Founded in 1958 and administered by the Municipal Government of Shanghai, SASS is China’s oldest institution for the humanities and social sciences and is the largest one outside the capital of Beijing. SASS is a leading think tank and a distinguished academic institution in China. In 2015, SASS was listed in the Top 25 Chinese Think Tanks Construction Program initiated by the central government. Although SASS receives most of its funds from the municipal government of Shanghai and the central government, it also draws financial support from various non-governmental sources at home and abroad.

SASS has 17 institutes which conduct theoretical research and applied studies in humanities and social sciences, with a special focus on important issues arising from the current social and economic transformation and the country’s continual reform and development.

With its comprehensive research achievements, SASS contributes greatly to the nation and the municipality through its policy studies for government authorities, training, and consulting services. Its research findings and publications have been particularly influential with both policy-makers and the greater public. 

SASS currently has 814 employees, of which 689 are research staff. Among SASS researchers, there are 140 research professors and 183 associate research professors. SASS also has more than 20 honorary professors and distinguished visiting professors. 

SASS has a Graduate School. SASS started to enroll graduate students in 1979, making it one of the earliest educational institutions authorized by the Academic Degree Commission of the Chinese State Council to confer academic degrees. SASS Graduate School has 3 doctoral degree programs and 17 master degree programs. The current number of doctoral and master degree candidates exceeds 800.

SASS has signed dozens of cooperative agreements with international partners. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, every year it hosted over 1,000 foreign visitors and hundreds of international conferences, lectures and seminars, as is represented by the bi-annual World Forum on China Studies, sponsored by the State Council Information Office and the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government, which saw over 500 participants at each session.