Welcome to the Institute of Buddhist Studies Home

Admissions and Application Information

Applying to the IBS

Degree Program

Applications are accepted for either the fall or spring academic terms. Completed applications are due by February 15 for fall semester and by September 30 for spring semester enrollment. Application materials are available through the GTU Admissions Office for the MA Program, and the IBS Office for the MBS Program.

Click here to apply to a degree program.

Buddhism and Contemporary Psychology Certificate Program

The Buddhism and Contemporary Psychology Certificate Program has different admission requirements than our degree programs. To learn more about the program and its requirements, click here.

Non-Degree Students & Auditors

There are no admission requirements for non-degree students. Registration forms should be submitted to the IBS office during the registration period in order to be enrolled. Download the registration form here.

Admission Requirements

  1. A Bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent, from an accredited college or university, or evidence of having completed equivalent studies under a different educational system.
  2. Satisfactory completion at the undergraduate level of:
    1. Two courses in Buddhism, Eastern religions or Eastern philosophy
    2. One course in comparative or world religions
  3. Scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Aptitude Test taken within the last five years. Foreign students who have not previously completed a degree program in the United States are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) including Test of Written English (TWE) in place of the GRE Aptitude Test. A score of 550 or more on the TOEFL is required for admission. Information concerning these tests may be obtained from the Educational Testing Service website.

    For reporting scores, applicants to the M.A. (Buddhist Studies) should use the GTU’s institutional code, which is 4336. Applicants to the M.B.S. should request an additional copy which they then include with the other application materials.
  4. The completed application, which includes in part:
    1. Personal information form
    2. Three letters of recommendation*
    3. Statement of purpose
    4. Non-refundable application fee**
You can find more information and application documents here.

* For application to the M.A. (Buddhist Studies) program letters of recommendation should attest to the applicant’s ability to perform graduate level work.
For application to the M.B.S. letters of recommendation should attest to the applicant’s ability to perform graduate level work, level of commitment to Buddhism, and/or familiarity with Buddhist thought.

** A non-refundable application fee of $40.00 for the M.A. (Buddhist Studies) Program should be made out to the Graduate Theological Union. For the M.B.S. this fee should be made out to the Institute of Buddhist Studies

Application Materials

Materials submitted for admission by an applicant become the basis of the successful applicant’s permanent file. Permanent files for the M.A. (Buddhist Studies) are maintained by both the GTU and IBS, while permanent files for the M.B.S. are maintained by the IBS. File materials are available to the student upon request unless the student has signed a form waiving access to any part of the file. Only information pertaining to a student’s academic progress is placed in the permanent file. Information in a student’s file is open only to duly approved authorities of the GTU and IBS and to those persons or agencies specifically named in the “Buckley Amendment,” unless the student gives permission, in writing, to the GTU and IBS to open the file to an outside person or agency. The IBS maintains student records on file for fifty years.

Note to Foreign Student Applicants

All classroom instruction at the IBS is in English, however, the IBS does not provide English language or English as a Second Language instruction or services.

All immigration and visa issues are handled by the GTU Admissions Office.