China Today: Culture, History, & Society

Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Wuzhen

The College of Advancing and Professional Studies and the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Massachusetts Boston are pleased to announce the following international summer program in China.

Program Highlights

  • Provides a unique opportunity to experience firsthand the vast and colorful history and culture of China with guidance and instruction from experts in their respective fields
  • Has an itinerary which allows for a comprehensive, well-structured, and in-depth look at all the highlights of popular, and off-the-beaten path Chinese, destinations
  • Opportunities for service-learning and visits to educational facilities of migrant workers in China

About the Program

China is an ancient country and the most populous in the world. It has undergone tremendous and even explosive transformation in the last three decades since the death of Mao Zedong. It has become a more open society and its rate of economic development has been truly dazzling. Meanwhile, it is facing enormous challenges in the areas of politics, society, ethnicity, and environment. "What’s going on in China" has become, in the words of one prominent scholar, the biggest question on the planet at this moment.

The China Today program will provide participants an extraordinary opportunity to learn firsthand about China. The focus will be on important current issues that include economic development, urban-rural divide, regional diversity, environmental challenge, and popular culture.

We will begin this year’s program in Beijing, the capitol city of the People’s Republic. In addition to visiting popular historic sites, such as the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, and Tiananmen Square, we will also visit "off the beaten path" sites such as, organic farms, schools for families of migrant workers, a "green economy" factory, and even an old factory complex now home to many avant-garde art galleries.

Following Beijing students will be going to Shanghai, arguably the most recognized Chinese city in the world, where you will witness its “semi-colonial” past through buildings reflecting architectural influences from many “western powers” of a by-gone era living side by side with the amazing new developments in the city since the 1990s. We will visit a number of very interesting museums that will give us a sense about Chinese traditional art as well as the recent history (since mid-19th century) of Shanghai. We will also visit a famous Buddhist Temple located in the middle of the city, in order to get a sense of religious life in urban China as well as how the “old” and the “new” co-exist in this fascinating and diverse city.

Next, we will go to Hangzhou, which is regarded as one of the most scenic cities in the country, in part due to the beautiful “West Lake” and various tea farms. Here you will be able to experience a lifestyle known for its slower pace and lifestyle, especially compared to the hustle and bustle of Beijing and Shanghai.

Last but not least, we will go to Wuzhen, a river town near Hangzhou that reflects China’s rural past and demonstrates how “modernity” has transformed a small sleepy town into a dynamic place that has housed, in recent years, an international drama festival as well as a high-level international IT conference.

No prior knowledge of the Chinese language or Chinese history is required. Anybody who is curious about "what’s going on in China" may apply. Undergraduate applicants will be given priority, while faculty, graduate students, and staff are also welcome.

One plus One is More than Two!

This program will be run in conjunction with the course Entrepreneurship in China & the U.S. These two courses will join together during the trip whenever pedagogically possible; while at the same time maintain each course’s own academic integrity. This approach has proved very successful in the past and has been intellectually stimulating and mutually beneficial to students in both programs.

Courses and Credit

Participants can earn three or six credits. Students can register for two of the following:

  • HIST 478 Special Topics in History
  • HIST 488 Independent Reading
  • ASIAN 480 Special Topics in Asian Studies
  • ASIAN 478 Independent Study

A non-credit option is also available; please contact for more information.

The Faculty

Weili Ye is a Professor of History in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Professor Ye’s area of specialty is modern Chinese history. She teaches courses on the history of East Asia and women in Asia. Professor Ye's research interests are in the social, cultural, and intellectual history of twentieth-century China. She has published books on Chinese students in the United States and on women in the Chinese Revolution.


Please be advised that international programs are subject to change, slight or major, at any time due to circumstances beyond our control; this includes any and all fees, dates, itinerary, and program activities. We will do our best to inform all applicants of any changes in as timely a manner as possible.

Schedule & Fee

June 9 – June 23, 2015

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Program Fee:
3 credits: $2,599
Additional 3 credits: +$650

Please note: $1199 will be paid to UMass Boston as tuition and the balance of $1400 will be paid directly to the vendor in China.

To Apply

This course is open to all University of Massachusetts Boston students. Individuals from other colleges and universities are also encouraged to apply.

Application Deadline:
April 17, 2015

« Download Application »

More Information

For program Information, please contact:

Andrea Macone
p. 617.287.7876

For further academic information, please contact:

Weili Ye
p. 617.287.6791