Students in front of Shanghai skyline
Study Abroad
Shanghai - Economy, Business & Society Add to favorites
  • Shanghai, China

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Why Shanghai?

There is no mistaking Shanghai’s skyline. From the soaring Oriental Pearl Tower to the sweeping Bund across the Huangpu River, Shanghai shimmers with possibility. We invite you to experience first-hand all that this exciting city has to offer.

Shanghai is an economic and cultural hub of more than 22 million people. You will learn and communicate in Mandarin and English, while being exposed to the local Shanghai dialect—just one example of the many unique languages and cultures that exist in different regions throughout the country.

While in Shanghai, study the diversity and impact that international influences from all over the globe have on Chinese culture. Witness how globalization affects Shanghai and develop a greater understanding of how China’s influence is increasingly affecting the world.

What You'll Study

You have the opportunity to study on the historic Xuhui campus of Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) located in central Shanghai. There you will take IES Abroad-taught courses in English in subjects such as International Relations, Political Science, and more. You also have the opportunity to enroll in area studies courses at Fudan University, which is consistently ranked as one of the top five universities in China. Fudan University courses are taught in English and are available in areas like History, International Business, and Marketing.

Shanghai will be your classroom. Discover the eclectic mix of Eastern and Western influences in the city’s architecture. Explore the Yuyuan Gardens in the Old City to get a sense of Shanghai’s past. Drink at one of the city’s many tea houses. Comparative course-related excursions to Seoul or Taipei (fall) or Tokyo or Hong Kong (spring) put the city’s powerful global and historical influence into context.

Daily Life

We want you to feel at home in China, so we do everything we can to help you integrate into life in Shanghai. From relevant coursework to unique course-related excursions—including visits to businesses, NGOs, and research institutions—we help you explore Shanghai in its local, regional, and global contexts. As China’s financial powerhouse, Shanghai provides an environment for learning not only about China, but also about Asia and the world at large.

$5 Million in Financial Aid

We firmly believe that financial limitations should not prevent a qualified student from participating in an IES Abroad Program. This is why we commit $5 million to our financial aid programs.


Our mission is simple: to provide you with the best study abroad program possible—which includes the highest quality academic and cultural experiences.

We offer unique courses that explore Chinese language, international relations, business in China, and culture through an in-depth and hands-on approach. Our world-class professors and course options enhance your academic experience and provide you with new perspectives each day in class.

You will take 15-18 credits per semester. You create your academic experience by selecting from the following required and optional program components:

  • Chinese language course (required, 4 credits)
    The required 4-credit Chinese language course, developed exclusively for IES Abroad students, is offered at varying language proficiency levels, from beginning to advanced levels.


  • Business Chinese elective course (optional, 2 credits, must be placed in 300-level Chinese or above)
  • IES Abroad elective courses (optional, 3 credits)
  • Fudan University courses (optional, 3 credits)

Academic highlights include:

  • Academic lectures will take place in Shanghai and the location of your course-related trip (Fall: Seoul or Taipei, Spring: Hong Kong or Tokyo) and will provide an intercultural comparative analysis
  • Visits to the stock exchanges and key investment or economic development offices
  • Observations of elementary and secondary schools
  • Attend a panel discussion on Chinese politics and economics
  • Visits to active religious institutions and cultural areas of interest in Shanghai, and the location of your course-related trip



To learn more about IES Abroad’s innovative theoretical and pedagogical approaches to teaching language abroad, refer to the IES Abroad MAP for Language & Intercultural Communication.

Asian Studies
Course Name Term Language Credits
RL/AS/PH 120 - An Introduction to Classical Chinese Philosophy and Religion Fall, Spring English 3
Course Name Term Language Credits
CM 373 - Intercultural Communications Competence (formerly CM 395 - Intercultural Communications Competence) Fall, Spring English 3
Chinese Language
Course Name Term Language Credits
CN 101 - Chinese Language in Context: Novice Abroad I Fall, Spring Chinese 4
CN 201 - Chinese Language in Context: Novice Abroad III Fall, Spring Chinese 4
CN 203 - Chinese Language in Context: Novice Abroad IV Fall, Spring Chinese 4
CN 301 - Chinese Language in Context: Emerging Independent Abroad I Fall, Spring Chinese 4
CN 323 - Business Chinese Fall, Spring Chinese 2
CN 351 - Chinese Language in Context: Emerging Independent Abroad II Fall, Spring Chinese 4
CN 401 - Chinese Language in Context: Emerging Competent Abroad I Fall, Spring Chinese 4
Cultural Studies
Course Name Term Language Credits
CU/IB 371 - Business Culture in China (formerly IB 395 - Business Practice in China) Fall, Spring English 3
Course Name Term Language Credits
EC/PO 325 - Chinese Economy and Politics: Transition and Development Fall, Spring English 3
International Business
Course Name Term Language Credits
CU/IB 371 - Business Culture in China (formerly IB 395 - Business Practice in China) Fall, Spring English 3
IB 365 - Global Supply Chain Management English 3
International Relations
Course Name Term Language Credits
PO/IR 340 - International Politics in East Asia from a Chinese Perspective Fall, Spring English 3
Course Name Term Language Credits
RL/AS/PH 120 - An Introduction to Classical Chinese Philosophy and Religion Fall, Spring English 3
Political Science
Course Name Term Language Credits
EC/PO 325 - Chinese Economy and Politics: Transition and Development Fall, Spring English 3
PO/IR 340 - International Politics in East Asia from a Chinese Perspective Fall, Spring English 3
Religious Studies
Course Name Term Language Credits
RL/AS/PH 120 - An Introduction to Classical Chinese Philosophy and Religion Fall, Spring English 3

The following are potential course options at Fudan University:

  • The Transitional Chinese society
  • The Chinese Marketplace; Globalization and Local Transformation
  • Global Sourcing and Supply Chain Management in China
  • China through Contemporary Chinese Film
  • International Marketing
  • Political Economy in China
  • Doing Business in China
  • Religion in Chinese Society
  • Psychology and Life

Partner Institution(s)

Fudan University
Founded in 1905, Fudan University is ranked one of the top three universities in mainland China. The university offers undergraduate, Masters, and Ph.D. programs, with strengths in Arts, Sciences, and Business, and is a member of Universitas 21. Fudan’s campus has a unique architecture that reflects traditional Chinese-style buildings, gates, European-influenced structures, and the very modern Guanhua Twin Towers, and the main Handan campus is easily accessible by Shanghai’s extensive subway system. The university enrolls 45,000 students, of which 3,600 are international students. Chinese students admitted to Fudan University are considered among the best in China.

Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) is one of the top universities in China. SJTU was ranked as the 5th best university in China in 2013. The IES program will be located on the Xuhui campus of SJTU, about 4.5 miles from the Nanjing Road pedestrian mall. We are the only American program on this campus. This brings our program much closer to the central part of Shanghai.

Field Trips & Events

Even though your adventure starts in Shanghai, our field trips and excursions take you beyond the city to discover the culture and traditions of your host country. The cost of this extended trip is included in the program fee.
A day trip to Tongli is included in the program fee, with the exception of personal expenses.
You also have a few long weekends to make plans to travel independently to other cities in China to provide contrast and context for what you’re learning in Shanghai.
Day Trip
Explore the town often referred to as “Chinese Venice,” where 15 small, crisscrossing river lanes are spanned by nearly 50 bridges. These bridges are regarded as sacred architecture by the local people. Nine hundred years of history can be seen by admiring houses built during the Ming and Qing dynasties, complete with courtyards.

Course-Related Trips
The course-related excursions serve as an extension of classroom learning and provide comparative contrast between Shanghai and Hong Kong, Seoul, Taipei, or Tokyo. The cost of this extended trip is included in the program fee.

  • In Taiwan’s capital city of Taipei, you’ll visit the political party headquarters and other local sites of interest. You’ll also take a tour of National Taiwan University, and receive guest lectures by NTU faculty on international relations, the economy, and Taiwanese relationships with China. 
  • Visit the energetic and modern city of Seoul. There you will learn about Korea's development by taking in historic sites and interacting with university students, among other activities. Organized lectures will cover business leadership and global economy. You will also have free time to explore the city.

Visit one of these Asian destinations, with their bustling streets and impressive high rises.

  • While in picturesque Japan, your Tokyo trip will include visits to businesses, a factory tour, a visit to the Imperial Palace, and lectures on Japanese business and international relations.
  • If Hong Kong becomes your destination you’ll head to the Hong Kong Museum of History, the famed Night Market, and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and Legislative Council. Trek around Lamma Island, famous for its seafood and enormous Buddha, and learn about U.S. business in Southeast Asia and religion in Hong Kong from local business leaders and professors.

Optional Field Trips

  • The Yellow Mountain (Huangshan) is one of the most famous and beautiful mountainous areas in China. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, its spectacular natural scenery includes oddly-shaped pines and rocks, and mystical seas of cloud. During the trip, you will do a lot of hiking, take a visit to an ancient village and have the opportunity to explore the Tunxi old street. This trip carries an additional fee.
  • Taishan Mountain, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located in the center of Shandong Province. Mount Tai is known as the eastern mountain of the Five Great Mountains of China, and is often regarded as the foremost of the five. Mount Tai has been a place of worship for at least 3,000 years and served as one of the most important ceremonial centers of China during large portions of this period. This trip carries an additional fee.


  • Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang Province, is known as "Heaven on Earth" with its stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. It was described by Marco Polo as "the finest and most splendid city in teh world," and was listed in the "Top 52 places to go in 2016" by The New York Times. Hangzhou is one of the Seven Ancient Capital Cities, with a history of about 2,500 years. The main attractions include the West Lake, Lingyin Buddhist Temple ad Chinese Dragon Well Tea hills.This trip carries an additional fee.
  • The capital of Jiangsu Province, Nanjing lies on the south bank of the Yangtze River and is one of the most delightful destinations in China. Known as the capital city of many dynasties in ancient Chinese history, it has a brilliant cultural heritage. During the trip, you will visit the Presidential Palace, Purple Mountain, Mausoleum of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, and enjoy the night view of Confucius Temple Bazaar. This trip carries an additional fee.

NOTE: IES Abroad field trip destinations, activities, and lengths of stay may vary according to term and availability.

Daily Life

Part of making you feel at home in Shanghai is doing our best to help you feel safe and cared for. Whether it’s the orientation program that prepares you for what’s ahead, your housing that is well-located and comfortable, or a field trip that takes you to places off the beaten path—we’re all about our student services. This is just one of the things we’re known for.


The program begins with a specially designed, five-day orientation introducing you to the IES Abroad staff, your fellow students, health and safety procedures, the current social and political conditions in China, the expectations of you as a student in a Chinese institution, and the city of Shanghai.

CORE™, IES Abroad’s Comprehensive Orientation and Re-entry Experience, includes detailed information on academics, housing, transportation, cultural adjustment, health and safety, and other important topics.

Classroom sessions are combined with several ventures into the city, such as a scavenger hunt, designed to help you feel at home in your new environment. Practical Chinese lessons are combined with activities designed to help you learn your way around campus and how to use key facilities. Additional cross-cultural and re-entry information and support is provided throughout the semester.

You also take a field trip to a beautiful nearby "water town," called Tongli, as part of your orientation, which is included in your program fee.


We want to make sure that your greatest challenge is deciding which landmarks to see first or discovering the best café—not finding a place to live where you feel comfortable. We do our best to locate housing that is reflective of how the local students are living. Our goal is that when you leave Shanghai, it will feel like home.

Apartments - Live in an apartment with other IES Abroad students at the modern New Harbour Service Apartments (where the IES Abroad Shanghai Center is located). It is five subway stops from the main campus of Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

The standard, fully furnished apartment has two or three bedrooms with one or two bathrooms and one kitchen. You may share a double bedroom with another IES Abroad student or have a single room.

This option does not include a meal plan, but you can cook for yourself, eat in a campus cafeteria, or at nearby restaurants.

Homestays – Homestays offer the ideal environment for learning about China and improving your Chinese. While living in a local home may require an initial adjustment period, our Chinese homestay families are eager to get to know you and share their ideas, language, and culture.

You have a private bedroom and are provided two meals a day by your host family (breakfast and dinner) five days a week while the program is in session.

PLEASE NOTE: Homestay opportunities are extremely limited.

Extracurricular Activities & Cultural Events

Redefine the way you live and learn in Shanghai through our cultural activities, such as:

  • Joining student clubs
  • Volunteering for community service
  • Watching professional soccer, baseball, and basketball teams
  • Boating on the Huangpo River
  • Visiting local museums and historic sites

University Clubs & Events
While in Shanghai, you can take advantage of available on-campus activities. Clubs are student run and provide an excellent opportunity for increased campus integration.  Past clubs have included:

  • Explorer Volunteers Association (Provides assistance to disadvantaged groups in rural areas)
  • Air & Health (Environmental Protection Association)
  • Management Association
  • Modern Dance (Reggea, hiphop, jazz, tap)
  • Shaolong Kungfu
  • Sports (Badmintin, tennis, vollyball, baseball, cycling, and more)
  • Music PlayGround
  • Photography Association
  • Drama Club
  • Taichi

Get to Know Your New City

Enjoy Local Festivals

Immerse yourself in Chinese customs and traditions at the Lantern Festival in the spring semester or the Shanghai Tourism Festival in the fall.

Eat & Shop in Xintiandi

Explore Xintiandi’s North and South Blocks, where the past meets present in this chic shopping and dining district.

Go on a Huangpu River Night Cruise

Take a boat ride around the Bund to see the beauty of Shanghai architecture in all its glory!

Visit Yuyuan Garden & City God Temple Bazaar

See the extensive Chinese garden with its classic architecture, beautiful sculptures and carvings, then walk the photogenic Nine-Bend Bridge that connects the two to shop and dine at the Bazaar.

Visit Shanghai Disneyland

It is a small world after all! Plan a trip to the famous Disney theme park, filled with attractions you know and love, and new ones, too.

Program Cost

Consider these prices as a starting point. We encourage you to contact your study abroad office to determine the actual cost to you when factoring in financial aid, scholarships, your home school policies, and other factors.

Term: Spring 2019
Term Tuition Housing Insurance Total
Spring 2019 $12,300 $3,420 $230 $15,950

Term: Fall 2018
Term Tuition Housing Insurance Total
Fall 2018
Academic Year

Use our budget worksheet to calculate your costs

$5 Million in Financial Aid

We firmly believe that financial limitations should not prevent a qualified student from participating in an IES Abroad Program. This is why we commit $5 million to our financial aid programs.

Our Center

The IES Abroad Shanghai Center is located in New Harbor Service Apartments - the same building as the Economy, Business & Society student apartments - in the heart of central Shanghai. You can easily access all parts of Shanghai from the Center, via an extensive subway and bus system.

Features of the IES Abroad Shanghai Center include:

  • Staff offices
  • WiFi and printer access
  • Student study space

Our Staff

Qinbo "James" Gao

Center Director


Qinbo "James" Gao has been involved in international education for many years. Prior to joining IES Abroad Shanghai as the Center Director, he was the Director of the International Affairs Office (IAO) at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU)-Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance (SAIF). He joined SAIF in 2009 as a founding member for the institution, which is a collaboration between the Shanghai Municipal Government (SMG) and SJTU.

Before joining SAIF, James worked at the Chinese Europe International Business School (CEIBS) as Accreditations & International Programs Manager. He started his career as an English lecturer at Tongji University, where he received “Junior Teacher Awards” in 1998 and 1999, based upon student voting and academic reviews.

James received his bachelor’s degree from the International Studies University in Xi’an, and his M.A. in Tourism Administration from The George Washington University School of Business. He is a candidate for the Doctorate of Education at the University of Nottingham (China Campus), focusing on practical research in higher education.

IES Abroad Staff

IES Abroad Staff

Lihong YANG
Assistant Director

Yun GE
Program Assistant

Shuo HAN
Academic Coordinator and Chinese Instruction Coordinator