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A Snapshot of Undergraduate Computing Education in China

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Curriculum and Assessment II

Tagged Division

Computing and Information Technology

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Paper Authors


Xiannong Meng Bucknell University

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XIANNONG MENG is a Professor of Computer Science in the Department of Computer Science at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. His research interests include distributed computing, data mining, intelligent Web search, operating systems and computer networks. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

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Jianming Deng Jinling Institute of Technology and Southeast University

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Jianming Deng is a Professor of Computer Software in the School of Software Engineering at Jinling Institute of Technology in Nanjing, China. He was the dean of the college between 2014.05-2018.01. He was also the dean from 2006.04 to 2010.01 and a Professor between 2003-2014 of College of Software Engineering at Southeast University, Nanjing, China. His research interests include Algorithms of artificial intelligence, software engineering, and fuzzy theory. He received his Ph.D. in Mathematical Information science from Osaka Prefecture University of Japan.

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Computer science and information technology are playing an increasingly important role in Chinese economy and society. They also have great impact on many aspects of the world. As of 2017, Chinese universities have about 2,850 computing related degree programs with about 902,000 students. In comparison, the U.S. awarded 64,405 computer and information science bachelor’s degree in 2016. In many measures, Chinese computer science students in college and graduates who make up the majority of the work force in Chinese computing industry are very competitive. In the top 500 fastest super-computer competition in the last 10 listings (two listing per year), if we consider the top 10 winners in each of these listings, the Chinese made super-computers placed 16 spots in the total 100 spots, claiming first in nine of the 10 listings; Two of the top 10 most valued public listed companies of the world in second quarter of 2018 are Chinese tech companies; Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba surpassed the value of Amazon in 2017; Chinese company Huawei surpassed Apple as the world’s second largest smart phone brand (first is Samsung) in 2017; Student teams from China won a total of eight top medals (gold, silver, and bronze) in the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest in the last three years. It is thus of great interest for us to study the Chinese computer science undergraduate education and have a better understanding of their system.

In this paper we present the result of our study to examine undergraduate CS curricula from a collection of eight elite Chinese universities. We collected the curricular data from school’s websites. The data collected include total hours of computer science courses, the titles and hours of the required courses which include computer science, math, sciences, and engineering. The eight programs selected are from Tsinghua University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Peking University, Southeast University, Beijing University of Post and Telecommunications, Harbin Institute of Technology, University of Science and Technology, and Beihang University. We chose these programs because they are some of the best computer science programs in China, and their curricula information is readily available online.

Our study reveals some interesting facts, as compared to the typical undergraduate computer science programs in the U.S. These selected Chinese undergraduate computer science programs to a large extent are similar to most U.S. programs, requiring some standard computer science courses such as introduction to computer science, data structures, computer organizations, operating systems, and algorithm analysis. On the other hand, they require more computer science courses and more engineering courses. They also require more application-oriented courses such as database, compiler, and computer networks. Students also typically take more courses and credit hours per semester.

We hope our study shed some lights on understanding Chinese higher education in general, and computer science education in particular.

Meng, X., & Deng, J. (2019, June), A Snapshot of Undergraduate Computing Education in China Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--31997

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