Opinions on Taiwan intl politics programs (in Chi or Eng)

I hope the moderator will forgive me for posting this in a forum for Chinese language learning. I have glanced at the “other” category of forumosa.com, and I find many of the posts to be less than serious. And forumosa.com does not seem to have a forum centered around “Education” in itself (which I find a shame).

I am looking for contacts who have or are planning to study international relations-related subjects in Taiwan universities. I would be interested in knowing their opinions on those programs. Why? Because I am currently looking for a degree in international policy, and I am not thrilled about paying the extremely high price of a US university. Does anybody have any thoughts on this issue? Or can you put me in touch with friends or other acquaintences who I might be able to consult further?

Thanks!

[quote=“tomtom taiwan”]I hope the moderator will forgive me for posting this in a forum for Chinese language learning. I have glanced at the “other” category of forumosa.com, and I find many of the posts to be less than serious. And forumosa.com does not seem to have a forum centered around “Education” in itself (which I find a shame).

I am looking for contacts who have or are planning to study international relations-related subjects in Taiwan universities. I would be interested in knowing their opinions on those programs. Why? Because I am currently looking for a degree in international policy, and I am not thrilled about paying the extremely high price of a US university. Does anybody have any thoughts on this issue? Or can you put me in touch with friends or other acquaintences who I might be able to consult further?

Thanks![/quote]

I myself am rather interested in pursuing one of those. FYI I saw a rather hopeful looking ad in today’s Taipei Times. It was concerning two programs offered at the National Chengchi University in Taipei. They are offering two English language Masters degree programs.

  1. International Master’s Program in China Studies

  2. International Master’s Program in Taiwan Studies

For more information, check out their website at css.nccu.edu.tw/imcs

[quote=“bismarck”]1. International Master’s Program in China Studies

  1. International Master’s Program in Taiwan Studies

For more information, check out their website at css.nccu.edu.tw/imcs[/quote]

If you want to check out the Int Master’s in Taiwan Studies, go to css.nccu.edu.tw/imts

Good luck!

Thanks a lot. I will check out those links. Have a good weekend.

A word of caution though (from somebody who was looking into doing a masters/doctorate in Taiwan) – if you’re planning to study in Taiwan just to save some money, you need to consider pretty carefully whether or not the degree will be recognized elsewhere. I assume you’re from the US, since you mentioned US universities; if you intend to teach in the US, you may not get much recognition from a degree earned overseas.

If you’re intending to work/teach in Taiwan, then this might be worth pursuing, but otherwise I would think carefully about where you want to go after school. Saving some money doesn’t help you if you can’t use the degree; then you’re exchanging years of your life instead (and that’s an even less replaceable resource).

[quote=“yisha’ou”]A word of caution though (from somebody who was looking into doing a masters/doctorate in Taiwan) – if you’re planning to study in Taiwan just to save some money, you need to consider pretty carefully whether or not the degree will be recognized elsewhere. I assume you’re from the US, since you mentioned US universities; if you intend to teach in the US, you may not get much recognition from a degree earned overseas.

If you’re intending to work/teach in Taiwan, then this might be worth pursuing, but otherwise I would think carefully about where you want to go after school. Saving some money doesn’t help you if you can’t use the degree; then you’re exchanging years of your life instead (and that’s an even less replaceable resource).[/quote]

Good point, but the major Universities in Taiwan such as National Taiwan University (NTU), Chengchi University, Cheng Gung University and a few others are reasonably well respected.

But yes, good advice. It would be good to check out the uni you want to go to first. From my “research” (i.e. asking around) Chengchi University is seen as one of the best, if not the best for Political Sciences and humanities. Apparently (correct me if I’m wrong) they’re rated no.1 in Taiwan and no.6 in Asia in Political Studies and Economic Sciences.

I’ve got some experience in the international relations field here, so I might be of some help. I have a master’s in IR from the US and I’ve interned at TaiDa and Cheng Chi at their journal Issues and Studies.

Cheng Chi’s IR department is in shambles. 2-3 years ago, there was an effort by several younger professors to improve the department and finally get them past the useless policy debates about cross-strait relations. They wanted more resources to do research, but those funds were being taken up by the old “policy” professors. Those older professors felt threatened by the younger, forward thinking crowd so a department battle insued. The younger professors lost and they left the university enmass.

That was a shame because the IR department desperately needed new thinking. The school is caught in 1950’s as far as IR theory goes. The IR library is a joke as well. They had most of the major journals, but I had trouble finding a book newer than Ken Waltz’s 1979 book Neorealism.

I can’t speak for the newer programs in Taiwan Studies or China Studies. They may or may not be worth doing. But remember: you get what you pay for. From my discussions with IR professors at both TaiDa and Chen Chi, I would say that you would probably “graduate” from those institutions with very large gaps in your IR education.

A couple of other things that might greatly influence the acceptance of a degree back in the US or other western countries are language of instruction and the field of study. I know a few non-Chinese China studies academics back in the US who did MAs and even PhDs in Taiwan in the 60s and 70s. All of them agreed that it was a bit of a gamble to have done a higher degree in Taiwan, but their qualifications were accepted once they went back to the states. The main reason was that even though the quality on the conceptual side of their degrees may not have been as good as a US degree, since the degree was in a China studies field and they had done the whole thing in Chinese, they were generally ahead of most folks of their generation who did their degrees in the US and only went to Taiwan or the mainland for language study.

I think this still holds true for anybody contemplating post-grad programs in both Taiwan and the mainland, but especially the latter. If your field is obviously something that is best studied in Taiwan or the mainland, then you could do quite well for yourself by doing a degree there. However, if you are studying something that has no strong link to the place where you are studying, then I see no benefit in doing it in Taiwan or the mainland. I know or know of folks from western countries who have done MAs and PhDs at mainland universities, especially Beijing Langauge and Cultural University. The ones who did degrees related to teaching Chinese had little trouble when they went back home. The ones who did degrees in straight linguistics pretty much wasted 3 or 4 years of their lives.

I would run, not walk, from any program taught in English in Taiwan, especially if you have any intentions of improving your Chinese langauge skills. Your classmates will be there to use their English, no matter how poor it might be. After having experienced a supposedly premier post-grad program taught at the University of Hong Kong in English (a place one might assume to be better suited than Taiwan for an English language program), my feeling is that most programs taught in English to Chinese students are to varying degrees dumbed down. Most serious students who are good enough to do a masters or PhD in English will do it overseas.

To sum up, I think doing any sort of humanities or social science degree with a China/Taiwan focus in country is a good idea provided that you’re keeping an eye on the way your field is going back in your home country. You’ll need to maintain or establish connections there if you intend to teach or work there after graduation. Doing a degree in a field that is not specifically China/Taiwan related (i.e. an MBA, Med, MA Linguistics or , sorry , MA IR) in my opinion is at best a gamble.

And in academe, publications are important; the general record of Taiwanese institutions in terms of publications is not stellar, and the rigor of the research done in Taiwan is often called into question. Definitely think twice unless it’s a degree in Chinese, Chinese lit or translation/interpreting (especially for the latter, I would recommend that no native English speaker do a degree in translation that is not in a Chinese-speaking environment. Not only is it cheaper, you’ll learn a lot more.)

You guys are confirming a lot of what I suspected. ANd you all have been very helpful. Thanks a lot. It looks like I have some stuff to mull over. :notworthy: