New Program Brings Undergrads to China This Summer

Over 25 days in Beijing, students will study China’s media industries, institutions, and citizens’ everyday media practices.

By Julie Sloane

Penn Media Scholars in China is a new summer institute that will bring eight Penn undergraduates to the Chinese cities of Beijing and Hangzhou from June 5-30, 2017. There they will study China’s media industries, institutions, and citizens’ everyday media practices.

The program is also expected to run in the summer of 2018.

The program is being directed and led by Professor Guobin Yang, Associate Professor of the Annenberg School for Communication and the Department of Sociology.

Through site visits, field observation, as well as interactions with professionals from the Chinese media agencies and internet firms, PMSC fellows will develop first-hand understanding of a rapidly growing, global media industry and its broader social, cultural, and political ramifications. They will also have the opportunity to interact with Chinese college students.

While in China, PMSC fellows will complete an independent research project on any aspect of Chinese media and present their findings at a final capstone presentation at Penn in the fall.

Program Schedule (Tentative)


Students will spend two weeks in Beijing, where they will be based at the Penn Wharton China Center. While in Beijing, the group will make site visits to some of China’s major media institutions and internet firms. Students will also attend an international symposium on Chinese media, which is being held during the program.


The group will travel by high-speed train to Hanghzou, where they will be based at the College of Media and International Culture at Zhejiang University. Study in Hangzhou will shed further light on the media landscape as it is home to the Chinese internet firm Alibaba as well as one of the most dynamic provincial and municipal media scenes in China. Students can depart for home from the international airports in nearby Shanghai.


The program will cover accepted students’ housing, field trips, and some meals in China, as well as partial airfare. Funding for the program is provided by Penn Global's Penn China Research & Engagement Fund.

How to Apply

Eight students will be competitively chosen for the program. Applicants must have a 3.0 GPA or above. Please note that seniors graduating in May 2017 are not eligible to apply.

As part of the application, students must write and attach an essay of approximately 750 words explaining their interest in the program.

Applicants will need to obtain two letters of recommendation that speak to their academic ability and performance as a student. At least one of these letters must come from a Penn faculty member, while the other could come from a class dean or graduate teaching assistant. 

Applications and the related recommendation letters were due by Friday, January 31, 2017. That process is now closed.