Program Details

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The City

The city of Shanghai is relatively young city in terms of Chinese history, starting out as a coastal fishing town in the 17th century. Shanghai has grown rapidly since this time, maturing into a truly world-class city in the early 21st century. Dubbed “the Paris of the Orient” in the 1920s, Shanghai had become by this time the most cosmopolitan and international city in Asia. After WWII and the Communist Revolution of 1949, Shanghai remained the most dominant, if sluggish, manufacturing center in China. During the 1990s, the city became increasingly service-oriented, developing into the country’s financial hub, or “the New York of China.” The transformation to the economic, social and physical landscapes of Shanghai has been so dramatic that an American architect touted it as “the greatest transformation of a piece of earth in history.”  As agricultural fields and fishing ponds have turned into massive skyscrapers, including some of the tallest in the world, a shrinking number of old neighborhoods and buildings remain culturally preserved landmarks that are witness to the old Shanghai.  It is this unusual blend of old and new, and East and West, that makes Shanghai a fascinating environment for students.  ​

Fudan University

Founded in 1905, Fudan University is one of the oldest universities in China.  During the earlier decades of its existence, Fudan expanded from Arts, Sciences, and Business to the fields of Journalism, Civil Administration, Law, and Education.  After the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, Fudan became one of the top universities in the nation.  Since the reform and “opening” of China, around 1980, Fudan University has consistently ranked among the top three comprehensive universities in the country and is aspiring to become a leading university in the world.  Having established exchange programs with Yale, Stanford, and Washington University, Fudan selected Trinity as the first liberal arts college in the United States for a new cooperative agreement in 2011. The cooperative partner for the new Trinity program, the School of Social Development and Public Policy (SSDPP), is the most internationally oriented of Fudan, running programs for international students in English.  The main campus of Fudan University is located near Wujiaochang, one of the four sub-commercial centers in Shanghai, and has easy access to all parts of the city by multiple subway lines.​

Academics / Courses

​Course ​Credits
Trinity Core Course: Contemporary Shanghai (SHAN 301) ​1.0 credit
Chinese Language at the appropriate level (beginner to advanced) ​2.0 credits
Elective Course(s) at Fudan University (students take 1-3)
​1.0 credit each
​SHAN 305: Research Methods (OPTIONAL)
1.0 credit
Shanghai Internship Seminar & Placement (OPTIONAL)
1.0 credit

The program offers a total of 5.0 – 6.0 credits. As with all Trinity’s global programs, the grades for all the courses taken on the program will be counted in the Trinity GPA.

All students will enroll in the program’s core class, SHAN 301: The Chinese Metropolis in Comparative Perspective.  This class will introduce students to this dynamic and evolving city and provide an in-depth but broad survey of Shanghai as an instructional tool and context for understanding Chinese society. It will include excursions to other nearby cities/regions.

In addition, all students will enroll in Chinese language courses.  The intensive language study Chinese language will be offered at different levels – 101-401. While prior Chinese-language experience will not be required, it is recommended that students take a minimum of one course in Chinese at Trinity prior to studying on the program.

Students can also choose from 3-5 electives offered in English at Fudan in a variety of academic areas. Past offerings Fudan has offered to international students have included: Chinese Political Economy, Religion in China, Introduction to Microeconomics, the Chinese Marketplace, and Population and Society.  These classes will be open to both other international students and Fudan students, allowing for integration into the University.

An additional Trinity class, SHAN 305: Research Methods is available to Trinity students. This class will introduce students to research methods for the social sciences and will allow students to tailor and independent study project, working with local scholars. Students will also do an independent study involving a research project in an area of academic interest. The project will be overseen jointly by the faculty from Fudan University and Trinity College.  The project will provide a platform for the student to conduct research in Shanghai and potentially extend the project into a senior thesis after returning to Trinity.

Another class that students can select is an Internship Seminar that will include an internship placement at an NGO or other organization or business.  The combination of class study and the weekly placement will help students gain a broader understanding of the Chinese economy.

Program Prerequisites

The program is open to students with a strong grade-point average (2.7 or higher). It is strongly recommended, but not required that students take at least 1-2 semesters of Mandarin Chinese prior to participation. Note that this is a semester option; students can study on the program for a full year, but will need to return to their home country between terms.

Program Dates

  • Fall semester: early-September - mid-December
  • Spring semester: late February - mid-June 

Housing and Meals

Students can expect to have the option of either staying in a furnished and fully-equipped apartment in the Tohee International Student Village ( adjacent to the campus of Fudan University or living in the International Student Dormitory on campus. Both are convenient to stores, and inexpensive restaurants are located within easy walking distance.

Expenses and Financial Aid

Students are billed by Trinity for the program, including tuition, housing, and fees. Students who receive financial aid from Trinity College will have that aid transferred to the program. Application for transfer of financial aid must be made early and in consultation with the Office of Financial Aid.

Who’s Who on-site

Academic Director in Shanghai: Professor Jiaming Sun
Professor Jiaming Sun recently rejoined the faculty at School of Social Development and Public Policy at Fudan University after teaching at Texas A&M University for the past six years. He was on the Fudan faculty before coming to the United States as a visiting scholar in 1997. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2005.  Professor Sun teaches courses in urban sociology, global sociology, and research methods and is responsible for overseeing students’ academic program and all independent studies.​

In addition, Trinity students will work closely with the School of Social Development and Public Policy faculty/staff, who provide additional administrative and academic support.

Application Information

All Trinity students who wish to study away are required to submit a Request to Study Away by the first week of December of the academic year prior to study. 

Upon approval, students submit a program application by March 15th for the fall 2015 term. Please Click Here to access to Trinity in Shanghai application. 

Once accepted, all students will receive a handbook that include details on visas, finances, health issues, and other relevant information.