Shanghai Business Semester

Photo of Shanghai China skyline

Shanghai Business Semester

About the Program

Situated on the Huangpu River and the East China Sea, Shanghai is truly an international city, blending modern glamour with traditional Chinese customs, architecture and cuisine. China's most populated city, Shanghai has emerged as a global hub of culture, commerce and finance. The city hosts one of the most important stock markets in the world and is China's leading industrial and manufacturing center. Over the past 20 years, Shanghai has undergone a massive redevelopment, building uber-tall and futuristic skyscrapers that stretch up and down the streets of the financial district as well as more parks and recreation centers. Getting around Shanghai is easy; urban centers are conveniently connected by elevated light rails and the city features the world's first commercial high-speed Maglev train.

This program is designed to help students understand contemporary business issues affecting China, and the role of the world’s second largest economy on international business today. Company site visits and other networking opportunities help students apply theories learned in the classroom to the city’s business environment.

Program Features:

  • Take business, allied and core requirements, staying on track to graduation.
  • Gain professional experience while interning at a multinational corporation, Chinese company, or international nonprofit in Shanghai.
  • Explore important cultural and religious sites including the Yuyuan Garden, Jing'An Temple and Tian Zi Fang market.
  • Visit Pudong, Shanghai's glitzy, futuristic financial district and home to some of the tallest skyscrapers in the world.
  • Take conversational Chinese.


  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5
  • Junior standing or higher at time of participation
  • Complete pre-requisites by Spring 2020
  • Good disciplinary standing

Application Process

  1. Attend information session on September 12, 17, or 24th from 12-1 in McNeely 106. Or, call us at (651) 962-6450 to schedule an advising appointment. Your Study Abroad advisor will open an application for you during your appointment. Info session attendance OR an advising appointment are required in order to apply.
  2. Meet with your academic advisor to determine how the Shanghai Business Semester will fit into your 4-year degree plan.

Applications will be reviewed as they are received through the final deadline: October 1, 2019

Note to Accepted Students:  All students accepted into the Shanghai Business Semester are required to attend all scheduled pre-departure meetings and orientation sessions. These meetings will take place during the Fall semester, dates will be sent with approval notifications.

All students take:

  • Organization Internship (3 credits - 20 hrs/week + 4 classes)
  • Conversational Chinese (designed for non-Chinese speakers)

**Students studying Chinese at St. Thomas may be able to take language courses depending on class selection
Students select three to four additional 3-credit courses that fulfill business, allied and core requirements.
Courses may include:


  • Principles of Marketing (MKTG 300)
  • Operations Management (OPMT 310)
  • Marketing Management and Methods in East Asia and Emerging Markets (MKTG 330)
  • Changing Nature of Business in China (IBUS 470)
  • Managing Sustainability in Transnational Business (IBUS 470)

Allied/Core Requirements

  • Intercultural Communication & Leadership (COJO 370)
  • Intercultural Communication and Negotiation (COJO 370)
  • Modern Chinese History (HIST 119)
  • China’s Macroeconomic Impact (IBUS elective)
  • China’s Economic Reforms (IBUS elective)
  • Chinese Film and Society (fulfills Fine Arts requirement, FILM 200)


  • International Business Law: Policy, Decision Making and Law
  • Political Development in Modern China
  • China’s International Relations
  • Issues in Chinese Society 


All students on this program will participate in an internship. Internships are designed to help students gain insight on the differences and challenges on doing business in China.  Students may also have placements that relate directly to their post-graduation interests, but these cannot always be guaranteed.  

After being accepted into the program, students will submit a résumé and statement of interest detailing workplace preferences.  These preferences will be accounted for but cannot be guaranteed.  Placements, which vary each term depending on participating organizations and available positions, may include local Chinese companies and multinational companies, as well as international small- and medium-sized enterprises and nonprofit organizations.


Students will stay in residence hall accommodations at East China Normal University. Rooms are typically shared with other St. Thomas or Elon students but may be shared with students from other U.S. universities. Bathrooms are hall-style, and students have access to a kitchen and laundry facilities. The ECNU campus also features soccer fields and basketball courts.  

The residence hall is a very short walk from the CIEE study center, and is convenient to light rail and other public transportation.


Ten meals per week in an on-campus cafeteria are included on this program. Convenient to the campus are numerous restaurants and street vendors. Chinese-style meals can be purchased very cheaply (many for less than $3). Students who crave the comforts of home can find western-style restaurants at the Global Harbor shopping mall, about a twenty minute walk from campus.

Excursions & Activities

  • Learn more about Chinese business with company visits in Nanjing or Hong Kong, or by following the Silk Road, an ancient caravan route.
  • Join classmates for a thrilling acrobat show, a river cruise, group meals, and more.
  • Explore Chinese history and arts with visits to museums, art exhibitions, and plays.
  • Step back in time with visits to traditional water towns like Wuzhen and Zhujiajiao, lined with narrow cobbled lanes, stone bridges, canals, and rich history.
  • Travel overnight to a beautiful historic city like Suzhou – called Venice of the East for its many canals, and famous for its classical gardens and silk industry – or Hangzhou, known for the natural beauty of its mountains and lake, and its textile and high-tech industries.
  • Get hands-on cultural experience by learning Chinese cooking, calligraphy, martial arts, music, or mahjong.
  • Venture off for a weekend to Hangzhou, Wuzhen, or Nanjing – one of China’s four ancient capitals and major commercial centers.

Students will be required to attend one pre-departure meeting as well as the large-group semester orientation during the Fall 2019 semester.
Pre-Departure Meetings
Group meetings are held 12:00-1:00pm in McNeely 106
Tuesday, October 8th
Thursday, October 17th  

Spring 2020 Orientation
Saturday, November 16, 2019
8:45am – 1:00pm
OEC Auditorium

Spring 2020 Program Dates 
February 23 - June 6, 2020

More information coming soon

Costs are comparable to the St. Thomas comprehensive semester fee for tuition, room and board plus the off-campus study fee. Program fees include tuition, room, site visits and excursions within China. Program fees and cancellation policy will be announced soon.