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AS INTEREST IN BUDDHISM continues to grow in America, many people are choosing to deepen their understanding of this tradition through graduate level study. If you are contemplating this route, one of the first things to examine is your motivation for pursuing an advanced degree in this field. Is it to complement a Buddhist practice? Is it to build a career in academia? Most graduate programs in Buddhist studies do not serve as a substitute for the faith in, and the practice of, Buddhism. Rather, they approach Buddhism from analytical vantage points: from history, sociology, philology, philosophy, religious studies, and cultural studies.

Nevertheless, there are a number of degree programs that encourage or support Buddhist practice and scholarship among students. These “practitioner-friendly” programs generally offer one of three things: the ability to pursue a degree in the context of Buddhist priestly training, courses in the practice of Buddhism that complement academic study, or an emphasis on the study of Buddhism from a normative point of view. Keep in mind, though, that if you’re interested in pursuing a career in academia, the institutions that offer these practice-integrated programs  are often not accorded the same status as secular universities.

At most universities, faculty members in Buddhist studies rend to be far fewer in number than their Christian or Jewish counterparts. As a result, very few programs can be considered comprehensive: most have a strength in a particular geographic/cultural area (South Asia, Tibet, East Asia), a particular tradition (Ch’an/Zen, Theravada, Tibetan), or a particular approach (philological, historical, apologetic). While a comprehensive program may be optimal, many graduate students have also prospered in departments with a strength in one area of specialization. In such smaller contexts, working closely with a faculty member whose interests coincide with your own may compensate for the more limited scope of the program.

Most faculty in Buddhist studies are housed in either a religious studies or an area studies program (East Asian, South Asian studies). Religious studies departments commonly require coursework and exams in other religious traditions as well as familiarity with the theoretical literature of the study of religion in general. In contrast, area studies programs place greater emphasis on the study of Asian languages (Pali, Sanskrit, Chinese, Japanese, Tibetan) and the study of Buddhism in its various historical and cultural contexts.

The following Buddhist studies programs are divided into several categories designed to help you decide which schools may be most appropriate for your interests and goals. Professors whose names appear in brackets are not specialists in the study of Buddhism per se, but because their expertise is in subject matter closely related to Buddhism they have taught or directed graduate students in the past.

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PRACTITIONER-FRIENDLY INSTITUTIONS

CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF INTEGRAL STUDIES
9 Peter Yorke Way, Box TR
San Francisco, CA 94109 (415) 674-5500
DEGREE(S) OFFERED:
M.A. in Philosophy and Religion Ph.D. in Philosophy and Religion
FACULTY:
Steven Goodman (Tibetan Nyingma)
Joanna Macy (Engaged)

GRADUATE THEOLOGICAL UNION
2400 Ridge Road
Berkeley, CA 94709
(510) 649-2400
DEGREE(S) OFFERED:
M.Div.
M.A. in Religion Ph.D. in Religion
FACULTY:
(Access to professors at THE INSTITUTE OF BUDDHIST STUDIES)

HSI LAI UNIVERSITY
1409 Nonh Walnut Grove Avenue
Rosemead, CA   80302-9926
(818) 571-8811
DEGREE(S) OFFERED:
M.A. in Buddhist Studies
FACULTY:
Francis Cook (East Asian)
Wang Yao (Tibetan)
(Visiting faculty from area universities)

INSTITUTE OF BUDDHIST STUDIES
1900 Addison Street
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 849-2383
DEGREE{S)  OFFERED:
M.A. in Buddhist Studies
FACULTY:
Dennis Hirota Qapanese/Shin)
Richard Payne (Esoteric Buddhism)
Kenneth Tanaka (Chinese/Shin)

NAROPA INSTITUTE
2130 Arapahoe Avenue Boulder, CO  80302-9926
(303) 444-0202
DEGREE(S) OFFERED:
M.A. in Buddhist Studies
FACULTY:
Roger Dorris (Engaged)
Reginald Ray (Indo-Tibetan)
Judith Simmer-Brown (Indo­Tibetan/American)

MOST COMPREHENSIVE PROGRAMS

HARVARD UNIVERSITY
Committee on the Study of Religion
Philips Brooks House, 3rd Floor
Cambridge, MA  02138
(617) 495-5781
DEGREE(S) OFFERED:
M.T. S. (Divinity School) Ph.D. in Religion
FACULTY:
Charles Hallisey (South and Southeast Asian/Theravada)
Leonard van der Kuijp (Indo­Tibetan history and literature)
[Helen Hardacre (Japanese religions)]
[Christopher Queen (Engaged/American)]
[Oktor Skjaervo (Inner Asian)]
[Stanley Tambiah (Theravada)]

INDIANA UNIVERSITY
Department of Religious Studies
Sycamore Hall, Room 230
Bloomington, IN   47405
(812) 855-3531
DEGREE(S)  OFFERED:
M.A. in Religious Studies Ph.D. in Religious Studies
FACULTY:
John McRae (Chinese)
Jan Nattier (Central Asian)
Eliot Sperling (Tibetan)
Michael Walter (Tibetan)

UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
The Divinity School
1025 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL  60637
(312) 702-8200
DEGREE(S) OFFERED:
M.A. in Religious Studies Ph.D. in Religious Studies
FACULTY:
Steven Collins (Theravada)
Paul Griffiths (Indian/Mahayana)
Mathew Kapstein (Tibetan)
Frank Reynolds (Theravada)
[James Ketelaar (Japanese/Modern)]
[Hung Wu (Art History)]

UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII AT MANOA
Department of Religion
Sakamaki Hall
Honolulu, HI  96822
(808) 956-8111
DEGREE(S) OFFERED:
M.A. in Religion
FACULTY:
Helen Baroni (Japanese/Zen)
David Chappell (Chinese/ T’ien-t’ai)
David Kalupahana (South Asian)
George Tanabe (Japanese)
Willa Tanabe (Art History)
[Graham Parkes (East-West Philosophy)]
[Oung Thwin (Theravada/ Burmese)]

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Department of Asian Language and Culture
3070 Frieze Building
Ann Arbor, Ml  48109
(313) 764-4475
DEGREE(S) OFFERED:
Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies
FACULTY:
Luis Gomez (Indian/ Tibetan)
Donald Lopez (Tibetan)
Robert Sharf (East Asian)

UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA
Department of Religious Studies
Cocke Hall
Charlottesville, VA 22903
(804) 924-3741
 DEGREE(S) OFFERED:
M.A. in Religious Studies Ph.D. in Religious Studies
FACULTY:
David Getmano (Tibetan Nyingma)
Paul Groner (East Asian/Tendai)
Jeffrey Hopkins (Tibetan Gelug)
Karen Lang (Indian/Sri Lankan)
[H.L. Seneviratne (South Asian))

INSTITUTIONS WITH STRENGTH IN EAST ASIAN BUDDHIST STUDIES

PRINCETON UNIVERSITY
Department of Religion
1879 Hall
Princeton, NJ  08544
(609) 258-4520
DEGREE(S) OFFERED:
Ph.D. in Religion   
FACULTY:
Martin Collcutt (Japanese/Zen)
Jackie Stone (Japanese/Nichiren/Tendai)
Stephen Teiser (Chinese/Popular)
[Soho Machida (Japanese/Zen)]

STANFORD UNIVERSITY
Department of Religious Studies
Building 70
Stanford, CA  94305-2165
(415) 723-3322
DEGREE(S) OFFERED:
M.A. in Religious Studies Ph.D. in Religious Studies
FACULTY:
Carl Bielefeldt (Japanese/Zen)
Bernard Faure (East Asian/Ch’an-Zen)

UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA
East Asian Studies Department
Franklin Building 404
Tucson, AZ  85721
(520) 621-7505
DEGREE(S) OFFERED:
M.A. in Japanese or Chinese Studies
Ph.D. in Chinese Studies
FACULTY:
Robert Gimello (Chinese)
Elizabeth Harrison (Japanese)

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT LOS ANGELES
Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
Box 951540
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1540
(310) 206-0257
DEGREE(S) OFFERED:
Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies
FACULTY:
William Bodiford (Japanese/Zen)
Robert Buswell (Chinese/Korean)
[Robert Brown (Art History)]
[Donald McCallum (Art History)]

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT SANTA BARBARA
Religious Studies Department
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
(805)  893-3578
DEGREE(S) OFFERED:
M.A. in Religious Studies
Ph.D. in Religious Studies
FACULTY:
Allan Grapard (Japanese/Esoteric)
William Powell (Chinese/Ch’an)
Ninian Smart (South Asian)

UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
Department of Religious Studies
Box 36, College Hall
Philadelphia, PA  19104
(215) 898-7453
DEGREE(S) OFFERED:
M.A. in Religious Studies
Ph.D in Religious Studies
FACULTY:
William Lafleur (Japanese)
Victor Mair (Chinese)
Guy Welbon (Indian)

YALE UNIVERSITY
Department of Religious Studies
Box 208287
New Haven, CT 06520
(203) 432-0828
DEGREE(S) OFFERED:
Ph.D. in Religion
FACULTY:
Stanley Weinstein (Sino-Japanese)
[Edward Kamens (Japanese Literature)]
[Mimi Yiengpruksawan (Art History)]

INSTITUTIONS WITH STRENGTH IN INDO·TIBETAN BUDDHIST STUDIES

HARVARD UNIVERSITY
See listing under
Most Comprehensive Programs

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
See listing under
Most Comprehensive Programs

UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA
See listing under
Most Comprehensive Programs

UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON
Department of Asian Languages and Literarure
225 Gowen Hall
Box 353521
Seattle, WA  98195-3521
(206) 543-4996
DEGREE(S)  OFFERED:
M.A. in Asian Languages and Literature
Ph.D. in Asian Languages and Literature
FACULTY:
Collett Cox (Indian)
Richard Solomon (Early Indian)
Richard Dreyfuss (Tibetan)
[Charles Keyes (Theravada)]
[Ter Ellingson (Ritual Music)]

INSTITUTIONS WITH STRENGTH IN SOUTHEAST ASIAN BUDDHIST STUDIES

HARVARD UNIVERSITY
See listing under
Most Comprehensive Programs

UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
See listing under
Most Comprehensive Programs

OTHER NOTEWORTHY PROGRAMS

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
Department of Religion
Kent Hall, Room 617
Mail Code 3949
1140 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY   10027
(212) 854-3218
DEGREE(S)  OFFERED:
M.A. in Religion
Ph.D. in Religion
FACULTY:
Ryuiche Abe (Japanese)
Robert Thurman  (Tibetan)
[Barbara Ruch (Japanese/Women)]

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT BERKELEY
Department of East Asian Languages
104 Durant Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
(510) 642-3480
DEGREE(S) OFFERED:
M.A. in Chinese or Japanese
Ph.D. in Chinese or Japanese
FACULTY:
Lewis Lancaster (East Asian)

UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN
Center for Asian Studies
W C. Hogg Building, Room 4.134
Austin, TX  78712-1194
(512) 471-5811
DEGREE(S) OFFERED:
M.A. in Asian Cultures and Languages
Ph.D. in Asian Cultures and Languages
FACULTY:
Gregory Schopen (Indian)

UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN
Department of South Asian Studies
1238 Van Hise Hall
1220 Linden Drive
Madison, Wl 53706
(608) 262-3012
DEGREE(S) OFFERED:
Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies
FACULTY:
Gudrun Buhnemann (lndian/Tantra)
Minoru Kiyota (Sino­Japanese/Shingon)
Geshe Sopa (Tibetan)
[Tongchai Winchakul (Southeast Asian)]
[Andre Wink (Indian)]

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