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Master of Arts
Master of Arts (MA) in Buddhist Studies
The MA program is a 2-year (4 semester / 60 credit) program that combines graduate-level seminars and traditional textual studies with modern academic research. The aim of the program is to introduce students to the methods and skills involved in mature academic research and to develop their ability to undertake independent research projects within the field of Buddhist Studies, with special attention to developing students? ability to conduct research in the primary languages (Tibetan and Sanskrit). The program culminates with the completion and submission of a Master?s thesis.
The first year of study is approached in two ways. For those with sufficient competence in Classical Tibetan and spoken Dharma Tibetan, philosophical texts from the monastic university curriculum are taught in Tibetan with no translation. In addition to increasing students' understanding of Buddhist philosophy, this approach also enhances the students' ability to conduct research using primary Tibetan source materials. For those whose language skills are not as fully developed, the first year is spent developing the necessary competence in classical Tibetan or Sanskrit to allow students to conduct research in Buddhist primary literature. In both cases, research papers on topics related to philosophical or linguistic study are prepared with the help of the thesis supervisors as part of the required coursework.
In research seminars offered during the first three semesters of study, issues of method relevant to academic research of religion and Buddhism are discussed. These courses introduce the historical development of the study of religion and enable the graduate student to engage in critical scholarship and research.
In the second year of the MA, the focus turns toward the practical application of the skills acquired during the first year of study, culminating in the writing of the MA thesis. Working with an experienced thesis supervisor, the student formulates a thesis project and spends the first semester studying the necessary historical, literary, and philosophical background materials before spending the second semester writing the thesis itself, with continued guidance by the thesis supervisor.
For a detailed description of the program, including Admission Requirements, please download the MA Course Description. (download)
Application and Admission
Entrance into the MA program in Buddhist Studies requires at least one year of Classical Tibetan or Sanskrit, and 12 credits of Religious Studies coursework. Interested applicants who do not have the required prerequisites may do a year's preparatory work in our BA program to ready themselves for admission to the MA. Such applicants should apply directly to the MA program and a course of study will be prescribed for them. To be admitted to the MA program, students should visit the Admissions Section of this website. Please note that only a limited number of students can be admitted to the program each year, and the requirements listed above are the minimum required for application. Admission is competitive and meeting the requirements does not guarantee admission: admission is based on an evaluation of the overall application package.
Master of Arts (MA) in Translation, Textual Interpretation, and Philology
The MA program is a 2-year (4 semester/60 credit) program that combines graduate-level philosophy and translation seminars in which students work with primary source literature and the languages of the Buddhist tradition. The aim of the program is to introduce students to the methods and skills involved in translation, textual interpretation, and philology and to develop their ability to undertake independent translation projects and translation research within the field of Buddhist Studies.
Students are expected to have an excellent command of Classical Tibetan and some experience with Sanskrit and spoken Tibetan before entering the program. Course work in the first year includes Buddhist philosophical and textual study with scholars of the Tibetan traditional scholastic tradition, translation workshops that allow students to develop their work within a productive and informed environment of mutual critique, and course work in translation and philological method. In these methodology seminars, students develop an understanding of the global history of translation and translation theory and they experiment with an array of distinct approaches to the practical tasks of the translator. In this way the courses introduce students to the field of Translation Studies while making use of specific case studies to analyze translation methods of particular relevance to the translation of Buddhist texts. They also develop the ability of the students to engage in critical scholarship and research in the field of Translation Studies.
Application and Admission
Entrance into the MA program in Translation, Textual Interpretation, and Philology requires at least three years of Classical Tibetan, one year of Sanskrit, one year of Colloquial Tibetan, and 12 credits of Buddhist Studies coursework. An excellent level of proficiency in English writing and composition is also required. Interested applicants who lack some of the required prerequisites may do preparatory work in our BA program to ready themselves for admission to the MA. Interested applicants with only two years of Classical Tibetan study may take an additional placement exam to qualify for the program. Such applicants should apply directly to the MA program and arrangements will be made for the placement exam if the applicant's other qualifications warrant consideration for admission. To apply to the MA program, applicants should visit the Admissions Section of this website. Please note that only a limited number of students can be admitted to the program each year, and the requirements listed above are the minimum required for application. Admission is competitive and meeting the requirements does not guarantee admission: admission is based on an evaluation of the overall application package.