Study in Shanghai with IFSA
Shanghai
, China

IFSA Study in Shanghai: Social Sciences

Program Overview

EXPLORE THE SOCIAL IMPACT OF RAPID ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT 

What’s it like to watch a city develop at an unprecedented pace? Shanghai is the place to find out. Explore this cosmopolitan metropolis as you dig into sustainable urbanization, economic reform, Chinese politics, foreign policy, public health policy, or traditional Chinese medicine. Boost your language skills by teaming up with a Chinese university student for a couple of hours of casual practice each week—communication is the key to getting even more from your time in Shanghai.

For a different focus in this forward-looking city, check out IFSA Study in Shanghai: International Business and IFSA Study in Shanghai: Intensive Chinese Language. And for maximum flexibility, explore IFSA Study in Shanghai, with no required courses.

Details at a Glance

Application deadline

Fall: May 1
Spring: Nov. 1

Minimum GPA

2.00

Credit load

15-16

Housing

Apartment/Flat

Instruction language

Chinese, English

Prerequisites

None

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Academics

The IFSA Study in Shanghai: Social Services academic track examines the history of Shanghai, its process of rapid urbanization, and China’s interface with the West in this dynamic Asian center. Maximize your learning by tailoring classes to your academic focus, enrolling in the required core class and three to four elective classes, including an internship opportunity.

CORE CLASS

Chinese Society in the 21st Century

This class examines the transformation in Chinese society since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, with emphasis on the changes brought about in the wake of the economic reforms of the 1980s and 1990s. Topics include urban and rural social transformation, the changing relationship between individual and society, and population control and the one child policy. Students explore the social consequences of China’s rapid integration into the global economy. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

ELECTIVE CLASSES

Customize your semester based on your personal interests and degree requirements, choosing from the electives on the IFSA Study in Shanghai: Social Sciences academic track as well as our IFSA Study in Shanghai: International Business academic track. All elective classes are taught in English. Not all electives may be offered in a given semester depending on enrollment and faculty availability.

City and Environment

With a rapidly growing population, rising lifestyle expectations, and continuing industrial production, urban China's usage of water and energy resources is a key question for those concerned with a sustainable future. This class will localize these issues by investigating Shanghai as a case study of urban environmental issues in China. How does Shanghai face the challenges of resource use and waste that its sprawling urban footprint creates? How sustainable can Shanghai become? (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

Contemporary Chinese Politics: State, Party, People

This class examines the current political leadership of China, urban and rural relations, nationalism and foreign policy, mass participation, and the emergence of the rule of law. How has the communist political system evolved? What are the challenges when the society is under massive change as a result of economic reform and globalization? How is political stability maintained? And most importantly, the million-dollar question: when will China democratize? (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

International Internship Seminar

Students are placed in individual internships but collectively take part in the seminar to prepare for the experience, understand expectations, set personal objectives, identify, and strengthen specific skills, critically reflect on their progress, share experiences, and learn from each other throughout their term. Students develop a deeper understanding of themselves, their professional areas, and Chinese work culture. In this seminar, which is focused on application of theory to practice, students gain real world work experience while developing intercultural agility — skills and experiences that are critically important to personal, academic, and professional success.

Public Health Policy and Practice in China

Public health policy in China has been shaped by rapid and profound economic, social, and political currents. This course examines those developments and their implications for public health practice. Contemporary issues in health policy at national and local levels will be explored within the context of the health system. Topics include the former One Child Policy and family planning, caring for an aging population, child and maternal health, health literacy, and regional and urban/rural variations in health. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

Sino-U.S. Relations: Superpower and Realignment

The U.S.-China relationship is one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world. This class examines their intricate relationship, focusing on the period after 1949, when the People’s Republic of China was proclaimed. What roles have trade and human rights played in the relationship? How have recent incidents, such as the American bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1999 and the 9/11 terrorist attacks, influenced the strategic Beijing-Washington relationship? What lies in the future, as China rises? (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

Survey of Art in China

This class is a systematic seminar that explores the important developments in Chinese art from early history to modern times. Most sessions will take place in selected museums throughout Shanghai. Rather than studying the objects as art, students will examine them as “artifacts.” Students also will explore questions such as: When and how did these artifacts come to be placed within the precincts of art museums? What statement does the object narrate regarding its historical and present context? (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

Traditional Chinese Medicine

For more than 3,000 years, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has formed a unique system for diagnosing and treating disease as well as cultivating life-long health. A combination of classroom sessions and hands-on TCM practica provides a lens through which students can better understand the Chinese cultural context in which today’s public health policy is implemented. This class introduces basic TCM theories, useful daily diagnostics, and treatment methods including acupressure, Chinese herbs, dietary adjustments, cupping, reflexology, acupuncture, and exercises such as tai chi. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

LANGUAGE CLASSES

Developing skills in a foreign language can profoundly impact your life personally and professionally. Though language study (other than Essential Chinese) is not required, students frequently report their Chinese language class as one of their favorites and the one they applied most outside of the classroom.

Essential Chinese

If you’ve never studied Chinese before, and you decide not to take an elective language class, you’ll take this introductory seminar to contemporary Chinese language and culture taught intensively during the first weeks of the program. By introducing key words and phrases and venturing out into the city to practice them, you’ll gain essential skills to communicate effectively and navigate in a new culture. (1 U.S. semester credit hour)

Chinese Language

No prior language study is required. A placement exam during on-site orientation determines each student’s appropriate language level. (6 U.S. semester credit hours)

Business Chinese

You must have completed three semesters of Chinese language prior to taking this class. You will develop specialized skills in business-related Chinese communication in both oral and written form. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

INTERNSHIPS

In Shanghai, you have the opportunity to participate in a part-time, credit-bearing internship at sites that may include Chinese or international non-profits, corporations, or think-tanks. The placement process begins with the submission of the Internship Interest Form upon acceptance into the program and typically concludes with an in-person interview in China.

IFSA makes every effort to place student interns at companies or organizations that match the organization's needs with a student’s skills, experience, and goals, including but not limited to the student’s Chinese language level and communication skills, prior professional experience, and work competencies. Both English- and Chinese-speaking placements are available. Applicants are encouraged to be flexible. Internships may include opportunities to:

  • Draft grant proposals for funding available to non-profit organizations for health promotion campaigns
  • Lead organization of English classes for Chinese migrants, including course preparation and occasional instruction
  • Contribute to brand strategy and communications; monitor and maintain regular social media activity
  • Coordinate planning and implementation of environmentally focused conferences and events
  • Assist in arranging accessible group field trips that contribute to the well-being of differently abled community members
  • Support administration of intercultural and international educational programs across China
  • Research legal resources for company advisors; support processing of legal translations

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

Eligibility

  • You must be at least 18 years of age. Students under 18 may be accepted on a case-by-case basis.
  • You must be currently attending or recently graduated from a U.S. or Canadian community college, technical college, two-year college, four-year college, or four-year university.
  • You must have completed at least one (1) semester of study at your home institution before the beginning of the term.

Recommendation Letter
Not required.

Visa Requirement
This program requires a visa for all students.

TRANSCRIPT
Upon completion of your program, IFSA will send an official Butler University transcript to your home university with your coursework converted to the U.S. semester credit hour system. You will also have access to an unofficial transcript in your IFSA Student Portal. The transcript reflects courses taken, credits attempted, and grades earned during your term abroad. This service is included in your study abroad program at no additional cost. See our Transcripts page for more information.

Excursions

Activities and excursions are designed to pull you into the communities you visit and encourage cultural connections of every kind. There’s no extra fee to participate in these optional outings—everything is included in your program fee.

Below are examples from previous terms; outings may be different for your program. We’ll make every effort to run them all, but sometimes things we can’t our control, such as local regulations and health protocols, get in the way. As result, we cannot guarantee activities and excursions.

Activities

  • City-as-Text: We will use Shanghai as a critical frame to understand the socioeconomics of this port city in a global era. Learn about the stylistic elements of building and infrastructure efforts toward sustainable development from historical and forward-looking perspectives.
  • Art Tour of West Bund Cultural Corridor: Through guided tour, you will visit museums and art galleries where foreign and Chinese artists are featured to discuss the state of contemporary art in China and the importance of culture in fostering international exchange.
  • Visit to Manufacturing Plant: As a major financial and economic hub in Asia, Shanghai has many benefits to offer to companies and entrepreneurs. You will be able to network with local and international professionals, further your career aspirations, and learn about innovations taking place in the city and how a multinational company localizes the operations and manage its supply chain networks.
  • Food and Local Culture: Chinese food is well known for its distinctive culinary style and diverse regional flavors. More importantly, Chinese food and the way it is prepared and served have rich connotations that resonate with the culture, tradition, and lifestyle of different ethnic groups. You will hear from experts telling the story of local food development as Shanghai becomes an international cosmopolitan city. You will also learn to make colorful Chinese dumplings and experiment with food from Shanghai and elsewhere to enrich your taste buds.
  • Tai Chi and Calligraphy: Throughout multiple workshops, you will have the opportunity to practice tai chi and calligraphy with local experts and gain greater insights into Chinese art and philosophy.
Excursions
  • Water Town Trip: During an overnight trip, explore a water town, also called canal towns, outside the hustle and bustle of Shanghai. These ancient and historic towns are known for their bridges, rivers, and canals. You will explore stunning landscapes, visit local art and craft markets, and gain a deeper understanding of China’s social and economic diversity.
  • Local Community Visit: Transform your thinking of traditional urban-rural lines with a visit to a local community where you’ll meet with local people to hear their life stories, learn about their day-to-day routines, and discover their ongoing grassroots initiatives.

Housing and Meals

Housing

Apartment/Flat

Meals

Self-Catering

Details

You will live in international student apartments on the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics (SUFE) campus, which offer an ideal environment for getting to know fellow Chinese and international students and engaging in informal language and cultural exchange. Meals are not included.

Dates and Fees

Term

Term begins

Term ends

Program costs

Application deadline

Fall 2023 - Suspended

Late Aug. 2023 - Suspended

Mid-Dec. 2023 - Suspended

$16,750

Suspended

Spring 2024

Early Feb. 2024

Late May 2024

$16,750 (estimated)

Nov. 1

Fall 2024

Late Aug. 2024

Mid-Dec. 2024

$16,750 (estimated)

May 1

Term

Fall 2023 - Suspended

Term begins

Late Aug. 2023 - Suspended

Term ends

Mid-Dec. 2023 - Suspended

Program costs

$16,750

Application deadline

Suspended

Term

Spring 2024

Term begins

Early Feb. 2024

Term ends

Late May 2024

Program costs

$16,750 (estimated)

Application deadline

Nov. 1

Term

Fall 2024

Term begins

Late Aug. 2024

Term ends

Mid-Dec. 2024

Program costs

$16,750 (estimated)

Application deadline

May 1

Get started

Brittany Brooks

Brittany Brooks

Admissions Counselor

Zipporah Gaines

Zipporah Gaines

Prearrival Counselor

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