Founded in 1898, Peking University was originally named the Imperial University of Peking. It was the first national comprehensive university, as well as the supreme administrative organ for education in China at that time. In May 1912, the university took on its present name, Peking University.
In 1952, to meet the reform demands of the country, Peking University became a national key university focusing on both the humanities and the sciences with an added emphasis on research. In April 2000, Peking University and Beijing Medical University merged, totally changing the composition and diversity of Peking University. Today, with a broad teaching and research areas including natural sciences, applied sciences, engineering, medicine, as well as humanities, social sciences, management, education studies, foreign language studies, and a variety of other fields, Peking University has become a more comprehensive institution of higher learning in China.
There are more than 31,000 students currently attending Peking University. The university consists of 5 faculties, 42 colleges and departments, and has 271 research institutes and centers, 12 national key laboratories. Moreover, there are 104 undergraduate programs, 258 Master programs, and 228 doctorate programs. In addition, there are 81 key national disciplines, 35 post-doctoral research stations. Peking University has more than 5000 faculty members, and 59 members from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering. The Peking University Library houses over 7 million books.
Aiming to build itself into a world-class university, Peking University has made an effective combination of research on important scientific issues with talents cultivation so as to meet the demands of the development of the nation, thus become a center for teaching and research and a university of the new type in China.