapolis; held summer camps on the IUPUI campus for two years prior with Sun Yat-sen University faculty who specialized in arts and crafts, martial arts, calligraphy, and dance; conducted month-long summer study abroad programs to Sun Yat-sen University for IUPUI and IU School of Medicine students; and hosted two international symposia, one on Confucius in the twenty-first century and one on 30 years of U.S.-China relations.

Indiana University is committed to meeting the changing needs of students and faculty in an increasingly globalized world, and that commitment is reflected in our partnerships with China's most prestigious universities and in our ever-growing numbers of Chinese alumni.

Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie

Creating new opportunities for students

Within one year, the partnership had reached a new milestone. At IUPUI, six 2+2 dual degree programs were under development with Sun Yat-sen University in engineering, new media, computer science, business, actual science, and public affairs.

These programs were designed to allow Sun Yat-sen University students to complete two years of coursework at home, then transfer to IUPUI to complete their remaining two years of study. Students who successfully complete requirements for both universities earn two degrees, one from Sun Yat-sen University and one from IUPUI.

Since 2013, senior leaders from IUPUI and SYSU participate in Cooperative Development Committee meetings every year to guide partnership activities. Today the two universities collaborate on a variety of activities including:

  • 2+2 dual degree programs available in business, engineering, computer science, informatics, public affairs, and actuarial science
  • Research collaboration for faculty, residents, and students
  • Study abroad and exchange programs

For more information about this partnership, contact the Office of International Affairs at IUPUI.