Tsadra Foundation Scholarship

Tsadra Foundation now offers three different scholarships for Western students committed to the in-depth study of Buddhist philosophy in the Tibetan language. The scholarship support students who aspire to study in the following programs:

The Master’s Preparatory program (one year)

The Master of Arts in Buddhist Studies (two years)

The Master of Arts in Translation, Textual Interpretation, and Philology (two years)

Among other topics, students in the two Master’s programs study philosophy with Tibetan Khenpos and Lopons, and experience what it is like to receive the Buddhist teachings directly from monastic faculty in Tibetan, in the traditional word-by-word style of exegesis practiced in the Tibetan monastic colleges. Students in the MA Preparatory program (MA Prep) take Tibetan language courses that prepare them to receive teachings in Tibetan, while also studying the Buddhist philosophy and history courses needed to succeed in their MA study. MA Prep students are required to take the course “Philosophical Tenets Systems in Tibetan Buddhism” during their second semester. 

Eligibility for the MA studies scholarship is based on a proven advanced level of fluency in Tibetan language and the applicant’s nationality as stated in their passport. Eligibility for MA Prep study is based on a proven intermediate level of Tibetan language fluency (with an entry requirement of at least one year of Colloquial and Classical Tibetan study), with the expectation that this will develop into the advanced level of fluency needed to study Buddhist texts directly in Tibetan, along with the applicant’s nationality as stated in his or her passport. 

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. 

The MA Prep scholarship awards are for full tuition and fees, plus funding for five hours per week of additional language tuition with a private tutor, but do not include room and board or any other additional allowances. 

Please consider carefully your financial situation and think of others less fortunate and apply only if you are truly in need of assistance. 

For those wishing to apply for this 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 application deadline to the Tsadra Foundation for all three scholarships is February 1 for enrollment at RYI in late August of the same year. An acceptance letter from RYI is a required part of your application to the Tsadra Foundation. Please make sure you apply to RYI by early January at the latest.


Which RYI programs qualify for the Tsadra Foundation Scholarships?

The Tsadra Foundation offers scholarships for three of RYI’s programs: the MA Preparatory program, MA Buddhist Studies program, and MA Translation, Textual Interpretation, and Philology program.

How long is each scholarship and what expenses does it cover?

The MA Preparatory (MA Prep) scholarship is a two-semester scholarship that covers all tuition and fees for full-time study (15 credits).

The MA Buddhist Studies (MA BS) and MA Translation, Textual Interpretation, and Philology (MA TTIP) scholarships are two-year scholarships that cover all tuition and fees for full-time study (15 credits) plus allowances for room and board, health insurance, airfare and other items. Click here for further details.

Do I qualify for one of the scholarships the Foundation offers to RYI students?

The first step in qualifying for one of the Foundation’s scholarships is to qualify for one of RYI’s three programs listed above, then to apply and be accepted. Click here.

For information about further scholarship qualifications click here at the Tsadra Foundations’ website. 

How do I apply for the scholarships?

The first step is to apply to RYI, and be accepted into the program of your choice. Your acceptance letter from RYI will be part of your application to the Tsadra Foundation. Additional information about the scholarship application can be found here

What classes will I need to take?

For scholarship recipients who study in the MA Preparatory Program, one of the prerequisites for the scholarship is at least two semesters of study in both Classical Tibetan and Colloquial Tibetan. Unless you have already studied Colloquial and Classical Tibetan for 6 semesters each, you will be required to take both Classical and Colloquial Tibetan during your MA Prep year. In addition, if you haven’t yet studied Sanskrit, you will need 2 semesters of Sanskrit study (for the MA TTIP only). Additional required coursework will be selected from among RYI’s TSTD (Textual Studies) and BSTD (Buddhist Studies) classes, depending on the study background of the student. Students who receive the MA Prep scholarship are required to study full-time, taking 15 credits per semester.                               

For students in the MA programs, the course curriculum for the MA BS is included here.

For the MA TTIP it is included here

Do the scholarships cover RYI’s summer courses?  

No, the scholarships do not cover summer program study at RYI.

Does the MA scholarship limit my choice of dissertation topic?

If your dissertation is a translation or features a translation, the text to be translated must be an indigenous Tibetan text. Aside from that, there are no restrictions.

Do I have to be a current RYI student to apply for the scholarships?

No, you don’t have to be a current RYI student to apply for any of the three scholarships.

What expenses do the scholarships cover?

The scholarship allowances are described on the Tsadra Foundation’s website.  

Can I do my MA studies part-time?

No, these scholarships are for full-time study only.

For the MA scholarships, do I need to prove that my understanding of Tibetan is good enough to study Buddhist texts in Tibetan? If so, what kind of proof should I offer?

You should be prepared to provide your study history, both in Tibetan language study and in Buddhist philosophical study. After your study history is evaluated, you may be asked for additional information to confirm your readiness. Note that you may need an additional summer of study to raise your Tibetan understanding to the required level, or even a year of MA Prep study.

The MA programs at RYI include four semesters, with the final semester reserved for writing the dissertation. What happens if I need more time to finish?

You will have funding for 24 months, beginning with the start of the fall semester at RYI. If you haven’t yet finished your dissertation by the end of August of your second year, you will need to find alternate funding for the remainder of your study.

The MA Prep scholarships are for one year. What if I need two years to prepare?

If you need two years to prepare for MA study, you’ll need to find alternate funding for your first (or second) year of study. The two-semester MA Prep scholarship will not be awarded twice to the same person.

When I apply for the MA Prep scholarship, do I already need to know which MA I want to join?

Although you need to tell your academic advisor which program you intend to join, so he or she can determine which classes you need to take, you may change your mind about the MA you wish to join after you are enrolled in the MA Prep program. You may find that your year of MA Prep study influences what aspect of study you want to emphasize. Note that this may mean you will need to take additional courses. (For example, one-year of Sanskrit is required for the MA TTIP, but not for the MA BS.)

Do I have to apply for an MA when I’ve finished my MA Prep year? What if I realize I’m not cut out for this type of intense study?

It’s not required that you join an MA program at RYI after your year of study in the MA Prep program.For any questions not answered in the FAQ please email programs@ryi.org or click here to send a message.

Please visit the Tsadra Foundation website for more information about eligibility and how to apply. If you have further questions direct them to studyscholarships@tsadra.org.


Follow us on

Online Learning


Aspire: Opening Access to a Living Buddhist Tradition

Online Resources

Listen to our Public Guest Lectures on Soundcloud

Stay up to date by joining our Facebook Page.

RYI Program Sponsors