He received his primary education at home and college education at Nankai College graduating in 1912. In 1913, Dr. Ling went to America and 'entered Stanford University where he graduated in 1916 with the degree of B. A.
In the autumn of 1916, Dr. Ling entered Teacher’s College of Columbia University to do research work in pedagogical psychology. He was graduated from Columbia in 1917 with the degree of Master of Pedagogy. From 1917 to 1919 Dr. Ling continued his studies at Clark University, doing further research work in pedagogical psychology.
While studying in that university, he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, the academic honor society. The degree of Ph. D. was conferred upon him on the completion of this work. In the autumn of 1919, Dr. Ling returned to China and became dean of Nankai University until the autumn'of 1922 he was appointed Commissioner of Education of Honan, his native province. He did not remain long in this position, however, but soon returned to Nankai where he resumed the position of the Dean of the University Department.