Buddhist Studies

Buddhism is a religion based on the philosophies and teachings of Buddha. This religious practice is divided into two major branches - Theravada, meaning the school of the elders, and Mahayana, which means the great vehicle. To learn about academic programs that explore Buddhism, read on.

Inside Buddhist Studies

A number of universities throughout the U.S. offer degree programs in this field. Students who are interested in Asian culture and traditions, as well as world religions in general, might enroll in a Buddhist studies program. Common topics include the life and teachings of Buddha, the Mahayana texts, the teachings of Shinran and the psychology of Buddhism. Additional classes might include Asian art, tantric traditions and meditation techniques.

Some schools offer a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies with a concentration in Buddhist studies. Students may also pursue a Master of Arts or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Buddhist Studies or Religious Studies. A few master's programs can prepare individuals for ministerial work. Some bachelor's and master's programs expect students to learn a foreign language. Ph.D. candidates might need to gain proficiency in at least two languages, including classical Chinese, Japanese, Tibetan or Sanskrit.

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