There are three categories in the universities in Beijing:
1. Colleges and departments co-exist, not only the colleges have departments, but also the departments can exist independently.
2. There are only colleges, with departments under the colleges, but there are no independently established departments.
3. School and college category. In addition, some universities establish various forms of independent scientific research institute, such as research institutes, research centers, engineering and technical research centers and laboratories. Some other universities pay more attention to the cross-discipline study; therefore, they set up cross- discipline, cross-department research centers and laboratories at university level.
The construction of China’s discipline organization or the structure and operation conditions have great relevance to discipline and specialty setting. The education for undergraduates and graduates is set up in line with discipline categories. The discipline setting in China is a distinctive feature of Chinese specialty catalogues which cannot be found in most of the developed countries in the world. The function of China’s discipline category mainly is embodied in the degree-awarding of college graduates. The original intension of awarding degree according to different discipline categories is to help the society have an intuitive understanding towards the knowledge background of the degree holders. In 1980, Regulations of the People's Republic of China on Academic Degrees was adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and thus established three grades of academic degree, namely Bachelor’s Degree, master’s degree and doctor’s degree and became effective as of January 1st, 1981. After that time, the degrees are awarded to graduates according to the following discipline categories, such as Philosophy, Economics, Law, Education, Literature, History, Natural Science, Engineering, Agriculture, and Medicine and so on. In China, the discipline categories are basis for evaluating academic degree units by various educational authorities as well as admission, cultivation and degree award.