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Shanghai Jiao Tong University Exchange

Shanghai, China

Shanghai, China

Program sponsor: Northwestern

Shanghai skyline

In this exchange program, students enroll directly in the School of Mechanical Engineering or the School of Biomedical Engineering at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU). This program is well suited to the independent student who is up for the challenge of navigating a very different academic culture. The program is targeted to students in mechanical and biomedical engineering, but students can combine courses in these disciplines with courses in Chinese language and courses in any school except for the Antai College of Economics and Management and the School of Medicine.

There is no language requirement to participate in this program, but students are required to take one quarter of Mandarin either before or during their time abroad. Since many of the SJTU classes for 3rd and 4th year students are taught in English, NU students are encouraged to attend SJTU in their junior year, senior year, or 5th-year co-op to gain access to a broad range of English language course offerings. Students interested in taking classes in Chinese will be required to complete screening to verify language proficiency.

Students should note that the term dates at SJTU vary based on the Chinese New Year. If students choose the fall quarter option, the School of Mechanical Engineering can make special arrangements for exchange students to complete their courses and take exams by January 1. If students would prefer to study during winter/spring, then engineering courses may be combined with cultural immersion courses organized during the SJTU winter break.

Begin Application Process


Students will be admitted to the School of Mechanical Engineering or the School of Biomedical Engineering, where there are a number of course offerings in English. Students can also enroll in Chinese language courses, as well as courses from any school except for the Antai College of Economics and Management and the School of Medicine. Review the SJTU English course catalog.

Students choose and enroll directly in their courses at SJTU. Registration is done online through the help from the education abroad advisors in the International Liaison Office of the School of Mechanical Engineering and School of Biomedical Engineering. Students will send their course selections to the SJTU advisors in advance for review and approval.

Program Requirements


Northwestern juniors, seniors, or 5th-year co-op students majoring in mechanical or biomedical engineering with a GPA of 3.0 or above.


No language requirement is needed.


  1. Apply for permission to study abroad
    All students are required to apply for permission to study abroad. Learn more about the process, deadlines, and access the application on the apply to study abroad page.
  2. Interview for your program
    • For the interview, please be prepared to:
      • Discuss your specific motivations for study abroad and reasons for selecting this program
      • Explain how the program and coursework aligns with your personal, academic, and/or professional interests, and
      • Ask informed follow-up questions about program details that you have reviewed on the program website
  3. Apply for your study abroad program
    All affiliated programs and all Northwestern exchange programs require an additional external program application. This application will not be accessible until you are nominated by Northwestern to participate in the exchange. Please check the program’s website for more details and deadlines.

Program Contacts

Estimated Credit

4-6 Northwestern Units. Refer to the Credit Conversion page for information on the “C” grade equivalent and minimum credit requirement for this exchange program. Visit Registration & Credit to learn more about credit types and requirements, registration, and other considerations.


Northwestern students will be housed in residences or in privately leased apartments. Homestays near the Minhang campus are also available. Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) staff will assist with housing, but students should be aware that on-campus housing is extremely limited. Most students will live off-campus. More information about housing can be found on the SJTU website for accommodations.

Meals are available in the university dining halls and in cafes throughout the campus and city. More information about campus food services can be found on the SJTU website for food service.

Host Institution

Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) is known as one of the oldest and most prestigious institutions in China. Founded over 119 years ago, SJTU is a comprehensive, research-oriented institution with over 16,000 undergraduate students and more than 27,000 graduate level students. SJTU has 28 schools/departments that are spread out among its six campuses. The larger engineering campus is in Minhang, a suburb of Shanghai, which is located about 30-40 minutes from downtown Shanghai.

Exchange students will also have access to a wide variety of university facilities as well as cultural and sport activities like a student center, library, gymnasium, bowling alley, tennis courts, and billiards room among others.

2019 Program Handbook

Browse the program handbook for more detailed information about excursions, courses, and identity-based considerations. Note: This is the previous year's handbook and should be used for informational purposes only. Do not make any travel plans based off of the dates or information provided here. 

Program Cost

Study abroad program costs vary widely and may be more or less expensive than studying at Northwestern. Review the comparison.

Fall 2020: $26,759*

Review estimated costs for other terms on the program budget sheet.

*Budget sheets for exchange programs were last updated on September 14, 2020. All international travel associated with undergraduate credit-bearing study abroad programs slated to begin during the Fall 2020 quarter, including all Fall 2020, Fall/Winter 2020-21, and Full Year 2020-21 exchange programs, was cancelled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Billed by Northwestern
  • Program fee: $19,409

Students attending exchange programs will be charged a program fee equivalent to Northwestern tuition, which covers academic fees, program administration, orientation, and GeoBlue health insurance.

Estimated Additional Costs
  • Room & board: $4,500
  • Airfare: $1,500
  • Visa fees: $150
  • Books & supplies: $200
  • Local transportation: $200
  • Personal expenses: $800

Total: $7,350

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Program Financial Details

This section outlines some of the billing and financial arrangements for Northwestern exchange programs, and is intended as a guide to help you navigate the financial aspects of your study abroad process. You should always refer to your program materials for the most current information and instructions.

Program Confirmation

Once you are approved to attend an exchange program, you will need to complete a Program Confirmation form to confirm your participation. You are not required to pay a confirmation deposit, but will be charged a cancellation fee for withdrawing from the program after confirming.

Program Fee

Students participating in exchange programs will be charged a program fee equivalent to the NU tuition rate for:

  • 1 quarter for fall quarter or spring quarter exchange programs
  • 1.5 quarters for fall-winter or winter-spring exchange programs
  • 3 quarters for full-year exchange programs

The program fee includes tuition and GeoBlue health insurance. It does not include additional program-related costs, such as housing, meals, or airfare. Refer to your estimated budget sheet above for the full estimated breakdown of your expenses abroad.

Student Visa Financial Certification

If you are required to obtain a student visa, you may need to provide documentation that you will be supported financially for the duration of your time abroad. This may require bank statements from your parents and/or a financial aid award letter; review your visa application instructions carefully to be sure you are providing the appropriate documentation, and contact GLO for assistance.

If you primarily fund your education through financial aid and/or loans, you may contact Krista Bethel in the financial aid office to request a letter of financial support from Northwestern.

Northwestern Invoice

You should not pay your exchange institution directly for tuition. Your Northwestern invoice will be issued through CAESAR on the regular quarterly schedule, and will include your program fee (outlined above). You will not be billed for on-campus student fees, and exchange programs are exempt from the study abroad administrative fee.

It is your responsibility to pay directly for all other charges abroad, including your housing. Review estimated costs on your budget sheet, linked above.

If you receive financial aid and/or loans from Northwestern, these funds will continue to apply directly to your Northwestern account.

If you use the Northwestern 9PAY plan, you may continue to use 9PAY for your NU-billed study abroad expenses, but you should request a study abroad 9PAY estimate to have your plan set up appropriately.

Withdrawal & Refund Policies

If you withdraw or are dismissed from an exchange program abroad after submitting your program confirmation form, you are subject to the withdrawal & refund policies for Northwestern programs.

Program Website