Peking University – Acceptance Rate, Ranking, Notable Alumni, and More

Located in the most populous capital city globally, Peking University, also called Beijing University, offers a once-in-a-lifetime educational experience for domestic and international students alike. 

Beijing is a leader in commerce, culture, politics, technology, education, and diplomacy, translating into myriad professional and recreational opportunities for Peking University students. The city leads the world in research output, boasting 7 of the top universities in China.

Peking University is a reflection of the successes and thriving industries of Beijing. Because of the quality of its programs and location, university graduates do well in the international job market, trailing behind only Cambridge, MIT, and Harvard.

Since its founding in 1898, Peking University has been at the forefront of key cultural and intellectual movements in modern and contemporary Chinese history. In the first quarter of the 20th century, Peking students and faculty held important roles in the May Fourth and New Culture Movements. 

In the 1980s, the university became synonymous with student activism and protests, most notably the Tiananmen Square protest in 1989.

To this day, the university is known for its contributions to modern Chinese culture. It is one of the oldest and significant institutions of higher education in China, with internationally renowned programs that perennially rank at the top. Besides its academic and cultural contributions, Peking University is home to a beautiful campus and the largest library in Asia.

Peking University Ranking

Peking University
Europejska, Department of History, CC BY-SA 4.0

Peking University is one of the top universities globally by the standards of the most prestigious ranking publications. While the methodologies and rankings differ across lists, one thing remains clear: Peking has earned its place as one of the best universities in the world.

According to the US News & World Report, a highly esteemed publication, Peking ranks #51 among the top worldwide, tied with McGill University. A handful of the university’s programs occupy the top ranks, spanning many specialties but the STEM programs particularly stand out. 

Chemistry, geosciences, computer science, materials science, and nanoscience/nanotechnology all fall in the top 20 internationally.

Peking shines on the lists of numerous organizations and publishers of rankings. Because of its world-class faculty, voluminous research output, and post-graduation outcomes, Peking has landed the #23 spot on the World University Rankings list, its highest ranking ever! Its scores in these categories have increased markedly within the last five years alone.

The Center for World University Rankings places Peking in the top 100, #59. It is recognized for its high-quality research output, which we have previously noted in our mention of the USNWR ranking. 

It is also one of the top universities for post-graduate employment prospects. Peking’s status as a high-quality is also echoed by its top spot on the QS Top Universities, ranking #18.

Peking’s international renown translates into impressive, if not more stellar, regional rankings. Without fail, the university is always a contender for the #1 spot on the Chinese University Alumni Association’s list of top Chinese universities. In 2019, it ranked #2, being outranked by Tsinghua University.

Notable Alumni

With such an outstanding reputation, it should be no surprise that Peking University has an impressive roster of alumni who have made significant contributions to the region and around the world. A high-caliber school is gauged by the achievements and impact of its graduates. Peking is no exception.

Peking is known to produce the most high-profile politicians in China. While it is famous for grooming politicians, Peking alumni have made contributions in many fields, including humanities, arts, the sciences, and economics. 

Notable alumni include chess grandmaster Hou Yifan, whose achievements include being the four-time Women’s World Chess Champion and the youngest female player to earn the grandmaster title. Polish billionaire and businesswoman Dominika Kulczyk, and best-selling novelist Lulu Wang, are Peking alums.

We mentioned a bit earlier that the university is world-famous for graduating many politicians and political activists. Among those who grace this list are Wang Dang, the Chinese democracy movement leader, and disability rights activist Deng Pufang.

Of course, Peking has its fair share of world-class scholars and educators among its alumni such as the internationally influential linguist, Michael Halliday, Chinese economic historian, Shang Yue, and philosopher, Li Bulou.

Peking alum hail from all over the world and frequently make a significant global impact.


Tuition for international students is based on a variety of factors. Tuition for STEM majors is higher than the tuition for humanities/liberal arts. Tuition for STEM degrees is 4,000 yuan more, which is roughly $600 more. 

The tuition total for humanities/liberal arts and STEM is 26,000 yuan and 30,000 yuan, respectively. The cost is higher for senior-year visiting students, and the rates are higher for students in graduate-degree granting programs.

This is tuition alone; other costs are not factored into those figures. Students can expect to pay another 45,000 yuan for room and board and approximately another 5,000 yuan for transportation and additional expenses.

To offset some of these costs, Peking offers merit-based scholarships. The Undergraduate Academic Excellence Scholarship is offered to 30 eligible third-year students each year, worth around 3,000 yuan. 

International students can also apply for the Peking University Scholarship, available as a full and partial scholarship. The scholarship is renewable for 4-5 years for students pursuing undergraduate degrees. Scholarship recipients are evaluated annually to determine the renewal of the scholarship for the following year.

American students who are not awarded these scholarships or whose scholarship award does not adequately cover expenses can consult the FAFSA website for student aid options. Several international schools participate in the Federal Student Loan program. As of now, Peking does not participate in this program but it is a good idea for students looking to study at this school to keep checking this list.

Peking University Acceptance Rate for International Students & How to Get In

Peking University
Europejska, School of Life Sciences, CC BY-SA 4.0

International students have a better shot at getting into Peking University than domestic students, as it turns out. According to EduRank, the acceptance rate for domestic students is a staggeringly low 1%! 

For international students, in contrast, the acceptance rate is around 15%. Peking clearly prides itself in being a first-rate international university.

To be eligible to apply, international students must develop Chinese proficiency, along with standard application materials, such as letters of recommendation, a letter describing aspirations and goals, academic transcripts, and passport information. 

When admitted, students will have the opportunity to take Chinese as a second language and English-taught classes for the first two semesters. The admissions committee reaches out to candidates for an interview or additional application materials at least 8 to weeks after the application deadline.

Based on the acceptance rates above, we can assume that the admissions process for domestic students is fiercely competitive and relatively competitive for international students. 

Peking has not published any data on the profiles of matriculated students, so we cannot give you a baseline of what it takes to get in. Overall, it is easier for international students to get accepted.

Is the Peking University Right For You?

Peking University
galaygobi, Peking University, CC BY 2.0

STEM majors are by far the most popular choices for students at Peking. With that said, Peking is an excellent choice for a prospective student who wants to combine their love of the sciences with their curiosity about Chinese culture and history. 

Pursuing a degree at a high-caliber university in Beijing is an opportunity to infuse the undergraduate experience with learning about a rich and completely different culture. Presumably, it is one of the top reasons for studying abroad in the first place.

Peking is a premier university with a diverse student body. Students who appreciate Chinese culture and diversity will have a lot to gain and contribute by studying here. 

At Peking, students are part of a large international community. Around 38,500 students attend the university, 6,100 of which are international students. Some students thrive at a large school. Others have an easier time at a smaller school; a large student population in a vast urban environment might be overwhelming.

Peking students are curious and cosmopolitan in their outlook. Determining whether a particular school is a good fit is as important as choosing a major, and gauging the atmosphere of a school and its values are an essential part of this process.