Because Buddhist Studies is an interdisciplinary field straddling anthropology, art history, Asian studies, history, language study, literary and textual studies, philosophy and religious studies, students are often unaware of the integrity of the field or of the range of resources available for its study in the Valley.
Each student pursuing the Buddhist Studies certificate will choose, in consultation with the Buddhist Studies advisor at his/her college, a course of study comprising no fewer than seven courses. At least five of these courses should be drawn from the Buddhist Studies courses listed on the website (list subject to modification from year to year). Two others may be drawn from this list or may be chosen from elsewhere in the Five Colleges to support the student's Buddhist Studies program from other disciplinary perspectives. Each proposed course of study must be approved by the coordinating committee for the Buddhist Studies certificate.
For students who may wish to pursue a certificate in Buddhist Studies as preparation for graduate study in this field, we strongly recommend the study of at least one canonical language (Sanskrit, Pali, Chinese or Tibetan) and/or the modern language of at least one Buddhist culture (especially for those who have an ethnographic interest in Buddhism). Up to two courses in a relevant language can count towards the certificate, although we strongly encourage these students to continue language study beyond the first-year level. Language study is not required, however.
Students at all four colleges and the University are eligible for the program.
- The certificate comprises at least seven courses, at least one of which must be at an advanced level (200 or 300 at Hampshire, 300 or above at Mt Holyoke, Smith, or UMass; comparable upper-level courses at Amherst).
- Students must take at least one course in three different disciplines of Buddhist Studies (anthropology, art history, Asian studies, philosophy, religious studies, etc.).
- Students must take at least one course addressing classical Buddhism and one course addressing contemporary Buddhist movements (19th to 21st century), and they must study Buddhism in at least two of the following four geographical areas: South and Southeast Asia, East Asia, the Tibeto-Himalayan region and the West.
- Up to two canonical or appropriate colloquial Asian language courses may count towards the certificate.
- Students must receive a grade of at least "B" in each course counting towards the certificate.
- Courses must be of three credit-hours or more to count towards the certificate.
- Courses taken abroad or outside the Five Colleges may count towards the certificate only if they would be approved for credit toward the major in the appropriate department of the student's home institution.
- Exceptions to these requirements by petition to the student's campus advisor and the Five College Buddhist Studies Steering Committee.
Interested students should contact a faculty advisor at their campus to enroll in the program.
Please be in contact with a faculty advisor on your campus early in your studies to plan your curriculum.