Certificate in Buddhism and Contemporary Psychology


The Certificate in Buddhism and Contemporary Psychology is intended for two types of students: (1) IBS degree (MA, MBS, or MDIV) program students who wish to focus their studies on the intersection of Buddhist understandings of consciousness and contemporary psychology; and (2) students from outside the IBS, particularly ministers, lay and monastic teachers, therapists and chaplains, who wish to enhance their engagement with the tradition and their communities by obtaining a systematic graduate level education in Buddhist studies.

Students who complete this program will:

  • Engage Buddhist understandings of consciousness as a foundation for conversation with contemporary psychology and cognitive studies
  • Apply critical methodologies to the study of Buddhist texts and practices
  • Develop critical reasoning and writing skills through academic writing and reflection

The certificate is overseen by the Program Director, Dr. Richard K. Payne.

For students who are not currently enrolled in a degree program, the admissions requirements for this program are:

  1. Evidence (transcripts) of relevant prior study or coursework such as previous Buddhist Studies courses or a Bachelor’s degree (B.A.).
  2. Two letters of recommendation attesting to the applicant’s ability to do graduate-level work, familiarity with Buddhist thought and/or practice, and relevant prior study or experience.
  3. Statement of purpose (approximately 300-500 words) that includes (a) your reasons for pursuing graduate studies at IBS; (b) your specific academic interests and how they fit with the faculty and courses at IBS; (c) your personal or professional goals and how you see this certificate supporting them; (d) how your relevant academic background or prior experience prepares you for your proposed course of study at IBS.
  4. Non-refundable application fee: $15

Students admitted to a degree program who want to complete a concurrent certificate must petition for admittance into a certificate program. Please contact the Registrar for the applicable form.


Program Requirements

Students must complete a total of six, 3-unit courses within three years to complete the certificate. (In-degree program students may complete the course requirements within the timeframe of their degree program; in-degree program students may substitute other courses for the Buddhist traditions sequence.)

Required courses include:

  • Buddhist traditions of South Asia (HRHS 1515)
  • Buddhist traditions of East Asia (HRHS 1518)

Plus two courses from the following:

  • Psychological Aspects of Buddhism I (HRPS 8320)
  • Psychological Aspects of Buddhism II (HRPS 3016)
  • Psychological Aspects of Buddhism III (HRPS 8322)

Recommended courses include:

  • Third course from Psychological Aspects sequence
  • Topics in Buddhism and Psychology
  • Other courses with Director’s approval