IFSA Public Health Policy and Practice in China

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 Public Health Policy and Practice in China

Examine how public health policy is shaped by today's social, economic, and political currents and ultimately put into practice in the world's most populous country. Gain hands-on experience in globally relevant health topics by pursuing a directed research project or an internship with a local or international organization.

Public Health Policy and Practice in China Benefits

  • Learn to write and defend policy papers on public health topics that can change lives in your community and across 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)
  • Enhance your resumé and understand real-world applications by pursuing public health-related Directed Research and Internships 
  • 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
  • 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 Public Health Policy and Practice in China

The Public Health Policy and Practice program invites you to examine how public health policy is shaped by social, economic, and political currents and ultimately put into practice in the world's most populous country. The 16-credit semester is comprised of a required core course and Chinese language plus three electives, including opportunities for internships and directed research.

All area studies courses are taught in English and are 3 U.S. semester credit hours each. Not all electives may be offered in a given semester depending on enrollment and faculty availability.
  • Directed Research: Students may conduct research in the areas of policy studies, global and public health, human and consumer behavior, education, gerontology, recreational management, psychology, and the social sciences. Guided readings and one-on-one meetings with faculty guides provide instruction pertaining to the development of articulate and comprehensive research that remains respectful to the sensitivities of local culture. The course culminates a specific pilot study in the field.
  • Internship: Interns are placed in Chinese or international non-profits, corporations, consulting firms, or think-tanks focused on promoting public and environmental health. Placements are highly competitive, and other foreign languages and professional skills assist in the placement process as well. Interns spend approximately 10 hours per week at the internship site and complete a final academic paper with an accompanying oral presentation. Internships are supervised by a faculty advisor who meets with students at least twice individually and three times as a group.
  • Environmental Health: Environmental health concerns in China, particularly surrounding air and water pollution, are well documented and widely acknowledged on the international stage. Rapid growth in China's industry and economy have led to increasing health hazards for Chinese people in their communities, homes, schools, and even workplaces. In this course, students explore the various issues policy makers consider when undertaking risk assessment and developing regulatory policies to reduce these negative impacts while maintaining a trajectory of economic growth.
  • Nutrition, Food Safety and Security: With the recent development of the China Food and Drug Administration, as well as public demand for improvement in the management of food safety risks, issues of nutrition and food security permeate many Chinese policy agendas. China's cultural and political landscapes provide an ideal context for exploring these complex and interconnected topics. This course allows students to examine how China's regional diversity, uneven economic development, and varied dietary consumption patterns impact policy decisions and regulatory standards.
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine: Over 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 course 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.
  • Exploring Community & Culture in a Global Context: 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.
Experiential Learning
The Public Health Policy and Practice program offers a unique opportunity for undergraduates to delve deeply into meaningful research projects of their own design in the capital of the world's most populous country. Students conceptualize, conduct, and present a substantial piece of research relevant to the burgeoning field of public health. Each research project takes place within the practical context of a local organization and provides opportunities for community engagement. Students have regular meetings with faculty guides in their subject area to discuss the formation and execution of their research plans. This inquiry process is supported by IFSA's network of local experts, including social activists, health educators, doctors, business leaders, and policymakers as well as our team of faculty advisors. All directed research projects are subject to the interest and availability of faculty and may require prior relevant coursework.

In Shanghai, students 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 focused on promoting public and environmental health. The placement process begins with the submission of the Field Component Intent 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. Applicants are encouraged to be flexible. Internships may include opportunities to:
  • Research and draft grant proposals for funding available to non-profit organizations for health promotion campaigns
  • Coordinate planning and implementation of environmentally focused conferences and events
  • Participate in monitoring and evaluation of a large-scale sanitation and hygiene project in rural provinces of China
  • Assist in organizing accessible group field trips that contribute to the well-being of differently abled community members
  • Support public relations campaigns for an international policy consulting firm
  • Document and report on disasters in the Asia-Pacific region using a proprietary management information system
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 Public Health Policy and Practice in China
Asian Studies Chinese Community Studies Cultural Studies Ecology Entrepreneurship and Innovation Environmental Health Environmental Science/Studies Fashion Marketing and Merchandising Health Administration/Management Health Education Health Promotion Health Studies Herbal Medicine/Naturopathy Human and Child Development Kinesiology/Exercise Science Medicine, Pre-Medical Natural Resource Management Nutrition/Food Science Occupational Therapy Physiotherapy/Physical Therapy Policy Studies/Public Policy Political Science Population Studies/Demography Premedical Public Policy Public/Global Health Social Policy Statistics Translation 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. 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!

Resident Director

Christopher Van Velzer's headshot

Christopher Van Velzer

Director, Global Learning

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Academic Affairs Director

Dates and Fees

Spring 2021

Program Dates

Program Start Date
February 17, 2021
Program End Date
May 28, 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