Engineering, Development and Philosophy

Volume 11 of the series Philosophy of Engineering and Technology pp 123-143


Educating Chinese Engineers: The Case of Shanghai Jiao Tong University During 1896–1949

  • Brent K. JesiekAffiliated withSchool of Engineering Education and School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Purdue University Email author 
  • , Yi ShenAffiliated withDigital Research and Curation Center, Johns Hopkins University

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This chapter summarizes the early institutional history of one of China’s most important and well-regarded engineering schools, Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU). It shows how the university and its engineering programs evolved in tandem with national development and defense priorities from the school’s founding in 1896 through the formation of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949. More specifically, we look at key changes in the school’s admission policies, pedagogy, curricula, and organizational structure, as well as typical career pathways for its graduates. To further contextualize this account, this chapter begins with a general history of engineering education in China from the late Qing Dynasty through the Nationalist period. This chapter should be of interest to those wanting to know more about the historical foundations of the engineering profession in China, including the role of leading educational institutions in China’s national development.


China Engineering education Engineering profession History Nationalist National development Republic of China Shanghai Jiao Tong University