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History

Nov 23, PM

Tongji University, one of China’s earliest national key universities, is a prestigious institution of higher education which is directly under the Ministry of Education (MOE) and is supported by the Shanghai Municipality. After 110 years of development, Tongji University has become a comprehensive and research-intensive university with distinctive features and an international reputation. It is one of the leading universities in China with competitiveness.

The history of Tongji can be traced back to 1907, when the German Medical School was founded by Erich Paulun, a German doctor, and was then renamed as Tongji German Medical School in the following year. The school was expanded later to include engineering in its programs and got its new name of Tongji German Medical and Engineering School in 1912. In 1917, it was taken over by ethnic Chinese, and then successively given the name of Tongji Medical and Engineering School and Private Tongji Medical and Engineering Specialist School. In 1923, it was formally established as Tongji University and was later renamed as National Tongji University in 1927. After the Anti-Japanese War broke out in 1937, the University campus has moved six times, first from Shanghai to Zhejiang Province, and then to Jiangxi, Guangxi, and Yunnan Provinces, and finally to Lizhuang in Yibin, Sichuan Province in 1940. It was eventually moved back to Shanghai in 1946. It then grew to be a comprehensive university which offered programs in science, engineering, medicine, arts and law.

Following a nationwide campaign of reorganizing schools and departments among universities beginning in 1949, the original predominant disciplines, including art, law, medicine, science, machinery, motor, boatbuilding, surveying and mapping, were moved to support other universities or relocated entirely in the mainland. At the same time, the disciplines related to engineering converged in Tongji University from more than 10 universities, making it a university with the largest scale and the most complete disciplines in engineering, especially in civil engineering. Since 1978, “two transformations” were launched, namely, the transforming to an international university by restoring links to Germany, and the transforming from a university focusing mainly on civil engineering to a multi-disciplinary engineering university. In 1995, Tongji declared itself to be built jointly by the former State Education Commission and the Shanghai Municipal Government, and was listed later in the 211 Program. In 2000, the expanded Tongji was merged again with Shanghai Tiedao University and developed into the new Tongji. Then, in 2002, it was listed in the “985 Program”, and took over the administration of the Shanghai College of Aviation Industry in 2003. Tongji was listed in the “Top Universities directly under the Management of the Party Central Committee” in 2004, and also in the “Program of the Construction of the World First-Class University in China”.

Tongji University always sticks to place nurturing talents of the highest quality as its fundamental responsibility. Put simply, the training methods of Tongji combine the trinity of “knowledge, ability, and personality,” based on the undergraduate education and strengthened by the graduate education, aiming to ensure that every student has “a solid foundation, practical ability, ability to think creatively, ability to think globally, and a sense of social responsibility” in order to become “the elite who will lead sustainable development and act as the backbone of society.” Since its establishment, Tongji University has turned out over 300,000 graduates, among which many are extraordinary political leaders, scientists, educators, social activists, business leaders, medical specialists, and engineering technology experts. Over 140 alumni are academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, or the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Tongji University has established the world’s largest “Multi-Functional Shaking Table Center,” the nation’s first “Automotive Wind Tunnel Center,” the “Comprehensive Test Platform for Urban Rail Transit,” the nation’s first “National Long-term Seabed Observatory System,” and other platforms for major scientific study. Tongji also conducted cutting edge scientific research in the fields of long-span bridge construction, seismic design, intelligent urban traffic, urban sewage treatment, new energy car research and development, domestic intellectual greenhouse, remote sensing information, ocean drilling, atrial fibrillation research, and more.

With the tradition of “developing together with the country, benefiting the world with technology and science,” Tongji has long focused on developing dominant disciplines and unleashing the basic research spillover effect, expanding the forms and fields of public services, actively making contributions to the economic and social development at the national and regional level. So far, Tongji University has provided strong technical support to meet the demand in the significant national strategies, including the “Belt and Road,” the fields of domestic bridges and tunnels, railway and urban traffic, urban sewage treatment, earthquake relief work, Yangshan Terminal, Shanghai World Expo, Chongming eco-island, and more. In addition, Tongji has collaborated with the government to promote the construction of the “Knowledge-Based Economic Circle around Tongji University” whose annual output value rose up to 36.8 billion RMB in 2017 from less than 3 billion RMB at the beginning, successfully establishing a collaboration model of “three parties of universities, science parks and communities join hands to promote coordinated development.”

Tongji has always taken an active role in expanding international cooperation, and gradually developed into the general layout, with the main cooperation with Germany, centering Europe, increasing the interactions with North America as well as Asia and Africa. So far, it has established 11 international cooperation platforms, including Sino-German, Sino-French, Sino-Italian, Sino-Finnish, Sino-Spanish joint programs and programs with UN agencies. Tongji also signed cooperation agreements with over 200 universities overseas and co-founded research centers with Volkswagen, Siemens, Bayer, IBM and many other multinational enterprises. Successively, Tongji initiated and launched “China Green University Network” and “International Green Campus Alliance (IGCA)”, and acted as the first president. It was also elected as the League President of GUPES under the United Nations Environment Programme, and became the first Asian university to be awarded with the “Excellence in Campus Award” at the meeting organized by International Sustainable Campus Network.

As of September 2018, Tongji University had established 38 schools, colleges, and institutes, 7 affiliated hospitals, and 6 affiliated primary and secondary schools over the years. It has four campuses: Siping, Jiading, Huxi, and Hubei, covering a total area of 2.54 kilometers with floor areas of buildings covering about 1.80 million square meters. The University Library houses 4.45 million books in its collection.

Currently, there are 17,757 full-time registered Bachelor’s students, 12,852registered Master’s students, 5,246 registered Doctoral students, and 3,468 international students. The University has 2,814 faculty members, among which are 1028 professors, 10 members of the Chinese Academy of Science, 13 members of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (an international member included), 2 members of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World, 1 international member of the American Academy of Engineering, 1 international member of the German Academy of Engineering, 1 international member of The Belgian Royal Flemish Academy of Sciences and Arts, and 1 international member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Engineering Sciences. In addition, the University has 4 national-level Master Teachers of Excellence, 42 professors on National Outstanding Young Scholars Program, 35 professors on Changjiang Scholars Program launched by the MOE, 23 chief scientists in the National Basic Research Program of China, 35 chief scientists in the National Major Research Program of China, 50 professors in the National Outstanding Young Scholars Program, and over one hundred professors among the four types of outstanding young talents program, including the Young Changjiang Scholars and Thousand Talent Program for Young Outstanding Scientists. The University has also established 6 national-level teaching teams, 8 innovation communities supported by Natural Science Foundation of China, 9 innovation communities directly under the MOE, 1 innovation team in selected areas of priority under the Ministry of Science and Technology, and was selected to participate in the National Innovative Talent Training Demonstration Project.

The University has 10 academic disciplines of engineering, science, medicine, management, economics, philosophy, humanities, law, education, and arts.  There are 85 undergraduate majors, of which 50 majors enroll students under 17 categories.  It has 47 programs for academic Master’s degrees, 18 programs for professional Master’s degrees, and 26 programs for Master’s degrees in engineering, 30 programs for academic doctoral degrees, 3 programs for professional doctoral degrees, and 25 postdoctoral research stations. Tongji University is also equipped with 3 national key laboratories, 1 national engineering laboratory, 1 national collaborative innovation center, 1 national large-scale instrument center, 5 national research centers of engineering (technology), and 53 ministerial and provincial key labs and research centers of engineering (technology).

Over the years, the people of Tongji adhered to its aspirations of “serving the people and the world with one heart, on the same boat, and with the responsibility of rejuvenating the Chinese nation.” With full enthusiasm, Tongji University, will continue to develop and work together to create a world-class university!


(Statistics by September, 2018)