After China’s Open and Reform Policy, especially after 1980, Nankai added a number of new specialties and institutes to promote the socialist modernization drive. In the arts, applied specialties in finance were set up and the School of Economics was reopened in 1983, while in the sciences, interdisciplinary, marginal and high and new technological specialties were added. By the late 1980s, Nankai had grown to be a comprehensive university embracing the humanities; natural, applied and life sciences; management and art. Later, the Tianjin Foreign Trade College and CTMI were merged into Nankai successively. Co-supported by the Ministry of Education and the Tianjin Government, the university developed into a comprehensive and national key university of Project 211 and Program 985.
The University has twenty-two academic colleges, together with a Graduate School, a School for Continuing Education, an Advanced Vocational School, a Modern Distance Education School, and all twelve categories covering literature, history, philosophy, classics, management, law, science, engineering, agriculture, medicine, teaching and art. Nankai University offers eighty undergraduate specialties (including eighteen national characteristic specialties), 231 Master's programs, 172 Doctoral programs, 28 Post-Doctoral research stations and twenty-nine authorized primary Doctoral specialties.
Nankai University’s staff is composed of qualified, successful and energetic scholars. The total number of staff employed by the university is 1,986, including 616 doctoral supervisors, 734 graduate supervisors, 714 professors, 805 vice professors, eight academicians of CAS and CAE, and five academicians of NAS. Nankai University has established an integrative education system with undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and postdoctoral education. The total number of students is 24,525, including 13,067 undergraduates, 8,162 graduates, 3,296 PhD students, 2,786 part-time adult students and 43,037 students on distance education programs.
Having put forward the educational policy of knowing China to serve China, Nankai University has actively developed advantages in disciplines, talents and technology, contributing to the economic and social development of the country and the city, especially for the opening and development of Binhai new district. Institutes including the China APEC Development Council, the Municipal Institute for Economic and Social Development, the Institute for Binhai Development, the Research Center of Education and Industry Regional Development, the Human Rights Research Center, the Contemporary China Research Institute, the WTO Research Center, the National Economic Strategy Research Institute, and the Jinnan Research Institute are now important resources for national and local governments.
Nankai University has developed a broad range of international communications by establishing exchange and collaboration relationships with more than 300 international universities and academic institutions. Nankai has been contracted to establish seven Confucius Institutes overseas, including one at Maryland University in the US. In 2012, Nankai became an Advanced Sino-Cooperation Academy of the Confucius Institute. Nankai undertakes the task of offering Chinese language training to foreign countries, and has launched a number of high-level study abroad programs, including the Oxford Program, participation in the Davos World University Leaders Forum, and selection by Hanban as one of the first universities to participate in “the new international Sinology research plan”. Nankai University collaborates with Glasgow University and has established the NKU-UoG Joint Graduate School.
Nankai University awarded nine international celebrities the title of Honorary Doctor, including the mathematician Shiing-shen Chern, the physician Ta-you Wu, the economist Myrdal, former President of the Straits Exchange Foundation Jiang Bingkun, and chairman of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab. Nobel Laureates Chen Ning Yang, Tsung-Dao Lee, Samuel Chao Chung Ting, Robert A. Mundell, Reinhard Selton, former President of Korea Kim Dae Jung, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Prime Minister of Italy Romano Prodi, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development of France and former prime minister Laurent Fabius, Chairman of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab and famous writer Jin Yong have all been conferred Honorary Professors of Nankai University. Many other world-known scholars and entrepreneurs have been invited as Visiting Professors.
With the motto “Dedication to public interests, acquisition of all-round capability, and aspiration for progress with each passing day”, the tradition of “Patriotism, dedication, innovation and unity” as well as the principle of art to regulate the country, science to strengthen it, and business to enrich it, Nankai University takes knowing China to serve China as its educational policy and the outstanding alumnus Zhou Enlai as a model, dedicating itself to the construction of a world-class university.