Doctor of Philosophy

The PhD program at Kathmandu University Centre for Buddhist Studies (KU-CBS) is a three-year research program leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. The aim of the program is to produce qualified researchers and professionals who are able to undertake research projects within Buddhist Studies, elicit substantial new findings in the field, and teach in their field of expertise.

Entry into the PhD program is normally contingent upon successful completion of the MA degree in Buddhist Studies or the MA in Translation, Textual Interpretation, and Philology at Kathmandu University Centre for Buddhist Studies at Rangjung Yeshe Institute and a satisfactory evaluation by the RYI Graduate Committee. Students with sufficient background, usually the successful completion of a relevant MA degree at another institution, may be considered for admission into the PhD program.

Students are expected to fulfill the language requirements, design a research proposal, fulfill the residence requirements and publication requirements, and to write and defend a dissertation.

Language requirements

Students are expected to demonstrate the ability to do original research utilizing primary languages of Buddhist traditions in accordance with their chosen research project. Students are required to demonstrate competence in two scholarly languages relevant to their research project, normally classical Tibetan and Sanskrit. In addition and depending on the project, other languages such as Newar, Nepali, Pāli, or Chinese may be relevant. Where appropriate, students will be strongly encouraged to acquire competence in a modern research language in order to pursue research in the field. Missing language requirements should be completed at RYI prior to enrolling in the PhD program.

Thesis Proposal

Once a student has been accepted by the Graduate Committee of RYI, they will work with their advisor to compose a final project proposal. The proposal is then presented to the PhD Research Committee Board of Kathmandu University School of Arts who will make the final decision regarding the selection of the PhD candidate.

Residence Requirements

Students who have completed a Master of Arts at RYI-KU CBS will have fulfilled the residence requirement for the PhD Students from other universities are expected to be on campus for a minimum of one year during which they participate in the thesis writing workshop and the graduate methodology seminar. Additional coursework might be appropriate.

Publication Requirements

Within the duration of the PhD program, students must complete the publication of either two papers in internationally recognized journals or one paper in an internationally recognized journal plus two chapters in peer-reviewed books.


The PhD is conferred once a candidate has achieved the completion of three years of research, fulfilled the publication requirement (see above), and submitted a dissertation. This will be reviewed by two external examiners, one national and one international. The candidate must successfully defend the dissertation before the RYI graduate committee, and then receive approval by the Kathmandu University PhD Research Committee.

Please refer to the Eligibility Requirements for the PhD program for more details.

If you are interested in pursuing a PhD at RYI, we invite you to contact us with a first draft of your project proposal and your CV. We will then advise you on your project and on any questions you might have before making your application. Contact the PhD program directors at


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