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What are the benefits of the Dual Degree Program?

There are numerous benefits towards participating in the Global Track Dual Degree Program, with each student adding their own unique experience and interpretation to the expanding program. As stated below, the immediate benefit of the program is simultaneously receiving an M.Arch from Tongji University while continuing your academic path for the D.Arch at UH Manoa. With continual feedback from students and professors, the program's provision of international experiences for personal and academic gain has been an ongoing theme in Global Track that has shown to be the most valuable aspect of the Dual Degree Program.

What is the M. Arch being offered?

The M. Arch is the degree being offered by Tongji University's College of Architecture and Urban Planning (CAUP) Department. It is an internationally recognized architectural degree accredited by NBAA, the governing authority over accreditation throughout China. As UHM's School of Architecture does not offer an M.Arch, this program is a unique opportunity to receive an M.Arch from Tongji University while simultaneously working towards the completion of the D.Arch from our School of Architecture. 

How is the M. Arch Thesis process planned?

In order to receive the M.Arch from the College of Architecture and Urban Planning at Tongji University, a successful completion of the Master Thesis is required along with supplemental classes during the year abroad. An outline of the thesis proposal is expressed below, though is subject to change and may vary upon specific year and student:

Year 1 Spring Semester March-May (Honolulu, Hawaii)

- Formally apply to Tongji University

-Complete necessary paperwork

-Submit thesis topic and formal proposal

Year 1.5 Summer  May-September (China)

-Research thesis topic

-Become familiar with thesis adviser

-Preliminary research compilation

Year 2 Fall Semester September-January (Shanghai, China)

-September: Preliminary meetings with Tongji thesis adviser

-October-November: Presentation review and submission of thesis proposal and topic with Tongji jury

-December-January: Thesis research and writing, meetings with adviser

Year 2 Spring Semester February-June (Shanghai, China)

-February: Review and research with adviser

-March: Midterm Presentation Review of thesis research with Tongji jury

-April: Summarize and review with adviser

-May: Formal hard copy submission of thesis research document

-June: Feedback and Review of thesis


Do I need to understand Chinese to study abroad in China?

No, you do not. Though knowing the language is always beneficial when visiting a foreign country, China offers many opportunities where foreign and international students are able to get around and succeed in moving around the city and traveling throughout the country with little or no prior knowledge of the verbal and written language.

What is the visa process?

As a U.S. citizen, you must secure a Chinese Visa before arriving in China. You must have a passport with more than six months of remaining validity to apply and should have a passport with more than a year of remaining validity due to being a year abroad. You may visit the China Embassy website for more info on how to apply:

For applications, you must apply in-person or through a third-party service to physically submit your application. For Hawaii residents, the nearest consulate is in Los Angeles, and for many West Coast residents, the consulate is in San Francisco.

Due to this, third party websites can help submit the application for you for a fee. A reliable one used by previous GT students has been VisaCentral which can be reached here:

Where will I be staying?

This varies with each person and situation, however it is important to note that for both summer internships, they are treated as professional practice and therefore the student is responsible for securing their own accommodation in each respective city. Many employers were willing and able to help in finding a spot for the student when reached out to in the past, though it is not always guaranteed.

For the school year at Tongji University (Shanghai, China), as expressed in the Costs section, it is cheaper and in many ways more convenient to dorm on campus in the International Student Dormitories, which can be applied for before the school year starts. With larger groups of students, living off-campus in a shared rented flat has been an economical option. Past GT cohorts have found success through working with local realtors, expat websites and forums, and even Airbnb to arrange their living accommodations. These outside sources are again up to the students to find and secure, with many previous GT students willing to help if asked.

What is the currency exchange rate for China?

As a rule of thumb, 1 USD = 6.5 RMB, as it generally wavers between 6 to 7 RMB per US dollar. As of 09/2020, 1 USD=6.8 RMB. As of 09/2019, 1 USD= 7.2 RMB

You can stay up-to-date with:

What should I bring with me to China?

Similar to traveling and studying abroad in general, bring necessary documents and appropriate currency (yuan/rmb). A Wechat account and Alipay account will also be key assets for adapting to the new environment. China is both a developed and developing country, with major cities such as Shanghai and Beijing having appropriate resources and retail for consumer goods and housing appliances.

What is transportation like?

Public transportation is cheap and convenient throughout all major Chinese cities, with typical bus fares costing 1-2 RMB per trip, and metro stations charging 3-5 RMB per trip. Shanghai has a comprehensive bike share program (similar to Biki) which students can subscribe to and enjoy unlimited rides for 20 RMB a month.  A budget of 15 RMB (~2.50 USD) per day for public transportation should be adequate for standard daily trips.

If you have a question that hasn't been answered, please feel free to email us at:

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