News & Focus

Shanghai Daily:Universities offer new majors to meet industry demand


As about 50,000 high school students in Shanghai finished the college entrance exam over the weekend, local universities are offering new courses to meet the demand for talent from emerging industries.

Fudan University has a new experimental engineering program that will include a new intelligence science and technology major and an “enhanced” major in microelectronics science and engineering. The program is expected to cultivate badly needed talent in industries involving artificial intelligence and integrated circuits, according to Wang Yang, vice director of the university’s admission office.

“Students admitted into this program will be able to enroll into master's and doctoral programs without a test as long as they meet basic standards, and they will have more access to related research and industries than other students during studies,” Wang said.

Xu Lei, vice president of the university, said the Zhangjiang-Fudan International Innovation Center, which is being built to incubate programs in integrated circuits, life and health, as well as brain and brain-like intelligence technology, will provide unique resources, including internships, for students of the program to develop into high-end talent in these areas. He also said Fudan students will have plenty of opportunities for overseas study and exchanges.

The university will admit 30 students for each of the two majors this year.

For those majoring in intelligence science and technology, there are four directions — intelligent information processing, intelligent system design, intelligent chip design and brain-like intelligence.

The East China University of Science and Technology is also offering a new major in intelligence science and technology.

Based on current research achievements on natural intelligence and machine intelligence, the major will focus on research on how to use computers to imitate natural intelligence and extend or expand the capability of human intelligence so as to realize perception, information processing and independent decision-making by machines.

It aims to cultivate engineers capable of research, technology development, engineering design and enforcement and management related to smart manufacturing, autonomous unmanned systems and man-machine hybrid intelligence.

It has established partnerships with University of Missouri in the United States and Sheffield University in the UK to carry out the four-year major.

Last month, Shanghai Jiao Tong and Tongji universities released their plans for artificial intelligence majors.

Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s School of Oceanography will admit undergraduates this year to better prepare talent for modern oceanography that requires more interdisciplinary knowledge to develop China’s strength in marine research.

“Our institute used to admit merely postgraduates and they usually studied oceanography or other majors only,” said Zhou Meng, dean of the school. “With the undergraduate program, we will enable them for interdisciplinary research from their beginning in the university.”

The East China University of Science and Technology will launch a major in fine chemicals, one of the first batch of new engineering majors to support China’s innovation-driven development strategy in the new round of technology reform and industrial revolution.

According to the university, the new major originates from the discipline of dye and intermediates, one of its five existing majors since it was established in 1952 and one of its strongest majors today. It will focus on research and development of new electronic materials, new energy, information storage technology, accurate medicine, biomedicine, military materials and environmental catalytic materials, among other areas.

Shanghai Jian Qiao University is offering two new options — nursing and preschool education.

It said the nursing major will strengthen students’ practical skills. Students will learn the skills in classes, training programs and internships in hospitals. It has already established cooperation with more than 10 hospitals in the city as internship bases for its students.

As Shanghai is in bad need of preschool education talent due to the increase in new births after changes to the family planning policy, the university will start a major to tackle this problem. It will have experienced preschool experts from universities dedicated to cultivating teaching staff, as well as kindergarten principals and teachers to teach its future students while informing them of the latest conditions in preschool teaching. 

It has also signed contracts with 17 model or first-level kindergartens in the city to provide internships. Principals and leading teachers from these kindergartens will also serve as mentors for students throughout their four-year studies.

Meanwhile, students will have to acquire various professional qualifications before graduation, such as certificates for babysitting and Mandarin, so as to meet increasingly higher expectations for preschool education.

An event will be held at the university on Sunday, where a total of 61 universities from Shanghai and other cities will explain their latest admission information and policies. Students and parents will be able to talk to admission officials face to face before making final decisions and submit their applications.