Buddhist Studies

Susanne Mrozik, Associate Professor, Religion

Ajay Sinha, Professor, Art and Art History


Overview and Contact Information

Buddhism began in India some two and a half millennia ago. Since that time it has evolved through a number of transformations and has been transmitted to numerous cultures. Buddhism has had a great impact upon the lives of individuals and the development of societies, and it has made many contributions to various spheres of culture, for example to art, literature, philosophy and religion.

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 through the Five Colleges.

Each student pursuing the the Five College Certificate in Buddhist Studies will choose, in consultation with one of the MHC Buddhist studies advisors, a course of study to fulfill the requirements of the certificate. Each proposed course of study must be approved by the coordinating committee for the Buddhist studies certificate.

Requirements for the Certificate

A minimum of seven courses:

A minimum of seven approved courses that must include:
One advanced-level course 1
One course in three different disciplines of Buddhist studies: anthropology, art history, Asian studies, philosophy, religious studies, etc.
One course addressing classical Buddhism
One course addressing contemporary Buddhist movements (nineteenth–twenty-first century)
One course in at least two of the following four geographical areas: South and Southeast Asia, East Asia, the Tibeto-Himalayan region, and the West
Total Courses7

Additional Specifications

  • Up to two canonical or appropriate colloquial Asian language courses may count toward the certificate. Language study is not required, however.
    • 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). We strongly encourage these students to continue language study beyond the first-year level.
  • Students must receive a grade of at least B in each course counting toward the certificate. Courses must be 3 credits or more to count toward the certificate. A list of candidate courses is available on the certificate's website.
  • Courses taken abroad or outside the Five Colleges may count toward the certificate only if they would be approved for credit toward the major in the appropriate department of the student’s home institution.