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Buddhist Studies, Ph.D.

  • Application Deadline
  • 60 days
University rank #4 (BCR) Berkeley, CA, United States
The Berkeley Group in Buddhist Studies offers an interdisciplinary program of study and research leading to a Ph.D. degree in Buddhist Studies. The Group, which cooperates closely with the Departments of South and Southeast Asian Studies (SSEAS), and of East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALC), emphasizes the study of Buddhism in its many forms within its Asian historical and cultural context.
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The programme

  • The ability to read and analyze Buddhist texts in their original languages is an indispensable skill for research in the field. Accordingly, the study of classical Asian languages constitutes a core element of the doctoral program. The specific combination of Asian languages required for any particular Ph.D. student will depend on his/her area of research, but all students will be expected to gain facility in a minimum of two Asian languages, at least one of which will be Classical Chinese, Classical Japanese, Pali, Sanskrit, or Classical Tibetan.
  • While linguistic competence is crucial, it is not considered an end in itself. Students are expected to acquire a sophisticated appreciation of the historical, social, and cultural milieus from which the Buddhist textual legacy emerged. All students in the Ph.D. program are encouraged to broaden and deepen their understanding of Buddhist phenomena through incorporating archaeological, ethnographic, and visual materials and perspectives.
  • The Ph.D. program in Buddhist Studies is designed for students who intend to become scholars and teachers at the university level. Students wishing to enter the Ph.D. program must have a Masters degree or the equivalent in a relevant field, typically East Asian, South Asian, or Southeast Asian studies. A Masters degree in the field of religion is deemed relevant only if it includes significant training in Asian languages and cultures. In addition, all students must have facility in a least one Asian language relevant to their intended area of research at the time of admission.
  • The length of time needed to complete the Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies depends on the extent of the student's earlier preparation, the languages required for research in the student's chosen area, financial considerations, and other factors. Normative time to completion for the Ph.D. degree in Buddhist Studies is fourteen semesters (seven years).

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 60 days
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

  • A minimum of 8 graduate seminars or upper division courses are required, all of which are chosen in consultation with the Academic Advisor. The art history course requirement can simultaneously fulfill the course requirement for the cognate disciplinary field in the event that said field is art history.
  • All pre-candidates are required to enroll for 1 credit in the Buddhist Studies Proseminar each term they are registered, provided that the seminar is being offered.This seminar focuses on recent scholarship in the field, particularly interdisciplinary and cross-regional scholarship. It involves all Buddhist Studies faculty and students, and typically meets four times or so each semester.
  • All courses taken to fulfill the degree requirements, including the art history seminar, seminars taken to fulfill cognate field requirements, and the Buddhist Studies Proseminar, must be taken for a letter grade.

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120.

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Get a free IELTS practice test
  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL®PBT is administered in a paper format and measures your ability to use and understand English in a classroom setting at the college or university level. It accurately measures how well you can listen, read and write in English while performing academic tasks.

General Requirements

  • Applicants will submit unofficial transcripts, GRE scores , etc. on-line as part of the application. Admitted students will be required to submit two copies of all official transcripts in envelopes sealed by the issuing institutions at a later date.
  • A writing sample in English must be included with the on-line application. The writing sample is intended to gauge an applicant's academic writing ability, and should be a paper that the student feels best represents the quality of his/her work. An ideal writing sample will be around 20 pages on a topic related to Buddhist studies, but a paper on another topic or of a different length may be acceptable.

Tuition Fee

  • International

    33958 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 16979 USD per semester and a duration of 60 days.
  • National

    33958 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 16979 USD per semester and a duration of 60 days.
  • In-State

    18856 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 9428 USD per semester and a duration of 60 days.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Living costs for Berkeley

  • 1750 - 2820 USD/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.


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