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China 1+2+1=10: Dual Degree Program Marks Decade of Global Partnerships

Posted 29 Jul 2014

George Mason University’s largest dual degree program is celebrating a special anniversary as it welcomes its 10th cohort this fall semester. Forty-one Chinese students will arrive Aug. 17 on George Mason’s Fairfax Campus to join the China 1+2+1 Program—proving George Mason’s success in building a global presence.

Mason’s China 1+2+1 Program will welcome its 10th cohort in August. Earlier this summer in Beijing, the new class met Madelyn Ross (on left) and Lisa O’Hara (on right) from Mason’s Office of Global Strategy. Photo Courtesy of Office of Global Strategy.

Mason’s China 1+2+1 Program will welcome its 10th cohort in August. Earlier this summer in Beijing, the new class met Madelyn Ross (on left) and Lisa O’Hara (on right) from Mason’s Office of Global Strategy. Photo courtesy of Office of Global Strategy.

The undergraduates will attend Mason for two to three years, then attend their home university in China for one-and-a-half to two years. They will work on degrees in art and visual technology, communication, computer science, economics, electrical engineering, finance, global affairs, management, marketing and music. Since the first cohort of the China 1+2+1 Program arrived at Mason in 2005, economics has been the most popular major, followed by finance and then computer science.

Mason’s China 1+2+1 Program has graduated more than 200 students. Forty of those graduated this summer, including 22 who attended the graduation ceremony of the Inner Mongolia University of Technology in Hohhot. On hand to award degrees were Madelyn Ross, director of Mason’s China Initiatives and Mason’s Global Problem Solving Consortium; Sarah Nutter, dean of Mason’s School of Business; and Lisa O’Hara, international programs administrator in Mason’s Office of Global Strategy.

China 121 Coordinators in Hangzou

China 121 Coordinators in Hangzou

“It was a pleasure meeting the high-achieving group of 41 new students in China this summer, and then attending the graduation ceremony of those from earlier cohorts who had completed the program and earned two degrees—one from Mason and one from their Chinese home university,” says O’Hara. “The continued academic excellence of many of the China 1+2+1 students has earned this program the reputation of being an honors program.”

O’Hara says this year’s graduates were honored for excellence in finance, economics, computer science, art and visual technology, global affairs and computational and data science.

Some of the newest graduates of Mason’s China 1+2+1 Program are awarded diplomas by Sarah Nutter, dean of Mason’s School of Business (left), and Wu Suzhen of Soochow University (right), at a ceremony in Hohhot. Photo Courtesy of Mason’s Office of Global Strategy.

Some of the newest graduates of Mason’s China 1+2+1 Program are awarded diplomas by Sarah Nutter, dean of Mason’s School of Business (left), and Wu Suzhen of Soochow University (right), at a ceremony in Hohhot. Photo courtesy of Mason’s Office of Global Strategy.

Over the years, seven China 1+2+1 graduates have returned to Mason to earn master’s degrees. Others have gone on to attend other top graduate schools in the United States including Harvard, Cornell, Columbia, Carnegie Mellon, Vanderbilt, Purdue, Fordham, George Washington and Johns Hopkins.

Xiaoxiao Zhang has been accepted to Johns Hopkins to work on her master’s degree in international relations. She was part of this summer’s China 1+2+1 graduating class. Zhang earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Shandong University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Mason.

“I spent the most unforgettable two years of my life at Mason,” says Zhang, originally from Jinan in Shandong Province. “In addition to the solid academic training, I gained a wonderful cultural experience by immersing myself in all kinds of school events and student activities. China 1+2+1 successfully made me stand out in this year’s graduate school application and is making me more confident to achieve my career goals of consulting work in energy/environmental issues and poverty alleviation.”

Graduation Lunch

Graduation Lunch

Other Mason China 1+2+1 graduates have joined top graduate schools around the world including University of Cambridge, King’s College in London, University of Melbourne, University of Sydney and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Some have earned or are working on PhDs.

O’Hara says past graduates also have returned to China to work in fields such as—but not limited to— banking, finance and family business.

It’s not all about hitting the books. The program bridges cultural gaps, fosters friendships and even leads to some matches. Two China 1+2+1 graduates got married, while another China 1+2+1 student married a Mason classmate.

Mason’s China 1+2+1 undergraduate program is a part of the Sino-American 1+2+1 Dual Degree Program, under the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and the China Center for International Educational Exchange. The program includes 20 universities in the United States and 89 in China. Students earn dual degrees from a U.S. institution and from a Chinese institution.

Write to Sudha Kamath at skamath@gmu.edu

Original article at the Mason News Desk