Home / China / Education

Sink or swim tied to Tsinghua University bachelor's degrees - literally

By Yao Yao | | Updated: 2017-03-27 15:53

Students aiming to enter Tsinghua University this year had better be able to swim or be prepared to learn swimming and pass a swim test since the prestigious university will not grant bachelor's degrees if they cannot swim.

This September, would-be freshmen at Tsinghua University will have to take swimming courses if they fail a swimming test at the beginning of their university life, and they won't receive their degrees if they cannot swim before their graduation, in accordance with a message at a university staff meeting days ago, the Beijing Daily reported on Monday.

Potential freshmen with chronic diseases, skin disease or hydrophobia, once examined and affirmed by medical staff, don't need to take the required test or course.

As to why the university is linking swimming ability with degrees, "as a requisite survival skill, swimming is beneficial for students in the long run, since swimming is helpful in improving students' endurance and doing less harm to joints and muscles as a water sport," said Liu Bo, head of the Division of Sports Science and Physical Education.

Viewing the ability to swim as a must for students to earn their degrees is not something new in the top university, as this ability was listed on its school regulations in the early 20th century.

"As early as 90 years ago, Tsinghua University required that students cannot graduate from the university or study overseas if they cannot swim, though the requirement didn't work later on since the swimming pools at the campus could not accommodate increasingly more students," said Liu.

Many alumni of the prestigious university had to meet the swimming challenge.

Renowned writer Liang Shih-chiu, entering Tsinghua University in 1915, failed the swimming test before his graduation, and he had to do his best at the make-up examination. Luckily his second endeavor got a pass from the head of the Division of Sports Science and Physical Education.

Ke Zhao, an academician with Chinese Academy of Sciences, said he was lucky enough to escape the swimming course since he transferred to Tsinghua University in his third year of university, when he didn't need to take a physical education course. Ke admitted he didn't like sports and cannot swim, so he would have definitely failed the swimming test if he had taken one.

Plans are for freshmen to take the test during their military training. In the test, students will pass the test if they can swim 50 meters, no matter whether they choose the breaststroke, butterfly stroke, freestyle or backstroke. Those failing the test have to take a compulsory swimming course.

Tsinghua University is not the first Chinese university to require swimming as a compulsory course.

Peking University and Xiamen University in East China's Fujian province have listed swimming as a compulsory course for students.

With the new regulations, many high school students aiming to enter Tsinghua University expressed their worries.

"Now Tsinghua University will test students in long-distance running and swimming, so students with poor sports performance will have to overcome a lot of difficulties once they enter the university," said a student surnamed Zhang from the Second High School Attached To Beijing Normal University.

However, students don't need to worry much, since Liu said relevant statistics showed that 90 percent of students can swim after taking the compulsory swimming course in their second year of university, and the remaining 10 percent will receive instruction after class provided by teachers, without paying extra tuition.


Editor's picks
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349