about the institute

Providing Buddhist education in Berkeley since 1949, and incorporated as a graduate school and seminary in 1966, the Institute of Buddhist Studies offers a range of graduate-level degree and certificate programs in the entirety of the Buddhist tradition.

At the intersection of the Buddhist scholar-practitioner tradition and the Western academic tradition, our programs provide students with a foundation in Buddhism’s diverse history in Asia and the contemporary world while allowing for individual specialization and focus.

Our graduates go on to doctoral study at universities across the country, ordain as Buddhist priests or monastics, and serve as chaplains in hospitals, prisons, and the military. This diverse student body and approach to Buddhist education is unique in North America, preparing students to be thoughtful and creative leaders in a complex and changing world.

The Graduate Theological Union
The largest partnership of seminaries and graduate schools in the United States, the Graduate Theological Union is dedicated to educating students for teaching, research, ministry, and service through a range of academic programs in theology and religious studies.

The Institute has been an affiliate member of the GTU since 1985. Through this partnership, IBS students have the opportunity to study Buddhism within a dynamic multi-religious context as well as access to the wide resources of the GTU, including one of the top religious studies libraries in the country and access to the library holdings of the University of California, Berkeley.

The Buddhist Churches of America and the Center for Buddhist Education
The Institute traces its origins to the Buddhist Study Center, begun in 1949, a project of the Buddhist Churches of America to educate American-born Buddhists and prepare them for ordination in Japan.

Our connection to the BCA remains vital; IBS continues to educate and prepare young women and men for Jodo Shinshu ministerial ordination. And we regularly offer joint educational programs with the BCA’s Center for Buddhist Education, providing all our students access to the richness of an American Buddhist community first established in the West in the 1890s.