Guangdong University of Foreign Studies will start recruiting students for its four-year cybersecurity graduate program in September.
The new program is a response to the huge gap between demand and supply in this field, says Yang Aimin, vice-president of the university.
China had 731 million internet users by the end of last year. But the number of cybersecurity professionals falls far short of demand.
The country needed 700,000 cybersecurity professionals by the end of 2014 and will need 1.4 million people with such skills by 2020, compared with fewer than 15,000 university graduates with related academic backgrounds each year.
Cybersecurity was added as a discipline in engineering in June 2015, "to implement the national-security strategy and accelerate the cultivation of high-level talent for cybersecurity", according to a notice jointly issued by the Academic Degrees Committee of the State Council and the Ministry of Education.
GDUFS is the only liberal arts university among the 10 universities offering such a program. Two have been recruiting students since last autumn. The other eight will launch the program in September.
The university plans to enroll 60 students in the program, says Yang.
"Through research, we found that companies and government agencies need talent capable of preventing and responding to cyberattacks."
The 10 universities offering cybersecurity programs have different features. Students of the GDUFS program will spend a significant amount of time on English-language courses. They will also have access to 25 other foreign languages.
The university's school of information science and technology, which was set up a decade ago, started cybersecurity-related clubs among its students in 2006. It began offering cybersecurity-related classes three years ago.
The school's students have won prizes in national cybersecurity competitions.
The university and Shanghai Jiao Tong University agreed last year to jointly build a lab for information security.
The university has established connections with government agencies, research institutions and technology companies for student internships.
Yang says every sector needs cybersecurity talent, with the information-technology, financial-services, energy, power-supply, communications and transportation sectors seeking a huge number of such professionals.