Accredited online TESOL MA usable at private uni in Taiwan?

Hey, I know the MoE won’t recognize an online degree, still, I wonder if private universities can hire someone with an accredited online MA if they’re married or have an APRC not dependent on work. Anyone have any idea or insight about this? Thanks!

I think the problem you may come up against is the MOE has to approve English instructors in unis as some kind of Project Lecturer type of position. This seems to be the way the unis get around the problem of needing native English speaking instructors and the MOE rules for working in a Taiwanese uni. The MOE will therefore need to see a notarised copy of your MA certificate before granting a license to teach in a uni.

Having said that, of all the online certificates I’ve seen, none of them say that they are online qualifications. I’m therefore not sure how the MOE would check whether the cert. was achieved on campus or not (or even if they would bother).

I dunno. It’s all pretty unclear to me, and I can’t really give you a definitive answer. I do know, however, that there are people here working in unis with online qualifications.

The situation may have change since the time I want through the process, but unless you are doing casual work for the private university, they will need to apply on your behalf to the MoE for a Lecturer’s Certificate. For this, they will need to submit a copy of your degree and a copy of every page of your passport (so that the MoE can check that you were in the country of your university while you were actually doing your MA.)

Oh, that makes sense. I was wondering how the MOE would check. There are, as always in Taiwan, some exceptions to the rule though :slight_smile: .

So then is an online TESOL worth it?

I know that I’ve said it several times before, but my advice on getting a uni job (if you don’t want to leave the country) is to do an MA in Taiwan. Fees are waived, they give you an allowance, free Chinese lessons and free accommodation. What’s not to like :laughing: ?

Just make sure you choose to do an MA in some area of education, preferably TESOL/applied linguistics, in the uni you hope to eventually work at. Then just build up relationships during your studies, perhaps doing a bit of part time teaching. Bingo, job’s a good 'un!

I’ve considered this, for sure, but I just worry that perhaps that degree won’t be useful if I go home to the US, and there are less unis here that have TESOL programs than you think.

This is a fair point. However, even if awarded by a US uni is an MA in TESOL really that useful for employment prospects?

I chose to do my MA in the UK basically because I had the money and I wanted to spend time with my family back home. However, I wonder whether an MA achieved in Taiwan could actually look more attractive to future employers. ‘Studied in Taiwan in order to learn Mandarin and gain insight into growing Chinese economy blah blah’. The fact is MAs really aren’t all that useful nowadays when finding employment, are they? One does need one for a uni job in Taiwan, though.

My gut feeling is an online masters would probably prove to be a mistake. Either go back to the US and study (which is going to cost you), or study in Taiwan.

Quite a few that have applied linguistics though.
When I made my choice, I looked at what was accepted in Canada and not here. When you end up at a uni though, here or in another country, your degree is only part of the package you bring.
Right now CELTA can be done 50% online and DELTA completely online. I, in contrast to the above, feel that they will gain acceptance (online qualifications) as they are no longer just distance qualifications where anyone can help you finish you assignments. You do attend class; the platform is just different.

I think I’ll do CELTA and Delta first, followed by a TESOL or Applied Linguistics MA of some kind in the next few years. That ought to be enough to keep me employed, anyway.

back to your original question: NO. Private universities in Taiwan will follow the same Ministry of Education regulations as public universities.


I have met one teacher working at a private university (and no - it’s not me), who managed to get a full-time position through a distance Master’s degree. This was partially because the university really wanted him and partially because MOE doesn’t always necessarily check the passports of foreigners (they do, however, definitely check whether Taiwanese citizens have left the country to get their degrees). But this is the exception.

My understanding is limited as I have only been working at one uni, but I have the idea that - regardless of MOE - a university isn’t going to be happy with a distance certificate. I’m open to correction, but I feel happy to have my present position at my school as I get the idea that many universities are now looking for people with doctorates and not merely MAs.

You can, of course, still get part-time work at a uni without an MA.

There are some supreme cost/benefit issues when I weigh doing an online MA versus doing a local MA.
First is this: I Don’t want to take 2 years off of work to do MA classes, so I’d have to confirm that the program has some night classes and weekend classes available, if I went locally.
But if I did an online degree from the USA or even Australia, the price will be quite high, much higher than the Taiwanese one, which may very well be a tenth of the price of an Aussie degree and a twentieth of a USA degree in terms of price.
I am not sure, but I’m guessing in TESOL Education I could probably find quite a few classes taught in English, and the ones not taught in English I could probably BS my way through. So that’s probably ok in Taiwan. Of course, I would be able to take any class any time I want if I’m doing the online option…
But in the end the Taiwanese option is more likely to get me the kind of job I want.

Local degrees vary enormously in quality. Some are very high quality, and some are fundamantally Third World degrees. Quality can vary from school to school, but also by field of study. My experience as a graduate student here is that methodological fields, particularly those that rely on quantitive measures, can be very good. I study test design and am extremely happy with my program. I know Americans who have studied here and regularly publish in the top journals in their field. But it’s highly quantitaive work. Research and teaching that’s based in foreign language writing is bound to be problematic. Also, you have to keep in mind that degrees where things are taught in English will never be the same standard. They couldn’t be. You will have lots of classmates whose second language is English and would be struggling with the work.

These points don’t mean you can’t get a really good degree from a Taiwan university, but it is something to consider. I’ve written more about my experiences studying in at a Taiwan university here

Doctoral Studies at National Taiwan Normal University – The First Semester … -semester/

This seems easily bypassed by simply getting a new, empty passport once you have a new degree. Am I missing something here?
Also, what if I have, say, one of those online MA’s from the University of Southern California, but also an MA in a different field from a Taiwanese University. Could I get my lecturers’ certificate based on that degree but use the qualification from the other to get the job?

I’m going to ignore the question about scamming the system, but the question about degrees is quite relevant. The answer is yes. In fact, this sort of thing is not unusual. I know people with MAs in unrelated fields but with DELTA qualification or distance degrees is language teaching who were hired for this purpose. These cases are quite old, and I don’t know if this happens anymore. Schools are now quite concerned about having teachers with qualifications related to their teaching field because the MOE demands them during accreditations audits.

Technically aren’t both examples of “scamming the system”?
Anyway, I’m graduating next spring with an MA in China Studies. Assuming I get a DELTA and an online MA in TESOL (and maybe a new passport :wink: ), would that be enough to count as “teaching credentials” during one of these MoE audits? Could someone start a thread explaining all this? Someone who knows exactly how this works?

You are not legally eligible for a university instructor’s licence. The DELTA is not legally considered a teaching qualification in Taiwan. An MA that is earned at distance is not considered a legal degree.

University teachers in Taiwan are civil servants. They must be hired through the MOE and hold a licence that is issued by the MOE through inspection of their qualifications. Once this licence is issued, you are qualified to teach as an instructor at any post-secondary institute accredited by Taiwan’s MOE. The MOE is legally allowed to consider only certain types of qualifications when issuing this licence. It is not open to negation. The schools have no say in the matter.

You MUST have a master’s degree that was earned on campus. For language teachers there are other requirements about where the degree must be from. But even if you wanted to teach accounting, you would have to have at least an MA. Language teachers, even in language centers, are faculty at the university and hired in the same way as other faculty. There is no distinction made between foreign teachers and local teachers. Both must meet the same legal requirements. There is no other way to get hired as a faculty member.

Other qualifications, such a teacher’s certificate from your home country or elsewhere, CELTA, DELTA or anything else can not be counted as a qualification toward a university instructor’s licences. Distance degrees can not be counted as a qualification toward a university instructor’s licences.

Schools can hire you for any reason they want. They could hire you because you have blonde hair and white skin and they believe the students will like this. They could hire you because you’re tall and handsome and they hope you will marry one of the single lady professors. They could also hire you because they believe someone with a DELTA makes a better teacher. You would still need to be reviewed by the MOE for a faculty licence and if you do not have at least an MA earned on campus, you are not eligible for a university lecturer’s licence- even a school wants to hire you. This is true for public universities and colleges and for what are called private universities and colleges.

it is not true for high schools, language schools, companies, and post-graduate training institutes. Presuming you also have a BA, you are qualified to be hired to teach at these types of organizations. Some of these are quite good jobs and, in the current climate, probably much better for someone who views themselves as a classroom teacher. In fact, if you are willing to attend conferences and write research papers, teaching at any university in Taiwan is probably not a good idea.

The fact that a DELTA is not recognised by the Taiwanese govt. makes absolutely no sense to me. It shows how clueless the MOE is here.

You seem to miss my point. My degree in China Studies is local and not distance. The TESOL MA could be distance, then, by what you say assuming I arrange something with the school to get the lecturer’s certificate based on my China Studies MA. If they think my online TESOL MA helps me be a good teacher, and my DELTA qualifies me, and my experience helps as well, then I could theoretically apply for a job based on my online TESOL MA but my lecturer’s certificate would be based on my local China Studies MA. I’ve heard of this happening to some extent, but not sure on the details.