The benefit of the 3+1 dual-degree program for the foreign university is that it creates a relatively large cohort of students for universities who have the resources to deal with large intakes, thus increasing tuition income. For those universities who want to have an international presence, this also virtually creates a branch campus in China.
The 3+1 dual-degree undergraduate program is part of the national college entrance exam and given an admission quota of typically 60 to 100 students per year per program. As the program curriculum is created by both ZJNU and the foreign university, it is usually more competitive in the job market and students are required to pay higher tuition than those in regular ZJNU undergraduate programs.
For the fourth year of study, the foreign university usually charges ZJNU students international tuition rates with a discount. The foreign university also shares the revenue of the students’ first three years of study at ZJNU. However, in the first three years at ZJNU, the foreign university needs to offer instruction for one-third of the core courses, one-third of all instruction hours, and account for one-third of the total number of faculty members. These are requirements stipulated by the central Ministry of Education.
For most academic disciplines, a dual-degree requires 160 credit hours (one credit hour is 40 minutes of instruction per week for 16 weeks). As one-third of the courses need to be taught by the foreign institution on site in Jinhua, the challenge for most foreign universities is to get their faculty members to come over and stay for one semester. Our two existing programs (Software Engineering with the University of Worcester in the UK and Advertising with Edith Cowan University in Australia) have proven that it is not only viable, but sustainable.
To effect a 3+1 dual-degree program, ZJNU needs to sign a general MOU with the foreign university, and a dual-degree program implementation agreement needs to be drafted by both universities and submitted to the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Education for approval. The implementation agreement needs to include the rationale of the program, a detailed curriculum plan complete with instructors and textbooks, and course load, as well as financial responsibilities and rights for each institution. Once approved, the program is entered into the central Ministry of Education’s registry of Sino-foreign dual-degree programs. Enrollment can only begin after the approval and registration.
Program vs. Institutional Collaboration in 3+1 Programs
ZJNU and the foreign university can collaborate on a program level or on an institutional level. Program-level collaboration means ZJNU and the foreign university only have one dual-degree program. If one program becomes successful and both universities wish to collaborate on a larger scale, more programs can be started. If more than three programs in related disciplines have commenced, a separate, non-legal-person independent college can be set up to host the programs. The two universities will then be in an institutional-level collaboration model, which gives more autonomy and flexibility in the operations of the programs. Administration and staff of the independent college will consist of both ZJNU and foreign university faculty.