Dr. Zhu said students will travel to their secondary campus during their third year in the program, which takes about five years on average to complete.
Chinese students must be proficient in English, but American students are not required to learn Chinese before they study in China. All classes will be conducted in English.
“It’s probably limiting if we ask the American students at this point to have the Chinese language skill, but it’s not a hard requirement for the Chinese students because they all learn English,” Dr. Zhu said.
American students, however, are encouraged to learn some Chinese during their first two years in the program to enrich their overall living experience in China, he added.
While evaluating the program, Dr. Zhu traveled to Peking University and interviewed international students from Europe and Asia in a popular cafeteria. Almost all were learning the Chinese language, citing job opportunities as their main motivation.
So far, many applications have come from Americans with Chinese last names, mainly second-generation Chinese-Americans, Dr. Zhu said.
He hopes to have five students enroll for the first year, a substantial increase for department that usually has 30 graduates per year.
The program with Peking University stems from a long partnership between Emory and Georgia Tech.
The schools started joint research 20 years ago and have had the biomedical engineering department since 1997 as well as a collaborative center for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine since 1998.
First talks about a China program developed in 2003. In February 2006, a letter of intent was signed to develop a joint degree with Peking University, Dr. Zhu said.