It is one of the largest universities in China by student population (57,500 full-time students in 2009) and is supported directly by the national government.
Present-day Shandong University is the result of multiple mergers as well as splits and restructurings that have involved more than a dozen academic institutions over time. The oldest of Shandong University’s precursor institutions, Cheeloo University, was founded by American and English mission agencies in the late 19th century (as Tengchow College of Liberal Arts in Penglai).
Tengchow College was the first modern institution of higher learning in China. Shandong University derives its official founding date from the Imperial Shandong University (Chinese: 山东大学堂; pinyin: Shāndōng Dàxué Táng) established in Jinan in November 1901 as the second modern national university in the country.
Shandong University has seven campuses, all but one of which are located in the provincial capital city of Jinan. A campus to the northeast of the port city of Qingdao is under construction. The university has been classified as a National Key University by the Chinese Ministry of Education since 1960. It has been included in major national initiatives seeking to enhance the international competitiveness of the top-tier universities in China such as Project 985 and Project 211.
Shandong University offers master and doctoral degree programs in all major academic disciplines covering the humanities, science and engineering, as well as medicine.