UCD announces two new international colleges in China

Posted 30 April, 2020

University College Dublin and two of its partner universities have received official approval from the Chinese Ministry of Education for two new international colleges in China. The approval of these two new international colleges in China marks a major milestone for UCD and confirms its standing as Ireland’s Global University. 

UCD is now uniquely placed globally, having three joint international colleges in China approved by the Ministry of Education. Each is in a different academic discipline area, reflecting research expertise within UCD in ICT, transportation and agriculture and food.

In partnership with Chang’an University in Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi province in central China, UCD will establish the Chang’an-Dublin International College of Transportation (CDIC).

This international college will offer dual-degree programmes in civil engineering infrastructure, automotive engineering and transport and city planning & environmental policy. The first enrolment of students is planned for 2020. Some 360 students, 120 per programme, will be enrolled in the first year with a total enrolment of 1,440 planned for the international college.

In partnership with South China Agricultural University, UCD will establish the Guangzhou-Dublin International College of Life Sciences and Technology (GDIC) in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province in south China.

GDIC will offer dual-degree programmes in horticulture, biological sciences and food safety & security. The first student enrolments are scheduled for 2020. In its first year, the international college will enrol 180 students and the total enrolment will be 720 after four years.

The partnership with SCAU reflects the specific strengths both universities have in agricultural and food sciences. Both are ranked in the top 50 in the QS World University Rankings in this area and UCD is also ranked 19th in the US News and World Report best universities for agricultural sciences.

Speaking of the announcement of the two new international colleges, the Minister for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O'Connor said:

“I would like to congratulate University College Dublin on the establishment of these two new international colleges which will further enhance the existing strong higher education relationship between Ireland and China.”

“These partnerships, with two prestigious Chinese universities, focusing on agriculture and food and sustainable transport systems, provide further proof that Ireland’s international education strategy continues to deliver in practical and substantial ways to the economy and society.”

The approvals for CDIC and GDIC are founded on the success of UCD’s first joint international college, the Beijing-Dublin International College (BDIC) established in partnership with Beijing University of Technology (BJUT) in 2012. Situated in Beijing, China’s capital city, BDIC offers students a unique opportunity to experience a world-class international education. It offers programmes in computer science, internet of things, electronic and information engineering and financial economics. All core modules are delivered through English with the majority being delivered by UCD lecturers in Beijing. Students graduate with degrees from both UCD and BJUT.

From an initial intake of 24 students BDIC now has more than 1,300 students enrolled to its four programmes with almost 300 students due to graduate in 2020. Of the class of 213 graduates from 2019, 170 went on to graduate study. Of these, 158 have gone abroad and one third to universities listed in the top 50 of QS World University Rankings. 

In addition, the presence of UCD staff on the BJUT campus facilitates research synergies and the first cohort of jointly supervised PhD students are due to graduate in 2023. This BDIC model will ensure CDIC and GDIC flourish at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The President of University College Dublin, Professor Andrew Deeks said: 

“These two new colleges copper-fasten UCD as Ireland’s global university and an international global university. At steady state, graduates from our three joint colleges, approximately 850 per annum, will promote and enhance Ireland’s reputation in one of the world's fastest opening and most significant economies.”

“A key consideration in establishing these joint international colleges was the alignment of research strengths and the potential for synergies. GDIC will be a hub for agriculture and food science, an area in which UCD is globally renowned. CDIC will focus on transportation related issues, an area in which Chang’an University has built its reputation. This combination of complementary strengths will empower UCD in its strategic objectives to build a healthier world and a more sustainable global society.”

The Vice-President for Global Engagement, Professor Dolores O’Riordan said: 

“UCD’s global engagement strategy is to bring the best of the world to Ireland and the best of Ireland, including its distinct culture, to the world. With BDIC, CDIC and GDIC, we can enhance staff and student mobility in both directions, promote UCD and some of its core research strengths, consolidate our presence in China, and promote Ireland as an outward facing globally aware and engaged economy. These are exciting and significant opportunities for UCD.”

Chang’an University was established in 2000 by merging three former universities founded in the 1950s: Xi’an Highway University, Xi’an Engineering Institute and Northwest Institute of Construction Engineering. It has five campuses all located in Xi’an. Its Weishui campus is home to the only autonomous automobile testing track within universities in China. It has over 36,000 full time students including 1,000 foreign students. Among its faculty are three members of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. It is a national key university, a state “211 Project” university, a State “985” Project advantage discipline innovation platform and also one of the World-class Discipline Construction Universities meaning it is identified as a prioritised university for Chinese state investment.

South China Agricultural University (SCAU) was founded in 1909. It has over 42,000 students and offers teaching and research programmes in agriculture, engineering, liberal arts, sciences, economy, management, and law studies. SCAU is a national key university and a “211 Project” university.

By: Dominic Martella, UCD University Relations