The Master of Buddhist Studies (M.B.S.) degree is a 48-unit graduate degree designed for those seeking a systematic education in Buddhist Studies for professional, academic, or personal purposes. Three different dimensions of the program are identified in order to deliver a comprehensive and systematic education in Buddhist Studies: methodology, scope, and topics of study.
(A) Methodology: Buddhist Studies incorporates a variety of different methodologies, including but not limited to: textual and philological studies, history, psychology, sociology, anthropology, philosophy.
(B) Scope: Buddhist Studies examines the entire range of societies and cultures in which Buddhism has played a role, such as: South and Southeast Asia, Central/Inner Asia, East Asia, and an increasingly global role.
(C) Topics: Buddhist Studies focuses on a diverse array of issues and topics of study, for example: environment/ecology, marginalized peoples (race, gender, differently abled), transmission/translation, specific historical or textual issues, death and dying, and so on.
Students in the M.B.S program will:
- Develop substantive knowledge of Buddhist history, thought, texts, and practices
- Demonstrate analytical skills through specialist and comparative work
- Assess multiple theories and methods of Buddhist Studies
- Develop critical thinking, writing, and research skills
Students in the program are required to take 48 semester units (16, three-unit courses). These include a breadth of courses in Buddhist Studies, which provide a basis for an understanding of the doctrinal, historical and cultural development of the Buddhist tradition as a whole. The course of study culminates in a thesis in which the student demonstrates his/her grasp of a specialized area of study within a broader context—for example, Buddhist studies, religious studies, or contemporary social issues. The program is designed so that students can complete their studies in two years.
- A Bachelor’s degree (BA) or its equivalent from an accredited college or university; or evidence of having completed equivalent studies under a different educational system.
- Satisfactory completion of two undergraduate courses in Buddhism, eastern religions, or eastern philosophy; and one undergraduate course in comparative or world religions.
- Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores from within the last five years. GRE Verbal scores should be at least 150. (TOEFL score may be substituted.)
- Three letters of recommendation attesting to the applicant’s ability to do graduate-level work and familiarity with Buddhist thought and/or practice.
- A statement of purpose describing the applicant’s reason for pursuing graduate study at IBS and what goal they wish to accomplish through the MBS program.
- A non-refundable $40 application fee, payable to Institute of Buddhist Studies.
- A complete application and personal information form, available via the IBS’s website.