China Engagement

The Chinese flag blowing in the breeze

Saint Mary’s is unique in Atlantic Canada in offering a comprehensive, degree-granting interdisciplinary program in Asian Studies. Founded in 1971, the program is designed for students to learn Asian languages and cultures, and to facilitate study abroad experiences in Asia, particularly ChinaHonours, majors and minors in Chinese Studies are included, and the Certificate in Chinese Studies is also available.

Some of the notable partnerships and collaborations between Saint Mary’s and China include the following:

  • Saint Mary’s played a leadership role in the Canada/China Language and Cultural Program (CCLCP) funded by CIDAThis project ran from 1982- 1997and established a language-training centre at Beijing Normal University and an across-Canada network of regional orientation centres for Chinese scholars and students coming to study and research in Canada.
  • During the 1980s Saint Mary’s established partnerships in the business sector through the CIDA-supported Canada China Management Education Program. These partnerships were with the University of International Business and Economics and Xiamen University. Saint Mary’s University was involved in helping Xiamen University to build its MBA Centre, which was believed to the first of its kind in China.
  • During the 1980s Saint Mary’s developed an exchange program with Shandong Teachers University.
  • During the 1990s Saint Mary’s delivered two Executive MBA Programs on behalf of China Minmetals Corporation to train and upgrade its middle management
  • Working with Xiamen University and Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, Saint Mary’s took a leadership role in a $7 million CIDA supported project called Community-based Conservation Management in China and Vietnam.
  • Saint Mary’s has delivered a Master of Finance program to Chinese students that have come to Halifax since the late 1990s. Over 300 Chinese students have completed their Master of Finance degree. Many of them have also obtained CFA designations and are now working in China’s financial sector.
  • Saint Mary’s currently has six student exchange agreements, and credit transfer agreements with 14 Chinese institutions.
  • The Confucius Institute in partnership with Xiamen University opened at Saint Mary’s in 2011. The Institute provides Chinese language instruction and accreditation, and teaches about the Chinese culture.
  • Saint Mary’s recently concluded a Federal government-funded project in Chongqing. Led by DrKevin Kelloway, the project focused on occupational health and safety in the workplace.
  • The Saint Mary’s Department of Biology has an active research collaboration with Shaanxi Normal University in Xi’an.
  • Saint Mary’s has a research collaboration with Nanjing Audit University in Finance.
  • Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray, President and Vice-Chancellor of Saint Mary’s University has travelled extensively to China with both the Premier of Nova Scotia and the Mayor of Halifax on trade missions.

Beijing Normal University Zhuhai (BNUZ)

Saint Mary’s has had a partnership with Beijing Normal University Zhuhai since 2002, encompassing a number of study abroad programs, transfer credit agreements and a Saint Mary’s satellite campus at BNUZThese include the following:

  • Since 2012 Saint Mary’s has collaborated with BNUZ in offering an annual five- week summer study abroad program on Chinese history and culture for Canadian students. Approximately 12-15 students from Saint Mary’s participate each year for a total of about 60 since 2012.
  • From 2012 to 2015 Saint Mary’s collaborated with Acadia University in offering an annual three-week summer program for students from Beijing Normal University and Beijing Normal University Zhuhai. Held on their two campuses in Nova Scotia, the program focuses on North American culture and English language. Since 2016, Saint Mary’s has delivered the entire program on its campus in Halifax. Approximately 40 students participate each year for a total of about 250 students from China since 2012.
  • There are 2+2 agreements in Business, Science and Arts that enable BNUZ students to complete the first two years of university study on campus at BNUZ, and to transfer to Saint Mary’s to complete the final two years of their degrees in Halifax. The Arts 2+2 is the only such agreement in Canada, and possibly in the world. The first cohort of 40 students will arrive at Saint Mary’s in September 2017.
  • Saint Mary’s and BNUZ collaborate in offering professional development institutes for academic faculty and administrative staff from their two universities. Saint Mary’s has hosted four such programs for BNUZ, and BNUZ hosted the first institute for a Saint Mary’s delegation in June, 2017. This is a bilateral organizational change initiative: the BNUZ focus is development of teaching and pedagogy, and the Saint Mary’s focus is intercultural development. Close to 150 BNUZ faculty and staff have taken the program thus far.
  • In 2014 a satellite campus of Saint Mary’s was established in order to offer the Bachelor of Commerce degree (Finance Major) in China. Students take two years of the degree program from Beijing Normal University at Zhuhai (BNUZ) faculty and for the final two years, they are instructed by Saint Mary’s professors from the Sobey School of Business. Students can stay in China and take a Saint Mary’s degree on site at BNUZ.
  • The connections built between BNUZ and Saint Mary’s have helped the City of Halifax and the Province of Nova Scotia develop relationships with businesses in China.
  • The Mayor of Halifax visited China in June, 2017. A letter of intent was signed with the Mayor of Zhuhai to explore establishing a partnership between Halifax and Zhuhai.


Title Date Partners Description
Canada-China Management Education Program 1983-1986 Xiamen University University of Int’l Business and Economics Promote business education and establish MBA programs in China
Canada/China Language and Cultural Program ($25M) 1982-1995 University of Int’l Business and Economics Beijing Normal University Support for CIDA-funded Chinese scholars and trainees through language training centres in China and cultural training centres in Canada
Community-Based Conservation Management in China and Vietnam ($7M) 1998-2003 Xiamen University, Fujian Agricultural and Forestry University Vietnam National University Develop institutional expertise in ecosystem health and conservation management through community-oriented field training and activities
China Migrant Labour Occupational Health and Safety 2008-2013 Foundation for International Training Training for government and other agencies in Chongqing to reduce incidence of workplace injury, illness and death, particularly for migrant workers
Students for Development – Food Security 2011-2013 Shaanxi Normal University Internship exchange for students to carry out research in issues related to food security in mountainous regions

Summary–China Academic Exchange Programs

Date Partners Description
1980s Shandong Teachers University Faculty exchange
1990-present Xiamen University SMU students enroll in XMU summer language program
Current Jinan University Student exchange
Current Beijing Normal University Zhuhai Student exchange Summer program in Zhuhai for Canadian students
Current Beijing Normal University/ BNUZ Summer program in NS for Chinese students
Current Beijing Normal University Zhuhai Dual degree program
Current City University of Hong Kong Student exchange
Current Hong Kong Baptist University Student exchange
Current Hainan University Student exchange
Current Shaanxi Normal University Research collaboration – biology Student exchange
Current Nanjing Audit University Research collaboration – finance

Summary–China Transfer credit agreements (current)

Date Partners Description
  BNU – Zhuhai Business program
  Nanjing Audit University Finance and Accounting
  South China University of Technology Accounting and Int’l trade
  Wuhan University Business program
  Central University of Finance and Economics Business program
  Tan Kah Kee College Business program
  Xiamen School of Economics Business program
  Beijing Institute of Technology Zhuhai Business program


Other types of collaboration

Date Partners Description
Current Xiamen University Confucius Institute
1996-1999 Minmetals Corporation EMBA program