On September 11, Tzu Chi University (TCU) and Mahidol University (MU) signed an agreement to establish a joint doctoral program. Beginning this academic year, PhD students, TCU or MU, can apply for a joint degree. Once the students satisfied the necessary requirement, they will receive a PhD degree from TCU and MU simultaneously. The signing was witnessed by Chen Chien-Jen, the Vice President of Academia Sinica, and Liu Fu-Tong, the Director of Institute of Biomedical Sciences. The joint degree collaboration was a first for both universities, and hence marked a vital milestone.
The representatives for the universities were TCU President Wang Pen-Jung and MU Dr. Wattana Watanapa. Mahidol University is known for its distinguished achievements in academic research, President Wang pointed out, and he expects the frequent exchange in the future to yield invaluable academic results.
Mahidol University, a 127 years old academic institute that had won countless major academic awards, is the first institute of higher education in Thailand and the most renowned worldwide among its competitors. Dr. Watanapa said during her address that TCU, despite being a young 20 year-old institution, has achieved many great things. With the support of Tzu Chi Foundation and the Buddhism ethos as motto, TCU is a vital contributor of the society. Many students are enthusiastic about the opportunity to study at TCU, Dr. Watanapa mentioned, since it is the first joint degree program for MU.
Coinciding with the 5th Annual Symposium of Tzu Chi Academy, which is hosted by the Institute of Medical Sciences, TCU, the attending faculty and students from Academia Sinica and other universities were also invited to bare witness to the signing ceremony of the joint degree program.
A Joint degree program refers to the integration of independent departments’ curriculum from two universities. When the students satisfied the graduate requirements of a joint degree program, they are awarded a degree from both universities. According to the agreement content, the doctoral students must first register in their respective universities, and once they are deemed eligible for the program, the collaborating university will waive their tuitions and provide monthly allowances.
Tsai Rong-Kung, the Director of the Institute of Medical Sciences, said that joint degree can facilitate inter-institution cooperation between TCU and universities worldwide, and it also encourages students to receive various trainings at the international level. There are three MU students currently enrolled in the Institute of Medical Sciences, TCU, Director Tsai said. He believes that the signing of the joint degree program can attract first-rate international students, and in turn, incentivizes TCU’s research quantity and quality.