Fudan University’s exploration of the liberal arts education began in the 1980s. Former school president Xie Xide proposed drawing a lesson from undergraduate training experience developed internationally, through a trial of the liberal arts education. Fudan College was formally established in September 2005, substantially promoting liberal arts education within China.

The liberal arts education is a well-rounded education centered on the human being. By promoting liberal arts education, Fudan hopes to transmit to students the spirit of the sciences and humanities, fostering full development of character in students, understanding different cultures and ways of thinking, developing habits of independent thinking and investigation, and providing them with a better grasp of nature and society. Over several years of development, the school will create a liberal arts education program with a core curriculum at its center, supported by the residential college and mentorship systems, promoting an improved quality of talent development.

The liberal arts education aims to break down the barriers between different fields of study, penetrating to the common base of human knowledge and learning. To this end, the school has developed a liberal arts core curriculum with six broad areas of study. Students are required to take 12 elective credits. The core curriculum currently includes almost 180 classes. Drawing on the Western residential campus system, continuing the tradition of ancient Chinese academies, and carrying on Fudan’s historical and cultural characteristics, five colleges were created: Zhide, Tengfei, Keqing, Renzhong, and Xide. The core values of the colleges are “studying and self-cultivation,” supported by “transformation and consideration,” and they strive to build a richly innovative way of life. Each college has teaching teams composed of single-major, multiple major, and specially invited instructors. This classroom is where the first contact with the liberal arts education occurs, and it is the bridge to college life.

In September 2012, the school formally established a new Fudan College (Fudan’s undergraduate division), integrating the former Fudan College, Dean’s Office, and the functions and organization of the undergraduate admissions office; and completely implementing the residential campus system. All students will have a complete college life at the undergraduate stage. The college becomes a shared cultural space built and owned by students and teachers. At the same time, a liberal arts education committee was set up under the school’s education steering committee, which is in charge of the highest level of the liberal arts core curriculum planning and development program.

The Liberal Arts Core Curriculum

The liberal arts core curriculum plan which is currently in effect includes six modules; namely humanities and cultural heritage, philosophy and critical thinking, cultural dialogue and world vision, scientific spirit and scientific exploration, ecology and biological conservation, artistic creativity and aesthetic experience. Changjiang Scholars, national-level educators, and noted instructors give lectures and are in charge of the curriculum, with characteristic teaching models including guided readings of classic texts, teacher’s assistants, small group discussions, comprehensive examinations, and interactive web sessions.

Four-Year Residential College

The college is a residential campus where students learn through culture, and is a space built and shared by students and teachers. It is a platform for education managed by the students themselves. The director of the college is a senior professor. Within the college, a board of management assists the director, and a student’s board of management composed of and for the students carries out the functions of management, services, and education. For more details, please see Campus Life.