The Spatial and Social Origins of Chinese Doctoral Students in North America and Europe, 1905-1962

Zixin Zhang, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
James Z. Lee, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

This paper discusses Chinese overseas doctoral students in North America and Europe from 1905 to 1962. These students account for almost all of the Chinese PhD students during this long half-century. Moreover, because of the support of the Boxer Rebellion Indemnity Scholarship, 1907-1945, they include many of China’s ‘best and brightest’. By comparing a list of all successful Chinese doctoral students who graduated from North America and Europe between 1905 to 1962 and by supplementing these data with information from the Chinese University Student Dataset – Republic of China (CUSD-ROC), and the Chinese University Employment Dataset – Republic of China (CUED-ROC), I discover that the trend for pursuing overseas doctoral study first emerged in the beginning of the 20th century and the number steadily rose until the breakout of the Second World War. During the post-war period, North American universities experienced another rapid increase in the number of students, while the graduating students in European universities remained low after 1945. The province of origin and address of these students were mainly located in the coastal region in China, while the tertiary institutions they attended to were basically in major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. This influential and important group of future scholars typically graduated from no more than 10 tertiary institutions in China and 20 post-tertiary institutions in North America and Europe, and most of them later became senior faculty mainly in around 100 Chinese universities in early 1940s. This pattern of localized tertiary and post-tertiary education but national and even international employment differs considerably from current education and employment patterns in China, which show an increasing trend towards national and even international education and localized employment.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 152. Different Beginnings-Comparative Perspectives on Early Tertiary Education