Tsinghua University established the Center for Advanced Study in June, 1997, and renamed it as Institute for Advanced Study in April, 2009.

Modeled after Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study, albeit in a university setting, the Institute's mission is to help elevate Tsinghua University to be one of the world's foremost educational institutions of advanced learning in the 21st century, and to help establish a tradition of academic excellence in scientific research in China. The Institute is currently engaged in theoretical studies in physics, theoretical computer science, mathematics and theoretical biology. Specifically, the Center will be devoted to:strengthening basic research capabilities at Tsinghua University; establishing close relationships with the world's centers of advanced learning; fostering creativity and excellence in research; exploring frontier and developing areas of scientific research; providing favorable environment for independent and creative scholarly research; nurturing young talents for future roles as accomplished scientists.

The Institute is honored to have Nobel Laureate Professor Chen Ning Yang as its Honorary Director, who has provided guidance and support to the Center's development since its inception, and Professor Hwa-Tung Nieh , formerly of Stony Brook, as its founding Director, and Professor Binglin Gu, former president of Tsinghua University, as the current Director. A number of the world's leading academics, such as Prof. S.S. Chern (deceased), Prof. Chia-Chiao Lin , Prof. Zhou Guangzhao , and Prof. S.T. Yau, have lent their support to the Institute by serving as Advisors. The Institute is also privileged to have a roster of distinguished scholars to serve on its Academic Committee, which provides guidance and advises on the Institute's academic matters, such as screening and/or recommendation of academic candidates as well as evaluation on the performance of the Institute's academic staff. In 2004, Turin Prize winning Professor Andrew C. C. Yao, formerly of Princeton, joined the Institute as a full-time faculty.

The Institute actively recruits distinguished scholars from inside and outside of China to the Institute's faculty, and seek the up and coming young research scholars to work in the academic disciplines. The Institute is currently focused on:

                       theoretical physics;
                       theoretical computer science;
                       theoretical biology.

Other appropriate areas of study will be considered when opportunities arise. Innovative and cross-disciplinary research efforts, especially those that might pave pathways leading to new scientific and technological developments, are strongly encouraged.

By the approval of the University Council of Tsinghua University, the academic ranks in the Institute are:

                        Associate Member.

Of the three, Professorship is a permanent appointment, while the other two are term appointments. Members and Associate Members are appointed with an initial term of three years, and eligible for renewal at the same rank for an additional term of three years. Postdoctoral fellowships are available for two-year appointments.

To strengthen academic exchange with the world's leading research institutions on a regular basis, we have actively recruited as Chang-Jiang Chair Professors distinguished young ethnic Chinese scholars from overseas, including Shou-Cheng Zhang of Stanford, Xiao-Gang Wen of MIT , Shou-Wu Zhang of Columbia, Dung-Hai Lee of UC Berkeley, Terrence Hwa of UC San Diego, and Li You of Georgia Tech. During the years of their appointment, they took residence in the Institute for periods of various lengths to lecture and to work with the Institute's research staff and graduate students. Numerous distinguished academics from around the world have visited the Institute for various periods of duration. Among them are the lecturers of the C.N. Yang Nobel Lectures series (supported by the Cheng Endowment and Microsoft Research Asia): Robert Laughlin of Stanford, Murray Gell-Mann of Sante Fe Institute, Douglas Osheroff of Stanford, Andrew Yao of Princeton, Gerardus 't Hooft of Utrecht, Avi Wigderson of Princeton Institute for Advanced Study, Moses Chan of Pennsylvania State University, Wolfgang Ketterle of MIT, Richard Karp of Berkeley and P. James E. Peebles of Princeton.

In addition to the Chang-Jiang Chairs, the Institute also seeks out other distinguished scholars as Adjunct Professors. They include Yu Lu , Su Zhao-bin and Ouyang Zhongcan , all of the Institute of Theoretical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, as well as Harry Shum and Bai-Ning Guo of Microsfot Research Asia. Distinguished scholars, like Wu-Chung Hsiang of Princeton, Wu-Yi Hsiang of Berkeley, Shiu-Yuen Cheng of the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, and Jason Tin-Lun Ho of Ohio State University are the Institute's Visiting Professors.

Since 2007 the Institute is housed in the newly renovated Science Hall, which is centrally located in famed Qing-Hua-Yuan and has a well-known tradition of having housed a host of China's most distinguished scientists. Through the generous donation of Mr. and Mrs. James Simons, an attractive apartment complex on campus – the Chern-Simons Hall - was completed in 2008, providing housing for the Institute's academic visitors. While the physical environment provided by the renovated Science Hall is attractive even by international standard, the Institute makes conscious effort to foster an intellectual culture that encourages independent, creative thinking and exploration of new frontiers of science. We strive to provide a physical and cultural environment for scholarly research, aiming to bring out to the fullest the intellectual and creative potentials of the Institute's members – freedom to pursue research topics within the general confines of the Institute's research emphases, stimulating intellectual atmosphere, access to distinguished visiting scientists, abundant opportunities to attend domestic and international workshops and conferences, and participation in academic exchange programs with domestic and international institutions.

To provide financial support for the Institute's development, Professor C.N. Yang initiated in 1998 the establishment of the Foundation of Tsinghua University Institute for Advanced Study. The Institute has been greatly helped by the Foundation in providing to its faculty and staff additional supplements so that they can maintain a reasonably attractive life style in Beijing. Through the generous donation of Mr. and Mrs. Dunson Cheng and the support of the University administration, C.N. Yang Professorships have been established to support and recognize the Center's distinguished faculty. Current holders of the Professorship are Zheng-Yu Weng and Wang Xiaoyun .

Another basic mission of the Institute is the nurturing of young talents. The Institute maintains a high standard in selecting the very best graduate students, and strives to provide them with a stimulating educational and research environment that encourages independence and creativity. The C.N. Yang Fellowship program has been set up to award fellowships to excellent first-year graduate students. Each year, the Institute also awards students for good performance in research and/or study. For the graduate education program we adopt a policy that allows the freedom of two-way selection by graduate students and their prospective PhD thesis advisors. We encourage and arrange for supervision of graduate students by the Institute's adjunct faculty and overseas Chang-Jiang Chair Professors. Several of the Center's graduates are already competitive for postdoctoral fellowships in some of the best universities on the world scene, such as MIT, Stanford, Berkeley and UC at Santa Barbara. One of our graduate students distinguished himself by being the most sought-after candidate in 2009 for junior faculty appointments in the area of theoretical condensed matter physics and has received offers from leading universities like Stanford and University of California at Santa Barbara.