Students at Henan University of Economics and Law in Zhengzhou, Henan province, are being asked to add strangers on WeChat as part of a compulsory course.
Internet and New Media students have to add 1,001 new WeChat friends to achieve a score of 60 (out of 100) in their social media management module, which accounts for 30 per cent of their final grades.
To score 100, they have to add 1,667 new friends.
Some found it impossible to add so many people, while others complained that it is useless to have that many WeChat friends if you don't plan on engaging with them.
The course's teacher, surnamed Chen, told Pearl Video that the task is necessary to teach students how to use social media and get people's attention.
Some students may find it uncomfortable to add strangers to their personal WeChat account, and many opened a new account for the assignment, he said.
One student, Zhao Shuailong, a second year student at the university, praised the assignment, telling China Daily, "The teacher is teaching us about the six degrees of separation, which is the idea that all people are six, or fewer, social connections away from each other.
"And I think this is a perfect way to practice things we learn at the school."
The assignment is a good way to improve students' social media skills and to expand their circle of friends, he said.
Many graduates working in social media management are required to hit more than 100,000 views on their WeChat posts, and adding more than 1,000 new friends is a good way to start, he said.