Master of Arts (MA) in Buddhist Studies

The MA program is a 2-year (4 semester / 60 credit) program that combines graduate-level seminars with extensive research in primary source literature and languages. The program provides students with the methods and skills required for mature academic research, and develops their abilities to undertake independent research projects within the field of Buddhist Studies.

During the first year of the program each student is assigned a Thesis Supervisor who will work with the student on developing the thesis proposal and the thesis itself.

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, also 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.

Entrance into the MA program 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.

For a detailed description of the program, including Admission Requirements, please download the MA Course Description.

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.