In 2009, Tsinghua University launched a special education program “Tsinghua School Program”, with less than 100 “best of the best” students selected from 3,330 freshmen entered Tsinghua University in the class of 2013. The Program included four subject areas: mathematics, mechanics, physics, and information technology. The mechanics program, with 29 students enrolled, is established in honor of the legendary Chinese scientist Hsue-shen Tsien (1911-2009), who is the father of China’s aerospace program and founder of Tsinghua mechanics department. The basic concept of this elite class for mechanics is focused on “engineering science”, a bridge between basic sciences and engineering. The Tsien Elite Class is supported primarily by the Department of Engineering Mechanics, with joint efforts from seven other departments from School of Aerospace, School of Mechanical Engineering and School of Civil Engineering. The Chief Scientist responsible for the Tsien Class is Professor Quan-shui Zheng from the Department of Engineering Mechanics.
The objective of the Tsien Class is to train elite scientists and lay down solid foundation for their future development not only in the mechanics field but also in engineering as a whole. The focus is on their innovation ability, knowledge capacity, and comprehensive quality. A number of measures have been taken to fulfill the objective.
(1) The first three years will adopt liberal education, with main courses on humanities and social sciences,mathematics, physics, chemistry/biology, and mechanics.
(2) The students choose their specialty at the beginning of their fourth years.
(3) The analytical, numerical and experimental skills of students will be strengthened by a variety of courses, which will include theory, experiments and projects.
(4) The students can opt to stay four years for a bachelor degree, or longer for a master or doctorate degree.
(5) A tutorial system is adopted for the Class and each student will have a tutor to help him/her on various issues during study.