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Academics & Courses

The ACM Shanghai: Perspectives on Contemporary China program places you in a unique setting to discover a country that has seen both rapid economic change and increased global influence in recent decades.

The program’s curriculum is structured to make off-campus study in China accessible to students from a wide range of majors. There is no language prerequisite, so you can arrive in Shanghai without having studied Chinese language before, and you can choose among elective courses — all taught in English — in subjects across the social sciences and humanities.

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Explore the complexity of China's culture

You will select two of your four courses from those offered for international students by the Global China Program at East China Normal University (ECNU). All courses explore the complexity of China’s culture and society through multiple lenses.

The program’s curriculum is structured to make off-campus study in China accessible to students from a wide range of majors.

Courses cover areas such as business and economics, politics and international relations, Chinese history and philosophy, current issues such as urbanization and globalization, and topics in Chinese popular culture.

You’ll also study Chinese language at the level that suits your proficiency, which helps you meet people, navigate the city, and engage in daily life in Shanghai. ACM students with advanced Chinese language skills may be able to enroll in undergraduate courses taught in Chinese, alongside ECNU students.

With these courses providing context, your independent study project will be an opportunity to deepen your knowledge in a specific area of interest through first-hand investigation, interviews, and research in the local community.

“Shanghai is like the New York of China, and it has unique advantages for students compared to many other cities. First of all, many students are interested in studying abroad in China mainly because of their interest in Chinese economic growth and business opportunities, and Shanghai is the economic capital of the country.

Second is the cultural perspective in Shanghai—a combination of tradition and elements from Western culture. So far, the Chinese economic success is due largely to its open policy. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the country opened the door and started the reform, and the Shanghai culture is an example of the openness. I think being in Shanghai provides a different perspective for students to learn about the success of China and to understand the changes in China and its people since the reforms began.”

—Liang Ding, Macalester College, economics, Past Visiting Faculty Director of the Shanghai Program