Summer Programs

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    Andrei Iliescu, Tsinghua University

    Andrei examines sediment as his team works to survey groundwater contamination in a village in Pinyao, Shanxi Province, China

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    Shannon Beattie, Tsinghua University

    Shannon prepares dinner after fieldwork. She and her team installed a system to treat arsenic-polluted groundwater in Pingyao

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    Harvard-China Project Summer Research Assistants in Beijing

    Andrei Iliescu, Aditya Mahadevan, Irene Lu, China Project Program Manager Tiffany Chan, Julia Henry, Caleb Ren, Katie Schluntz

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    Irene Lu and Julia Henry, Tsinghua University

    Irene and Julia visit Inner Mongolia during their summer-long environmental research program

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    Summer Research Assistants Explore the Great Wall

    Left to right: Shannon Beattie, Irene Lu, Julia Henry, Aditya Mahadevan

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    Summer Research Assistants Explore Beijing

    Left to right: Andrei Iliescu, Irene Lu, Caleb Ren, Aditya Mahadevan

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    Andrew Pendergrass, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

    Drew Pendergrass (second from left) worked on ozone's relationship with meteorological conditions with Prof Amos Tai (left)

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    Andrew Pendergrass, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

    Drew explores Hong Kong during his summer research experience

Updated February 25, 2020 - The 2020 China's Environmental Challenges: Summer Undergraduate Research Assistantships in China 2020 has been canceled in light of the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus (now called COVID-19) centered in China.  Please join our mailing list to be notified when the program runs again.  You are encouraged to attend Harvard-China Project’s events to learn about China's environmental issues.

China's Environmental Challenges: Summer Undergraduate Research Assistantships in China 2020

Program Dates: June 12 –August 7, 2020
Application Deadline: February 24, 2020
Decisions Made By: Mid-March, 2020
Number of Students: 2

The Harvard-China Project on Energy, Economy and Environment will provide generous financial support for two Harvard undergraduates to participate in directed summer research on Chinese environmental issues under the guidance of a university faculty member in China from June 12, 2020 to August 7, 2020. The Harvard-China Project has solicited a variety of research assistant opportunities from faculty members in China whom we know through past and ongoing research collaborations. The topics, which can be found here, range from agricultural soil contamination, carbon capture and storage, to customer and climate benefits of electric vehicles.

Students participating in this summer research assistantship program will conduct six weeks of research and participate in a two-week summer school on Chinese environmental challenges organized by the Tsinghua University School of Environment. The summer school is similar to a program that thirty Harvard undergraduate students attended in 2017.

This summer program is made possible thanks to major support from the Office of Career Services;  the Harvard Global Institute to the Harvard-China Project, on the theme of "China 2030/2050: Energy and Environmental Challenges for the Future."

Program dates:

June 12-August 7, 2020

Six weeks of research (topics can be found here) and two weeks of summer school.

2020 Summer School

Through the two-week summer school organized by the Tsinghua University School of Environment, students will attend lectures delivered by professors from U.S., European and Chinese universities.  Lecture topics include environmental issues, innovative and creative thinking skills, and Chinese culture. Students will also participate in a three-day field trip to Chengdu, Sichuan Province. 

Application Requirements
·      Completed application form. *Application form will be made available on this page if the summer program runs in 2020.
·      1-2 page resume
·      Unofficial Harvard transcript
·      1 page research statement
·      1 brief recommendation letter from a Harvard faculty member or researcher (helpful but not required)


All current Harvard undergraduate students are eligible to apply; however, priority is given to rising juniors and seniors. Environmental Science and Public Policy (ESPP), Earth and Planetary Sciences (EPS), Environmental Science & Engineering (ESE), Economics, and other natural sciences and engineering students receive priority, but we welcome applications from all concentrations.

Financial Support and Other Details

All students accepted to the research assistantship program will automatically receive generous financial support, which covers round-trip airfare to and from China, accommodation expenses, and tuition fee for the summer school. A stipend to cover miscellaneous expenses such as meals and ground transportation is also included.

Students will stay in on-campus dormitories at the university where the supervising faculty is located. All supervising faculty members are fluent in English, and the summer school is taught in English; therefore, no knowledge of Chinese is required to participate in this program.


Contact Cody Yiu, Program Administrator at the Harvard-China Project, at

About Our Past Programs

2018 Program

Visit the Harvard Gazette summary, which featured students' perspectives on their research experiences.

About the 2017 Program

Learn more about our 2017 summer program, which sent thirty Harvard College undergraduate students to Tsinghua University for a two-week intensive summer program on China's environmental challenges.


The Harvard-China Project and Tsinghua University works to ensure that the information in its brochures, advertisements, handbooks, web pages, and other print and non-print materials is accurate as of the time they were produced. However, the Harvard-China Project and Tsinghua University make no guarantee that costs, fees, rates of exchange, starting dates, ending dates, conditions of housing, content of the research assistantship, academic programs or availability of courses or instruction will remain the same as they are described in its print and non-print materials. Further, the Harvard-China Project and Tsinghua University assume no liability for losses caused by changes to or unintentional errors and/or inaccuracies in these materials.