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MBS Program Details & Requirements

  1. Required courses: Buddhist Traditions of South Asia (HRHS 1515), Buddhist Traditions of East Asia (HRHS 1518), and Introduction to Shin Buddhist Thought (HRPH 1614).
  2. Total units: a mininum of 48 units of course work, usually divided between 14 three unit courses, plus the in thesis units.
  3. Thesis (6 units): a thesis proposal is to be submitted to the Academic Advisor by the end of the second semester of residence. The candidate must form a thesis committee prior to the semester during which the first three units of thesis class is taken. Students are required to have three members on the thesis committee. The Coordinator must be from IBS with competence in the student’s area of concentration, and the second reader either from IBS or another GTU school. These must be regularly-appointed consortial faculty members (not adjunct or visiting). The third reader may be inside the IBS, or outside the IBS with approval — the outside reader’s curriculum vitae must be submitted for the deans’ consideration. An IBS adjunct professor may be considered as a third reader, but must submit a CV just like an outside reader.
  4. Foreign language: reading proficiency in one modern foreign language relevant to Buddhist studies is strongly recommended. 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. Proficiency is to be demonstrated by the end of the third semester in residence. Reading proficiency may be demonstrated either by completion of the second semester of the second year of college level language instruction with a grade of B or better, or by examination. Students whose native language is not English may fulfill the requirement by a minimum score of 550 in the TOEFL examination. Minimally, this requirement may be fulfilled by successfully completing the course “Critical Terms for the Study of Buddhism.”

Satisfactory completion of the Master of Buddhist Studies degree requires completion of the necessary courses with an overall “B” (3.0) grade average, grades of “B” or better in the three required courses, submission of a thesis, and an oral thesis defense. Letter grades are required. The M.B.S. is expected to take 2 years and not longer than 4 years to complete. Additional requirements for ministerial and chaplaincy aspirants means that they can usually expect to spend 3 years in the program.

Important Note: After the fourth year of enrollment in the program (or fifth year for ministerial and chaplaincy aspirants), the student will have to petition each semester in order to continue their course of study. The letter of petition is to describe progress they have made since their last period of enrollment and specific plans for completing their program. Letter is to be directed to the attention of both the Dean, and the student’s advisor. This petition is to be filed prior to the time of registration, and the student will only be allowed to register if both Dean and advisor agree. A memorandum to that effect will then be added to the student’s file and s/he will be allowed to register.