- Fall: May 1
- Spring: November 1
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
- Live on a Chinese university campus with excellent resources at your fingertips to make deeper connections with fellow students
- Participate in an extended field study trip that introduces you to the diverse social, economic and geographic realities that exist within China's borders
What our students say
Studying Abroad in China as a Second Generation Chinese American
Exotification in China
My Summer in China
IFSA Interview Series: International Business in China
The IFSA Difference
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.
- Public Health Policy and Practice in China (3 U.S. semester credit hours) Public health policy in China has been shaped by rapid and profound economic, social, and political currents. This course examines those developments and their implications for public health practice. Contemporary issues in health policy at national and local levels will be explored within the context of the health system. Topics include the former One Child Policy and family planning, caring for an aging population, child and maternal health, health literacy, and regional and urban/rural variations in health.
- Chinese Language (4 U.S. semester credit hours) No prior language study is required. A placement exam during on-site orientation determines each student's appropriate language level.
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.
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 the Alliance'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
Housing & Meals
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!