Higher Education in Taiwan



The Republic of China (ROC), popularly known as Taiwan, was founded in 1912 on the Chinese mainland. The ROC government relocated to Taiwan in 1949 after its defeat in the Chinese Civil War. The ROC’s jurisdiction covers the main island of Taiwan and a number of outlying islands – the archipelagoes of Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu, as well as Diaoyutai Islands, which lie northeast of Taiwan, and a number of islands in the South China Sea, including those in the Tungsha (Pratas), Nansha (Spratly), Shisha (Paracel) and Chungsha (Macclesfield Bank) islands. The total area of Taiwan is 36,193 square kilometers, with a population of about 23 million. The people of Taiwan consist of Han Chinese and the indigenous people. Common languages used include Mandarin, various Chinese dialects and the languages of the indigenous people. Religions practiced comprise Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity and Islam.

Taiwan is situated to the east of Asia and southwest of Pacific Ocean. It is blessed with a wide range of climatic zones from tropical to temperate with humid weather and four distinct seasons. Taiwan proper has more than its share of natural splendor, featuring volcanic mountains, tablelands, coastal plains and basins.

Due to its unique history, Taiwan presents a blend of modernity and tradition, east and west culture, Confucianism and democratic freedom. There is a wide variety of cuisines as a result of integration of varied elements of civilization. Taiwan is also well-known for its people’s warmth and friendliness to which visitors would often reminisce.

Traditionally, Taiwan has been a destination of higher education for Malaysian Chinese, especially for students of Chinese Independent Secondary Schools. In recent years, there have been an increasing number of students from Government secondary schools. In 2015, there were 14,946 Malaysians studying in Taiwan.

The attractiveness of Taiwanese higher education lies in its low cost of education both in terms of tuition and fees as well as living expenses while offering a relatively high quality of education.

A special feature of the Taiwanese education system is its well-developed technological and vocational education (TVE) which encompasses both institutes of technology and the technical and vocational education institutes. They consist of vocational high schools, junior colleges, and colleges/universities of technology. TVE represents about half of higher education institutions in Taiwan and has been playing an important role in Taiwan’s economic development. Together with close collaboration between the academia and industry among the TVE, these features have considerable potential to contribute to the development of SME’s in Malaysia.

While most courses are taught is Mandarin, there are courses conducted in English. It provides a bilingual learning environment, enabling one to learn and practice the Chinese language, an emerging international language. Information on courses taught in English are available at http://www.studyintaiwan.org/  According to the website, there are currently 54 Bachelor degree courses which are taught 90% in English and 316 Bachelor degree courses which are taught 50-75% in English.

In addition, there are also short term Chinese language courses offered by various universities and colleges.

Education System

The Taiwanese Education System comprises 6 years of primary education, 3 years of junior high school, 3 years of senior secondary school, 4 years of college or university education, with the first 9 years as compulsory education.

There are also junior colleges which are classified according to admission requirements into 5-year junior colleges and 2-year junior colleges. 5-year junior colleges admit graduates of junior high schools, whereas 2-year junior colleges admit graduates of skill-based senior secondary schools. Junior college graduates can continue their education at technical colleges and universities of technology.

There are currently 158 public, independent and private higher education institutions in Taiwan, offering about 3,000 courses.

Students who wish to pursue higher education in Taiwan especially those who opt for professional courses and/or wish to work in the government departments on returning home need to check with the Malaysian Public Service Department and the various local professional bodies on the recognition of the chosen courses.

Tertiary education institutions in Taiwan adopt the semester system:

Semester system
First semester (fall) Early September to mid-December
Second semester (spring) Mid-January to mid-May
Summer Vacation June to August


Entry Requirements

The general entry requirement for Bachelor degree program is minimum 6 years of primary and 6 years of secondary education with STPM, ‘A’ Level or an equivalent qualification.

The entry requirement for Master’s Degree Program is Bachelor degree and for Doctoral Degree Program is Master’s Degree.

Students who choose Chinese-taught course have to show proof of proficiency in Chinese language such as having graduated from Chinese Independent Secondary School, or from Government Secondary School with proof of having studied Chinese language as a subject at the Secondary level. Alternatively, one can sit for the Test of Chinese as a Foreign Language (TOCFL) conducted by the Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in Malaysia.

Those who choose English-taught courses are required to produce proof of English Language proficiency such as IELTS or TOEFL. Some universities conduct their own English Proficiency Test and allow those who fail the test to take an English intensive course before enrolling in the regular class in Taiwan.

Application for Admission

The admission of foreign students to tertiary education institutions in Taiwan is via 2 streams: overseas Chinese stream and foreign student stream. The Federation of Alumni Association of Taiwan Universities in Malaysia and various Chinese Independent Schools play an active role in assisting students applying for higher education in Taiwan. Students can also apply directly to the respective tertiary education institutions.

Students who are interested in English-taught courses can browse http://www.studyintaiwan.org/  to identify suitable courses and apply directly. Application is open from 15 November to 31 December for admission in September in the subsequent year for both undergraduate and postgraduate studies.

Every year, usually in the month of August, the Federation of Alumni Association of Taiwan Universities in Malaysia, with the support of the Taiwanese authority, organizes a Taiwan Higher Education Fair in Kuala Lumpur, northern Peninsular Malaysia and in East Malaysia. Students can visit these fairs to gather information and prepare for application.


The cost of education includes tuition and fees, food, accommodation and other expenses. There are public and private higher education institutions in Taiwan. Tuition and fees are higher at private higher education institutions compared to state-supported institutions. They also vary according to the course of study. In addition to tuition and fees, there are other fees such as those for computer tutorial classes, language tutorial classes, summer classes, double degrees, etc. Below is a general guide on various expenses:

Tuition & Fees Per Semester

Course PublicNew Taiwan Dollar PrivateNew Taiwan Dollar
Medicine 38,380-39,560 59,317-72,500
Dentistry 35,080-36,170 65,115-65,425
Allied Health 26,761-31,050 46,577-58,200
Engineering 24,650-29,490 44,307-56,914
Science/Agriculture 22,980-30,260 48,470-55,990
Business 21,390-28,740 38,528-49,252
Arts/Law 20,200-25,230 42,099-50,510


Living Expenses & Part-time Work IncomeNew Taiwan Dollar

  Taipei Taichung Kaohsiung
Monthly Living Expenses 8,000 6,500 7,000
Hourly On & Off Campus Part-time Work Income 90-100 75-90 95-100


Living expenses are much higher in urban than in suburban areas and smaller towns.



After gaining admission, students can proceed to Taipei Economic & Cultural Centre in Kuala Lumpur to apply for visa. For more information, refer to Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in Malaysia Consular Section:http://www.taiwanembassy.org/my_en/cat/15.html. Application of student visas from foreign students begins on 1st of July every year.



Foreign students are allowed to work no more than 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during vacations. Students are required to make application at the Ministry of Labour office prior to working.


Taiwan has a long tradition of welcoming foreign students. Various support services including orientation, counselling, medical insurance and financial aids are available to foreign students studying in Taiwan.

Study in Taiwan English Website:http://ulist.moe.gov.tw/
Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in Malaysia Education Section: http://www.taiwanembassy.org/my_en/cat/11.html
Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in Malaysia Consular Section:http://www.taiwanembassy.org/my_en/cat/15.html

Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in Malaysia
Level 7, Menara Yayasan Tun Razak,
200 Jalan Bukit Bintang,
55100 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel:+603-21615508, 21614439

The Federation of Alumni Association of Taiwan Universities, Malaysia
9-B Jalan SS2/64
Petaling Jaya
43000 Selangor.
Tel: +603-7876 1221/4542
Fax:  +603-7875 4200


Written by:      
Ms Wee Hui Bieh, AFMSA, Mar. 2017

Information source:

Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in Malaysia
The Federation of Alumni Association of Taiwan Universities, Malaysia

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