Some more details FYI:
The whole program is taught in English, two years, a total of 24 academic credits, plus another 6 credits for MA thesis. Our dept. has a full BA degree in Buddhist studies taught in Chinese (~ 100+ students), two streams for MA using English / Chinese (~50 students), and a PhD program taught bilingually (~4 students, just started up). While our Buddhist studies content is mainly forms of Chinese Buddhism (classical Chan, Pure Land, Tiantai, Huayan, etc. modern forms too), we also have faculty who specialize in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism, so we try to cover the whole board. We have 9 full time faculty (all PhDs), and about 6 adjuncts (half PhDs half MAs).
There is no age restriction - this year in particular we've had a number of mature students join the program. In addition to the academic Buddhist studies side of things, we also have practicum classes, and the whole living arrangement is kind of half university half monastery. Our students are mostly lay students, though in the post-graduate programs, about 40% are monastic. Different monastic traditions are all welcome, in the last few years we've had a number of Vietnamese monastics. Chinese Buddhism doesn't make a distinction of ordination by a tradition, ordination is ordination, whatever tradition. The boundaries of various schools are not anywhere near as hard and edgy in China / Taiwan than they are in Japan or Japanese derived traditions. Having said that, Fo Guang Shan monastery does carry the Linji lineage, but please don't read "so it's like Japanese Rinzai" into that. FGS monastery is the founder of FGUni, but FGS HQ is down in Taiwan SW, whereas FGU is up in Taiwan NE. They are separate and distinct organizations, though strongly connected. The whole university has about 3,500 students, across four colleges with a total of 15 departments. Mainly we're a liberal arts type university, with a Buddhist flavor.
FGU is fully accredited with the Taiwan Ministry of Education (in fact, our present FGU Pres is the former Minister of Education!) Degrees from FGU should be accepted in the USA, though I also have heard that some places in the USA still have their own university specific list of places that they accept or do not. I can't see any reason why it wouldn't be, however. John Plass, former Woodenfish participant and staff, went from his BA in psychology at UCSB to MA in Buddhist studies at FGU, and has recently just started a PhD in psych at North Western in Chicago.
While the deadline is soon, even if you are a little late, please try to send it to us. You may be better off sending it to the Buddhist studies dept first, we can help you make sure that all your information is correct, before bundling it up to pass over to the enrollments people. Even sending late is better than not sending at all, we'll try to work around that.
While the academic year starts in mid-Sept, it is possible to either (a) jump in at the second semester in early Feb, or (b) come along as a "course credit" but not fully enrolled student, later directing the course credits you've taken to the degree program when you fully enroll. These two options are not 100% ideal, but the difference in the end is negligible, and a number of students do this. Just like any university, our programs are offered yearly. Best to enroll at the formal and proper time, but jump in where you can.
There are scholarships! We have scholarships of NT$50,000 per semester for students at Buddhist studies, which covers your basic tuition / fees. Then there's another smaller scholarship which covers board and meals at the Buddhist studies women's (or men's) dormitories. All Buddhist studies students are expected to live at the Dept. dormitories. The living arrangements include morning meditation (wake up at 06:30) and evening chanting, shared cleaning and cooking duties (MA students in 1st yr help cook for 2 meals and clean up for 2 meals per week).
Knowing Mandarin would obviously be very helpful, because this is Taiwan after all! However, for the MA (English) program in Buddhist studies, all classes are taught in English, likewise papers and thesis all done in English. Most of the faculty are also English fluent. There are some things outside of the dept in FGU as a whole that are still not 100% up to speed on this, but we are already familiar with this, so have people to help through the tricky bits. So, don't worry!
For the MA program, at least some formal training in a Buddhist canonical language is required. But, if you haven't done it before, you can do makeup while you're doing the MA. The Chinese speaking MA students sit in on the undergrad Sanskrit, Pali and / or Tibetan classes (as the BA program is taught in Chinese). For the non-Chinese speakers, we have a special course taught in English for Classical Buddhist Chinese. That will appear on your academic transcript. We also have another, less formal, Mandarin class, which won't appear on your transcript, but we're trying to see if we can get it more formal at this point.
We've had up to this point a number of non-Chinese speakers, mainly Western students, who have managed to go through the whole program just fine. It's a challenge, yes, but a lot is learned through that, especially stuff that one wouldn't learn if one did a program in the US, Canada, or Europe, etc. The full immersion in the local Buddhist culture is very important.