What’s the application process like at the
Institute of Buddhist Studies?
The application process serves two functions: first, it ensures that applicants have the necessary prior education or experience to succeed in a graduate-level program; second, it ensures that the institution has the necessary courses, programs, and faculty to support a student and their chosen path of study.
Prior experience: an applicant can demonstrate their ability to do graduate-level work in a number of different ways — through prior education, degrees, or coursework, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, and so forth. You should be prepared to submit transcripts of prior coursework and degrees. Strong letters of recommendation from past professors or those who can speak to your intellectual abilities are a plus. If you have relevant prior experience — such as extensive language training, publications, or other certifications — let us know. The Admissions Committee reviews all of this information to make sure that you’re prepared to do the level of academic work required in a graduate program.
Remember that each program has slightly different admissions requirements, so be sure to review those carefully. For example, if you’re applying to the Certificate in Shin Buddhist Studies or the M.Div. with aspirations to be a Buddhist chaplain, a letter from a supervising minister or Buddhist teacher may be helpful. If you’ve taken the GRE, feel free to submit your test scores; but we know that not everyone performs well on standardized tests, so GRE scores are not required for the degree programs. (Note that they are required for the GTU M.A.)
Institutional support: just like the Admissions Committee wants to make sure you’re prepared to do graduate-level work, we also need to make sure we can support you and your professional or personal goals. Does the IBS offer courses, programs, or have faculty or research resources in your chosen area of study? To answer that question, spend some time reviewing our catalog, looking at our faculty pages, and the degree and certificate program descriptions. And then write your statement of purpose with this information in mind.
Your statement of purpose is crucial; this is how we find out what your goals are and decide whether or not we’re able to support you. Again, each program is different — if you’re interested in pursuing a career in Buddhist studies (going on to get a doctorate and become a university professor, for example) and are applying to the M.A.B.S, your statement should have a clearly defined research area and you should reference the faculty and resources here at IBS that can support you. If you’re planning on becoming a Buddhist chaplain, discussing the type of work you want to do or your prior service or connection to a Buddhist community is helpful.
Remember, our goal at IBS is to support and encourage our students through their program and beyond by preparing them to be effective scholars, ministers, chaplains, and leaders. The application process is intended to make sure we’re the right place to serve your needs and that you’re prepared to take this next step in your education. Whatever information you can provide helps us ensure we’re the right place for your academic success, spiritual and professional development.