Buddhist and Religious Studies PhD programs in the US

A forum for scholastic discussion/debate.

Buddhist and Religious Studies PhD programs in the US

Postby sherabzangpo » Sun Mar 02, 2014 9:19 pm

I'm looking into PhD programs in Buddhist Studies or Religious Studies programs in the US. The following factors are important:

1) Funding: Lots of funding for students (stipend, grants, scholarships, etc.)
2) Tibetan Buddhism: A Tibetan Buddhism emphasis or specialty, ideally with professors who can read Tibetan
3) Proximity to Parents: Ideally within a 24 hour drive or 1000 miles of Pittsburgh, Pennyslvania (where my parents live), in other words, mainly the East Coast and Midwest
4) Location Livability and Expenses: general livability as well as non-super-expensive living cost/expenses
5) Low Residency: high flexibility in terms of residential requirements, ideally only requiring me to live in the area of the university about half the year or less, or only full-time for a year or two
6) City Size: ideally in a city with a total area population somewhere between 100,000 and one million (not too small and not too big, although perhaps around 200,000 would be ideal).

That's all I can think of at the moment:

All things considered, University of Virgina seems pretty good for what I am looking for in most ways (although I don't yet know about the funding and residency and the Charlottesville is a little small), but I am curious if anyone has any other suggestions.
sherabzangpo
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2010 6:14 am

Re: Buddhist and Religious Studies PhD programs in the US

Postby mañjughoṣamaṇi » Sun Mar 02, 2014 11:22 pm

Based on programs with funding, location, and regional and Tibetan focus, you should check out University of Michigan and University of Chicago. University of Chicago definitely has a lot of funding options at the graduate level. Michigan does as well, although I've heard through the grapevine that the funding there (at least for other programs) is of the soft variety. University of Chicago is obviously in a larger city, but it is located in Hyde Park which is kind of an island within the city. Ann Arbor is ~100,000.

Besides the funding and other issues, are there particular scholars whose work inspires you? If so, you might want to reach out to them and discuss your own interests with them. If they are interested, you might have the opportunity to meet with them to see if your personalities are compatible and determine whether you think you can work with them or not. If not, they might be able refer you to other scholars whose interests might match your own.
སེམས་རྣམ་པར་གྲོལ་བར་བྱའི་ཕྱིར་བྱམས་པ་བསྒོམ་པར་བྱའོ།
“In order to completely liberate the mind, cultivate loving kindness.” -- Maitribhāvana Sūtra
mañjughoṣamaṇi
 
Posts: 140
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:26 pm

Re: Buddhist and Religious Studies PhD programs in the US

Postby Huifeng » Mon Mar 03, 2014 1:12 am

You may want to check out this page at H-Buddhism:

http://www2.h-net.msu.edu/~buddhism/GradStudies.htm

~~Huifeng
User avatar
Huifeng
 
Posts: 1469
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:51 am

Re: Buddhist and Religious Studies PhD programs in the US

Postby Indrajala » Mon Mar 03, 2014 5:03 am

Columbia University is in NYC, but it has a strong Tibetan Studies program at the graduate level.

Everyone I've met from there has also had to chance to live abroad for years at a stretch while being continually funded.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5959
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Japan

Re: Buddhist and Religious Studies PhD programs in the US

Postby sherabzangpo » Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:24 am

In a way, a larger city would be OK and even provide more opportunities (I've lived in small towns most of my life and am rather tired of it, currently in Dharamsala), it's more a matter of expenses.

Chicago, Michigan, and Columbia sound good, and I will look into them more. I've never lived in the Midwest but never really quite understood the whole Midwest thing, but I'm not opposed to it.
Does anyone have any info about Virginia in terms of funding and residency requirements? Or Harvard?
Funding might ultimately be the most important factor.
It's rather important that the school have at least one professor who can read Tibetan fluently, since undoubtedly my thesis would be based on Tibetan translations.
sherabzangpo
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2010 6:14 am

Re: Buddhist and Religious Studies PhD programs in the US

Postby Tom » Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:15 pm

sherabzangpo wrote:Does anyone have any info about Virginia in terms of funding and residency requirements? Or Harvard?
Funding might ultimately be the most important factor.


Harvard PhD programs offer a fully funded five year package but two of those years will require you to teach. If you go longer than five years, you will then have to organize some other funding. I am not sure if Virginia guarantees funding but many of the California schools do not. Emory definitely gives funding. Don't worry - all these schools have professors who are proficient in Tibetan and Sanskrit as well.

My advice to you is that if you really want to do a PhD in Buddhist Studies then you should apply to as many places as you can and then decide based upon your options. It is really competitive to get into the top programs. Also, I think you might be surprised at how little valued traditional monastic type education and Tibetan colloquial skills are. It would be difficult for you to get an offer from somewhere like Harvard into their PhD program. However, I think Virginia or Santa Barbara might be good opportunities for you. Emory would be great if you got an offer from them. The other option would be to do another masters at Harvard or Chicago Divinity School and then apply to their PhD programs. Hope this helps - good luck.
User avatar
Tom
 
Posts: 368
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2011 7:12 pm

Re: Buddhist and Religious Studies PhD programs in the US

Postby Sherlock » Tue Mar 04, 2014 4:04 pm

Harvard's South Asian and Himalayan Studies site says they very rarely take students in for a one year master's.
Sherlock
 
Posts: 816
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2012 3:14 pm

Re: Buddhist and Religious Studies PhD programs in the US

Postby Tom » Tue Mar 04, 2014 4:11 pm

Sherlock wrote:Harvard's South Asian and Himalayan Studies site says they very rarely take students in for a one year master's.


They basically don't but the Harvard Divinity school offers a masters.
User avatar
Tom
 
Posts: 368
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2011 7:12 pm

Re: Buddhist and Religious Studies PhD programs in the US

Postby Huifeng » Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:13 am

Tom wrote:My advice to you is that if you really want to do a PhD in Buddhist Studies then you should apply to as many places as you can and then decide based upon your options. It is really competitive to get into the top programs.


:good:
User avatar
Huifeng
 
Posts: 1469
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:51 am

Re: Buddhist and Religious Studies PhD programs in the US

Postby sherabzangpo » Tue Apr 08, 2014 10:42 pm

Thank you everyone.

In one way I learn towards doing a research-only degree, since it would allow me the freedom to be anywhere, or at least one that has the option of a research-only degree. I am also leaning towards staying in Asia but perhaps outside of India, but I am still looking into US options. Part of the problem with the US I see is that as mentioned above, doing a PhD in Buddhist or Religious Studies in the US can be difficult to enter, very expensive, and perhaps it may not even be such a good fit as someone who has been more on the traditional-linguistic side for a long time in Asia etc. side of things. I am not really fixated on programs in the US, and am very aware that doing one could potentially be much more difficult in many ways; another problem is that there is really nothing within a reasonable distance of my parents that is not extremely expensive or probably hard to enter, and even in the best cases, such as Virginia (if they have funding for their highly expensive programs), I am living in a new place quite far from my parents (5 hours) where I don't know anyone, after having lived in India for 7 years. It's not exactly the ideal, and since U. of Pittsburgh recently did away with its Religious Studies graduate program it kind of leaves me without anything in the area to do. So I really am not sure how the US would pan out, although I'm still looking into it.

At the same time I think doing a taught portion with classes would be very good on many levels also. Right now I'm mainly looking into Mahidol's program in Bangkok, which has both options and which is the best choice in Thailand; I have the choice of doing a taught or research-only program, get a student visa to Thailand, the program is not that expensive, I would definitely gain entry, and it has a mostly Western staff, I would be challenged, etc. I'm also looking into Leiden, which wouldn't have a taught portion (or if it did I wouldn't be able to afford doing it), but might be the best option in terms of a research-only program (I guess SOAS has them too), at least in terms of 'name'.
sherabzangpo
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2010 6:14 am


Return to Academic Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests

>