Establishment of SGY

In 1978, following the suggestion of Nobel Laureate Tsung-Dao Lee, and with the support of Deng Xiaoping and other national leaders, USTC established a “youth class” to recruit young students of exceptional academic ability, but who had not yet completed their regular secondary education, to enter college early. After more than 40 years of continuous growth and development, the USTC School of the Gifted Young (SGY) is fulfilling the need for training high-level talents in science and technology. We encourage change, exploration, and refinement in educational practices. The School is now recognized as a premiere honors program in China.

Prof. Tsung-Dao Lee(4th from right)visited USTC in 1984 and met with SGY students.

An inscription from Tsung-Dao Lee, encouraging students to be innovative and courageous.

Our innovative curriculum emphasizes social responsibility alongside academic excellence, it places a premium on building a solid foundation in mathematics and physics, it caters to individual student needs, fuses theory and practice, and maintains a global outlook.

Social Responsibility

As our students are younger than general college freshman, when they turn 18, we hold a special “coming of age” ceremony, where the students engage in volunteer work, and participate in group activities designed to reaffirm one’s commitment to the broader society, and promote a transition to responsible adult citizenry.
SGY students have developed a culture of volunteerism, enhanced and passed down from one class to the next. For example, during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, many SGY students volunteered to participate in neighborhood virus eradication and mitigation work.

Students Zhengbo Sheng (left) and Zhengzheng Yang (right) sanitizing a stairwell in the neighbor apartments.

Student Fan Bu tutors middle schoolers in rural Taijiang County, Guizhou Province

Caring Counselors

The School supports team building and recreational activities, promoting the overall health and well-being of the students. Counselors at SGY play a special role in listening to students’ voices, guiding class activities, providing a bridge between school and home learning environments, and helping students to realize their full potential.

Counselor Lei Dai (Right) poses with graduation student Zheng Dong

Counselor Rong Lan (front right) and students during a class outing

Courses and Curriculum

The University attaches great importance to the education of SGY students. Since the School’s establishment, we have benefitted from a selection of dedicated teachers in the University. In order to further promote open sharing of educational resources, the School officially launched “School of the Gifted Young Premiere Courses” on Bilibili channel (a popular website akin to Youtube in China) in 2020.
The School has always adhered to the principle of student-oriented education, finding ways to support and encourage each student’s personalized development. A highly unique (among Chinese universities) feature of our program is that our students can choose and alter their major at multiple points during their four years at USTC:
  • Freshmen and Sophormore: Students can choose any major offered by the University;
  • Junior: Students can adjust their major within their chosen discipline;
  • Senior: Students can adjust their specialization within their chosen major.
In 2016, SGY created a special “Interdisciplinary Talent Class”. After a competitive selection process, students admitted to this five-year program can choose any two disciplines and create a personalized interdisciplinary curriculum.

USTC President and Academician Xinhe Bao (right) attended the opening ceremony of the “Mathematical Analysis” Premiere Course, taught by famed instructor Prof. Yi Cheng (Left).

University Provost Prof. Congzhao Zhou awarding the graduation diploma to Yisha Tang, a student of the inaugural “Interdisciplinary Talent Class.”

Fusing Theory and Practice

With “Fusing theory and practice” as the University motto, the School guides students to engage in scientific research. Not only does this help students connect classroom learning with problem solving, but also helps them discover where their academic interests lie. SGY students can make full use of the core facilities and teaching centers in all departments of the University. They participate in various competitions and innovative entrepreneurship training programs, enter laboratories to engage in research, and participate in academic conferences. The "SGY Forum" brings master lecturers from academia and industries to give talks and meet with our students.

In 2020, the USTC team won the International University Supercomputing Competition (ISC20). Team members Zidan Liu (third from left), Yexuan Huang (second from left) and Bowen Zhang (third from right) are SGY students. Center front is the team coach Prof. Hong An.

Professor Chaoyang Lu lecturing on the “Jiuzhang” quantum computer at a SGY Forum. This work was published in the journal Science in 2020 with SGY alumnus Yuhao Deng as the first author of that paper.

International Exchange

Our students are actively involved in scientific research. Starting with the freshman course “Science & Society,” we encourage students to join research groups, take part in scientific and computing competitions, and do industry internships. Due to their academic potential, our students are in high demand both on- and off-campus. We encourage students to travel abroad to expand their academic horizons, usually in the summer semester. In these cases, international travel and living expenses while abroad are supported by the School. The School in the past 45 years has developed and currently enjoys a strong reputation in the international education community.
If a faculty member is interested in hosting one of our students for undergraduate research and internship opportunities, please contact our International Cooperation Office :
Ms. Mei Mei

Prof. Yulin Chen ‘95 of Oxford University (center back row) established an exchange program between Oxford and USTC.

Qianying Wu ‘16 went to the University of Pennsylvania for a summer exchange in her sophomore year, and spent the summer of her junior year at UC Berkeley.

Extracurricular Activities

SGY students of different ages, grades, and majors live together throughout their undergraduate years, forming a unique community of mutual learning, exchange and cooperation, and melding of ideas. The School encourages literary and artistic hobbies, athletics and physical fitness. SGY students actively participate in student organizations.

SGY Chung Ying Student Residential Center (Photo by Student Jing Liang)

Team SGY won the 2019 “Eagle Cup” in the University Soccer Tournament

Student Jing Fang conducting the University Folk Orchestra in a New Year’s performance

Annual “Youth Tour” activity organized by SGY students

Generous Giving

SGY alumni are not only active in scientific research, education, enterprise and other fields, but also generously contribute to the development of the School. In 2018, Ms. Melissa Dongmin Ma ‘89 donated RMB 100 million to set up the "USTC Rose Development Fund", focusing on enhancing SGY student training and the strengthening of USTC’s academic disciplines. Under the support of the Rose Fund, the School set up scholarships and planned Rose Tours for students.

Ms. Melissa Ma ’85 (left) and Vice President Yi Jiang attending the donation ceremony

Students visiting Microsoft Research Lab – Asia in Beijing during a Rose Tour in 2021