MA in Religious Studies with Language: Contemplative Religions

This MA degree includes all the course work of the MA Religious Studies degree with the Contemplative Religions concentration, which is enriched by training in either Sanskrit or Tibetan through two years (16 credits) of course work or more. This 61-credit concentration is designed for students who wish to join the academic study of comparative religions with interreligious dialogue, contemplative practice, and personal investigation. Students develop literacy in the living practice traditions of a variety of world religions, with special emphasis on integrating the mystical contemplative dimension with the teachings and other aspects of the traditions as well as on learning interreligious dialogue skills for communicating across religious differences in an environment of global pluralism. Students work with faculty members who are both academically and spiritually trained in the teachings and practices of their respective traditions.


As the classical language of South Asia, Sanskrit is the lingua franca of Budhhist and Hindu religious traditions throughout Asia. The Sanskrit language option provides students with a knowledge of Sanskrit grammar and vocabulary, as well as initial reading knowledge providing access to the world of Buddhist and Hindu texts.


Study of the Tibetan language provides access to the rich and diverse world of Tibetan Buddhist literature, to the oral teachings of contemporary Tibetan masters, and to a great body of Indian texts that survive only in Tibetan translation. The Tibetan language option provides training in both classical Tibetan and the spoken language. Study of classic Tibetan involves learning grammar and vocabulary of the classical language and the reading of texts. Modern Tibetan is learned through the study of the contemporary idiom with practice in hearing and speaking Tibetan.

Culminating Requirements

The degree program concludes with an oral comprehensive exam as well as a master’s paper or project which can include a translation of Sanskrit or Tibetan.