Robotics enters China college curriculum for first time, marking need for talent

As robotics rose to prominence as a both an applied technology and a growth driver in China, the need to nurture talent to fuel the industry's development has become ever greater.

Robotics will enter the curriculum of a Chinese university for the first time in the history of the country’s tertiary education, Chinese media reported on April 19.

China’s Ministry of Education recently published the results of a review that universities and colleges nationwide will add 1,641 subjects and dropped 925 as part of the ministry’s overhaul of college curricula.

Notably, Southeast University in Nanjing, one of the top 20 universities in China, said it will open a new course on “future robotics.”

According to the university, the course is the only major within a number of interdisciplinary engineering-related subjects that are newly added to the school’s curriculum.

The course will become an amalgam of multiple disciplines, including mechanical engineering, control science and engineering, information technology, electronics, computer science, material science, biomedicine and medical imaging, said the school.

The new course will start recruiting its inaugural class of students in September this year. With a goal to recruit 50 to 60 students, the course will be taught in a small-class format, with a faculty-to-student ratio of about 1:1.

Starting from the freshman year, each faculty member who teaches the course will provide hands-on tutelage and mentorship to one or two students, taking them on trips to robotic and automation businesses to conduct real-world research.

As robotics rose to prominence as a both an applied technology and a growth driver in China, the need to nurture talent to fuel the industry’s development has become ever greater.

More universities are likely to follow the lead of Southeast University in starting new courses on robotics.

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Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at

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