University of Washington Graduate Programs in Asian Studies

Box 353521
225 Gowen Hall
Seattle, WA  98195-3521
Phone:  206-543-4996


Buddhist Studies

Degrees Offered: 
Graduate M.A., Ph.D. concentrations


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. Areas of concentration within the program include South Asian Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, or Inner Asian Buddhism, with the relevant languages (Sanskrit, Pali, Tibetan, Old Turkish, 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.


The program in Chinese language and literature offers work in the textual, linguistic and literary study of Chinese as well as in the history and criticism of the Chinese literary tradition. The student will work out an individual course of study with an adviser. Although a student normally emphasizes either linguistics or literature, both are important components for all students. Courses offered in other programs within the department, and in other departments, such as Comparative Literature, Anthropology, Linguistics, or one of the other language and literature departments, may constitute valuable additions to the program where they support and enrich a special emphasis.


This program offers work in the history and criticism of Japanese literature from the earliest period to the modern age. Students normally concentrate on fiction, poetry, and drama, supplementing their reading and analysis of original works with readings in secondary critical and historical sources. For example, a student interested in Japanese aesthetic concepts might wish to devote a major portion of his program to the history of criticism, while students with other specific interests might wish to pursue a linguistic, philosophical, biographical or comparative literature approach. In any case, the student and his adviser plan a course of study that concentrates on the language and literature training offered by this department, and may also include course work in other departments when this is deemed necessary to develop the academic resources of the student for his research in Japanese literature. (Students primarily interested in the linguistic analysis of the Japanese language should refer to the brochure describing the M.A. Program with Specialization in Asian Linguistics. The Department does not offer a program in the techniques of language teaching.)

South Asian Languages

The applicant must meet the requirements of the Graduate School as outlined in the University Catalog. An undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 in the last 90 quarter or 60 semester credit hours is a prerequisite for admission, together with three letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose. for admission to the M.A. program with specialization in South Asian Languages and Literature, preference will be given to students with prior preparation in a South Asian language and literature, in South Asian regional studies, or in a humanistic discipline pertinent to the study of South Asian civilization. Students lacking such preparation may be admitted to the M.A. program; however, they must remedy any deficiencies by adding, as early as possible, such courses as the academic adviser considers necessary. South Asian languages in which specializations are offered at the University are Sanskrit and Hindi.

Prospective applicants to this program should be aware that there is also an M.A. program in South Asian Studies in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. These two South Asia-focused programs are partially overlapping, but have significantly different emphases. In general, the South Asian studies concentration in Asian Languages and Literature is designed for students with interests in any studies which are primarily based on the study of languages and/or linguistics, and in textual or philological studies. The Jackson School South Asia program is intended for students who are more interested in a general interdisciplinary area studies program, particularly (though not exclusively) with an emphasis on the social sciences.


Program Detail

Financial Aid: