Summer Colloquial 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, students are well on their way towards a high degree of proficiency of Tibetan in both its spoken and written forms. If you are more interested reading Buddhist texts in Tibetan, please check out our Summer course in Classical Tibetan.

Final Applications due on May 23, 2022
No applications will be received after this date

Class Structure:

All classes meet Monday through Friday for 4 hours per day and include a Master Class, plus two daily sessions with a native speaker for conversation practice. Students also have 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. However, any student who successfully completes these courses will derive a facility and a comfort in discussing a variety of both worldly and dharma topics in spoken Tibetan.

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


All of the Colloquial 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  Colloquial Tibetan (TLAN 120) 6 Credits

Beginning Tibetan is for students with no prior study of Tibetan.* The program facilitates and accelerates the study of Tibetan in both its colloquial and written forms. It is designed for both scholars and researchers planning to work in Tibetan regions and cultures and for students of Buddhism who wish to engage more deeply with the living tradition.

All students will be paired with a different Assistant Language Instructor each week whom they will meet with twice daily to put that day’s vocabulary and grammar lessons into practice. Students will be required to memorize vocabulary and sentence structures, create written homework assignments, and will be quizzed regularly on the material covered in class

As this course is taught at the introductory level, all interested students are encouraged to join!

Beginning Colloquial Tibetan,
TLAN 120 
Hours per week Section 1 
(Nepal Time)  
Section 2 
(Nepal Time) 
Master Class Review Four 1.25-hour classes per week Tuesday-Friday
Assistant Language Instructor (ALI)  Conversation Partner10 1-hour classes per week (2 per day)  Individually allocated Individually allocated 
*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  Colloquial Tibetan (TLAN 220) 6 Credits

Intermediate Tibetan is for students with the equivalent of two semesters of prior study of colloquial Tibetan. While building a firm foundation of colloquial Tibetan grammar, the emphasis of the course is on developing a rich and active vocabulary through classroom lectures combined with daily individual practice sessions with native Tibetan speakers.

Intermediate Colloquial Tibetan,
TLAN 220 
Hours per week Section 1 
(Nepal Time)  
Section 2 
(Nepal Time) 
Master Class Review Five 1-hour classes per week Monday-Friday
Assistant Language Instructor (ALI)  Conversation PartnerTen 1-hour classes per week (2 per day) Individually allocated Individually allocated 
*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 Conversational & Dharma Tibetan (TLAN 320) 6 Credits

Advanced Tibetan is for students with the equivalent of four semesters or more of prior colloquial Tibetan study and an interest in developing their understanding of Dharma Tibetan. The advanced program is therefore taught in Tibetan only. The program’s unique strengths are twofold: first, to guide students to improve their spoken colloquial fluency, and second, to teach the language of Buddhist philosophy, directly in Tibetan by monks. This design enables students to further pursue the study of philosophy in a classical Tibetan setting.

Advanced Colloquial Tibetan,
TLAN 320 
Hours per week Section 1 
(Nepal Time)  
Section 2 
(Nepal Time) 
Live Master Class   Four 1-hour classes per week Monday-Thursday  
Text Class (taught by monastic professor)  Five 1-hour classes per week Monday-Friday
Pre-recorded, available on demand 
Assistant Language Instructor (ALI)  Conversation Partner Five 1-hour classes per week Individually allocated Individually allocated 
Dharma Conversation (ALI) One-on-one classes Five 1-hour classes per week Individually allocated Individually allocated 
*Also includes a library of prerecorded videos for study and review prior to the live classes.
*Plus access to virtual 1:1 office hours


The courses are accredited at the Centre for Buddhist Studies as follows:

  • Beginning Tibetan: Colloquial Tibetan I and II (six credits total)
  • Intermediate Tibetan: Colloquial Tibetan III and IV (six credits total)
  • Advanced Tibetan: Colloquial Tibetan V and VI (six credits total)
Housing (This is not applicable for the online format that RYI will offer this summer).

As an integral part of the Tibetan programs, participants live with local Tibetan families that have been carefully selected by the Centre for Buddhist Studies. This provides students with intensive exposure to Tibetan language and a chance to experience life among people in the local community. Families provide breakfast and dinner to the students. Students who wish to not stay with a Tibetan family may choose to opt out of this service and arrange for accommodation and meals on their own. Tuition is adjusted accordingly.

Admission Criteria

The Tibetan programs each have a maximum enrollment of twenty students and 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 colloquial Tibetan studies at a university or from a similarly recognized program. In addition, if there is a concern about a student’s level, the student may be asked to participate in an interview via Skype to verify their course level.

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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Summer 2022

Classical Tibetan,
Colloquial Tibetan,
Nepali and
Buddhist Studies

Applications due May 1

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