Situated at the western suburbs of Beijing, Peking University covers 2,707,853 sq. m. The university has 17,203 teachers and workers, with an enrolment of 36,982. The university boasts 155 specialties for Doctoral candidates, 177 specialties for Master candidates and 86 specialties for undergraduates. The number of professors, doctor tutors, academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences, key national disciplines and national key laboratories in the university ranks first among China's universities and colleges.
Founded in 1898, Peking University, whose former name wasJingshi Daxue Tang(the Metropolitan University), is the first state-run comprehensive university in China and the highest educational administrative body of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
In 1917, Mr. Cai Yuanpei, an outstanding educationist and democratic revolutionary, took up presidency of the university. He played an active role in the reform and development of the university. By 1919, the university had developed into the largest institution of higher learning in the country, with 14 departments and an enrollment of more than 2,000 students. Chen Duxiu, Li Dazhao and Mao Zedong, founders of the Chinese Communist Party, as well as Lu Xun, a great writer, thinker and chief leader of the Chinese New-Culture Movement, all either taught or took up an appointment in the university.
After the Lugouqiao Incident in 1937, Peking University merged with Tsinghua University and Nankai University and moved the city of Changsha inHunan Province to form "Changsha Temporary University". At the beginning of 1938, the temporary university moved to Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan Province, changing its name to the National Southwestern Associated University. In 1946, following the victory of the War of Resistance against Japan, Peking University moved back to Beiping City (present-day Beijing).
After the founding of the People's Republic of China, the government carried out, in 1952, a nationwide readjustment of colleges and universities. After the readjustment, Peking University became a university comprising departments of both liberal arts and sciences with an emphasis on the teaching and research of basic sciences.