Master of Buddhist Studies Program Requirements

Unit Requirement

A total of 48 units is required to complete the M.B.S. degree program, usually divided between 14 three-unit courses plus 6 required “in thesis” units, usually taken the last two semesters of study.

Required and Elective Courses

Required courses for the MBS degree include:

  1. HRHS-1515 Buddhist Traditions of South Asia
  2. HRHS-1518 Buddhist Traditions of East Asia
  3. HRPH-1614 Introduction to Shin Buddhist Thought
  4. HR-1630 Methods in the Study of Buddhism
  5. HR-3300 Texts, Terms, and Translation*

In consultation with their advisor, students will select 9 elective courses specific to their specialization. Additionally, students may consider completing a concurrent certificate program to guide and focus their studies.

*Please see note about optional language study below.

Master’s Thesis

The M.B.S. program culminates in a Master’s Thesis, defended not later than the middle of the student’s last semester in residence. For more information, please consult the IBS catalog.

Satisfactory GPA

Students must maintain an overall grade point average of B or better and receive Bs or better in required courses to complete the program.

Languages, Texts, and Translations

A primary goal of the M.B.S. degree program is an understanding and appreciation of Buddhism’s textual history and the ability to contextualize that history in Buddhism’s historic and cultural locations. To fulfill this aim, students are required to take the “Texts, Terms, and Translations” course, offered biennially.

Students who intend to pursue further academic study or apply to a Ph.D. program are strongly encouraged to begin formal language training in any of the Buddhist canonical languages (i.e., Sanskrit, Pali, Chinese, Tibetan) and related research languages of Buddhist Studies (i.e., Japanese, French, German). With the Dean’s permission, students may take up to 12 graduate-level (or graduate-level equivalent) units of language study which may count toward the 48 units for graduation. These units may be taken in lieu of the “Texts, Terms, and Translation” course requirement, with the Dean’s approval. Please consult with your advisor within the first semester of study to determine which language(s) may be appropriate.