Those looking to get into the highly competitive field of medicine now have a new pathway. Taiwan's National Tsing Hua University will be offering a post-baccalaureate program in medicine.
The recruitment and admission application process will begin by the end of this year, and the first class of government-sponsored students will be enrolled in September 2022.
As the university already has a strong foundation in cross-disciplinary research in medical science, the program would fit right in, said president Hong Hocheng.
Currently, NTHU offers courses in big data analysis, application of artificial intelligence, bioengineering, material science, and nuclear medicine.
The president said that NTHU already has a sufficient number of faculty members, funding and infrastructure for the new program.
In addition to the existing 180 faculty members teaching related courses, the program has recruited 71 full-time faculty members and 87 physician scientists from leading medical centers throughout Taiwan as adjunct faculty members.
Plus, the provisional office of this program has raised NT$2 billion (HK$559 million) for medical education.
An ongoing plan for establishing a state-of-the-art teaching hospital and medical complex in the Taoyuan Aerotropolis next to the Taoyuan International Airport is currently being reviewed by the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
The post-baccalaureate program in medicine is a four-year program, open for graduates from all disciplines.
All government-sponsored students will be required to serve in a public healthcare facility for six years.
They will also have an opportunity to undertake an additional two years of advanced training in a medical center.
An unusual aspect of the program is that several courses are designed to prepare students for practicing in a rural area - such as community medicine practicum as well as learning how to use AI diagnosis and telemedicine technology.
They will also attend seminars on altruism and dedication to public health, which will be taught by laureates of the Medical Contribution Award.
The program will be part of the future College of Life Sciences and Medicine - currently the College of Life Science.
Its dean, Kao Rueyho, said that direct applicants will be evaluated based on test scores, transcripts and interviews, to select students who have demonstrated academic excellence as well as a passion for medicine and public welfare.