Poli 321B in Chongqing, China

video created by Haochen Li, UBC VPI

POLI 321B: Chinese Politics and Development (3 Credits)
April 30 – May 18, 2018 in Chongqing, China

This past May, Professor Yves Tiberghien led a ground-breaking undergraduate seminar for a group of roughly 40 UBC students in Chongqing, China, at the Southwest University of Political Science and Law.

As part of UBC Go Global, this course helped students explore various aspects of Chinese politics and the dynamics of development in China, through field visits in and around its fastest growing city.

Watch the video above to learn more about this unique experience; full program details are included below.

Where the Location Informs the Learning

Go Global Seminar Details:

Chongqing is one of the fastest growing and most dynamic cities in China and the economic center for China’s South West region. It is seen as a top priority target area by the Canadian government, hence visits by Prime Minister Harper in 2012 and the Governor General in July 2017. Canada operates a full Consulate General in Chongqing.

The program will provide unique field visits on a daily basis with access to government, courts, companies, and research centers, allowing for interactions with many key players. Additionally, the program will offer unique opportunities to visit historical cities (Chengdu, Xian), including the Panda reserve, and to taste the cuisine of Sichuan and Chongqing, possibly the most colorful and endearing in China.

Students will acquire analytical skills and great insights in updated policy-making process in China covering economic issues, social issues, urban issues, legal issues, and China’s impact on global governance. The combination of analytical and real world skills acquired at the heart of China’s transformation will be extremely valuable on the job market. The program is also certain to have a transformative effect on your views of China and of global affairs.

A top level course on policy-making and reforms in China across a wide range of domains combining instruction by UBC Professor Yves Tiberghien (also Exec Director of the UBC China Council and Director Emeritus of the Institute of Asian Research) and some courses from experts at one of the top 3 policy schools in China: Southwestern University of Political Sciences and Law (SWUPL). The Teaching Assistant, Yingqiu Kuang, is a high achieving PhD candidate in UBC’s POLI SCI department and a Chongqing native.

The program benefits from dual support of BC government and Chongqing Municipal government – as well as Canada’s Federal government.  It is seen as a pilot high impact program that will be likely reproduced in the future.

Lectures will be given Monday – Thursday from 9am – 12pm over the 3 weeks. To obtain the POLI 321B (3 credits), students will need to participate in the lectures and group work (25%), write a 5-page experiential report from field visits (25%) and write a 10-12 page (double-spaced) think piece within one month of the end of the trip (50%). There will be no final exam.

Afternoons and Fridays will be devoted to field visits to a range of exciting sites (Court, government, 3-gorge dam museum, large companies, environmental sites, and cultural activities, as well as travel to sites in Chongqing and Sichuan. The first weekend will be devoted to a visit to the ancient capital of Chengdu, including the Panda reserve.

General timeline:

UBC preparation session in March
April 26th (9 – 3 pm at UBC)
April 30th – May 18th in Chongqing, China


Well suited for POLI, IR, ECON, Sauder, AS, SOC, HIST majors – but open to all majors on campus.
Should have taken 2 POLI or IR courses at upper level (familiarity with social science writing).
Ability to work in groups and with the guidelines of the project; social skills.

Program Fee and Special Fellowship:

The Program Fee is approximately $3,500 – $3,900.
All students accepted into this Global Seminar program will receive a special fellowship award of $3,000.

Given the support of the BC and Federal government for training in Chinese policy competence, eligible students will receive a special UBC – China Go Global Fellowship of $3,000. Therefore, the Program Fee is $500 – $900. The final fee depends on the number of students in the program. Students do not pay the Go Global fee when applying to a Global Seminar. The Go Global fee is built into the Program Fee and is payable upon acceptance to the program.