Frequently Asked Questions

What kinds of programs do you offer?

The Institute of Buddhist Studies offers two graduate degree programs, six graduate certificate programs, and participates in the GTU’s Master of Arts program.

Our M.B.S. and M.Div. programs are ideal for students looking for careers in Buddhist ministry, chaplaincy, and further graduate or doctoral work in academic Buddhist Studies. The GTU M.A. program is also ideal for these students but with an explicit inter-religious focus.

Our certificate programs support degree program students or can be taken as stand-alone programs with a focused study in a specific tradition (Jōdo Shinshū, Zen, Theravada) or a specific topic (chaplaincy, psychology).

Overviews of our educational programs can be found on our website.

How do I apply?

You can start your online application today! Once you’ve entered your information, you’ll be directed to our student portal, Poluli, where you can upload transcripts, your statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation.

Be sure to review the catalog and apply before the posted deadlines. And contact our Registrar and Director of Student Services if you have any questions along the way.

How are applications reviewed?

Applications for degree and certificate programs are reviewed by our faculty Admissions Committee to ensure that applicants are a good match for our programs and that we have the resources to support your educational goals. Read more about the application process here.

Do you have any online programs or online course?

Yes! Every semester we offer at least two or three online classes which are available both to degree or certificate program students as well as non-degree students and auditors.

We also now offer a fully online Certificate in Buddhist Studies.

How much do classes cost?

As an affiliate of the Graduate Theological Union, our tuition is in line with the consortium. For the 2019-20 academic year, tuition is about $780 per unit. Review the information on our website for updates and a full listing of tuition and fees.

Are scholarships or funding available?

Yes! Most eligible students receive some scholarship and tuition discounts. More information can be found on our website, and be sure to submit a scholarship application once you have completed your admissions application.

Do you have housing?

Yes! We have a limited number of single-occupancy rooms in our dormitory in Berkeley.

I’m not sure I’m ready to enroll in a degree program. Can I take classes anyway?

Yes! All of our classes are open to members of the community who may enroll either as a special student or auditor. Special students pay the regular tuition rate and will receive a record (grade) for the course, but do not have full privileges of degree or certificate students (library access or academic advising). Auditors, with permission of the faculty, can take any course at a reduced rate but will not receive credit. Learn more about these policies on our website and in our catalog.

Do you accept international students?

Unfortunately, not at this time. International students must apply to the GTU M.A. program. If accepted, they will list the IBS as their “home school,” their advisor will be selected from among IBS’s faculty, and they can take IBS classes; however, international students must apply through the GTU and the GTU is their school of record.

Do I need to take the GRE?

GRE scores are optional for the M.Div. and M.B.S. program applications. GRE scores are required for the GTU MA program application.

GRE scores are not required for certificate program applications.

Learn more about the admissions process.

How can I get more information?

Most of your questions can be answered by reviewing our website or our catalog. If you have other questions, please feel free to reach out to our Registrar and Director of Student Services or contact one of the faculty directors for a specific program or certificate.