Certificate in Theravada Buddhist Studies

Buddha in Wat Arun Thailand

The Certificate in Theravada Buddhist Studies is intended for two types of students: (1) IBS degree (MA, MBS, or MDIV) program students who wish to demonstrate a knowledge of Theravada Buddhist studies, history, and practice; and (2) students from outside the IBS, particularly Theravada practitioners, who wish to enhance their engagement with the tradition and their communities by obtaining a systematic graduate level education in Theravada Buddhist studies.

Students who complete this program will:

  • Locate Theravada Buddhism within the larger history of Buddhism as a whole
  • Study Theravada Buddhist texts and practices using critical methodologies
  • Develop critical reasoning and writing skills through academic writing and reflection

The certificate is offered in cooperation with the Sati Institute of Theravada Studies and overseen by the Program Director, Dr. Diana Clark, in cooperation with Dr. Scott Mitchell, Dean.

For students who are not currently enrolled in a degree program, the admissions requirements for this program are:

  1. Evidence (transcripts) of relevant prior study or coursework such as previous Buddhist Studies courses or a Bachelor’s degree (B.A.).
  2. Two letters of recommendation attesting to the applicant’s ability to do graduate-level work, familiarity with Buddhist thought and/or practice, and relevant prior study or experience.
  3. Statement of purpose (approximately 300-500 words) that includes (a) your reasons for pursuing graduate studies at IBS; (b) your specific academic interests and how they fit with the faculty and courses at IBS; (c) your personal or professional goals and how you see this certificate supporting them; (d) how your relevant academic background or prior experience prepares you for your proposed course of study at IBS.
  4. Non-refundable application fee: $15

Students admitted to a degree program who want to complete a concurrent certificate must petition for admittance into a certificate program. Please contact the Registrar for the applicable form.

Start your online application today!

School Performance Fact Sheet


Program Requirements

Students must complete a total of six, 3-unit courses within three years to complete the certificate. (In-degree program students may complete the course requirements within the timeframe of their degree program.)

Required courses:

  • Buddhist traditions of South Asia (HRHS 1515 or HRHS 8151)
  • Buddhist traditions of East Asia (HRHS 1518 or HRHS 8152)

Recommended courses include:

Final paper should be topic relevant to Theravada Buddhist Studies

  • Introduction to the Study of Theravada Buddhist Traditions (HR 1596)
  • Readings in Early Buddhist Texts (HR 1615, HR 8160)
  • Introduction to Buddhist Meditation (HRPH 1508)
  • Meditation in the Theravada Tradition (HR 2990)
  • Life and Teachings of the Buddha (HR 1550)
  • Life and Teachings of Theravada Buddhist Masters (HR 1551)
  • Buddhist Texts: Pali I (HR 1525)
  • Buddhist Texts: Pali II (HR 1511)
  • Readings in Early Buddhist Texts (HR 1615), (may be repeated if different texts are studied)
  • Buddhism and the West (HR 2849, HR 2850, HR 8344)
  • Topics in Theravada Buddhist Thought (HR 2995), (may be repeated if different topics are studied)
  • Buddhist Ethics (HRCE 3002)
  • Theravada Buddhism (HRHS 4550)
  • Topics in Buddhist Thought (HRPH 4556, HRPH 8455), when topic is appropriate
  • Topics in Buddhist Practice (HRPH 4558), when topic is appropriate
  • Topics in Buddhism in the West (HRHS 5526), when topic is appropriate
  • Topics in Buddhist Studies (HRPH 6015), when topic is appropriate
  • Other courses with Director’s approval