Master of Arts (MA) in Buddhist Studies

Master of Arts (MA) in Buddhist Studies

The decision as to whether Fall 2022 semester will be on campus or online will be announced on February 1, 2022.

Applications are accepted each year between November 1 – March 1 with decisions made by March 30. However, for fall 2022 applications will close at the later date of April 15, 2022.

For those wishing to apply for the Tsadra Foundation scholarship please note that there is an earlier deadline for RYI applications; the application deadline for the MA TTIP is January 1,  and the application deadline for the MA in Buddhist Studies and the MA Preparatory program is January 15.


The MA program is a 2-year (4 semester / 60 credit) program that combines graduate-level seminars with extensive research in primary source literature and languages. The program provides students with the methods and skills required for mature academic research, and develops their abilities to undertake independent research projects within the field of Buddhist Studies.

During the first year of the program each student is assigned a Thesis Supervisor who will work with the student on developing the thesis proposal and the thesis itself.

The first year of study is approached in two ways. For those with sufficient competence in Classical Tibetan and spoken Dharma Tibetan, philosophical texts from the monastic university curriculum are taught in Tibetan with no translation. In addition to increasing students’ understanding of Buddhist philosophy, this approach also enhances the students’ ability to conduct research using primary Tibetan source materials. For those whose language skills are not as fully developed, the first year is spent developing the necessary competence in classical Tibetan or Sanskrit to allow students to conduct research in Buddhist primary literature. In both cases, research papers on topics related to philosophical or linguistic study are prepared with the help of the thesis supervisors as part of the required coursework.

In research seminars, also offered during the first three semesters of study, issues of method relevant to academic research of religion and Buddhism are discussed. These courses introduce the historical development of the study of religion and enable the graduate student to engage in critical scholarship and research.

In the second year of the MA, the focus turns toward the practical application of the skills acquired during the first year of study, culminating in the writing of the MA thesis. Working with an experienced thesis supervisor, the student formulates a thesis project and spends the first semester studying the necessary historical, literary, and philosophical background materials before spending the second semester writing the thesis itself, with continued guidance by the thesis supervisor.

Entrance into the MA program requires at least one year of Classical Tibetan or Sanskrit, and 12 credits of Religious Studies coursework. Interested applicants who do not have the required prerequisites may do a year of preparatory work in our MA Preparatory program to ready themselves for admission to the MA. Once applicants get accepted into the MA preparatory program, a course of study will be prescribed for them.

For a detailed description of the program, including Admission Requirements, please download the MA Course Description.

Applicants may be eligible to apply for a Tsadra Foundation Scholarship for this program. The MA scholarship awards include full room and board, tuition and fees, funding for five hours per week of additional language tuition with a private tutor, international medical insurance, books, and roundtrip airfare to the recipient’s home country once each year. To check you eligibility please click here.

Meet a Student

“I received the Tsadra Foundation scholarship to study two years of the Masters. Thanks to that scholarship I was able to study intensively and the means to live here in Nepal. I would definitely recommend this course to people who are interested in furthering their studies in Buddhism, particularly in philosophy. One thing that is important to know is that it is a very unique course because we study in both the traditional Tibetan approach and the contemporary academic approach. It is not something that is offered in many universities. The professors guide us in researching the MA thesis, and in developing critical skills by reading different academic journals and publications that help us to develop our own thesis. Having these two approaches is very enriching. It’s a very intensive course and therefore very demanding. If you have the time and conditions are favorable, then it is a really wonderful opportunity to have two or three years to dedicate yourself full time to doing this.”

Cyntia Font – Mexico –

Application and Admission

Entrance into the MA program in Buddhist Studies requires at least one year of Classical Tibetan or Sanskrit, and 12 credits of Buddhist Studies or Asian Religions coursework. Interested applicants who do not have the required prerequisites may do a year of preparatory study in our MA Preparatory program to ready themselves for admission to the MA. Based on a student’s previous course work, a course of study will be prescribed to ensure he or she meets the prerequisites for the MA program. To be admitted to either the MA Preparatory program or the MA program, students should visit the Admissions Section of this website. Admission to the MA program is competitive and meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission: admission is based on an evaluation of the overall application package.

For more information, please refer to the Eligibility Requirements and Admissions Process for the MA program in Buddhist Studies.

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Online Public Guest Lectures

The next guest lecture is with Stephen Christopher entitled "Pathways in and out of Dharamsala: Gaddis in the context of transnational Tibetan patronage"

Tuesday, 30th November 2021

20:00 NPT (Kathmandu)

09:15 EST (Montreal)

Meeting ID: 840 6353 0715

Password: 101940

Watch Erik Pema Kunsang & Dr. Catherine Dalton's talk on “The Practice of Buddhist Translation” here.

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