Founded by the Japanese government in 1928, the Taihoku (Taipei) Imperial University first established two colleges: the College of Liberal Arts and Political Science and the College of Science and Agriculture. The following year, 1929, the Department of Literature, which was included in the College of Liberal Arts and Political Science, initiated a lecture course on East-Asian Literature mainly focusing on Chinese Literature, and therefore can be thought as the formation of the Chinese literature department.

After World War II, in 1945, the R.O.C. government resumed Taihoku University and renamed it as National Taiwan University. The College of Liberal Arts and Political Science was divided into the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Law. The Department of Chinese Literature was officially established at the same time. At the beginning, Wei Chien-kung, the professor of Chinese literature at Beijing University, actively participated in the planning and recruiting people for the Department. During 1947 to 1948, Mr. Hsu shou-shang and Mr. Chiao Ta-chung held the department consecutively.

Since August 1948, Professor Tai Ching-nung had been the department chair for twenty years and made a great contribution to the stability and development of the Department. His successors include Chu Wan-li, Lung Yu-chun, Yeh Ching-ping, Lo Lien-tien, Huang Chi-fang, Chi Yi-shou, Chou Hsueh-wu, Li Wei-tai and Yeh Kuo-liang. All those department chairs did their best to make progress and improvement of the department.

In 1957, the graduate Department of Chinese Literature was founded and offered courses on M.A. degree. In 1967, the Ph.D. program started. In 1972, the Evening Division was set up. In 1997, the Evening Division and the Center of Extension Education were merged to form the Division of Continuing Education and Professional Development. Now the total number of students reaches around 700.

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