Emory Tibetan Studies Program

Spend spring semester in Dharamsala, India studying Buddhist Philosophy & Practice, Tibetan Culture, Civilization and Languag

offered by Emory Univeristy

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Situated in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas and home to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dharamsala is the capital of the Tibetan exile community. Within this remarkably beautiful and culturally rich environment, Emory University and its partner the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics (IBD) weave together rigorous academic study, field research, cultural immersion, and contemplative practice in order to provide a unique semester-long program for students interested in both India and Tibet. Cultural Immersion and Field Research Students live with Tibetan roommates while on the IBD Sarah campus and then with homestay families in McLeod Ganj. During the program students participate in weekly fieldtrips, celebrate several important Tibetan and Indian holidays, and attend numerous cultural events, including Tibetan Uprising Day, Shoton (opera festival), a trance by the Nechung oracle, a session of the Tibetan exile parliament, and public teachings by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Many students also hike, do volunteer work, practice yoga, learn Hindi, or take a Tibetan class in cooking, dance or music in their free time. The program concludes with three weeks of supervised field research where students have the opportunity to study with Tibetan experts, do internships, travel, advance their language skills, and deepen their understanding of a topic of their choice. Emory's Close Relationship with the Dalai Lama As part of Emory's on-going partnership with the Tibetan exile community, His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama has been named Presidential Distinguished Professor at Emory, the first university appointment accepted by the 1989 Nobel Peace Laureate. In this capacity, His Holiness has often offered a private class to our Tibetan Studies Program students, which is always a highlight of this exceptional study abroad program. Courses: Students enroll in four courses and earn a total of 16 credit hours. Tibetan Culture and Civilization (4 credits) This course provides an historical and cultural overview with lectures by Emory faculty, field trips, and guest speakers. Topics include Tibetan religion, arts, politics, social life, medicine, education, environment, and issues of exile and diaspora. Tibetan Studies Culture Syllabus Tibetan Buddhist Philosophy and Practice (3 credits) This course covers the fundamentals of Buddhism and more advanced explorations of Mahayana psychology, philosophy, and ethics. The class also often includes public teachings with the Dalai Lama and instruction in philosophy and meditation given by other leading Tibetan teachers. Tibetan Language TBT 101 or TBT 102 (5 credits) Students will enroll in either TBT 101 or TBT 102, depending on prior knowledge of Tibetan. Tibetan Language 101 (5 credits) This course is an introduction to modern spoken and written Tibetan. It enables students to understand and speak colloquial Tibetan at the novice level, be proficient in basic grammar, write the classical dbu can script, and read simple passages. In addition to daily classes, the course also includes practice sessions several times a week with local language partners provided by IBD. Tibetan Language 102 (5 credits) This course is a continued introduction to modern spoken and written Tibetan. It enables students to understand and speak colloquial Tibetan at an advanced novice level, become proficient in more advanced grammar, write one of the cursive scripts (dbu med), ask basic research questions, and read simple texts. In addition to regular class sessions, the course includes individual sessions with the teacher and practice sessions several times a week with local language partners provided by IBD. Independent Research: Selected Topics (4 credits) This course allows students to explore creatively a particular Tibetan Studies related topic under the direction of Emory-IBD faculty and local experts. The student's research typically culminates in a major paper, artistic product, or online/digital piece. Methodology might include field research, surveys, tutorials, internships, service, and/or library research. Students may arrange credit hours towards their major, pending approval from their department or faculty adviser. Living Arrangements: While on the IBD Sarah campus, students live in double rooms with a Tibetan roommate and eat most meals in one of the cafeterias. In McLeod Ganj, students live with a homestay family for three weeks, where they are given both breakfast and dinner, with a lunch stipend provided by the program. They then shift into a Tibetan-run hotel for another three weeks, during which time both group meals and food stipends are provided. During the research period, stipends will be provided for travel, food, lodging, and research assistance.


  • Area/Ethnic Studies
  • East Asian Studies
  • Interreligious / Interethnic Relations
  • Modern Languages
  • Philosophy
  • Religious Studies
  • Research Study

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