Why doesn't Taiwan accept online master's & PhD degrees?

Recently ran across this: https://law.moj.gov.tw/ENG/LawClass/LawAll.aspx?pcode=H0030039

It basically says you have to spend 8 months on-location for a master’s and 16 months on-location at a university for your PhD degree.

Does anyone here have a reason why this is so? It would seem to me the problem would not be online education, but rather the quality of the university issuing the degree. Maybe the Ministry of Education is just trying to protect Taiwan universities? Maybe perhaps everyone here knows “real education” only happens in person? It is just bizarre that if a top name university vouches for its degree (makes no difference between online or otherwise…) why Taiwan’s Ministry of Education needs to insert itself into the situation and claim they know more about the quality of degree than the actual university who issued it. If fraud were an issue, they already have the verification process at TECOs across the world…can’t be that. I could go in circles. Perhaps though, I’m just missing something here. Might anyone have a reasonable answer?

Are you looking to change Taiwan’s bureaucratic system yourself?
Many have tried, but few have succeeded.
You need to be in tip-top mental shape to take on that bag of worms.


Not trying to change anything but attempt to understand it which I’m sure would still fit your comment. :slight_smile:


Nothing deep to understand. As I’m sure you’re aware, it’s a very outdated institutional bias against online schooling as something lesser than traditional brick-and-mortar classroom instruction. No real reason, except the fact there used to be a few shoddy online-only masters programs like 10-15 years ago when it first became a thing. Now with Covid-19 making so many uni courses online-only in the US and elsewhere, this outdated way of thinking will hopefully change.


There was period of many online for profit schools that are basically diploma mills. Unfortunately they also tarnished the image of non profit and accredited schools. Some smaller regional schools in the US have found huge success online, it’s only the now the big schools that are catching on that it’s something people want.


Wasn’t the rule introduced by the MOE after that saffer taxi driver got a job as a professor of applied linguistics in Kaousiung? Major loss of face when he finally got rumbled.

He was supposedly very popular with the students.

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In practice most universities don’t list on tbe diploma that it was taken online. Unless it is an obvious online school.

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Do you know which uni that was?

I’m currently studying a master’s degree which would normally take place on campus but has been entirely online due to COVID and will likely continue to be online until completion. But I’m paying the same tuition fee that it would have cost if it were entirely on campus. I wonder if Taiwan would reject this master’s under the current rules?


Does your school have an actual campus? Or will it say anywhere on the transcript that it’s online.

My bachelors was half done online, transferred to a school that has a good online program but also a campus. My degree doesn’t say online. The only way they would really know is if they want to see my transcript and go look into each class I took to see the ones are online courses as they would have a different course code.

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It has an actual campus and I doubt that the transcript will mention that it was online, although I won’t know for sure until I graduate. I guess that means I’m probably safe, but this goes to show what a stupid and backwards rule it is that Taiwan doesn’t accept online degrees even at respectable institutions like University of London which have been investing heavily in online degrees.


I don’t know. It could be an urban myth. The story IIRC is he was found out when some visiting applied linguistics scholars realised he didn’t have a clue what he was talking about, which made the face loss even worse.

EDIT: Here we go. My gin addled brain confused some of the details.


Would’ve been a good day to call in a ‘sickie’, you’d think. :sweat_smile: :face_with_thermometer:

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If you are asked when and where you did the degree, you’ll have an issue. According the link above, if you want to get any further teaching position in Taiwan, you must be outside of Taiwan doing the degree.

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As a reason to call up your school back office personnel for a chat, I’d ask them directly about this issue, and then you can ask what sort of discounts may be available tuition-wise, for any extended period of online learning. You never know what the reply might be (in terms of discount or some social benefit).

Hint: its a racket :wink:

There are a few good ones, but…

UT Austin has a bunch of online courses too. Except to be counted as “in residence” they have to require some in person instructions. For my history class this is in the form of a mandatory studio attendance. For my government class, this is in the form of an in person exam.

It’s only a racket if you’re talking about the (as @Andrew0409 said) diploma mills that are new and strictly only online programs with no physical location. My Masters was first done online and then I switched to residency for the final year (because I figured I wanted to experience campus life and wanted to avoid that whole bias against doing the degree online myself). But the University I did it is a very famous, prestigious and old institution (I don’t feel quite comfortable naming it here, but it’s one of the Big 10 schools in the US..) I think most people doing degrees online in 2020 are doing it at places like that, and not the notorious diploma mills that were popping up a lot in the 2000s.

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There are quite a few rackets in tertiary education. The popular one at the moment is the buy one get one free degrees. The students do their degree in Taiwan then spend a semester or two at a uni in America or England and get another degree from them.

I can’t believe employers aren’t going to see though it. Presumably the students will show the overseas degree when applying for jobs.

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Some employers do. Depends on the field. A lot of factory, office and other repetitive jobs are well suited to BA grads.

I remember seeing a lot of political signs last election in Kaohsiung advertising online degrees of the person running…in english. Seemed strange. But the higher education thing has evolved to a more “just have one” rather than have a good one. Many schools here you almost literally cabnot fail.

Coming to a doctors office near you :slight_smile:

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