Shanghai, China

Open Campus Block

Click to scroll down and read more


Click to Open

This program has been suspended for fall 2021.

Explore our other active study abroad programs for fall 2021, or check out our travel assurances and updated health and safety guidelines.

Perched on the banks of the Huangpu River and the East China Sea, Shanghai is a global hub of culture, commerce, and finance. Experience Shanghai your way by customizing your study abroad term on the Open Campus Block Program. Take one, two, or three six-week blocks, select your courses from a wide range of subject areas. In Shanghai, you’ll be immersed in the vibrant student population of East China Normal University on the Putuo campus.

Stay in Shanghai the entire time or spend other blocks at our Global Institute locations in Berlin, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Copenhagen, London, Madrid, Yucatán, Monteverde, Paris, Rome, Santiago, and Sydney.

  • Get hands-on cultural experience

    by learning Chinese cooking, calligraphy, martial arts, music, or mahjong

  • Stroll the pedestrian mall on Nanjing Road

    Shanghai’s most famous street and the epicenter of busy commercial life in the city. See the dazzling city lights at night at its terminus, The Bund, former home to many western banks and their striking facades

  • Step back in time

    with visits to traditional water towns like Wuzhen and Zhujiajiao

  • Population of Shanghai

  • Years since Shanghai was incorporated

  • Years CIEE has had study abroad programs in China


Location & Culture

Click to Open

Shanghai, home to over 24 million people has seen massive development over the last two decades. The new financial district of Pudong is home to some of the tallest skyscrapers in the world. Boasting the fastest-growing rapid transit system in the world, Shanghai’s urban centers are conveniently connected by the world’s first commercial high-speed Maglev train, 13 subway lines, and two of the world’s busiest airports. 21st century businesses are increasingly interconnected through complex technological, political, social, and financial systems. 

Study Tours

Embark on a two-night/three-day study tour included in your program. Visit historical sites such as Old City God Temple and the Bund while taking in the modern architecture and culture.

Excursions & Activities

  • In each block, students participate in a study tour to another region, which could include Beijing, Xi’an, Nanjing, or Xiamen Day trips: Zhujiajiao – a preserved water town in Suzhou 
  • Activities: Shanghai Film Museum, Shanghai Volkswagen site visit, site of the First Communist Party Congress, Jewish Museum

Projects, Volunteer Opportunities, or Internships

  • Volunteer Opportunities: Teach at schools for children of migrant workers, mainly on the outskirts of the city. Get involved in volunteer programs in hospitals, parks, schools, after school programs, homes for the elderly. Work with local environmental groups to help maintain public parks and learn about cultural nuances in the process. Volunteer to coach sports and games to local youths.

    Students interested in one of the following Academic Projects must submit additional materials as part of their course selection:
  • Internships: Internship opportunities are available as part of the study program in a variety of businesses and NGOs in both private and public organizations.
  • Research: Pursue a research project of your own design incorporating independent and local fieldwork.
  • Service-Learning: Combine course-based learning with practical, relevant project experience to meet a community-defined need.

Daily Life

Click to Open
  • Housing

    The campus residence hall is a five-story facility located on the north end of East China Normal University Zhongshan (ECNU) campus. 

  • Meals

    The residence hall is a stone throw’s away from the main cafeteria on campus. Most students choose to eat in a variety of Chinese fast food restaurants and cafeterias within walking distance of ECNU, but limited cooking facilities are available in the dorm.

Shanghai, China

Where You'll Study

  • A

    Shanghai Tower

    the 2nd tallest building in the world

  • B

    East China Normal University Zhongshan Campus

    explore the beautiful campus

  • C

    The Bund

    a waterfront area in central Shanghai


Click to Open


Students enroll in one, two, or three six-week blocks, taking two courses during each block. This program gives students the flexibility to stay in Shanghai the entire time or spend other blocks at our Global Institute locations in Berlin, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Copenhagen, London, Madrid, Monteverde, Paris, Rome, Santiago, Sydney, and Yucatán.

Students may select one of six academic tracks: Business; Communications, Journalism, and New Media; Global and Community Health; International Relations and Political Science; Language, Literature, and Culture; or STEM and Society. 

The CIEE Global Institute is centrally located and convenient to public transportation for exploring the city.  Content courses are taught in English by CIEE faculty drawn from a variety of higher education institutions in China and worldwide.



Language Prerequisites

There are no specific language requirements for this program.

Program Requirements

Students are required to enroll in two courses each block. Students attending the program for all three blocks in a semester may select one block in which to enroll in only one course.

Program Credit

  • One block: 6 U.S semester/9 quarter credits
  • Two blocks: 12 U.S. semester/18 quarter credits
  • Three blocks: 15 U.S. semester/22.5 quarter credits

Course Credit

  • CIEE courses: typically, 3 U.S. semester/4.5 quarter credits; 45 contact hours
    • Language courses: 3 U.S. semester/4.5 quarter credits; 60 contact hours
  • CIEE Internship: 3 U.S. semester/4.5 quarter credits; 15 seminar hours, 100-120 internship placement hours
  • CIEE Directed Independent Research: 3 U.S. semester/4.5 quarter credits; 15 contact hours, 100-120 research hours
  • CIEE Service-Learning Project: 3 U.S. semester/4.5 quarter credits; 15 seminar hours, 90 service hours

Academic Culture

Each course is a full semester in content, covered in a six-week block, so the pace is accelerated, and the workload is demanding. Courses are designed to follow U.S. academic culture and standards. The class environment typically features a combination of traditional lecture and discussion with co-curricular excursions and activities. Heavy emphasis is placed on student participation. To avoid falling behind, students should not plan personal travel away from Shanghai when classes are in session and plan trips for the long weekends in between blocks.

Class Format

Courses taught at the CIEE Global Institute are typically for CIEE students only. Classes are scheduled Monday-Friday and meet either two, three, or four times per week, and attendance is strictly enforced both for classes and required for co-curricular excursions. Students should expect an average of two hours of preparation required for each hour in class. Instruction is supported and augmented online with our learning management system, Canvas.


The U.S. grading scale of A-F is used. Students are graded on the basis of attendance, class participation, homework, project work, presentations, and midterm and final examinations. Learning outcomes assessment is continuous through personal reflections, evaluation feedback, self-assessment, and requirements as set out in course syllabi.

Language of Instruction

English and/or Chinese


Click to Open

Course Information

Course Notes

  • Courses are listed below by block and track; course list subject to change. Courses are in English unless otherwise noted. “GI” denotes courses that are offered at multiple CIEE locations.
  • Use the Course Comparison Tools to compare classes offered across all Open Campus Block programs for each block:
  • Mobile students studying for three blocks who wish to complete a lab course (offered in London, Monteverde, and Yucatán) will be required to opt out of one course to remain within the program credit range.

Academic Projects

  • Each Academic Project (Internship, Service-Learning, and Directed Independent Research) placement will be designed based on the student’s project learning goals, qualifications, resume, and availability of placements. The process is highly individualized and goal oriented. Students enrolled in an Academic Project will receive additional academic support that informs and enhances the placement experience.
  • Students applying for an Academic Project are required to submit additional materials during the course selection process.
  • To qualify for participation, students must be in the location for at least one block in advance of the Academic Project to prepare for and secure placement. As a result, students participate in an Academic Project in either Block II or III.

Language Classes

  • During course selection, students interested in a Chinese language course will take a Chinese language assessment to determine their proficiency level. Enrollment will be finalized on site and is based on assessment outcomes.
  • Students not enrolled in three-credit language classes may add the non-credit “Survival Chinese” course to their course load during the on-site orientation.

Spring 2020 CIEE Courses

Click to Open
Spring Block I

Business Track

Semester Credit

Communications, Journalism, and New Media Track

Semester Credit

Language, Literature, and Culture Track

Semester Credit

STEM and Society Track

Semester Credit
Semester Credit

Note: This course listing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a contract between CIEE and any applicant, student, institution, or other party. The courses, as described, may be subject to change as a result of ongoing curricular revisions, assignment of lecturers and teaching staff, and program development. Courses may be canceled due to insufficient enrollment.


Click to Open

Scholarships & Grants

CIEE offers more than $8 million in scholarships and grants annually to help students like you make your study abroad dream a reality.

Students who apply to this program are eligible for the following scholarships and grants:

  • Ping Scholarships for Academic Excellence
  • Global Access Initiative (GAIN) Grants
  • McDermott Health Sciences, Nursing, and Public Health Merit Scholarships
  • CIEE Gilman Go Global Grant

To be considered, submit the CIEE Scholarships & Grants application within your CIEE program application. Learn more at the Scholarships & Grants section of our website.

See more scholarship info

Dates & Fees

Click to Open

Dates & Fees

You get more for every dollar when you study abroad with CIEE, because our high-quality programs include everything from excursions to insurance. There are no hidden charges, and no disappointing surprises when you arrive.

In blocks I and II, courses and formal activities end on the last Thursday of the block, and in block III, on the last Friday. Students are free to use the time between blocks as they choose, either remaining in their location or using the time for their own travel pursuits. Students changing locations must check into their new Global Institute by the first Monday of the block for local orientation, with classes starting on the first Wednesday of each block. In all cases, students are provided with continuous accommodation, and should speak with CIEE staff for more details.

What's Included

Click to Open

What's Included

Pre-departure Advising
Advising before you depart to set goals and answer questions
Optional on-site airport meet-and-greet
Introduction to your program plus practical information about living in your host city
On-site Staff
Full-time program leadership and support in your city
Cultural and/or Co-curricular Activities
Excursions and/or Study Tours
Travel Protection
CIEE iNext and a local liability insurance
24/7 emergency on-site support

Our Staff

Click to Open

Get Started

Here's what you need to do to take the next steps:
  • 1

    You're one step closer to an amazing study abroad experience! 

    Apply Now
  • 2

    Share your plans and confirm you're on track to meet all required steps to go abroad. 

  • 3

    Contact Us

    Send us an email if you still have questions or need information about applying to this program.