Summer Classical Tibetan Language Study

Summer Program 2020

RYI’s Executive Committee and Special Committee on Covid-19, in consultation with Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, have decided that the RYI Summer Program will not go ahead as planned this year. Naturally, this decision is tremendously disappointing for all those due to participate in the 2020 Summer Program. The good news is that the Program is planned to go ahead for Summer 2021. You can still study with RYI over the summer or, indeed, at any time, from the comfort of your own home with our online courses. To find out more about the Institute’s range of online learning courses please click here.

Please click here for a full details on the cancellation of the summer program.

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Please note the information below is not applicable for this summer due to the cancellation of the Summer Program.

Summer Classical Tibetan Course

June 10 - August 6, 2020 (Eight weeks including four days of orientation)

The Classical Tibetan summer program is offered on three levels: Beginning, Intermediate, and an Advanced Classical Tibetan Reading Seminar. The level of intensity of the summer Tibetan courses is high and the courses require considerable time and effort in order to meet class requirements and academic expectations. However, students who successfully complete the summer courses will be well on their way towards a high degree of proficiency in classical Tibetan.

Beginning Classical Tibetan

This intensive Classical Tibetan course is designed for beginning students with no prior knowledge of classical Tibetan. The program provides a thorough grounding in the basics of classical Tibetan, including a complete introduction to classical Tibetan grammar. As such the course provides a strong foundation for reading various types of Buddhist literature in Tibetan.

The course begins with an extensive overview of the grammar after which students begin to read a variety of texts, including philosophical treatises and practice texts. Students are lead through the texts in a detailed and gradual manner, so that even complete beginners are able to understand their meaning while building a basic vocabulary and gaining familiarity with the practical application of the grammar.

For more information, please download the detailed course syllabus.

Intermediate Classical Tibetan

This summer intensive is offered for intermediate-level students with two semesters of prior study of classical Tibetan. The course assumes familiarity with the fundamentals of Tibetan grammar, including the eight cases and their associated particles, common grammatical structures and verb tenses, along with knowledge of Buddhist terms and vocabulary.

For more information, please download the detailed course syllabus.

Advanced Classical Tibetan Reading Seminar

This summer intensive is a graduate- and undergraduate-level seminar focusing on readings in Tibetan supplemented with related secondary source readings. The course is divided into two four-week sessions with two different visiting professors. This course is offered for students with at least two years of prior study of classical Tibetan and assumes some knowledge of Buddhist philosophy and history. It is designed to help students further develop both their language proficiency and the research skills needed to conduct research at the MA or PhD level. This year Dr. Daniel McNamara and Dr. Lara Braitstein will teach this eight-week course. Read more...

For more information, please download the detailed course syllabus.



The course is accredited at the Centre for Buddhist Studies as follows:

  • For Beginning Classical Tibetan: Classical Tibetan I and II (6 credits total)
  • For Intermediate Classical Tibetan: Classical Tibetan III and IV (6 credits total)
  • For Advanced Classical Tibetan Reading Seminar: Advanced Readings I (RTIB 501: 6 credits total)

Admission Criteria

The Beginning and Intermediate Classical Tibetan programs have a maximum enrollment of 15 students. The Advanced Classical Tibetan Reading Seminar has a maximum enrollment of 12 students. All applications are subject to approval by the Centre for Buddhist Studies.

Students applying to the Intermediate and Advanced programs must present documentation of prior Classical Tibetan studies at a university or from a similar recognized program.

For more information, please refer to the Eligibility Requirements and Admissions Process for the summer program.

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