In 1927, Jinan University established the Department of Nanyang Culture & Education with the aim to conduct research on Southeast Asia and overseas Chinese. Since then, the Department has had great influence both in China and abroad. After the University rebuilt in Guangzhou in 1958, Southeast Asian and overseas Chinese studies continued to be strengthened, furthering their development. Both areas of studies became the leading exemplars of an overseas Chinese university. In 2011, in order to create an unique and innovative platform for research that better represent Jinan University as an overseas Chinese university, expertise from International Relations, Overseas Chinese Studies, and other relevant research projects were integrated to form the School of International Studies(SIS)/ Academy of Overseas Chinese Studies(AOCS). Subsequently, Research School of 21st Century Silk Road was set up in Nov. 2014. In Jul. 2015, Overseas Chinese and International Affairs Studies was included in “High-level University Construction Program” by Guangdong provincial government.
Up until 2018, SIS/AOCS has 72 staff members. Among them, there are 16 professors, 22 associate professors, 8 lecturers, and 6 postdoctoral fellows. Also, there are 411 full-time students, of which 169 are undergraduate, 121 master, 121 doctoral students and 131 from overseas.