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Enrollment Options

The Institute of Buddhist Studies offers many enrollment options for our diverse community of students. Read below for more information.

For registration information, click here.

Click here for complete admissions requirements, details, and an application

Degree Programs

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Buddhist Studies

In cooperation with the Graduate Theological Union, the Institute of Buddhist Studies offers a fully accredited Master of Arts (M.A.) degree with a specialization in Buddhist Studies. Applicants to the MA program must be admitted to both the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) and the Institute of Buddhist Studies (IBS). Students in the program are required to take a broad range of courses in Buddhist Studies, while also gaining an exposure to other religious traditions and a variety of approaches to the study of religion.

Master of Buddhist Studies (M.B.S.)

The MBS degree is offered by IBS and designed for those who are interested in a systematic education in Buddhist Studies for professional or personal purposes. Students in the program are required to take courses focusing in Buddhist Studies, developing an understanding of the doctrinal, historical and cultural development of the tradition as a whole.

Master of Divinity (M.Div.)

To meet the needs of those seeking professional certification either as a Buddhist minister or as a Buddhist chaplain, the Institute of Buddhist Studies announces the addition of a Master of Divinity degree program. This is a three year, graduate level program of study designed to prepare students for professional service either to a sangha or in public institutions, such as hospitals and hospices, jails and prisons, military and university.

While enrolled in any of these degree programs, students can ellect to fulfill additional requirements for our Chaplaincy Training or Ministerial Education programs.

Click here to learn more about our Buddhist Chaplaincy program.

Click here to learn more about our ministerial training program.

Non-Degree students

Special Students

This status is either for students preparing to enroll at the IBS in a degree program, in which case the status is normally maintained for no more than one academic year, or for students wishing to take classes for credit to transfer to another institution. Special students are expected to be able to work at the graduate level, and are required to fulfill all academic work as expected of other students in the class(es) they take. They receive most privileges accorded to degree program students, with the exception of library privileges at GTU and UCB. The same tuition and registration fees, policies and procedures apply to Special Students as apply to degree program students.


Most courses are open to enrollment by auditors. Auditors pay an auditor’s fee. No grade is given to the auditor for the course and transcripts are not available for audited classes. Auditors are expected to be able to work at the graduate level and to participate fully in the class.