Tibetan Studies

Tibetan studies focuses on Tibet and the surrounding region's history and languages, along with the texts of Buddhist masters and scholars. Tibetan studies programs are offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels, with some including options to travel to the region for course credit.

Inside Tibetan Studies

The field of Tibetan studies encompasses modern and classical aspects of Tibet, including its philosophy, history, medicine, religion, language, literature, social science and art. The work of experts in this field ranges from translating ancient Buddhist texts to understanding Tibet's modern political and economic relationships to the rest of the world.

Education Information

A few U.S. colleges and universities offer Tibetan studies through certificate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs, although graduate degrees in this field are most common. Students may earn a degree in East Asian, area or cultural studies while concentrating on Tibet. Religion, history and geography departments may also offer concentrations in Tibetan studies, Tibetan Buddhism or Tibetan language.

Tibetan studies programs instruct students in languages of the region, including classical and modern Tibetan, as well as Sanskrit and Hindi. Emphasis is also placed on the form of Buddhism practiced in Tibet and its importance to the region's cultural, political and religious climate. Graduate students must typically meet language requirements and conduct research in a topic relevant to ancient or modern-day Tibet. Students also are likely to travel to the region for a semester or more during their studies. Find out more about your educational options by reading the articles below.

Distance Learning Options

Fully online programs in Tibetan studies are difficult to find, although hybrid programs with some on-campus requirements exist in related fields like Buddhist or cultural studies. Most of these hybrid programs are offered at the graduate level. Online courses in related subjects like world religion are also available to distance learners. Check out the following links for more information:

Career Options

Graduates of Tibetan studies programs should have a thorough understanding of the Tibetan people and culture and may be valuable to a range of businesses and organizations working in Tibet and East Asia. A graduate degree might lead to a career as a Tibetan scholar who is qualified to teach Tibetan studies and other Asian studies courses at the university level. Tibetan scholars often work on translations of ancient texts and conduct independent research using ethnographic methods.

Other graduates of a Tibetan studies program may work for government agencies or international businesses with vested interests in East Asia. Their work may involve developing international law and policy, interpreting oral and written languages or helping to build intercultural relationships with the Tibetan people. These articles provide just a few of the career options for Tibetan experts.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( projected a 19 percent increase in jobs for postsecondary teachers in the decade spanning 2012-2022, although stiff competition was expected for tenure-track positions. Those with doctorate degrees were expected to find the best job opportunities. As of May 2012, the median annual wages for area, ethnic and cultural studies teachers at the postsecondary level were $67,360.

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