About the College

The environmental program at Peking University (PKU) was initiated in 1972, which is one of the earliest programs dedicated to environmental education and research in China. Over the past 40 years, the program has been playing a leading role in the forefront of environmental protection in China by addressing emerging important environmental problems to raise the awareness of government and society and by providing solution and policy suggestion based on excellent fundamental research. The program has grown into a fully-fledged and well-recognized research and educational institute now known as the College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering (CESE) at PKU. CESE was founded in 2007 and since then significant progresses have been made in academic programs development, faculty team building, student enrollment and education, laboratory improvement, and outreach.

The college is composed of three departments: Department of Environmental Sciences, Department of Environmental Engineering, and Department of Environmental Management. In addition, two renowned research labs which are State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control and Key Laboratory of Water and Sediment Sciences, as well as a jointly built institute with Zhuhai government in Guangdong province, i.e., PKU-Zhuhai Ecological Civilization Institute, are directed by CESE to provide decision support on urban and regional sustainable development.

The college has a faculty of 25 professors, 29 associate and assistant professors and 15 staff members. Among them, one professor is a member of Chinese Academy of Engineering, two are Cheung Kong Chair Professor, and four are Distinguished Young Scholar of National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC). Currently, there are 132 undergraduate students, 164 master students and 119 doctoral students enrolled in the College.

A fairly mature inter-disciplinary academic program has been developed for educating undergraduate and graduate students. Each year, up to 40 students are enrolled in the undergraduate program. The faculty student ratio is maintained at about 1:2, which enables frequent interaction between faculty members and students. Once registered, each freshman is assigned an academic and moral mentor to help them explore their full potentials in their college life. The college creates ample opportunities for students to gain oversea experiences as exchange students, visiting students or by attending summer schools and international conferences. The master and PhD programs of the college are committed to cultivating students’ creativity and improving their ability to study and solve complicated environmental problems. Graduate students play an important role in scientific research.

The college has made significant contributions to understanding the cause and mechanism of air, water and soil pollution, identifying solutions and innovating technologies to abate pollutions, improving natural resource management, formulating environmental planning, and providing decision support for environmental protection and compliance with international environmental treaties in China. The alumni from the college are well welcomed by industry, governmental agencies, international organizations and research institutes among others. A faculty and student support system has been developed. The staff is devoted to maintaining a pleasant working and studying environment for faculty members, students and others.

Since its foundation in 1972, the college has witnessed tremendous change in economic growth and environmental protection in China and experienced rapid development. The detailed history of CESE is presented in Table 1.

Table 1 History of the College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at PKU





Created a program on Environmental Chemistry and Environmental Geoscience

It is the first environmental program created in China.


Initiated study on photochemical smog in Lanzhou and assessment of environmental quality in Beijing west suburb

They are among the earliest studies on atmospheric pollution and environmental assessment in China.


Created a master program in Environmental Chemistry and Environmental Geoscience

It is one of the earliest master programs on Environmental Science in China.


Established the Center for Environmental Sciences (CES), Peking University from the earlier environmental study group

Rooted in the university’s departments of mathematics, chemistry, geography, biology, economics, and law, the center was a comprehensive and interdisciplinary one.


Established the research group on Environmental Planning and Management

It is the first research group created on Environmental Planning And Management in China.


Completed the construction of environmental wind tunnel (still in use)

It is the first environmental wind tunnel built in China.


Created a PhD program in Environmental Science

It is one of the earliest PhD programs on Environmental Science in China.


CES gained joint support from Peking University and the then State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) of China. It also served as a training base for senior officials in SEPA.

This has enhanced the connection between Peking University’s fundamental research and the Chinese government’s environmental policy making.


The founding of State Key Joint Laboratory for Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control (Peking University) was approved by the then State Development Planning Commission.

It is one of the first key laboratories founded in China.


Peking University Research Centre for Sustainable Development was founded with its core members being faculty members at CES.



Peking University Institute of Environmental Engineering was founded.



Created a research program on Environment and Health

Peking University was merged with Peking Medical University in 1999. It’s the product of such a merging.


Qualified to confer PhD degree on Environmental Engineering

It is a milestone on Environmental Engineering at Peking University.


Key Laboratory of Water and Sediment Sciences, Ministry of Education, was created.



CES, Department of Urban and Environmental Science and Division of Environmental Chemistry in the Department of Technical Physics were joined to form the College of Environmental Sciences (CoES).



College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering was officially founded.



Peking University Institute of Environment and Economy was founded.



Peking University Institute of Environment and Health was founded.



Team of “Regional and Global Atmospheric Chemical Processes and the Environmental Impacts” was awarded as Innovative Research Group by the National Natural Science Foundation of China.



Research Center for Advanced Wastewater Treatment was founded.