Social Science

Social scientists study human interactions among individuals, families, communities, and nations. Using a range of analytical, interpretive, and experimental tools from anthropology, economics, sociology, political science, and psychology, social scientists seek to understand conflict and cooperation, epidemics of disease and poverty, social organization and social change, kinship and belonging, human development, systems of exchange, and other enduring questions at the center of our shared humanity.


Students who complete the Social Science major at NYU Shanghai will be prepared to pursue careers and advanced study in fields as diverse as anthropology, business, development, economics, education, environmental studies, law, psychology, political science, public health, public service, sociology, and social policy. The major offers students a unique opportunity to explore broad areas of social science research and thought, while also allowing a concentration in one disciplinary area or a synthetic combination of fields within the major.  The Social Science major encourages interdisciplinary inquiry into the complex problems of our contemporary world and the cross-disciplinary exchange that is at the heart of many of the most interesting advances in social science research today.


Social Science majors at NYU Shanghai develop competence in a variety of research tools in two methods courses and complete two interdisciplinary core courses on classic forms of social science analysis and new frontiers in social science research. Social Science majors select two foundational courses in the social science disciplines, and three focus courses chosen in consultation with their faculty mentor to deepen their engagement with a social science discipline (for example, anthropology, psychology, sociology or political science)* or an interdisciplinary topic of interest (for example, environmental studies, political economy, or global health). China––its peoples and politics––is an important focus for teaching and learning in the major, but the major is purposefully heterogeneous in the geographical, methodological, and analytical scope of its course offerings. Social Science majors complete an independent research project as part of a one-semester senior year capstone project.


*NYU Shanghai students interested in a disciplinary focus in Economics are advised to pursue the Economics major instead of the Social Science major.


Degree Requirements: 2021-2022 Bulletin

* = offered in Spring 2022

**While Calculus is not a requirement in the Social Science major, some Foundational/Methods/Focus courses (but not all) do require Calculus as a prerequisite. Thus, students are encouraged to consider what courses they would like to take for the Social Science major and whether Calculus is a prerequisite. 


Not every course listed is taught every semester, and in any given semester other courses may be offered that fulfill these requirements. Requirements may be met through equivalent courses in the Global Network with prior approval.


2 FOUNDATIONAL COURSES (100-200 level)
These courses provide an introduction to the foundational knowledge and building blocks of analytic methods in a range of social sciences. Typical coursework: A mix of lectures, discussion, assignments, shorter essays, quizzes, and/or exams.
SOCS-SHU 160 Intro to International Politics
ECON-SHU 3 Microeconomics
ECON-SHU 251 Economics of Global Business
PSYC-SHU 101* Introduction to Psychology
SOCS-SHU 133* Urbanization in China
SOCS-SHU 135 Environment and Society
SOCS-SHU 136* Human Society and Culture
SOCS-SHU 150 Introduction to Comparative Politics
SOCS-SHU 160 Introduction to International Politics
SOCS-SHU 170 Introduction to Global Health


2 METHODS COURSES (100-300 level)
These courses equip students with tools to both critically consume and create advanced social scientific research. Methods courses include introductory courses and more advanced courses which may have one or more prerequisites. Additional methods courses are available at the study away sites, NYU New York, and NYU Abu Dhabi. If a methods course carries only 2 credits, a second 2-credit course in a similar field is needed to complete a method course requirement.
BUSF-SHU 101 Statistics for Business and Economics
ECON-SHU 213 Causal Inference in the Social Sciences
ECON-SHU 216 Introduction to Game Theory
ECON-SHU 301 Econometrics
MATH-SHU 235 Probability and Statistics
SOCS-SHU 141* Methods of Social Research
SOCS-SHU 210* Statistics for the Behavioral and Social Sciences
SOCS-SHU 248 Fraud (online)​
SOCS-SHU 318 Ethnographic Methods
SOCS-SHU 350 Empirical Research Practice


2 CORE COURSES (200-400 level)
The Social Science Core Courses are interdisciplinary courses that create unexpected connections between the social science disciplines. Students must take two Social Science Core Courses. Social Science core courses are not widely available at the study away sites, NYU New York, or NYU Abu Dhabi; students should plan to take them in Shanghai. Students who complete two Social Science core courses may use additional core courses to complete the focus requirement if appropriate for their approved choice of focus.
SOCS-SHU 229 Capitalism, Socialism, Communism: Theory and Practice (online)
SOCS-SHU 236* The Chinese Family
SOCS-SHU 245 Ethnographic Thinking
SOCS-SHU 253 Nature in Social Thought
SOCS-SHU 228 Merchants, Chiefs, and Spirits
SOCS-SHU 234 Image as Evidence
SOCS-SHU 270 Social Change in Contemporary China
SOCS-SHU 250* Why it is so hard to do good?
SOCS-SHU 334* Legal Psychology


3 FOCUS COURSES (200-400 levels) - two must be 300-level or 400-level
Students select a disciplinary or interdisciplinary track in which to focus within the Social Science major. Disciplinary tracks include Anthropology, Psychology, Political Science, and Sociology. Interdisciplinary tracks include Environmental Studies, Global Health, International Relations, and Political Economy. Students must complete 3 courses in one track, at least 2 of which must be at the advanced level (300 or 400 level). Your academic advisor can help you determine which courses count for each track, and at which level, if it is not clear from the course code. Students may also petition to self-design a different interdisciplinary track with prior approval from the Area Leader. Students who wish to focus in Economics are advised to pursue the Economics major instead. Tracks are noted on student transcripts; for students who self-design a track, "Self-Designed" will at appear as the track of record on their transcripts. Additional focus courses are widely available at the study away sites, NYU New York, and NYU Abu Dhabi.
BPEP-SHU 9042 Political Economy of East Asia
CCSF-SHU 123 Contemporary Chinese Political Thought
ECON-SHU 10 Intermediate Microeconomics
ECON-SHU 202 Intermediate Macroeconomics
ECON-SHU 215 Economic History
ECON-SHU 225 Advanced Economic Theory
ECON-SHU 238 Modern Economic Growth: Explore China
ECON-SHU 260 International Trade
ECON-SHU 316 Industrial Organization
GCHN-SHU 200-003 Chinese Social Stratification in Comparative Perspective
GCHN-SHU 230 Culture and Media in Urban China
GCHN-SHU 240 Modern Chinese Governance
GCHN-SHU 241 Chinese Revolutions
GCHN-SHU 243 Chinese Environmental Studies
LWSO-SHU 303 Traditional Chinese Political and Legal Philosophy
LWSO-SHU 491 International Investment Transactions in Developing Countries
LWSO-SHU 9251 Law Culture and Politics in China
MCC-SHU 9451 Global Media Seminar: China
PSYC-SHU 234* Developmental Psychology
PSYC-SHU 238 Abnormal Psychology
PSYC-SHU 329* Parenting and Culture
PSYC-SHU 337 Adolescent Psychology
PSYC-SHU 349 Cultures of Psychology
PSYC-SHU 352 Psychology of Human Sexuality
SOCS-SHU 201 Designing Global Cities: Urban Form and Spatial Transformation
SOCS-SHU 220 Law and Society in the U.S.
SOCS-SHU 230 Science in Environmental Policy
SOCS-SHU 232* International Law and Institutions
SOCS-SHU 241 Cultures of Business and Work
SOCS-SHU 254 Ethnographies of Change in China
SOCS-SHU 260 Contemporary Challenges in Global Health
SOCS-SHU 272 The U.S. Constitution: Is It Relevant to China?
SOCS-SHU 275 U.S.-China Relations
SOCS-SHU 300 Topics in Law & Politics: Law and Land in the US and China
SOCS-SHU 300B Topics in Urban Studies: Urban Transportation Revolutions
SOCS-SHU 306 Pestilence: Critical Perspectives in Global Health
SOCS-SHU 302T Topics in Politics: Chinese Foreign Policy
SOCS-SHU 319 Visual Anthropology
SOCS-SHU 331 Politics in China
SOCS-SHU 333 Global Environmental Politics
SOCS-SHU 339 Comparative Revolutions
SOCS-SHU 340 Comparative Constitutions
SOCS-SHU 341 Cross-Strait Relations
SOCS-SHU 360 Urban Sociology
SOCS-SHU 426 Poverty and Inequality Around the Globe
SOCS-SHU 440 Topics in Anthropology: Visual Anthropology
SOCS-SHU 445 Topics in Society, Health, & Medicine: Trauma and Memory
SOCS-SHU 460 Topics in Urban Studies: Spatial Relations in Urban China
SOIM-SHU 9006 Law, Business, and Society


1 Capstone Course (400 level)

Students complete a capstone seminar course during one semester of their senior year. As part of the capstone seminar, students conduct an independent research project in their area of focus using the methods, theories, and data with which they have become familiar over the course of completing the major. The capstone seminar must be completed in Shanghai.

Recommended Spring 2022 Courses

Recommended Courses in Spring 2022 for Freshmen

  1. Writing as Inquiry
  2. EAP or Chinese
  3. Social Science Foundational Course
  4. Social Science Methods Course or Core Curriculum Course

Recommended Courses in Spring 2022 for Sophomores

  1. Social Science Foundational Course
  2. Social Science Methods Course
  3. Social Science Core Course
  4. Core Curriculum Course or General Elective



Professor Xiaogang Wu Social Science Area Head; Director of the Center for Applied Social and Economic Research; The Yudeng Global Professor of Social Science; Professor of Sociology
Email: | Profile


Professor Ivan Willis Rasmussen Social Science Undergraduate Coordinator; Assistant Professor of Practice in Political Science
Email: | Room: 1214-1 | Profile


Professor Almaz Zelleke Associate Professor of Practice in Political Science 
Email: | Room: based in Washington Square | Profile


Professor Pekka Santtila Co-Director; NYU-ECNU Institute for Social Development; Professor of Psychology, NYU Shanghai; Global Network Professor, NYU 
Email: | Room: 1237 | Profile


Professor Lixian Cui Assistant Professor of Psychology
Email: | Room: 1238 | Profile


Professor Friederike Funk Assistant Professor of Practice in Psychology

Email: |Room: 1243 | Profile


Professor Chenghe Guan Assistant Professor Urban Science and Policy

Email: | Room: 1214-2 | Profile


Professor Eric Hundman Assistant Professor of Political Science
Email: | Room: 1223 | Profile


Professor Gu Li Assistant Professor Faculty Fellow of Psychology

Email: | Room: 1214-5 | Profile


Professor Xuan Li Assistant Professor of Psychology
Email: | Room: 1248 | Profile


Professor Yifei Li Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies
Email: | Room: 1203 | Profile


Professor M. Yunus Rafiq Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Email: | Room: 1249-1 | Profile


Professor Brian Hall Associate Professor of Global Public Health
Email:  | Profile


Professor Jia Miao Assistant Professor Faculty Fellow of Sociology

Email:  | Profile


Professor Thomas Nyman Visiting Assistant Professor of Practice in Psychology
Email: | Room: 1208| Profile


Professor Travis Klingberg Assistant Professor of Practice in Environmental Studies
Email: | Room: 1205| Profile


Professor Tyler Haupert Assistant Professor Faculty Fellow of Urban Studies
Email: | Profile


Professor Ying Li Assistant Professor of Practice in Urban Studies
Email: | Profile


Professor Stephen Harder Professor of Practice of Law
Email: | Room: 1309| Profile

Requirements for Candidates for Honors in the Social Science Major

Honors degree designation in the Social Science major is awarded to the top students in the major determined by cumulative GPA in Social Science courses and the grades assigned in the Honors Capstone Seminar and Honors Capstone Independent Study. To be a candidate for honors in the Social Science major, students must have a cumulative and major GPA of 3.65 or above completed by the second semester of the junior year. Honors candidates complete a 2-credit Honors Capstone Seminar in the first semester of the senior year and a 4-credit Honors Capstone Independent Study under the supervision of a faculty mentor in the second semester of the senior year. Honors candidates must maintain a GPA in Social Science courses of 3.65 or above to remain eligible for honors in the Social Science major.

Minor in Social Science: 4 Courses

Students who wish to complete a minor in Social Science must complete one of the Methods courses from the list of approved Social Science Methods courses and three additional courses from the list of approved Social Science Foundational, Core, or Focus courses.

Major Curriculum Worksheet

Social Science Major Curriculum Worksheet (AY 2020-21 Academic Bulletin)