In Taiwan, two-year preschool education is optional. Students usually start school at age six. Nine years of compulsory education, in force since 1968, includes six years of elementary education and three years of junior high education.
After graduation from junior high, there are two types of school for continuing students, senior high school and senior vocational school. Both take three years to complete.
Specialized training beyond the secondary level is provided by five-year junior colleges, which accept students directly from junior high schools and focus on applied sciences and technology.
Higher education includes two-year junior colleges, institutes of technology, liberal arts collages, four-year universities, universities of science and technology and graduate programs.
Most of the university undergraduate programs take four years to complete. Extensions, up to two years, will be granted to students who are unable to fulfill their requirements within the designated time. Specialized undergraduate programs like dental school take six years, whereas medical school takes seven years to complete.
Universities and colleges in Taiwan offer a wide variety of master's and doctoral programs. Graduate programs leading to a master's or doctoral degree require two to four years, and two to seven years, respectively. If a student who enters a graduate school as part of on-the-job training fails to finish the required coursework or to complete his/her thesis, he/she will be granted an extension.
Special education includes programs and facilities for gifted children, as well as those with special needs due to handicaps or learning disabilities. Mentally and physically challenged students are admitted to designated schools mainly operated by the government. At the university and college level, resource classes are provided for blind and deaf students.
Supplementary education is also offered to provide an alternative way for citizens to achieve different levels of education, from elementary through college level. Students can obtain a bachelor's degree by taking radio, television, and correspondence classes from an open university.