The environmental program at Peking University (PKU) was initiated in 1972, which is one of the earliest programs dedicated to environmental education and research in China. Over the past 40 years, the program has been playing a leading role in the forefront of environmental protection in China by addressing emerging important environmental problems to raise the awareness of government and society and by providing solution and policy suggestion based on excellent fundamental research. The program has grown into a fully-fledged and well-recognized research and educational institute now known as the College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering (CESE) at PKU. CESE was founded in 2007 and since then significant progresses have been made in academic programs development, faculty team building, student enrollment and education, laboratory improvement, and outreach.
The college is composed of three departments: Department of Environmental Sciences, Department of Environmental Engineering, and Department of Environmental Management. In addition, two renowned research labs which are State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control and Key Laboratory of Water and Sediment Sciences, as well as a jointly built institute with Zhuhai government in Guangdong province, i.e., PKU-Zhuhai Ecological Civilization Institute, are directed by CESE to provide decision support on urban and regional sustainable development.
The college has a faculty of 25 professors, 29 associate and assistant professors and 15 staff members. Among them, one professor is a member of Chinese Academy of Engineering, two are Cheung Kong Chair Professor, and four are Distinguished Young Scholar of National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC). Currently, there are 132 undergraduate students, 164 master students and 119 doctoral students enrolled in the College.
A fairly mature inter-disciplinary academic program has been developed for educating undergraduate and graduate students. Each year, up to 40 students are enrolled in the undergraduate program. The faculty student ratio is maintained at about 1:2, which enables frequent interaction between faculty members and students. Once registered, each freshman is assigned an academic and moral mentor to help them explore their full potentials in their college life. The college creates ample opportunities for students to gain oversea experiences as exchange students, visiting students or by attending summer schools and international conferences. The master and PhD programs of the college are committed to cultivating students’ creativity and improving their ability to study and solve complicated environmental problems. Graduate students play an important role in scientific research.
The college has made significant contributions to understanding the cause and mechanism of air, water and soil pollution, identifying solutions and innovating technologies to abate pollutions, improving natural resource management, formulating environmental planning, and providing decision support for environmental protection and compliance with international environmental treaties in China. The alumni from the college are well welcomed by industry, governmental agencies, international organizations and research institutes among others. A faculty and student support system has been developed. The staff is devoted to maintaining a pleasant working and studying environment for faculty members, students and others.
Since its foundation in 1972, the college has witnessed tremendous change in economic growth and environmental protection in China and experienced rapid development. The college also has a good tradition on international cooperation.