Summer Classical Tibetan Language Study

Join us for an exciting summer, learning classical Tibetan at RYI, a five-minute walk from the great stupa of Boudhanath in Kathmandu, Nepal. RYI is housed within the Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling monastic complex, where our students are surrounded by monks who themselves are reading classical Tibetan and studying classical texts in their monastic shedra classes.

  • June 7: Orientation
  • June 12: Classes begin 
  • July 6-9: Midterm break 
  • August 3: Final exams 

After three summers of teaching classical Tibetan online, RYI is once again offering two of its classical Tibetan courses on campus, with one of its courses remaining online.* The courses include master classes with a skilled classical Tibetan teacher, and review classes with an experienced teaching assistant (TA). Those studying on campus will be surrounded by the rich world of Tibetan culture, language, and Buddhist practice.

Please consider joining us this summer to begin your classical Tibetan studies, or to build on what you’ve already learned. We offer three levels this summer: Beginning (taught online), Intermediate and Advanced, both taught on campus. The Advanced course this summer is a special collaboration with the Khyentse Vision Project that will introduce students to the texts of the 19th century Tibetan master Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo. The course will also introduce students to techniques, methods, concerns and considerations relevant to translating Tibetan Buddhist texts.

*If there is sufficient interest, the classical Tibetan courses may also be offered both on campus and online. Please scroll down to tell us about your interest in on-campus study of Beginning Classical Tibetan or online study of Intermediate or Advanced Classical Tibetan.

Visit our admissions page for application details and program-specific dates

Beginning Classical Tibetan (TLAN 115) 6 Credits

Beginning Classical Tibetan will be offered online this summer. Like all of the summer intensive language courses, the Beginning Classical Tibetan course is rigorous, enabling students to progress quickly. This intensive course allows students to complete the equivalent of two semester’s worth of coursework in eight weeks, setting students on the path toward proficiency in classical Tibetan. There are no prerequisites, other than learning the Tibetan alphabet. After you enroll you’ll receive links to an online Tibetan alphabet course. There are additional alphabet classes during summer orientation, to ensure students are prepared to start learning the language on the first day of class.

If your interest is in speaking Tibetan, we suggest you look into our Summer course in Colloquial Tibetan, which focuses on the modern spoken language.

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 using simple texts.

Class Structure:

Classes run Monday through Friday. Each day you’ll have one, 90-minute master grammar class and three days per week there is a one-hour review class with a TA, where you can review what you’ve just learned in the Master class. The review classes help to consolidate your learning by allowing you to ask questions and clear up confusion quickly, thus reinforcing your learning through the review of newly learned vocabulary and grammar structures.

Class Schedule:

Beginning Classical Tibetan
TLAN 115 
Hours per week Section 1 
(Nepal Time)  
Section 2 
(Nepal Time) 
Master Class Five 90-minute classes per week M-T-W-Th-F  
1:00p-2:30p  
M-T-W-Th-F  
8:45p-10:15p  
Review Class 
Three one-hour classes per week 
M-W-F 
5:00p – 6:00p 
M-W-F 
4:15a – 5:15a 

In addition to live classes, a full-set of prerecorded videos are also available for study and review prior to the live classes at a time of your own choosing. Watching these videos is required and should be considered a significant part of the course.
Plus access to virtual 1:1 office hours

Class Materials:

The course uses Benjamin Collet-Cassart’s Classical Tibetan Grammar Handbook for introducing students to the basics of classical Tibetan grammar and vocabulary. Additional handouts will be given, and there are pre-recorded videos that you can watch in our Teams classroom environment to help you prepare in advance for your daily classes and to review difficult points as often as needed.

To study this course online you will need access to a PC, Mac or Linux computer capable of running Microsoft Teams, which you can download free of charge.

Accreditation:

Beginning Classical Tibetan is a university-level course and can be taken for academic credit through Kathmandu University’s Centre for Buddhist Studies, earning 6 credits (12 ECTS). The course may also be taken on a non-credit basis. Expect to spend at least 2 hours outside of class each day for homework and study.


You can express your interest in taking the course online on the admissions page. This form is open just until February 15, 2023, so please sign up now. RYI will contact you by February 28th if there is sufficient interest in the course option you’ve selected.

Intermediate Classical Tibetan (TLAN 215) 6 Credits

Intermediate Classical Tibetan is offered on campus this summer. The class assumes that students are familiar with all of the basic grammar structures of the language and have memorized a basic dharma vocabulary. Intermediate Classical Tibetan builds on the grammar, vocabulary, and reading skills learned in the beginning course, and is designed for students with at least two semesters of classical Tibetan or the equivalent. Like all of the summer intensive language courses, the Intermediate Classical Tibetan course is rigorous, enabling students to progress quickly. This intensive course allows students to complete the equivalent of two semester’s worth of coursework in eight weeks, guiding students along the path toward proficiency in classical Tibetan in several different genres.

Class Structure:

Classes run Monday through Friday. Each day you’ll have one, 90-minute master grammar class with an experienced classical Tibetan teacher, and you’ll also have a one-hour review class each day, where you can consolidate your learning by asking questions and clearing up confusions quickly, thus reinforcing your learning through review of newly learned grammar structures and vocabulary.

Class Materials:

The course uses readings from various texts and additional handouts to cover important points of grammar and usage and to continue building vocabulary, within several genres. Class materials are available in printed form and there are also pre-recorded videos that you can watch in our Teams classroom environment to help you prepare in advance for your daily classes and to review difficult points.

To make use of the online resources included with the course it’s best to have access to a PC, Mac or Linux computer capable of running Microsoft Teams, which you can download free of charge. However, Teams will also run on smartphones (iOS or Android).

Accreditation:

Intermediate Classical Tibetan is a university-level course and can be taken for academic credit through Kathmandu University’s Centre for Buddhist Studies, earning 6 credits (12 ECTS). The course may also be taken on a non-credit basis. Expect to spend at least 2 hours outside of class each day for homework and study.


You can express your interest in taking the course online on the admissions page. This form is open just until February 15, 2023, so please sign up now. RYI will contact you by February 28th if there is sufficient interest in the course option you’ve selected.

Advanced Classical Tibetan Reading Seminar (RTIB 501) 6 Credits

This summer we are pleased to announce that Rangjung Yeshe Institute and Khyentse Vision Project are collaborating to deliver a special Advanced Classical Tibetan Reading Seminar. This year’s eight-week course will focus on the works of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo. Students will read texts from the Khyentse Wangpo collections with expert scholars and can expect to advance their knowledge of both the language and the philosophical, doctrinal, and historical issues under study.

Advanced Classical Tibetan will be run on campus this summer, and live-streamed to students in compatible time zones.

Admission into the course requires the equivalent of four semesters or more of prior classical Tibetan study and is for students who wish to continue learning to read classical Tibetan texts of greater difficulty, with respect to both writing style and content and who are interested in learning more about translation theory and practice.

Like all of the summer intensive language courses, the Advanced Classical Tibetan course is rigorous, enabling students to progress quickly. This intensive course allows students to complete the equivalent of two semester’s worth of coursework in eight weeks.

Class Structure:

Classes run Monday through Friday. There are three hours of class each day with the main teacher and one hour per day with the TA. The focus of the main seminar is on group reading and discussion of texts together, with a lesser emphasis on classes devoted to discussion of relevant secondary literature and translation theory and methods. In addition, in the days before exams, there will be an increased focus on explaining grammar points that need review.

Class Sections:

Students can choose from an on-campus section or an online section that runs concurrently with the on-campus section. The class times for this concurrent section is shown below.

Class Schedule:

Advanced Classical Tibetan, TLAN 315 (combined with Advanced Reading I -Tibetan, RTIB 501)Hours per week Sections 1 and 2 (Nepal Time)  
Master Class Ten 90-minute classes per week  M-T-W-Th-F  11:00a – 12:30p  M-T-W-Th-F  12:45p – 2:15p   
Review Class Five one-hour classes per week  M-T-W-Th-F 3:45p – 4:45p 
*Plus access to virtual 1:1 office hours

Class Materials:

The course material includes the texts to be studied, the secondary literature to be discussed, and any additional material prepared by the teacher and teaching assistant. Those taking the class on campus will have access to printed versions of the class materials and those studying online will find the materials in their class Team.

To study this course online, you must have access to a PC, Mac or Linux computer capable of running Microsoft Teams, which you can download free of charge. For those studying on campus, we recommend that you also make use of the online resources included with the course. In this case, the version of Teams that runs on smartphones (iOS or Android) will be sufficient.

Accreditation:

Advanced Classical Tibetan is a university-level course and can be taken for academic credit through Kathmandu University’s Centre for Buddhist Studies, earning 6 credits (12 ECTS) at the undergraduate level as TLAN 315. It also earns 6 credits at the graduate level for RTIB 501. The course may also be taken on a non-credit basis.

You can express your interest in taking the course online on the admissions page. This form is open just until February 15, 2023, so please sign up now. RYI will contact you by February 28th if there is sufficient interest in the course option you’ve selected.

Accreditation

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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