Renmin Law School, Beijing
Founded in 1950, Renmin Law School was the first law school established in the People’s Republic of China. Today, it is considered one of the country’s leading law schools and sits at the very heart of legal education and legal reform in China.
With a focus on contemporary and historical issues in Chinese law and policy, Renmin has 12 academic departments, including Jurisprudence, Chinese Legal History, Civil Law and Commercial Law, Criminal Law, Constitutional Law and Administrative Law, and Intellectual Property Law, and 30 research institutes, including the RUC Center for Disabled Person’s Law & Legal Services and two national research centers sponsored by the Ministry of Education: the Research Center for Criminal Jurisprudence and the Research Center for Civil & Commercial Jurisprudence. The Law School produces China’s leading law journal, The Jurist, and an internationally distributed law journal published in English, Frontiers of Law in China.
Renmin Law School plays a strong advisory role on national legislation and judicial practice, with many faculty members participating in the drafting of and amendments to China’s Constitutional Law and other significant laws and acting as advisors to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee and the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.
Renmin University is host to more than 1,000 international students, and is the home of the English Corner, where students and citizens gather each Friday evening to speak and practice English.
“Overall, I highly recommend studying abroad at Renmin Law School (Renda) in Beijing. It is a top two or three (arguably the best) law school in the country, the faculty and academic atmosphere are strong, and it is a premium location for networking in the Chinese academic world.”– Charles Wharton ‘12 (past participant in semester abroad program, Renmin Law School)
Course Offerings and Credits
Exchange students may enroll in courses offered by Renmin Law School at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, including a wide range of courses in Chinese and comparative law. HLS students at Renmin have enrolled in courses such as Chinese Trademark Law and Foreign Direct Investment Law in China (from the undergraduate curriculum) to Chinese Commercial Law and Chinese Civil Law (offered through the LL.M. program) to doctoral-level Environmental Protection Law and Commercial Law courses. A number of courses at Renmin are particularly well-suited for students interested in learning more about contemporary and historical issues in Chinese law and policy.
Students are evaluated in accordance with their performance in class and the final exam, final paper, or final assignment. The instructor has discretion to decide how to weight the final exam against other factors such as class participation, term assignments, etc. The marking system at Renmin University of China is as follows: 90-100: A (4.0), 86-89: A- (3.7), 83-85: B+ (3.3), 80-83: B (3.0), 76-79: B- (2.7),73-75: C+(2.3), 70-73: C (2.0),66-69: C- (1.7), 63-65: D+ (1.3),60-62: D (1.0).
Course loads will vary from student to student. HLS students may receive a total of 10 to 12 ungraded classroom credits in relation to work done through the semester abroad program. Please see Semester Abroad: Academic Requirements for more information about course requirements and how semester abroad credits are calculated.
The presumption of the HLS Study Abroad Committee is that students applying for a semester abroad are proficient in the primary language of the destination country such that they are able to navigate university systems and take one or more law classes in that language. If not, the students must explain how they propose to manage these challenges and derive full benefit from a program of study abroad.
Although most law courses are taught in Chinese, Renmin Law School offers approximately 20 law courses in English each semester. HLS students who wish to take courses in English should carefully review the English-language course offerings to ensure that they are able to create a program of study that is suitably robust and consistent with their academic and career interests.
Students taking classes in Chinese are expected to have a level of Chinese fluency that will enable them to perform well in class and on exams.
Prior to study abroad, HLS students may improve their language proficiency and receive credit for foreign language courses at Harvard College in accordance with the HLS cross registration policy. Students may also find it helpful to arrive in China early for language acclimation and/or to take a language training course before law classes begin.
The academic year at Renmin Law School is divided into two semesters. The fall semester runs from early September to mid-January, and the spring semester runs from mid-February to the end of June. See the academic calendar for more information.
Students interested in the Renmin Law School exchange program should follow the HLS Semester Abroad application process described on the Semester Abroad: Planning and Application page.
HLS will inform students nominated to study at Renmin if there are any additional application materials to complete.
The exchange agreement stipulates that Renmin University reserve at least one spot for an HLS JD student each year. HLS may recommend more than one candidate but ultimately selection of the student will be made by Renmin.
Renmin University’s main campus is located in the Haidian district of Beijing, the city’s university and tech center. The Law School and its 300,000-volume library are in the modern Mingde Building, near the campus’ West Gate. The campus is in close proximity to other top Chinese schools, including Peking University, Tsinghua University, and Beijing Foreign Studies University, and a short distance from the Summer Palace, the centuries-old network of lakes, gardens and palaces that served as a royal retreat for Chinese emperors.
Beijing is the capital of China and the country’s political, economic, and social center. Considered the birthplace of Chinese law, Beijing is the seat of such central state organs as the National People’s Congress, the Supreme People’s Court, and the State Council, providing a unique opportunity for studying China’s administrative rules, application of laws, and judicial proceedings. The city is home to wide avenues and gleaming skyscrapers, as well as extraordinary historic sites, such as the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.
Renmin offers international students on-campus accommodation in the International Students Building and International Cultural Exchange Center on a first-come, first-served basis. The rooms are equipped with such amenities as Internet connections, telephones, and air conditioners. The facilities include shared kitchen space, laundry, convenience stores, and study rooms. Students may also choose to live off campus.