Groningen opening China branch

The University of Groningen is opening a branch campus in collaboration with China Agricultural University. Up to 10,000 students could eventually be pursuing a RUG degree in the northern Chinese city of Yantai.

Today, President Poppema is signing a contract with China Agricultural University (CAU) and the city of Yantai for the RUG to enter into a Joint Campus venture. A campus roughly the size of the Zernike complex has already been built, including a 20-story tall academic building and two housing towers with room for 10,000 students.

‘These are our diplomas’

‘We want to make a smaller copy of the University of Groningen’, president Sibrand Poppema says. ‘The diplomas will be from the RUG. We want it to be research-intensive, we want bachelors, masters and PhDs, and we will not be making a profit. Any profit that we do make in Yantai will be invested in research.’

The plans include eventually recruiting up to 600 staff members, comprised of a mix of existing RUG staff and Chinese educators. The goals for enrolment in the long term are 7,500 bachelors, 2,000 masters and 500 PhDs.

The first students of the University of Groningen Yantai could begin enrolling in a preparatory year of classes mostly taught by CAU in 2016, followed by a RUG-developed curriculum in 2017. The classes will be based on existing English-language academic programs in Groningen.


Yantai is located in northern China with a population of 1.8 million, and is a hub for hundreds of high-tech companies. The branch campus will be financed entirely through Chinese resources, and the RUG will never be responsible for paying rent for using the facilities.

China Agricultural University is among the elite Project 985 universities in China and already has two campuses in Beijing with around 20,000 students in total. Several other foreign universities have similar branches in China, including Nottingham University, Liverpool University, New York University and Duke University.

To find out more about Groningen’s plans with China Agricultural University, read our Magazine article: Remade in China.