IFSA 21st Century City

Shanghai, China


Fall, Spring
Language of Instruction

Chinese, English

Language Prerequisite


Finance Options
Scholarships, grants, financial aid, monthly payment plan, credit card payments and more!
Application Deadlines:
  • Fall: May 1
  • Spring: November 1
Min. GPA for Consideration:
Typical Credit Load:

About 21st Century City

Witness history in the making as Shanghai continues to develop at an unprecedented pace. With this cosmopolitan city as your classroom, you can explore issues of sustainable urbanization, economic reforms, or Chinese politics and foreign policy while living with Chinese roommates and studying Chinese language, too.

21st Century City Benefits

  • Impress future employers with your ability to communicate with one of the most important economies in the world
  • Find your home in a vibrant, student-friendly neighborhood, where our program center sits just around the corner from the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics (SUFE)
  • Pair with a local Chinese university student in the optional language partner program. You'll spend at least two hours per week for eight weeks practicing language in a social, casual setting
  • Explore cosmopolitan Shanghai with easy access to nearby shops, restaurants, entertainment and transportation throughout the city
  • Participate in an extended field study trip that introduces you to the diverse social, economic and geographic realities that exist within China's borders

The IFSA Difference

Your success is our success! Whatever your goals, our approach is carefully designed to help you achieve them.
You will experience challenging, rewarding coursework in the highest quality classes, while receiving the academic support you need.
More than a tourist in a foreign country, you will engage in the community, build competencies, and develop yourself as a citizen of the world.
Our programs and practices reflect the value we place on diverse perspectives and are designed to support a variety of learners.
Round out your classroom experience with hands-on opportunities like internships, directed research, student teaching, community-based learning or volunteering, and cultural excursions.
You will have academic and personal mentors to assist with program choice, application, travel, cultural acclimation, language acquisition, class registration, academic issues, health and safety, and everything in between.

Academics at 21st Century City

The 21st Century City program examines the history of Shanghai, its process of rapid urbanization, and China's interface with the West in this dynamic Asian center. The 15-credit semester is comprised of a required core course and Chinese language along with 2 electives.

All elective courses are taught in English. Not all electives may be offered in a given semester depending on enrollment and faculty availability. 
  • China: Economic Giant (3 U.S. semester credits) The course provides an interpretative survey of China's emergence as a global economic power. The phenomenal changes in the Chinese economy over recent decades are highlighted, and aspects of quantitative development are related to the radical reforms adopted since 1978. Students discuss major policy issues encountered by the Chinese government in sustaining high-speed economic growth without instability. Students also explore China's pursuit of full integration into the global free trade system.
  • City and Environment (3 U.S. semester credits) 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?
  • Sino-U.S. Relations: Superpower and Realignment (3 U.S. semester credits) The U.S.-China relationship is one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world. This course 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?
  • Contemporary Chinese Politics: State, Party, People (3 U.S. semester credits) This course 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?
  • Survey of Art in China (3 U.S. semester credits) This course 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?
  • Exploring Community & Culture in a Global Context (3 U.S. semester credits) Through a creative asynchronous online format, this course facilitates active engagement with your host community, exploration of cultural identity and examination of diversity in the context of political, economic and sociocultural structures. Students cover topics such as intercultural communication skills, intercultural learning theories, tools for intercultural analysis and the development of personal strategies for engaging with differences of any kind following the study abroad experience. This course is ideal for students seeking transferable skills and specific competencies for success in the global marketplace. Depending on your chosen IFSA program, this course may be taken as a part of or in addition to your full credit load. Home institution approval is required for enrollment.
Language classes are taught by native Chinese instructors selected, trained, and overseen by the IFSA on-site language director. All courses conducted in English are taught by faculty from various higher education and professional institutions, who combine theoretical and practical expertise in their chosen subject area. Field-based learning components such as Internships and Directed Research, if available on your program, have a significant academic framework that is also facilitated by IFSA faculty members.
After you return to the U.S., IFSA will send an official Butler University transcript to your home university with your coursework converted to the U.S. credit 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
Subjects offered at 21st Century City
Accounting Advertising Anthropology Architecture and Design Art History Arts Administration/Management Asian Studies Business Chinese Community Studies Computer Science Computer/Software Engineering Cultural Studies Ecology Economics Education Studies Entrepreneurship and Innovation Environmental Health Environmental Science/Studies Fashion Design Fashion Marketing and Merchandising Finance Health Administration/Management Health Education Health Studies Herbal Medicine/Naturopathy History Human and Child Development Information Technology International Business International Studies/Affairs/Relations Management Marketing Medicine, Pre-Medical Natural Resource Management Nursing Nutrition/Food Science Occupational Therapy Physiotherapy/Physical Therapy Political Science Population Studies/Demography Public/Global Health Social Justice Social Policy Sociology Urban Studies

Housing & Meals

Housing Type
Students live in international student apartments on the 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 in the program fee. Students should budget an average of $11-$13 (75-90 RMB) per day based on eating typical meals near campus.

The IFSA Team

IFSA has a dedicated team who are here to help you prepare to achieve your goals. Feel free to reach out. We are happy to answer your questions!

Program Advisor

Emma Robinson's headshot

Emma Robinson

Student Engagement Specialist. Program Advisor for Australia, China, India, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka

(317) 940-4258 erobinson@ifsa-butler.org Read Full Bio   Schedule Time to Talk

Resident Director

Christopher Van Velzer's headshot

Christopher Van Velzer

Resident Director, Shanghai

Read Full Bio  

Academic Affairs Director

Dates and Fees

Spring 2021

Program Dates

Program Start Date
February 17, 2021
Program End Date
June 5, 2021

Program Fees

Total Program Fee
Coming Soon!
Students pay a $500 non-refundable program deposit upon confirmation of attendance. The deposit is applied to the total program fee.

Estimated Costs

Local Transportation
Personal Expenses
(Includes utilities, laundry, entertainment, expected start-up costs, etc. Does not include personal travel.)
Total Estimated Costs