Summer Classical Tibetan Language Study

The summer intensive language courses are rigorous but students also progress very quickly. Completing the equivalent of two semester’s worth of coursework over the span of 8 weeks, even beginning students are well on their way towards a high degree of proficiency in Classical Tibetan. Classical Tibetan focuses on the written language so there is a less emphasis on verbal pronunciation and none on speaking. If you are more interested in spoken Tibetan, check out our Summer course in Colloquial Tibetan.

See course level for application deadline
Apply by May 23, 2022 to avoid a late fee

Class Structure:

All classes meet Monday through Friday for 2-3 hours per day and include a Master Class, a Review or Practicum Class and access to virtual office hours for additional support. See each individual class schedule below. In order to progress students are expected to attend daily classes for the duration of the course. The level of intensity of the courses is high and students are expected to invest considerable time and effort in order to meet class requirements and academic expectations.

Class Materials:

To take part in the course you will need to have access to a PC, Mac or Linux computer capable of running Microsoft Teams, which you can download free of charge.

  • Access to RYI’s Microsoft Teams environment
  • PDF textbook, texts and supplemental materials
  • Pre-recorded videos
  • Tibetan alphabet course online (for those who do not already have knowledge of the Tibetan alphabet)


All of the Classical Tibetan language courses are university-level courses and can be taken for academic credit through Kathmandu University’s Centre for Buddhist Studies.

These courses may also be taken on a non-credit basis.

2022 Academic Calendar

  • June 8 Online Orientation 
  • June 13 Classes begin  
  • July 8-11 Midterm break  
  • August 4 Final exams 

Beginning Classical Tibetan (TLAN 115) 6 Credits

This 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. Applications close May 23, 2022.

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.

Beginning Classical Tibetan
TLAN 115 
Hours per week Section 1 
(Nepal Time)  
Section 2 
(Nepal Time) 
Master Class Five 1-hour classes per week  Monday-Friday  
7:45a – 8:45a  
5:45p – 6:45p  
Review Class Three 1-hour classes per week  M-W-F 
4:00p – 5:00p 
5:30a – 6:30a
Self-Paced Online HoursTLAN 101 and 1027878
Live Online HoursMaster & Review Classes6464
*Also includes a library of prerecorded videos for study and review prior to the live classes.
*Plus access to virtual 1:1 office hours

*Students are expected to be familiar with the Tibetan alphabet. Once students register for the course, we provide access to our online self-paced Tibetan alphabet course. We also offer several review classes during the orientation period.

Intermediate Classical Tibetan (TLAN 215) 6 Credits

This course is offered for intermediate-level students with two semesters of prior study of Classical Tibetan. Students are assumed to have familiarity with the fundamentals of Tibetan grammar, including the eight cases and their associated particles and common grammatical structures and verb tenses, along with knowledge of Buddhist terms and vocabulary. Applications close May 30, 2022.

Students will read and translate Buddhist literature during class, with emphasis placed on consolidating and developing further knowledge of grammatical structures and Buddhist terminology. Grammar will be explained as the texts are read, and complimentary handouts will be provided during the course. Students will be required to memorize vocabulary, as well as doing written homework assignments, and will be quizzed regularly on the material covered in class.

Students will also work in groups to translate sentences and sections of texts, with the instructor available for questions and consultation. 

Intermediate Classical Tibetan
TLAN 215 
Hours per week Section 1 
(Nepal Time)  
Section 2 
(Nepal Time) 
Master Class Five 1.5 hour classes per week  Monday – Friday 
12:15 – 1:45 pm  
Monday – Friday  
5:45 – 7:15 am 
Review Class Four 1-hour classes per week Monday – Thursday 
2:45 – 3:45 pm 
Monday – Thursday  
8:00 – 9:00 pm 
*Also includes a library of prerecorded videos for study and review prior to the live classes.
*Plus access to virtual 1:1 office hours

Advanced Classical Tibetan (TLAN 315) 6 Credits

Applications close May 30, 2022.

& Advanced Classical Tibetan Reading Seminar (RTIB 501) 6 Credits

This course is offered for advanced-level students with a minimum of two years of prior study of Classical Tibetan. The course also assumes familiarity with the basic outline of Buddhist history and the general principles and debates of Buddhist philosophy. This course is designed primarily for those already enrolled in graduate degree programs, although BA students with the requisite background will be considered (RTIB 501 is a MA level course). Students read texts with a scholar who is an expert in the topic at hand, so as to advance their knowledge of both the language and the philosophical, doctrinal, or historical issues under study. Applications close May 30, 2022.

Students will read and discuss Tibetan Buddhist literature and familiarize themselves with related secondary sources. This class is expected to help students to further develop both their language proficiency and the research skills needed to conduct research at the MA or PhD level.

BA students who complete the course receive credit for TLAN 315 Advanced Classical Tibetan. MA students who complete the course receive academic credit at the Centre for Buddhist Studies for RTIB 501: Advanced Readings I – Tibetan.

*For the BA course select “Advanced Classical Tibetan”; for the MA course select “Advanced Readings I – Tibetan” in the drop-down list after clicking on the link above.

Advanced Classical Tibetan,
TLAN 315/RTIB 501 
Hours per week  Section 1 
(Nepal Time)  
Section 2 
(Nepal Time)  
Master Reading Class Five 90 min classes per week Monday-Friday
4:45 – 6:15 am
6:45 – 8:15 pm
Review Class Five 1-hour classes per week Monday-Friday
7:00 – 8:00 am
8:45 – 9:45 am
*Plus access to virtual 1:1 office hours



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

  • For beginning-level Classical Tibetan:
    • Introduction to Classical Tibetan I (3 credits, equivalent to TLAN 101) and Classical Tibetan II (3 credits, equivalent to TLAN 102)
  • For Intermediate Classical Tibetan: Classical Tibetan III (TLAN 201) and IV (TLAN 202) (6 credits total)
  • For Advanced Classical Tibetan Reading Seminar: For MA-level study: RTIB 501: Advanced Readings I – Tibetan (6 credits). For BA-level study, TLAN 315 Advanced Classical Tibetan (equivalent to TLAN 301 and TLAN 302; 6 credits total).
Admission Criteria

All applications for the Classical Tibetan courses 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 similarly recognized program.

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

Fee Request

In accordance with University guidelines, RYI course fees are determined by each student’s home base and nationality. A three-tier system is in effect which covers (i) Nepali students, (ii) SAARC students and (iii) other international students. Please select below to find out the fees structure for your particular circumstances.

You will find the Tuition Fee List for all programs, including the Summer Program, linked on the right hand side of this page (at the end of the page if you are on a mobile device) under the heading “Tuition Fee List.”


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Please note that due to Dashain festival in Nepal, we will process your application only after 10th Oct, 2022.

Thank you for your patience.