TUM-Tsinghua Research Exchange

Situated in the Northwest of Beijing, Tsinghua University- founded in 1911, has been China's leading university for many years in a row. As part of the TUM-Tsinghua flagship partnership agreed in October 2020, the TUM Graduate School has implemented a Doctoral Research Program with Tsinghua to foster research collaboration, as well as to encourage international mobility, intercultural collaboration, understanding and networking among young scientists. The Doctoral Exchange Program comprises all schools and departments at Tsinghua, with faculties in science, engineering, humanities, law, medicine, history, philosophy, economics, management, education and art.

Besides Tsinghua's main location in Beijing, TUM doctoral candidates may also apply for research exchange to Tsinghua SIGS. Established in March of 2019, Tsinghua SIGS is a research and graduate education institution of Tsinghua that is located in the southern Chinese city Shenzhen. Tsinghua SIGS focuses on interdisciplinary research and learning that overcome traditional borders between academic disciplines, including Materials Science, Data Science & Information Technology, Biopharmaceutical & Health Engineering, Ocean Engineering, Future Human Habitats, Environment & Ecology and Innovation Management.

Key program details

TUM doctoral candidates participating in the research exchange will be enrolled as non-award doctoral candidates at Tsinghua University/Tsinghua SIGS for research stays of 3-6 months. They are not charged any tuition fees but may be eligible for charges for non-academic/non-obligatory facilities, services or activities during their stay at Tsinghua/Tsinghua SIGS.  

For the period of the research stay, TUM exchange candidates will work on their research project under the supervision of a Tsinghua faculty member and will have access to library, laboratory, and other resources comparable to locally-enrolled doctoral candidates at Tsinghua/Tsinghua SIGS. While at Tsinghua/Tsinghua SIGS TUM exchange candidates may also attend postgraduate courses in English. 

Exchange candidate's progression, thesis supervision and examination will remain the principal responsibility of the TUM supervisor and School. At the completion of the exchange program, exchange candidates will be provided with a certificate confirming their participation in the research exchange program, but will not be awarded a joint/double degree or academic transcript from Tsinghua/Tsinghua SIGS. Only TUM will award its own degree. 

The TUM-Tsinghua Research Exchange is open to TUM doctoral candidates from all disciplines. In order to be eligible for the program the applicant must: 

  • have the approval/support from the TUM supervisor
  • have already found a supervisor at Tsinghua University 
  • be a regular member of the TUM Graduate School (no guest doctoral candidates)
  • have attended the TUM Graduate School Kick-Off Seminar (the latest at the time of the anticipated exchange start date)
  • have passed the interim evaluation/feedback talk at the time of the anticipated exchange start date

Kindly note that due to Tsinghua regulations, Chinese citizens are not eligible for program participation.    

In order to apply for the program, please 

  1. Contact your TUM supervisor to discuss your interest in doing a research exchange at Tsinghua University and determine if your TUM supervisor can recommend a suitable host for you at Tsinghua.
  2. Usually, the best way to contact a potential host at Tsinghua is through your TUM supervisor. However, you may also search for a potential host directly by yourself. Have a look at Tsinghua's departments and schools at https://www.tsinghua.edu.cn/en/Schools___Departments.htm.  
  3. After you have identified a potential host at Tsinghua, please contact him*her with your CV and your motivation letter directly via e-mail. 
  4. Once the potential host at Tsinghua is willing to supervise you during your stay at Tsinghua, please fill in the Program Application Form, as well as organize the support letters for your exchange from your TUM supervisor and your host at Tsinghua.
  5. Submit all application documents to the Program Exchange Liaison Officer at the TUM Graduate School before the application deadline.
  6. After approval of the application by the TUM Graduate School, the TUM-GS Program Exchange Liaison Officer will provide you with a letter of nomination for your online application at Tsinghua. 
  7. Apply for program admission at Tsinghua University via the online portal http://intl-nondegree.tsinghua.edu.cn.  
  8. Once the online application is approved by Tsinghua, Tsinghua will issue an admission letter. 

For application, please submit the following application documents via email to the Program Exchange Liaison Officer at the TUM Graduate School: 

  1. Program Application Form
  2. Application Form for the TUM-GS Exchange@Tsinghua Grant
  3. Support letter for the exchange from the TUM supervisor
  4. Confirmation letter from the hosting supervisor at Tsinghua that he*she will supervise you during your research stay at Tsinghua
  5. CV
  6. Motivation letter (max. one page)

In addition for applications to the Tsinghua School of Arts and Design and School of Architecture: 

  • A portfolio of 6 photographic design artworks 

There are two program intakes each year that coincide with the semester dates at Tsinghua:

  • Application deadline for fall semester (mid-September to mid-January): April 1st  
  • Application deadline for spring semester (mid-February to mid-July): October 1st    

As course starting dates and other service offers (e.g. housing options) are usually limited to semester start, applicants should plan the start date of their research stay at Tsinghua accordingly.

Outgoing TUM doctoral candidates participating in the TUM-Tsinghua Research Exchange Program may apply for the exclusive Exchange@Tsinghua Grant consisting of: 

  • one-time travel support of 1,000 EUR (based on the actual ticket price)
  • 1,200 EUR in total to support accommodation and living expenses in Peking for the entire research stay of 3-6 months at Tsinghua

In order to apply for the Exchange@Tsinghua Grant, please submit the Exchange@Tsinghua Grant Application Form together with the official admission letter issued by Tsinghua after program admission to the Program Exchange Liaison Officer at the TUM Graduate School.  

The Exchange@Tsinghua Grant may be combined with other TUM-GS internationalization funding schemes. 

For all information about the TUM-Tsinghua Research Exchange Program, as well as program application please contact the Program Exchange Liaison Officer: 

Mrs Zizheng Zhang 
International Engagement & Diversity
TUM Graduate School
Email: zhang@zv.tum.de 
Phone: +49 89 289 10631

Getting to Tsinghua and settling in

The main campus of Tsinghua University is situated in the Haidian District in northwest Beijing on the site of the former imperial gardens of the Qing Dynasty and is surrounded by a number of historical sites. The Haidian District is known for its many renowned universities like Peking University and Beihang University. It is also close (at least by Chinese standards) to some of Peking's top tourist attractions like the Summer Palace or the Fragrant Hills. The district is also famous for its electronics area with various national and international tech companies.

The campus of Tsinghua can easily be reached via Peking's extensive subway network and offers plenty of eating, shopping, sports, medical, and other service facilities. For more information about campus and student life, as well as a first glimpse of Tsinghua's main buildings and facilities, please visit Tsinghua's website about campus life at https://www.tsinghua.edu.cn/en/Campus.htm

TUM candidates participating in the TUM-Tsinghua Research Exchange Program may apply for on-campus student housing at Tsinghua. However, as on-campus dormitory places are limited, on-campus housing can only be guaranteed if applicants follow the regular application time schedule in alignment with the semester dates at Tsinghua. Successful TUM applicants will receive further information about their accommodation arrangements after program admission by Tsinghua. The Tsinghua University International Student Apartments are the Zijing Apartment Buildings 19-23, and the Asian Youth Exchange Center (Building 6). There are different types of dormitory rooms, such as single rooms, double rooms and “AB” rooms (with separate bedrooms and a shared bathroom). 

For further information about accommodation at Tsinghua, including extensive information on off-campus housing, please visit https://is.tsinghua.edu.cn/GettingStarted/PrArrival/Accommodation.htm and/or refer to the  Accommodation Guide for International Students

Tsinghua SIGS 

TUM candidates doing an exchange at the Tsinghua SIGS in Shenzhen have the option for on-campus housing in the student dormitories of Tsinghua SIGS. Further information can be found at https://www.sigs.tsinghua.edu.cn/en/international_students_scholars/

Insights from TUM Beijing Liaison Officer Zhenshan Jin

For those interested in the Research Exchange Program, we would like to share some insights and advice from Zhenshan Jin, TUM Beijing Liasison Officer.

Why should TUM doctoral candidates go to Beijing/China for a research stay?

China plays an increasingly central role in the international science a higher education system. A research stay in China is an excellent opportunity to explore the world's most populous country and it`s exciting culture. At the same time, TUM's flagship partner Tsinghua University has two campuses, which are located in Beijing with a long history and the most innovative metropolis Shenzhen. They will show overseas scholars' new ideas with traditional and innovative research.

What would be the ideal time of the year for international doctoral candidates to plan a research stay in Beijing/China? Are there any particular seasons or months that offer unique advantages or experiences?

Chinese universities have winter and summer vacations, usually from July to August and January to February each year. It is recommended that you choose to come to China for a research stay in other months.

Would you recommend international doctoral candidates to take a Chinese language course beforehand?

Learning Chinese is a window for everyone to understand Chinese culture, but unfortunately, many ordinary people in China do not speak English. TUM's language center offers different levels of Chinese courses. It is recommended that you take a Chinese language course beforehand, which will be more convenient to your live in China.