Stanford e-China Frequently Asked Questions


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General Questions


Why should I participate in Stanford e-China?

Stanford e-China’s goal is to offer high-achieving high school students and year 1 and 2 university students in China an online opportunity to engage directly with Stanford University scholars and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to learn about cutting-edge technologies that are currently impacting China, the United States, and the world.

Students will engage in a rigorous, college-level course that introduces timely topics and innovative frameworks, facilitates opportunities for collaboration between Chinese and American students, and provides hands-on experience for Chinese students seeking to develop their academic interests.


Who runs Stanford e-China courses?

Stanford e-China is directed by the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE), a program of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University.  


For whom is the Stanford e-China course?

The Stanford e-China course is designed for exceptional, self-motivated, Chinese high school and year 1 and 2 university students studying in China who want to learn about:

  • Technologies that will have great impact on their academic, professional, and personal lives;
  • Design Thinking, a creative framework practiced in Stanford's design school, throughout Silicon Valley, and increasingly around the world;
  • Academic styles and standards at universities like Stanford in preparation for application to study in the United States or elsewhere.


What will I get out of the Stanford e-China course?

Students will be exposed to issues and opportunities in cutting-edge fields that are shaping their academic and professional futures—green tech, finance tech, health tech, and artificial intelligence. Students will be introduced to basic aspects of Design Thinking—a creative, problem-solving framework that can be applied to future academic and professional interests. Students will be challenged to brainstorm innovative, human-centered solutions to problems impacting technological advancements. As a final project, students will identify and delve into a technological problem of personal interest in one of the course fields, apply design thinking skills to brainstorm solutions, and develop a slide presentation that culminates with a personal action plan. This process will help students clarify their academic and professional interests and demonstrate compelling experience in preparation for applications to universities abroad or other educational pursuits.

Students will also gain practical academic and professional skills as they:

  • Listen to a variety of lecturing styles vis-à-vis pre-recorded, university-level lectures by leading scholars from Stanford University;
  • Participate in real-time discussions led by guest lecturers to gain familiarity with the dynamics of classroom participation in college settings such as Stanford;
  • Improve critical-thinking and communication skills through short writing assignments;
  • Investigate a suitable project topic, collaborate with peers in China and the United States in brainstorms and research, and practice English speaking skills.


How does the online Stanford e-China course work?

The Stanford e-China course emphasizes active student participation and the development of individual academic interests. The course is organized in a series of modules, each lasting 1 to 2 weeks, addressing a different technology. For each module, students may listen to a pre-recorded lecture by a leading Stanford University scholar, and complete a series of readings (including some that students may choose according to their interests). This preparation informs the “virtual classes” held on Saturday mornings (Beijing time) in which students listen to and interact directly with guest speakers from Stanford University and Silicon Valley.

Students join the virtual classes on Zoom from their personal computer using a headset/camera/microphone and reliable access to a broadband Internet connection that supports video streaming. Students must be available for all or most of the Saturday morning virtual classes, approximately 1.25 hours in length. Additionally, students will be expected to allot 3–4 hours per week to complete class assignments (most can be conducted online based on each student’s individual schedule and convenience).


What are course expectations and what does the coursework include?

Students are expected to prepare each week in advance according to the instructor and guest speaker’s instructions including pre-reading, posting on online discussion boards, conducting any additional homework, and attending all online sessions on Saturday mornings.

Coursework will include:

  • Listening to pre-recorded, university-level lectures by leading scholars from Stanford University;
  • Engaging in real-time discussions led by guest lecturers from Stanford University and Silicon Valley;
  • Interacting in online discussion boards with fellow Stanford e-China students and the course instructor between virtual classes regarding lectures and readings (timing is flexible based on each student’s personal schedule);
  • Completing short writing assignments and practicing design skills with Chinese cohorts and American students (virtually);
  • Developing a final project including research of challenges facing a specific technology, investigation of innovative solutions, and a slide presentation based on the design thinking process.


Where, When and How does the Stanford e-China course happen?

The course is online on Zoom. The course is 10 weeks in length. The fall course usually runs from late September through November, and the spring course usually runs from March to May. Students will need to have access to the internet to complete each week’s homework as well as participate in live, online weekly class sessions on Saturday mornings. Students should allocate 3–4 hours per week.

While Stanford e-China is an online course, at its conclusion, 3 students will be selected to visit Stanford University. These 3 students will receive a scholarship of an expenses-paid trip (up to $2,000 USD) to Stanford University in Silicon Valley to attend a ceremony.


Will I have time to do this if it is during the school year?

We select motivated and dedicated students who will make time in their busy schedules for the Stanford e-China course. Although students must be available for all or most of the Saturday morning virtual classes (approximately 1.25 hours in length), students can complete online class assignments (approximately 3–4 hours per week) based on their personal schedules and convenience.


Who teaches Stanford e-China courses?

The course features leading scholars from Stanford University and entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley who are actively engaged in the technological fields of green tech, fintech, health tech, and artificial intelligence. In addition to the pre-recorded lectures, students will have the opportunity to engage in real-time discussions with scholars and entrepreneurs during the virtual classes. The Stanford e-China course instructor, Carey Moncaster, will facilitate classes, logistics, assignments, and assessments. The instructor will also provide feedback throughout the program, coaching students through the process of meeting high academic standards.


Can I receive credit for a Stanford e-China course?

Students who complete the course receive a Certificate of Completion from Stanford Program for International and Cross-Cultural Studies (SPICE), Stanford University. They do not receive direct university course credit from Stanford University. Students who successfully complete the Stanford e-China course may request a Letter of Recommendation from the Stanford e-China course instructor to support their university applications.

The three highest-performing students (based on selection of the course instructor from the maximum total of 30 students per course) will be invited to Stanford University, expenses paid trip (up to $2,000 USD), to participate in a Stanford e-China program ceremony.




Who is Eligible to Apply for Stanford e-China courses?

Anyone holding a Chinese passport studying in mainland China in grades 10, 11, or 12 in high school or year 1 or 2 in university. There are no school quotas. Students should have a high-level of English proficiency to communicate, read, and write at a university level.

You should also:

  • Demonstrate an ability to read, write, and discuss complex ideas in English. This may be demonstrated by submitting a TOEFL, ideally 90 or above, or comparable test results from Duolingo. (You may link to the Duolingo English Test from the course application and complete it online in 45 minutes from your home or school computer.)
  • Be available for all or most of the virtual classes on Saturday mornings.
  • Allot 3–4 hours per week for class preparation and assignments (most can be conducted on your own schedule).
  • Have access to a personal computer, headset (microphone and headphones), and reliable access to a high-speed, broadband Internet connection.


Do I need a high level of English proficiency to complete the Stanford e-China course?

Yes, students need a high level of English proficiency to engage successfully in this course. Students who score 90 or above on TOEFL should feel confident in their ability to participate fully. Within the application process, students also have the option to complete the Duolingo English Test and submit letters of recommendation from an English teacher. While the letters of recommendation and English tests are optional, we will request an interview in English for applicants.


Do I need advanced knowledge or previous coursework on any topics?

No, students do not need to have any prior academic exposure to any of the course topics or any specific prerequisites—green tech, fintech, health tech, or artificial intelligence. This course does not require, nor is focused on advanced scientific or quantitative skills.

Students will learn about timely challenges and opportunities to address problems and create solutions within each of the tech fields, especially in the United States and China. Students will apply aspects of the design thinking framework to solve problems within each technological field and then delve into developing a proposal for a related project of personal interest. While practicing a mini design challenge, students will be guided through the empathy process, perhaps the most important aspect of human-centered design.


Is there a minimum GPA requirement?

No, we assess student applications holistically.


How and when should I take a Duolingo English Test?

The Duolingo English Test combines an English proficiency test with a brief video interview. Duolingo’s technology and format allows a student to complete the test at any time or place, as long as the student has access to the Internet. A link to the Duolingo English Test is on the Stanford e-China application or at If students opt to take the test, it should be completed by the application deadline. Using the Duolingo link from the Stanford e-China application will ensure that both Stanford and the student receive test results within 48 hours. The fee for the test is $49 USD payable directly to Duolingo online. Students may find more information on the Duolingo test at


I don’t have standardized test scores, such as the ACT or SAT. Will that hurt my chances of being accepted?

No. While standardized test scores are often useful in assessing an applicant’s academic achievement and potential, we know that not all students have standardized test scores available. However, we expect applicants who have do have standardized test scores to report them in the application process.




What is the Application Process for Stanford e-China?

The application for the Stanford e-China course may be found online at Admission to this program is competitive based on a student’s personal statement, academic record, and English proficiency. Teacher recommendations are optional. Up to 30 exceptional students from China will be accepted per course. An application review committee will make the final selections.


What is the tuition fee for the course?

The tuition fee for the 10-week course is $4,000 USD; $3,500 USD for early bird applicants. Tuition is payable upon acceptance to the program. When as student is accepted to enroll in the course, we will send specific information to the student with steps to submit the tuition fee online directly to Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education, Stanford University.


Are scholarships available?

At this time, there are no scholarships available. However, based on academic evaluation throughout the course, three students from a maximum total of 30 students per course) will be invited to Stanford University in Silicon Valley, expenses paid up to $2,000 USD, to participate in a Stanford e-China program ceremony.


What is required in the application process?

A student must submit a complete application including a written personal statement, a recent school transcript, and evidence of English proficiency. There is no application fee. All materials are due by the application deadline.


Is the TOEFL required? Is there a minimum score?

The TOEFL is not required to apply to Stanford e-China. If the student has taken the TOEFL and believe it is a good representation of English abilities, the student may submit it as part of the application. In lieu of the TOEFL, we encourage each student to complete a Duolingo English Test. We will also ask for a student interview in English.


What is the timeline for the Stanford e-China course and application process?

The Stanford e-China application timelines are available online at Generally, the fall application is due September 1 (July 1 for early-bird tuition) and the spring application is due January 15 (November 15 for early-bird tuition). Applications are considered on a rolling basis. The Stanford e-China course runs for 10 weeks. The course officially starts with first Saturday morning virtual class. The virtual classes are held online Saturday mornings at 9:00-10:15AM Beijing time.

Stanford e-China courses will be offered on an ongoing basis. Please check back for details or stay informed of SPICE-related news by joining our email list and/or following SPICE on Facebook and Twitter.


Whom should I contact with any additional questions?

Please send any questions to Carey Moncaster, Stanford e-China Instructor, via email at or contact Liyi Ye, Stanford e-China Advisor in China, on WeChat at stanfordspice.


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