Established in August 1950, and directly under the jurisdiction of State Ethnic Affairs Commission, Northwest University for Nationalities is the first minority institution of higher learning following the founding of New China. The university occupies a plot area of 1800 Chinese mu (including the new teaching quarters in Yuzhong County), with a floor space of 283,000 square meters (including the area under construction). It has a teaching and administrative staff of 1169, among whom 342 are professors and assistant professors. Geared to the needs of Northwest China, the university enjoys an enrollment of 10,177 full-time students of almost 44 nationalities at present, who come from 31 municipalities, provinces, and autonomous regions. For 54 years, it has turned out more than 60,000 qualified personnel for our country.
Now there are 8 faculties and 20 departments providing 46 specialities in the university: Economics & Administration Faculty, Language & Cultural Spreading Faculty, Foreign Languages & Literature Faculty, Conservatory of Music & Dance, Academy of Fine Arts, Further Education and Vocational & Technical Education Faculty; Tibetan Language & Culture Faculty, Mongolian Language & Culture Faculty, History & Culture Faculty, Law Faculty, Faculty of Social Anthropology & Folklore, Faulty of Computer Science & Information Technology, Electrical Engineering Faculty, Medical Faculty, Faculty of Life Science & Engineering, Chemical Engineering Faculty, Physical Education Faculty, etc.. Of them, the specialized subjects of undergraduate education system contain such 11 disciplines as philosophy, economics, law, pedagogy, literature, history, natural science, technical science, agricultural science, medicine, and administration science.
The university has been authorized to confer a Master’s Degree in matters of 20 subjects. They are: Minority Languages and Literature of China, Folklore (Chinese Folk Literature), Religion, Marxist Theory & Policy on Ethnical Studies, Chinese Minority Art, Chinese Minority Economics, Computer Application & Technology, and Special History, of which Minority Languages and Literature of China has the authority to confer a Doctor’s Degree. Minority Languages and Literature of China, Gesarology, Folklore and Religion are ranked in the list of key academic subjects at provincial level while Chinese Minority Economics, Marxist Theory & Policy on Ethnical Studies and Computer Application & Technology have been channeled into the key academic subjects of State Ethnic Affairs Commission.
The university has also established 2 research institutes of independently organized system: Chinese Minority Information & Technology Research Institute, Gesarology Research Institute and 8 research institutes of “2 in 1 combination” of department and institute: Northwest China Minorities Non-material Cultural Heritage Research Centre, Northwest China Tibetan Studies Institute, Western Mongolian Culture Research Institute, Animal Production Research Institute, Uigur Language & Culture Research Institute, Minority Cultures Research Institute.
The following institutions are set up on campus: the University Library, the Northwest Minorities Museum, the Scientific Experimental Centre, Modern Education & Technology Centre, Sino-British London English Proficiency Test Centre, Sino-British English Teacher Training Centre for Northwest Minorities. The library houses a collection of 139,600 volumes of books (including electron copies), not a few of which are the only existing copies and rare books of minority languages. The museum possesses 1000 or so historical relics with striking national features.
The university edits and publishes 6 journals and newspapers: Journal of Northwest Minorities University (philosophy and social science edition in Chinese, kernel journal at national level), Northwest Minorities Research (kernel journal at national level), Journal of Northwest University for Nationalities (Tibetan edition), Journal of Northwest University for Nationalities (Mongolian edition), Journal of .Northwest University for Nationalities (natural science edition), Northwest University for Nationalities Tabloid. Among the above journals, “Northwest Minorities Research” is an international guiding periodical of ULICH’, rated as “First-Class Prestigious Journal at Provincial Level” while “Journal of Northwest University for Nationalities ” (philosophy and social science Chinese edition and Mongolian edition) are crowned as excellent journals of institutions of higher learning in Gansu.
As far as scientific research of the university is concerned, importance has long been attached to the development of its characteristics and strong points, which has attained remarkable achievements. The “Tibetan-Chinese Bilingual Word Information Processing System” and its serial projects, developed by the university, have led the world in these fields and pocketed approximatly10 prizes, among which the “Tibetan-Chinese Bilingual Information Processing System” has won the 2nd prize of 1999 National Science and Technology Progress; the “Tibetan Window Flat·Word Processing Software & Tibetan Website” has harvested the 2nd prize of 2001 National Science and Technology Progress, and the first global Tibetan website has been set up in the internet, with high praise from such the Party and state leaders as Jiang Zemin, Hu Jingtao, etc.. The university has also undertaken a large number of anti-poverty projects revitalized by science and technology in minority nationality areas where prominent economic benefits are obvious The “Galiba Calf Serum Project and its Series” are advancing smoothly. “Sino-American Lanzhou Minhai Bio-Engineering Company Ltd.” has been established between the university and American Hyclone Company in the form of joint venture, social and economic benefits of which are satisfactory.
For a long time, the university has stuck to the principle of “educating the person as well as imparting book knowledge”, laying prime emphasis to the cultivation of moral education, which forcibly pushes forward the national unity and progress. In recent years, the university has been twice gloriously titled as “Model Unit for National Unity and Progress”
With the development of various undertakings, the university has kept expanding its exchanges and cooperation with the outside world, and set up a good relationship of cooperation with institutions of higher learning and research units of over 16 foreign countries and regions such as United States of America, England, Japan, Germany, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Russia, Pakistan, Finland, Holland, Mongolia, Taiwan and Hong Kong etc..