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 supports the Buddhist Studies concentration in the GTU’s Master of Arts program.

Our M.A.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.

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 the Academics page.

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, Populi, 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 Admissions Director Rev. Gesshin Greenwood 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! In addition to a number of online courses offered every semester available to special students and auditors (see enrollment options), IBS offers three fully online certificate programs:

I live out of state. Can I complete a degree program online?

There is a 50% residency requirement for degree programs. This means that at least 50% of courses counted towards a degree program must be taken in California. Additionally, many of our degree program classes, such as Pastoral Care, are only offered in person.

How much do classes cost?

See this page for complete information on current tuition and fees.

Are scholarships or funding available?

Yes! Most students who apply receive scholarships reducing tuition costs by half. The application for scholarships is part of the admissions application. Find more scholarship information here including IBS grants for our study abroad program at Ryukoku Univeristy, Kyoto, and travel grants for academic conferences.

Do you have housing?

Normally yes, but the dorm is currently under construction.

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.

International students may apply for admissions into our online certificate programs.

Do I need to take the GRE?

GRE scores are optional for the M.Div. and M.A.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 Admission Director ( or contact one of the faculty directors for a specific program or certificate.

You can also fill out this form here.