Core Curriculum

There are 7 components to the NYU Shanghai Core Curriculum: Social Foundations, Cultural Foundations, Writing, Mathematics, Science, Algorithmic Thinking, and Language. Upon arrival, each student’s needs in these areas will be assessed, and a program of study will be developed to address them.

Fall 2020 core curriculum course offerings can be found below (Updated 6/23/2020. Note that not all the courses are open to first-year students.) The course list is not finalized. A complete list of courses will be published and announced soon.

1 & 2 | Social and Cultural Foundations

Courses in the Social Foundations and Cultural Foundations sequences will provide students with a thematic framework within which to study influential works of diverse cultures, from the beginnings of history to the present, and from global and interdisciplinary perspectives. Students will reflect on fundamental and enduring questions about what it means to be human and how we as individuals live in society.

3 | Writing


NYU Shanghai writing courses serve as an introduction to academic writing and inquiry at the university level. Students learn how to read academic, argumentative, and narrative texts closely, how to provide an interpretation supported by evidence, how to build logical arguments and develop research questions, and how to adapt their writing to different genres and audiences.

4 | Mathematics

Considered by many to be the “universal language,” mathematics provides logical and analytical tools necessary for tackling many of the important problems of our time. Quantitative skills are essential for work in the sciences and the social sciences, and have applications in the humanities. They are also critical to one’s ability to function and thrive in today’s increasingly complex world.

5 | Science


Scientific knowledge and inquiry are central to human society, and science and technology play an increasingly important role in our lives. At the heart of the natural sciences is a quest to understand the universe and who we humans are. The special feature of science is that its hypotheses can be tested under controlled conditions by appealing to evidence external to the inquirer. Thus, science provides a consistent framework for proposing ideas and testing potential answers to these questions. NYU Shanghai students will become conversant with the intellectual methods and analytical techniques that define modern science.

6 | Algorithmic Thinking

These courses have a hands-on programming component and cover basic programming concepts. All students must complete at least two credits of Computer Science courses from the Algorithmic Thinking category, either as part of, or in addition to, the course(s) they take to fulfill the Core Curriculum Science requirement.

7 | Language

Language study is central to the educational mission of NYU shanghai. All NYU Shanghai students will be expected to become fluent in academic English, the language of instruction, as is expected for undergraduates in the world’s top liberal arts universities.

Your high school exam scores may be used to wholly or partially fulfill Core Curriculum requirements. Click here to see what they fulfill.

Core Curriculum Requirements 2020-2021

Core Curriculum

Fall 2020 Core Curriculum Courses (Updated 6/23/2020)

Note: Not all courses listed below are open to first-year students. First-year students can enroll in courses on this list.

Humanistic Perspectives on China/China Arts (HPC/CA)

  • HIST-SHU 153 History of Modern China Since 1840 (added 5/28)
  • CCSF-SHU 123 Contemporary Chinese Political Thought (added 5/28)
  • GCHN-SHU 275 Memory Politics in China (added 4/17)
  • GCHN-SHU 165 China And The Islamic World, c.600AD-Present (added 4/15)
  • GCHN-SHU 156 History of Chinese Art (added 4/10)
  • SCA-SHU 9634 Global Connections: Shanghai (added 4/10)
  • PHIL-SHU 110 Traditional Chinese Political and Legal Philosophy (added 4/10)
  • GCHN-SHU 110 The Concept of China
  • GCHN-SHU 255 Eat, Pray, Ponder: Chinese Intellectual Culture through the Ages
  • HUMN-SHU 229 Masters of Asian Cinema
  • HUMN-SHU 366 Shanghai Stories
  • PHIL-SHU 105 Introduction to Chinese Philosophy
  • HIST-SHU 145 Food in Chinese History
  • HIST-SHU 312 China Encounters the World
  • SOCS-SHU 254 Ethnographies of Change in China

Social Science Perspectives on China (SSPC)

  • RELS-SHU 9270 Religion and Society in China: Ghosts, Gods, Buddhas and Ancestors (added 5/28)
  • CCSF-SHU 123 Contemporary Chinese Political Thought (added 5/28)
  • HIST-SHU 145 Food in Chinese History (added 4/17)
  • PHIL-SHU 110 Traditional Chinese Political and Legal Philosophy (added 4/10)
  • ECON-SHU 238 History of Modern Economic Growth: Exploring China From a Comparative Perspective
  • GCHN-SHU 275 Memory Politics in China
  • SCA-SHU 9634 Global Connections: Shanghai
  • SOCS-SHU 133 Urbanization in China
  • SOCS-SHU 236 The Chinese Family
  • SOCS-SHU 254 Ethnographies of Change in China
  • SOCS-SHU 275 US-China Relations
  • SOCS-SHU 341 Cross-Strait Relations

Note: SOCS-SHU 272 The U.S. Constitution: Is It Relevant to China? is removed from SSPC course list.

Experimental Discovery in the Natural World (ED)

  • BIOL-SHU 123 FoS Biology Laboratory (2 credits)
  • CHEM-SHU 125 Foundations of Chemistry I & CHEM-SHU 127 FoS Chemistry Laboratory I
  • PHYS-SHU 11 General Physics I & PHYS-SHU 71 FoS Physics Laboratory
  • PHYS-SHU 91 Foundations of Physics I Honors & PHYS-SHU 71 FoS Physics Laboratory
  • CCEX-SHU 203 Energy and the Environment
  • CENG-SHU 201 Digital Logic
  • INTM-SHU 222 Introduction to Robotics
  • PSYC-SHU 101 Introduction to Psychology

Science, Technology, & Society (STS)

  • NEUR-SHU 10 Free Will and Brain (added 6/23)
  • PHIL-SHU 90 Philosophy of Science​ (added 4/20)
  • MATH-SHU 5 Chance (added 4/10)
  • BIOL-SHU 30 Genetics
  • BIOL-SHU 261 Genomics and Bioinformatics
  • NEUR-SHU 265 Neural Bases of Speech and Language
  • NEUR-SHU 303 Introduction to Linguistics: The Science of Human Language
  • CENG-SHU 352 Emerging Technologies for Smart Cities
  • SOCS-SHU 135 Environment and Society
  • SOCS-SHU 170 Introduction to Global Health

Algorithmic Thinking (AT) Courses

  • PHIL-SHU 70 Logic (added 4/21)
  • CSCI-SHU 11 Introduction to Computer Programming
  • CSCI-SHU 101 Introduction to Computer Science
  • INTM-SHU 101 Interaction Lab
  • INTM-SHU 103 Creative Coding Lab

Hear from Our Students About the Core Curriculum