Founded in October 1952, Beihang University is the first institution of higher education in aeronautics and astronautics established after the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. It was born for and grows together with the country, which endowed it with noble missions and grand vision. Its aspiration, history, and development are always closely aligned with China's growth and national rejuvenation.
In 1952, Beijing Aviation Institute (now known as Beihang University) was founded according to the instruction of Premier Zhou Enlai. Located at the Baiyan Village, it consisted of the elite faculty and staff from eight universities, among whom were 27 professors and 19 associate professors who received education abroad and returned to serve their motherland, and its first class included 1,094 students from across the country. Today it has developed into a comprehensive research university with over 37,000 students and more than 4,200 faculty and staff members in Xueyuan Road Campus and Shahe Campus. In the past 68 years, the university always follows the directions pointed out by the Communist Party of China, stays true to its original aspiration of cultivating students into competent people for the Party and China, and values patriotism, devotion and the pioneering spirit. Its essential spirit is to serve the motherland with contributions to the aerospace sector. As a member of the Double First-Class plan, it pursues quality development and makes great efforts to become a world-class university with Chinese characteristics and known for its top-class graduates and contributions.
Beihang University always regards the cultivation of students into competent people with good morals as its fundamental mission, strengthening students’ sense of patriotism and responsibility in the cultivation process and combines the mission with the creation of knowledge. In the past 68 years, over 200,000 Beihang graduates have become an active part of various industries at home and abroad, fully showing the features of love for both their family and their country, integrity, sincerity, innovation, responsibility and being a doer with achievements. To offer first-class undergraduate education, Beihang started the largest reform in its academic structure since its inception in 2017. Adhering to the ideology of being “student-oriented, liberal arts-based, integrated, innovative, and open”, it established Beihang School where all undergraduates spend the first two years of their college life. High school graduates are admitted to the university based on their aptitude in general disciplines, then organized into six colleges under Beihang School and nurtured with general education in a broad range of subjects. As a result of the reform, the university and schools care more about the students, teachers pay more attention to teaching, students love study more, and Beihang's quality of student cultivation has improved significantly. Beihang also strives to develop a new model of student cultivation in the context of new engineering disciplines, which emphasizes students’ all-round development in morals, intelligence, physical strength, aesthetic appreciation and labour skills, and transform its research advantage into the student cultivation advantage, equipping its graduates with the ability and sense of responsibility to take on the task of national rejuvenation. Beihang has been attracting some of the best Chinese high school graduates, who are among the top 3‰ in their provinces (1‰ in some places) in the national college entrance examination. Every year half of the Doctors and over one-third of the Masters graduating from Beihang are employed in the defense sector.
Beihang University prioritizes academic research and integrates it with national missions and economy, making a breakthrough from points to a system of innovation. It has developed the “Beihang model” for scientific innovation, which is the sum of large projects, teams and platforms to bring great achievements. In the fourth national discipline evaluation, Beihang has 14 disciplines rated A, among which Aerospace Science and Technology, Instrumentation Science and Technology, Materials Science and Engineering, and Software Engineering have an A+ rating. In 2018, it proposed the discipline development plan that includes goals of “top engineering disciplines, first-class sciences disciplines, quality arts disciplines and medical engineering disciplines with an edge” and coordinates the five discipline groups of aerospace, informatics, sciences, arts, and medical engineering. In recent years, several new schools and institutes, such as the Research Institute of Aero-Engine (cooperating with AECC), the School of Cyber Science and Technology, the School of Integrated Circuit Science and Engineering, the School of Medical Science and Engineering, the Institute of Artificial Intelligence and Airborne Systems Innovation Center, have been established to combine talent cultivation, basic research and key multidisciplinary technology development. As one of the Chinese universities best at cutting-edge technology research, Beihang has developed several new types of aircraft and solved a number of challenges, for which it has received a record 15 national-level first prizes for its scientific and technological accomplishments in the past 15 years. It works with national key enterprises in the fields of aerospace, engine, watercraft and so on to keep strengthening its basic and cutting-edge research capability, and its innovation ability has considerably improved. Now the university produces at least one significant academic discovery every month and one significant academic achievement every two months on average.
Beihang University has been working unceasingly to build a strong and excellent team of world-class teachers. When the university was founded, there were teachers from internationally renowned universities, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Imperial College London, Stanford University, and Oxford University, and they were among the best university teachers in China at that time. Recently, the university has been exploring an international talent recruitment and support model driven by critical scientific problems and based on the International Research Institute for Multidisciplinary Science. Every year it holds the Beihang University Vision Forum for International Young Scholars as a pipeline for outstanding talents from world-class universities to Beihang. The university now has nearly 100 professors who are part of various high-level national talent plans, and in 2019 three more Beihang professors became members of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Besides research achievements, it also attaches great importance to teachers’ morals and contributions to teaching. It established the Beihang Moral Achievement and Talent Cultivation Awards, Beihang’s highest honor in student cultivation, and has presented the awards to 46 teachers in the past four years, many of whom are teaching-oriented. Its emphasis on teachers’ morals and contributions has been recognized by every Beihanger.
Beihang University always holds global vision and seeks a development path with its own characteristics. By implementing the “university-to-university, professor-to-professor, and student-to-student” international development strategy, Beihang has built a network for all-round international exchange and cooperation and significantly increased its influence and competitiveness around the world. The university has established long-term, stable partnerships with nearly 200 well-known institutions of higher education, first-class research institutes, and multinational companies. It has also joined numerous international alliances and academic organizations and founded a number of high-level international cooperation platforms. With a focus on better infrastructure, faculty and care for students, the university aims to be an intelligent, warm, safe and scenic place where Beihangers can enjoy their study and life.
With its own mission, dream and pursuit, Beihang University now stands at the crossroads of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and changes unseen in a century. It will follow the guidance of the Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, stay true to its original aspiration of cultivating students into competent people for the Party and the country, spread the spirit of “serving the motherland with contributions to the aerospace sector”, and constantly provide top-class competent people and make top-class contributions. It is firmly believed that if all the faculty, staff, students and alumni work together, Beihang will surely become a world-class university with Chinese characteristics and contribute more to the realization of the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.
Welcome to Beihang!
Prof. Dr.-Ing. XU Huibin
President of Beihang University
Updated in October 2020