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Introduction to the Master's Program

Master’s Degree Program

Department Introduction

     As a result of the rapid societal changes in Taiwan and abroad, the need to cope with loss and grief over the course of life has increased and continued unabated. This trend is directly reflected in the need for the medical care system and educational and counseling institutions in Taiwan. The establishment of the Department of Thanatology and Health Counseling is intended to nurture relevant professionals. The educational goal of this department is to cultivate students’ basic literacy of life and death care and health-related psychological counseling to be able to care for people’s mental health and help them settle down. On the one hand, the objective encompasses health counseling, including response to health crises and implementation of healthy living behavior, management of disease and suffering, adjustment to disability and aging, and end-of-life care. On the other hand, it focuses on bereavement counseling, suicide prevention, bereaved family care, and funeral services. These areas are also the emphasis of student services in this department to cultivate a workforce with practical skills and professional knowledge of life and death care and grief counseling.

Research development and characteristics

  1. The predecessor of this department, the Graduate Institute of Life and Death Education and Counseling, began to enroll master’s degree program students in the two groups of "Thanatology" and "Counseling" in 2001. The bachelor’s degree program of the Department of Life and Death Studies and Psychological Counseling was established in 2011. The institute and department were integrated in August 2014, which is the only healthcare department of national technical colleges in Taiwan that trains talents in Life and Death, and Counseling. The purpose of the establishment is to cultivate professionals related to counseling of life and death and health crises. The educational goal is to cultivate practical, consultative, and research talents in the fields of life and death education and grief counseling.
  2. The master’s degree program is divided into two groups: Thanatology and Counseling (students are eligible to take the National Examination of Professional Counseling psychologists after completing the Counseling Psychology curriculum). The curricula in both groups are characterized by integrated theories of life and death care, grief counseling, medical consultation, suicide prevention, art therapy, funeral services, and a series of research on professional interventions and models, which are used to plan a series of life and death care and grief counseling models for promotion and application by the industry and academia.The Department currently has the world’s first Healing Garden with the function of grief healing and a Healing Heart Community Psychological Counseling Center, which allows the team of teachers and students to provide grief counseling for the community and is used by teachers, students, and the Grief Counseling Professional Classroom to practice grief counseling. In addition, the department will continue to promote collaboration with the industry and jointly develop and promote effective education and counseling strategies in the future.

Teaching Objectives

The master’s degree program aims to cultivate high-level professionals in life and death care and counseling. Students are expected to have the following skills prior to graduation:

1. Use professional theories and international empirical knowledge to improve the quality of professional services.

2. Demonstrate respect and care for life and ethical literacy to provide advanced professional services.

3. Execute life and death and health counseling programs, research, teaching, and practices.

4. Help manage the life and death and mental health issues of service recipients.

5. Effectively communicate, coordinate, and collaborate with professional teams to help others.

6. Apply information technology and develop professional and innovative skills.

7. Improve the ability to prevent and solve problems and enhance lifelong learning skills.

Core Competencies

    • Communication

    • Responsibility and Discipline

    • Interpersonal Interaction

    • Information Technology Application

    • Problem Solving

    • Teamwork

    • Continuous Learning

    • Innovation

Curriculum Planning

Since the 2018 academic year, the department has made substantial changes to the curriculum and added new courses to meet the needs of society for professionals. At present, the master’s degree program is divided into two groups: Thanatology and Counseling. The curriculum design focuses on life and death and grief counseling to cultivate students’ core expertise and then develop sub-field expertise in life and death care, grief counseling, medical counseling, suicide prevention, art therapy, and funeral services. When students in the counseling group complete the counseling psychology curriculum (21 credits), they are eligible to take the National Examination of Professional Counseling Psychologists, an opportunity to enhance the specialty of grief psychological counseling.

1. For the Life and Death Group, the graduation requirements are 30 credits, with 14 credits of compulsory courses (6 credits for master’s thesis) and 16 credits of electives. A minimum of 6 credits are required for each of the two fields—Life, Death, and Ethics and Management and Care—for a total of at least 12 credits.

2. For the Counseling Psychology Group, the graduation requirements are 36 credits, with 14 credits of compulsory courses (including 6 credits for master’s thesis) and 22 credits of electives. After completing the counseling psychology curriculum, students are eligible to take the National Examination of Professional Counseling Psychologists. Students who graduate from the counseling group have more professional options in terms of career development.

Off-campus Internship

Graduate students in the counseling group of the master’s degree program are required to take Counseling Practicum (1) and Counseling Practicum (2) during their second year of study in accordance with the Psychologists Act, the Enforcement Rules of the Psychologists’ Act, and the Rules for Psychologist Examinations in the Senior Civil Service Examination for Specialized Occupations and Technicians. To be eligible to take the counseling psychologist certification examination, students must complete full-time internship courses during the third year, including Counseling Psychology internship (1) and Counseling Psychology Internship (2). They also have to take practical internships at off-campus institutions according to regulations.

● Employment Development

Graduates of master’s degree programs have the following employment opportunities:

  • Most students in the thanatology group of the master’s degree program are licensed professionals who choose to study in this program because they want to enhance and enrich the depth and breadth of their professional capabilities. Their professional fields include teachers at elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools (or vocational high schools), military training instructors, professional nurses, physicians, occupational therapists, funeral directors, and drug control specialists. After graduation, they stay in their original jobs, but their subfield expertise for employment is enhanced in the areas of life and death care, grief counseling, hospice care, art therapy, etc. They can also engage in suicide prevention and related jobs, such as project planners or educators in life education and end-of-life care.
  • Students in the counseling group of the master’s degree program are eligible to take the National Examination of Professional Counseling Psychologists after completing the curriculum of the counseling group. Compared with graduates of other institutes, graduates of the counseling psychology group of this department have in-depth professional capabilities in life and death care, grief counseling, suicide prevention, medical counseling, hospice care, and art therapy. Besides serving as counseling psychologists at general colleges or home-based psychologists at community institutions, counseling psychologists professionally trained in this department are even more suitable to work in the fields of cancer care, critical care, long-term care, and palliative care at medical institutions. Graduates who are not interested in becoming licensed counseling psychologists can develop other career paths and have options in other psychological counseling-related fields, such as counseling teachers and case managers.
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