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USC, Tsinghua University establish new dual degree master’s program

Tsinghua University Dean Jiaguang Sun and USC Viterbi Dean Yannis C. Yortsos sign the agreement to create the dual master’s degree. (Photo/Courtesy of USC Viterbi School of Engineering)

The USC Viterbi School of Engineering and Tsinghua University (THU) in Beijing have launched a program that will allow selected engineering students to simultaneously earn master’s degrees from both institutions.

“This new program highlights USC’s ongoing commitment to provide students with unique international education opportunities,” said Anthony Bailey, vice provost for global initiatives. “Participants will have the benefit of the diverse learning environments and programs offered by these two world-class universities.”

The dual graduate degree program allows students to spend their first year at one school, their second at the other and then their third at either institution while pursuing two degrees in related but not identical disciplines.

“Tsinghua University is among the top universities in the world, particularly in science, engineering and computer science. We are delighted to have created this unique program that allows top graduate students from THU and USC Viterbi to take the best from both institutions,” said USC Viterbi Dean Yannis C. Yortsos. “This further strengthens our relationship with Tsinghua — a relationship that has benefited tremendously by our joint alumnus Feng Deng.”

Deng MS ’93, an alumnus of both universities and founder of Northern Light Venture Capital, helped to facilitate the dual degree program, which was announced at the seventh joint THU-USC faculty forum in Beijing in May.

USC Viterbi already admits a significant number of Tsinghua graduates to its graduate programs. The new dual degree program is expected to increase this flow and attract new Tsinghua students, who will no longer have to choose between the two universities.

“Talented students from Tsinghua University can be attracted to USC to enrich their experience in both China and the U.S.,” said Joe Qin, USC Viterbi vice dean of academic initiatives, who organized the program with his Tsinghua counterpart, Deputy Dean Zhisheng Niu.

“Likewise, the dual master’s degree program provides unique opportunities to USC students to become associated with China’s elite institute and obtain a global real-life experience by studying in Beijing,” Qin said.

USC Viterbi master’s students can opt into this program by completing a number of courses and a project thesis. Cultural immersion is considered a key feature of the program, which takes place in two of the most vibrant metropolises in the Pacific Rim.

The first class of dual degree students will be admitted this fall and begin its coursework at USC Viterbi in 2014.

The USC Viterbi-THU dual degree program is the latest in a series of global educational programs launched by USC, which maintains eight international offices in Hong Kong, Mexico City, São Paulo, Shanghai, Beijing, India, Seoul, South Korea, and Taipei, Taiwan. Recent successes include the World Bachelor in Business partnership between USC, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and Bocconi University, which allows undergraduate students to study at and earn bachelor’s degrees from all three institutions over the course of four years.

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