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MA Program Details & Requirements

  1. Institutional distribution requirement:
    at least two courses (6 units) at other GTU schools. One of these may be taken at UCB. This requirement is intended to both expose the student to a variety of religious traditions and facilitate meeting other GTU faculty who may serve on the student’s thesis committee.
  2. Area distribution (not a units requirement):
    at least one course in each of the following four GTU Areas: Area I, courses with a BS (Biblical Studies), OT (Old Testament) or NT (New Testament) prefix, also, there are certain courses offered by IBS itself which fulfill this part of the distribution requirement, see course descriptions; Area II, courses with an HS (Historical Studies) prefix; Area III, courses with a PH (Philosophy), PT (Philosophical Theology) or ST (Systematic Theology) prefix; and Area IV, courses with a CE (Christian Ethics) or RS (Religion and Society) prefix. It is the intent of this requirement that students have exposure to a variety of approaches to the study of religion.
  3. Buddhist studies: nine courses, including Introduction to Shin Buddhist Thought, Buddhist Traditions of South Asia, and Buddhist Traditions of East Asia (27 units)
  4. Thesis (6 units):
    a thesis proposal is prepared for presentation to possible committee members. The candidate must form an M.A. Thesis Committee (at least one member from the GTU faculty) by the end of the year prior to the year in which they plan to graduate.
  5. Foreign language:
    reading proficiency in a modern foreign language relevant to Buddhist studies. As not all foreign languages are considered relevant to the study of Buddhism, students are to consult with their advisor at the beginning of their program of study concerning their plans for fulfilling this requirement. Reading proficiency is demonstrated by examination. See the GTU M.A. Handbook for guidelines concerning language examinations, and other means of demonstrating proficiency. Proficiency is to be demonstrated by the end of the third semester in residence. Students whose native language is not English may fulfill the requirement by a minimum score of 550 in the TOEFL examination. Note: ministerial aspirants are required to take Japanese as their modern foreign language.

Satisfactory completion of the Master of Arts requires completion of the necessary courses with an overall “B” (3.0) grade average, grades of “B” or better in the three required Buddhism courses, the submission of a thesis, and an oral thesis defense. Letter grades are required. The M.A. is expected to take 2 years and not longer than 4 years to complete.