Above right: Students from Tsinghua University’s Academic Bridge Program at UMass Boston

Photo of Martin T. Meehan

“This University’s reach is truly global, whether we are talking about bringing irrigation systems to remote villages in Peru or peace to the most troubled corners of the world. We reach out to other parts of the world and in the process, learn more about ourselves and our own capabilities.”

Martin T. Meehan, J.D., Chancellor, UMass Lowell

Academic Bridge Program
Tsinghua University and the University of Massachusetts

In 2003, the University of Massachusetts Boston forged a landmark relationship with Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. One result was the development of an Academic Bridge Program to prepare Chinese students for study in the U.S., initially at UMass Boston. Now in its fourth year, the Academic Bridge Program has grown from five students enrolling at UMass Boston in 2005 to more than 100 students currently enrolled. Ultimately, the goal is to enroll 400 new students each year from the program across the University system.

Tsinghua University’s Academic Bridge Program partners with universities in the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and with UMass Boston and Amherst—and soon Lowell and Dartmouth—in the United States. Tsinghua students take one year of English instruction and introduction to American-style education in China. Halfway through the year, students declare an academic interest and begin to take classes in that discipline, focusing on the development of reading, writing, and critical thinking skills, along with English proficiency. In the second year, students leave China and matriculate at one of the partner universities such as UMass Boston. Each student receives intensive support and advising from his or her home campus.

The program helps to meet the growing demand for higher education in China and increases the international student population at UMass. The program will open next year to all four UMass undergraduate campuses with the Dartmouth and Lowell campuses accepting students to targeted programs such as five-year master’s degree programs, and engineering and technology programs.

In a world where our global connections traverse multiple dimensions, it is more important than ever for diverse perspectives to be shared and understood. Therefore, it is a strategic priority for the University of Massachusetts to offer innovative opportunities for students and faculty to pursue their learning and research with peer institutions abroad, as well as to attract brilliant students and faculty from other countries to our campuses.

The University has a long tradition of intellectual engagement across borders beginning when the University’s third president, William Smith Clark, traveled to Hokkaido, Japan in 1876 to help found the Sapporo Agricultural College, now known as Hokkaido University.

In March 2008, President Wilson was invited by Dr. Tisato Kajiyama, president of Kyushu University and a UMass Amherst alumnus, to deliver the commencement address at Kyushu University, one of Japan’s most prestigious national universities. As part of this trip, President Wilson also attended a summit of presidents of Asian universities and was pleased to discover that three of the eight university presidents representing their countries were University of Massachusetts alumni.

Massachusetts is one of the world’s leading capitals for higher education and research. Students from every corner of the globe come here for remarkable opportunities to learn and to contribute to the bodies of knowledge that comprise human understanding. As Massachusetts’ public research university, the University of Massachusetts is proud to be part of that tradition.