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Programs : Brochure

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Fact Sheet:
Program Description:


Eligibility Requirements

  • This program is only open to international students with Chinese citizenship and permanent residents of China who are currently living in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan
  • 18 years of age or older (international age) by the program start date, February 22, 2021
  • Students who will be first semester freshmen must have accepted their offer of admission from Penn State and paid their deposit
  • Students who will not be first semester freshmen in spring 2021 must be in good academic and disciplinary standing at Penn State
Because this program is designed primarily for first-year students, preference will be given to applicants in the following order: new incoming students and students enrolled in the Penn State First program for fall 2020, second semester freshmen who were not enrolled in Penn State First for fall 2020, and then upperclassmen.

Program capacity may be limited, and not all students who are approved are guaranteed a placement in the program.

Program Description

Penn State Global Programs is excited to offer a semester-long academic program in Shanghai during spring 2021 for international students with Chinese citizenship and permanent residents of China who are currently living in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan. This residentially-based academic program is geared toward first-year students but is open to Penn State students of all levels who feel that, based on consultation with their academic adviser, the coursework will help them meet their academic goals. Students will have the opportunity to be fully immersed in the Penn State community, by learning alongside other Penn Staters both in-person and virtually as well as enjoying specially designed in-person events and activities to help you build your network with other Penn State students and alumni! We are so excited to have all international students with us on a Penn State campus here in Pennsylvania, either for the first time or as a returning student, but we realize it may be very difficult to get here at this time. Penn State First: Shanghai can offer you the opportunity to connect with the Penn State community and advance your academic career while you’re unable to join us on campus in person.

Penn State First: Shanghai is a collaboration between Penn State and CIEE, a United States-based global nonprofit educational and intercultural exchange organization. Students will take a combination of in-person and online courses that all count for Penn State credit. Each student will work with their Penn State academic adviser to register for courses delivered remotely from Penn State. In addition, each participant will register for a minimum of two (2) courses to be delivered residentially at East China Normal University's (ECNU) Global Education Center located on the Baoshan Campus. These CIEE-taught courses have been reviewed by faculty and will be recorded as Penn State courses on your transcript. All courses will be taught in English, and they will factor into your Penn State GPA (grade point average). Students should work with their academic advisers to determine which courses offered residentially with CIEE and which courses offered online through Penn State will best suit their academic needs.

In addition to the coursework offered on this program, Penn State students will have many opportunities to participate in events and activities that are specifically designed for Penn State students only. Examples of activities may include academic excellence seminars, American history and culture films and discussions, connection with PSU alumni, international expositions, and celebrations of festivals.

Please click through the tabs at the top of this page for additional information about this program (Overview, Academics, Housing and Meals, Costs and Funding, Health and Safety, Next Steps).

Program Dates

Note: All dates are tentative and subject to change.
 Online Pre-Arrival Orientation  early February, 2021
 Arrival Day  February 21, 2021
 On-Site Orientation  February 22 - 23, 2021
 First Day of Class  February 24, 2021
 Final Exam Period  early June, 2021


The Baoshan campus is located at 10 Songliang Road, Baoshan District, Shanghai 20441.  It is about a 45 minute metro ride from Putuo. The local community around campus has restaurants, shopping, gyms, cafes. The campus itself is  gated with 24/7 security guards and includes dining options, sports hall, study spaces, etc. Students will have full access to all 3 of the ECNU campuses for socializing, facilities, student activities, and more

Contact Information

Students with questions about this program should contact Penn State Education Abroad: Please include your full name, Penn State Access ID (abc1234) and nine-digit Penn State ID number, if you have one, when emailing. Please use your Penn State email address if you have one when emailing as well.


Course Selection

Students are required to select at least 2 on-site courses but may enroll in more than 2 if they would like. All courses count for Penn State credit and the Penn State equivalent course number is found in parentheses below. The course offerings are subject to change. The planned course offerings are:
  • COMM 3301 Intercultural Communication and Leadership (CAS271N) - 3 credits
  • ECON 1001 Principles of Microeconomics (ECON 102) - 3 credits
  • ENVI 2001 Environmental Ethics (PHIL 013) - 3 credits
  • PSYC 1001 General Psychology (PSYCH 100) - 3 credits
  • POLI 3002 Comparative Political Systems (PLSC 003) – 3 credits
  • COMM 3009 Media, Gender, and Identity (WMNST 106N) – 3 credits
  • ENVI 2002 Sustainability and the Anthropocene (GEOG 30N) – 3 credits
  • Introduction to Asian American Studies (AMST 160/AAS 100) – 3 credits
    • Unfortunately we will likely not be able to offer AMST 160/AAS 100.
In addition, we are investigating the possibility of offering the following courses as well:
  • English as a Second Language (ESL 15) – 3 credits
  • Principles of Macroeconomics (ECON 104) – 3 credits
  • Introduction to Art (ARTH 100) – 3 credits
  • The Art of the Cinema (COMM 150N) – 3 credits

The total credit enrollment for the fall semester must be at minimum 12 U.S. academic credits because students are required to be matriculated at full-time status.Students should work with their academic advisers to register for additional courses taught remotely (online) by Penn State professors in order to meet the twelve (12) credit enrollment minimum for the program.

Academic Policies

  • Students must enroll in at least 2 on-site courses with CIEE and take online courses through Penn State to complete full-time status (minimum 12 total credits)
  • All courses will be taught in English
  • Courses will count as Penn State courses
  • Students will receive A-F letter grades
  • All grades will count and be factored into Penn State GPA
  • CIEE will provide an academics handbook

Academic Support

Students will have subject area support for on-site courses and access to a writing tutor. Faculty will host weekly office hours. Teaching assistants (TAs) or faculty may provide small group tutoring sessions.

Housing and Meals


Students will be responsible for arranging their own housing for the duration of the program. CIEE will provide a list of several housing options within a 30 minute metro ride of the ECNU Baoshan campus for students who need assistance finding housing. These locations have been vetted to meet a high standard of safety and comfort for our students. Students will be responsible for paying individually to their selected housing provider.


Meals are not included in the program fees, and are students’ responsibility. Most students eat at the cafeteria, which is reasonably priced and provides large portions. Students load money onto their ECNU student IDs and use it to pay per meal. Meals cost from 10RMB – 25RMB.

Program Costs & Billing

Estimated Program Costs

 Budget Item  Estimated Cost Per Student in USD
 Penn State Tuition*  $17,492
 Penn State International Student Fee  $750
 Education Abroad Administrative Fee  $250
 Estimated Total  $18,492

*All students will pay Penn State University Park tuition for out-of-state students, regardless of which campus they plan to attend in-person in the future. Students will pay Penn State through their Bursar account for tuition, international student fee, and education abroad administrative fee.

Withdrawal & Refund Policy

Withdrawal and refund details are dependent on the timing and reason for your withdrawal from a Penn State Education Abroad Program.

After Commitment

Once a student has committed to the Penn State First program, they are financially responsible for any fees incurred on their behalf. Therefore, if a student plans to withdraw from a program it is their responsibility to immediately notify the Education Abroad office, in writing; email is preferred.

Regardless of the timing or reason for the withdrawal, the student will be responsible for paying the Education Abroad Administrative Fee (US$250). After the program start date, students will also be subject to payment of tuition according to the Penn State Tuition Adjustment Schedule. In addition to paying these irrecoverable fees, students who withdraw after commitment will pay the following withdrawal fees:
  • 25% cancellation fee = 20-29 days prior to arrival day or January 23 to February 1, 2021 $2125 + $250 EA Admin Fee
  • 50% cancellation fee = 19-10 days prior to arrival day or February 2 to February 11, 2021 $4250 + $250 EA Admin Fee
  • 75% cancellation fee = 9-1 day prior to arrival day or February 12 until February 20, 2021 $6375 + $250 EA Admin Fee
  • Withdrawals on/after February 21 will incur a charge of $8500 + $250 EA Admin Fee
Note: Students who withdraw from the Penn State First Program but who choose to continue with their Penn State studies for the spring 2021 semester will be subject to the above withdrawal and financial terms in addition to their Penn State tuition and fees for the semester.  Students’ International Student Fee applies to study with Penn State regardless of location of study.

After the Start of the Program 

If a student withdraws after the start of a program, any adjustment of Penn State tuition charges will be made according to the Tuition Adjustment Schedule as determined by the Office of the Bursar. Students may be responsible for up to 100% of program costs. In most cases, partial credit cannot be awarded for leaving a program before its successful completion.

For additional information on withdrawal policies, separate and apart from financial consequences, please consult the University Senate Policy on Withdrawal and Leave of Absence.

Health and Safety

COVID-19 Safety Measures

ECNU and CIEE have numerous COVID-19 safety measures in place, but these measures are all subject to change before the beginning of the program. ECNU and CIEE will be in contact with accepted students to explain the current requirements. Requirements might include students being asked to show their student ID when entering the ECNU campus (gated security), the enforcement of social distancing, and required participation in a daily health tracking program.

Medical Services

There is a medical clinic on the ECNU Putuo campus that students can use for minor illnesses and common prescriptions. The clinic is open daily from 9:00 am-5:00 pm with an hour lunch break. The clinic is walk-in only. The cost of a visit is 10RMB, in addition to any medicine costs.

Mental health counseling is available in Shanghai through international hospitals and clinics.


CIEE Shanghai provides support on an individual basis to students with disabilities and special learning needs. CIEE requests students’ most recent disability documentation be provided to the CIEE staff so they can inform the students’ professors as to what accommodations need to be made. CIEE staff review accommodations to ensure that the study center can support requests. On site, the academic and housing coordinators will conduct a review and feedback process with student(s) and augment support if possible.

Next Steps and How to Apply

How to Apply

The deadline to apply for this program is 11:59 p.m., U.S. Eastern Time, on Sunday, October 25, 2020 (11:59 a.m. on Monday, October 26, 2020, in Shanghai). If we do not receive enough interest in the program, we will not be able to offer it. We regret there cannot be any exceptions after this deadline.

Please review the appropriate application instructions for Current Penn State Students or for New Penn State Students, depending on your status.

Upcoming Dates and Deadlines

 Application Process & Program Timeline Deadline or Date U.S. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) China Standard Time in Shanghai
 Penn State Application Deadline  October 25, 2020 11:59 p.m. 11:59 a.m. on October 26, 2020
 Application Decisions Announced  October 28, 2020 - -
 Commitment to Program Deadline  November 4, 2020 11:59 p.m. 11:59 a.m. on November 5, 2020
 Course Registration (tentative)  mid-November to mid-December 2020 - -
 Online Pre-Arrival Orientation (tentative)  February, 2021 - -
 On-Site Orientation (tentative)  February 22-23 , 2021 - -
 Classes Begin (tentative)  February 24, 2021 - -
 Classes End (tentative)  early June, 2021    

Contact Education Abroad 

Students with questions about this program should contact Penn State Education Abroad: Please include your full name and nine-digit Penn State ID number, if you have one, when emailing. Please use your Penn State email address if you have one when emailing as well.

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Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2021 10/25/2020 10/28/2020 TBA TBA