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Founded in 1902, Nanjing University is one of the oldest and most prestigious institutions of higher learning in China. With the motto of 'Sincerity with Aspiration, Perseverance with Integrity,' this university carries the spirit of constant striving for educational and academic excellence…

Inside View


Situated in the old capital city of Nanjing, Nanjing University (NJU) has a one-hundred-year-long history and enjoys high prestige. It evolved from Sanjiang Normal School (established in 1902), to Liangjiang Normal School, to Nanjing Higher Normal School, to National Southeastern University, to National Fourth Sun Yat-sen University, to National Central University, to National Nanjing University, and finally to Nanjing University in 1950. In the nationwide restructuring of universities and colleges undertaken in 1952, NJU was integrated with Jinling University and retained its name Nanjing University. The university then moved from Sipailou to Gulou, where Jinling College used to be.  


In its century-old history, NJU has witnessed and shared our nation’s hardship and glory, striving with great effort to make its contributions to national revitalization and scientific progress. Faced with new, historical opportunities brought forth by the Reform and Opening-up, NJU as a key comprehensive university under the direct supervision of the Ministry of Education has upgraded itself with good momentum of development in teaching, research and social service, ranking among China’s top universities in its teaching indexes and overall strength. In 1994, NJU was accredited as a key university receiving support by “211 Project.” In 1999, it became one of the first batch of high-level universities receiving support by “985 Project.” Since 2006, it has been under the joint construction by the Ministry of Education and Jiangsu Province.  

Students and Faculty

At present, NJU has three campuses: Xianlin Campus, Gulou Campus and Pukou Campus. With 28 schools under the university’s direct supervision, the number of the students in 2016 is 32,999 in total, including 13,583 undergraduates, 10,865 master students, 5,335 doctoral students, and 3,216 full-time international students. The university boasts a faculty made up of the most accomplished scholars in China, a large number of outstanding disciplines and many important national and provincial research platforms. 

Teaching Ideas

Over the past century, centering on educating men and women, NJU has, in different historical periods, cultivated and turned out many talents, who have made enormous contributions and achievements in their respective fields. Since the Reform and Opening-up, the university has explored many different methods of reform in teaching and education and has brought up many important educational ideas and teaching theories, which have exerted significant influence on higher education both at home and abroad.


At present, NJU has set up the goal of “doing the best in undergraduate education,” adhering to the education idea of “integrating disciplinary building with undergraduate teaching, liberal education with personal cultivation, foundation broadening with practice deepening, and learning to learn with learning to be a citizen.” The university keeps deepening the reform of the mechanisms of cultivating creative talents and fostering leading figures and outstanding talents with creativity, practical ability and international vision for all walks of life in society.




Over the past century, Nanjing University has been through many vicissitudes and experienced repeated changes in its name and location, but its traditional spirit of honesty, perseverance, self-reliance and unremitting pursuit of truth and creativity has been passed on from generation to generation and will be carried forward into the future. It is such fine tradition and spirit that allow the university to establish itself in the growth of the Chinese and world civilization, enrich its cultural heritage and nurture honest, persistent and self-reliant students. Since its establishment over a hundred years ago, Nanjing University has maintained its youthful vigor and made progress in various undertakings. It has made remarkable achievements in areas such as talent training, scientific research, social work and academic exchanges and has made indelible contributions to China's scientific, cultural and educational undertakings.


“Sincerity” is the most original part of the traditional spirit of Nanjing University. It means honesty, earnestness and simpleness, with honesty being the core and root. Learning with sincerity means seeking truth from facts and being rigorous and diligent in pursuing truth. Only in this way can we make true achievement in learning and shoulder the responsibility of rejuvenating the Chinese nation. 


“Aspiration” asks for grandeur and greatness. It urges us to be ambitious in “doing big things” and to foster the spirit of fearlessness. Both we teachers and students should have a sense of responsibility and a sense of calling so that we can link our own goals with the needs of the development of our country and the progress of human civilization. 


While “Sincerity with Aspiration” reflects the educational philosophy and objectives of the university, “Perseverance with Integrity” lay stress on the approach to achieving these objectives. These two words encourage us teachers and students to work hard and practice with our hands. We should not only have great ambitions but also put to practice what we have found to be true. Only through down-to-earth practice can we fulfill ourselves and show to others what we know and who we are. 

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