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University of Toronto and China

  • The University of Toronto’s relationship with China goes back over a hundred years. U of T is proud of its longstanding role in advancing China-Canada relations.  

    Victoria College alumni were among the first members of the U of T community to head to China in the late 19th century to live and serve in local communities. Since then, other illustrious Canadian alumni like Dr. Norman BethuneDavidson Black, Isabel Crook and many others have followed their example and left an indelible mark on both our societies.  

    At home, U of T welcomed its first student from China in 1909, after President Sir Robert Falconer established a scholarship program, and appointed the first Professor of Chinese Studies in 1935. In 1962, President Claude Bissell made the first institutional visit to the Peoples Republic of China and Chinese universities almost a decade before Canada & China established diplomatic ties and on his return engaged the media on the importance on of cross-cultural cooperation. Alumni from the region have returned and contributed immensely to academia and business in China. They include Prof. Qian Weichang, who served as the President of Shanghai University, legal scholar Prof. Betty Ho and Keng Lam Ang, Chairman of China World Trade Centre.  

    As China was moving towards a market economy in the late 70s & 80s, U of T faculty started closely working with Chinese counterparts. U of T and other Canadian universities were institutionally engaged before many of their western counterparts in China.  

    Today, with over 17,000+ Chinese students, U of T is one of the largest host universities for international students from China that is consistently ranked among the 50 leading universities in the worldChina is also among the most visited destinations by U of T faculty, students & staff and among the top three countries with which U of T researchers co-publish. These engagements have grown from bilateral to multilateral collaborations involving partners from a number of countries on issues of global significance like cities, origins of the universe, ageing, public health and precision medicine to name a few.  

    The University of Toronto has staff in mainland China through our Beijing Office, which serves as a hub for U of T’s China initiatives with a mandate to build strong people-to-people ties as well as explore opportunities for growth and expansion of partnerships to support U of T’s objectives in China.

    Our staff facilitate key relationships with government and related agencies, universities and access to resources and opportunities. Our staff provides local knowledge and through their work, we are able to build stronger academic, government and alumni collaborations and provide market intelligence to help further develop potential industry partnerships.

    U of T also has an office in Hong Kong through our Hong Kong Foundation, which is primarily focused on alumni engagement and partnership building. Staff in Beijing and Hong Kong work in close collaboration.

    Contact our representative in China

    Please note: The country and institutional pages of this website provide but a sampling of the rich and deep relationships that the U of T community enjoys with many countries, institutions and communities around the world.

  • Across the University of Toronto community, staff and students engage in collaborative work with many institutions in China. The below highlights the ones with which we currently have a strategic, institutional partnership that includes joint funding and programmatic opportunities. U of T, through the Office of the Vice-President, International, builds institutional partnerships with peer institutions where there is evidence of strong, existing faculty-to-faculty engagement and collaboration already in place.

    Tsinghua University:Cooperation with Tsinghua university spans a wide range of disciplines from business & law to public health & engineering. Both institutions also co-host the annual U of T-Tsinghua Forum around issues of topical interest to spur impactful research collaborations and have launched calls for proposals to seed research collaborations.  

    Peking University: PKU was among the three institutions that hosted U of T’s first presidential visit to the Peoples Republic of China in 1962. Today,  President Gertler is one of the seven distinguished International Academic Advisors in Yenching Academy at PKU.  Our collaborations range from urban research & student mobility programming to much more (e.g. PKU alumni in Canada donated 50,000 masks during COVID-19 pandemic to our hospitals).  

    Zhejiang University: The scope of research collaborations with ZJU spans from precision medicine & neuroscience to education & geography. U of T and ZJU have established an International Doctoral Cluster in Precision Medicine and both institutions will be launching funding calls in the future to seed & grow research in other promising areas.  

    Shanghai Jiao Tong University: U of T and SJTU have established an International Doctoral Cluster in Radio Astrophysics. Both institutions have also launched funding calls to seed & grow research in other promising areas (see Joint Calls for Proposals)

    Fudan University: Along with SJTU, this is one of U of T’s main partners in Shanghai. Collaborations range from family medicine to learning abroad opportunities. Fudan is the largest host institutions for U of T students heading to mainland China for learning abroad opportunities. 

    Universities in Hong Kong: Hong Kong is one the most popular learning abroad destinations for U of T students. Key partners in Hong Kong include University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.  

    For U of T faculty members interested in funding opportunities for research collaborations with institutions in China, please visit the International Partnerships tab on the U of T Global homepage  

    For U of T students interested in global learning opportunities in China please visit the U of T in the World tab on the U of T Global homepage 

Degree students

(Fall 2019)

Student mobility

Inbound & Outbound


(April 2020)

Joint publications