Two professors from the School of Economics at Nankai University recently met with Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences administrators to finalize a program that will allow Nankai University students to enroll in a collaborative academic program between Nankai University and the Virginia Tech Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics.

The collaboration is designed as a three-plus-two program in which top performing undergraduates in their third year at Nankai University can apply to The Virginia Tech Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics’ master’s program. Accepted students would spend up to two years studying at Virginia Tech after completing their third year at Nankai. Students who complete the program will receive a bachelor’s degree from Nankai University at the end of their fourth year of study, their first year at Virginia Tech, as well as a Virginia Tech master’s degree upon completion of the entire five-year program.

“Nankai University consistently ranks in the top 10-15 universities in China and their school of economics is highly ranked and respected,” said Virginia Tech Associate Professor Wen You. “They also have a strong desire to connect with our Trade Center and our Development program.”

You has been orchestrating the agreement since 2016 when she first proposed the idea of developing collaborative agreements with Chinese universities to fellow faculty members.

“U.S. universities are beginning to partner with universities overseas, especially in China – they have a huge student population and would like to increase their curriculum options,” said You, who is the contact person on the agreement. “This program can help them do that, and provide tremendous potential to further build their reputation.”

Students who participate in the program will leave with a graduate degree from a respected U.S. applied economics program, which will reflect well on collaborating universities. Likewise, Virginia Tech’s applied economics program will gain visibility and interest among Chinese students.

Although this is the first agreement of its kind for the department, You is developing similar agreements with other Chinese universities to increase program applications.

The signed agreement is valid for five years, during which both universities will be involved in recruiting Nankai’s top economics students.