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University of Washington Course/Program Name
Application closes on
National :15 Dec 
International :15 Dec 
EU :15 Dec 

MA Buddhist Studies

 Course Level
Masters / PG
Full Time

2 Years
 Start month

 Tuition fee

27000 USD
15000 USD

Application fee

International 85 USD
National 85 USD
Asian Languages & Literature
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7
TOEFL-IBT (min)92
TOEFL-PBT (min)580
GRE (avg)315
GMAT (avg)675

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About this course

The Buddhist Studies disciplinary concentration within the South Asia languages and literature program in the Department of Asian Languages and Literature offers courses leading to the general departmental M.A. and Ph.D. degrees with a specialization in Buddhist Studies. Courses in Buddhist Studies may also be taken in completion of a B.A. degree, or of an M.A. or Ph.D. degree with a specialization in another area.

The program focuses on the study of canonical and post-canonical languages and literature of the Buddhist tradition. Therefore, successful completion of the program requires extensive language and textual study. The program offers a concentration in South Asian Buddhism with the relevant languages (Sanskrit, Pali, Gandhari, Chinese).

Related courses in disciplines other than language and literature, such as cultural anthropology, history, philosophy, religion, and ethnomusicology, constitute an important part of the program, and students will normally take courses in these disciplines. The specific program of courses will be worked out on a individual basis between the student and academic adviser. Prospective students should consult with the adviser to the Buddhist Studies disciplinary concentration as to the availability of offerings in each area.

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Eligibility Criteria

Applicants for admission should present an undergraduate major in the relevant language and literature specialization, or background and training equivalent to such a major.  Students without such a background may be qualified for admission, but will need initially to acquire the expected program prerequisites for graduate study. 

Students who seek admission to graduate programs at the University of Washington must have a minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 in their last 90 graded quarter hours or last 60 semester hours.

English Proficiency test scores (for international students): Proficiency in English is required for graduate study at the University of Washington. Therefore, every applicant whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency. Graduate School Memo #8 and English Proficiency Tests comparison tables for information on the University’s policy. When requesting official TOEFL scores from ETS use institution code 4854 for the University of Washington. TOEFL scores are valid for two years from the test date. The University of Washington only accepts scores submitted electronically by the IELTS test center. The application will also prompt you to self-report your test scores.

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Course Modules

Course Work and Credits
For the M.A. non-thesis, 45 course credits, 18 of which must be 500 level and above, are required. Buddhist Studies seminars and text reading courses offered within the department must be included. Students are also required to complete language study through the fourth-year level in their major language and through the second-year level in a second Asian language.

The M.A. thesis program requires a minimum of 45 course credits plus 9 thesis credits. At least 18 of the 45 credits must be taken at the 500 level or above. Buddhist Studies seminars and text reading courses offered within the department must be included. The language requirements in this program are the same as in the non-thesis program. In addition, the student must write an acceptable M.A. thesis according to the rules and policies of the Department of Asian Languages and Literature and pass an oral examination.

Foreign Language Requirements
Students must demonstrate competence in their major language, and must complete the course requirements in their second Asian language as outlined above. These two languages may include one classical language and one relevant modern language, or two classical languages. In either case, one of the languages must be Sanskrit.

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How to Apply

A completed Application

  • Unofficial Transcript(s) from all previous universities attended
  • An Academic Writing Sample (in English)
  • A Statement of Purpose
  • Three Letters of Recommendation 
  • GRE scores
  • TOEFL scores (for non-native English speakers)
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Students are expected to have strong language skills in their language of specialization and sound background in linguistics or literature.

Please use the Graduate School online application to upload these documents.

(a) Unofficial Transcripts of all post-secondary education (We will ask for official transcripts from any applicant who accepts our offer of admission)

(b) an Academic English writing sample (recommended for all programs, required for Japanese); should not be a translation; academic essay recommended

(c) a Statement of Purpose that describes your academic goals and proposed course of study at the University of Washington (not to exceed five double-spaced pages)

(d) Three Letters of Recommendation: Please use the Graduate School online application system to provide contact information for three people who will write letters of recommendation on your behalf. Recommenders should be academic instructors familiar with your academic ability, especially in your intended major language and discipline. Letters should be submitted to your application by the recommender as PDFs in English. The University of Washington is unable to receive letters of recommendation through INTERFOLIO.

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