SOAS University of London

Tibetan (Classical) Beginners Course

Duration: 3 terms, 10 weeks per term, 20 hours blended learning. Each term courses are subject to quorum requirements.

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Mode of Attendance: Part-time

Fees: Course fees quoted are per term of 10 weeks.

This SOAS Language Centre course in Classical Tibetan is designed to give participants the ability to read and understand Tibetan Buddhist texts in the original script.

The aim is to be able to read aloud Tibetan prayers, liturgies, meditation rituals and religious poetry, and also have some immediate understanding of their meaning. Thus a practitioner eventually will not have to rely on transcriptions and translations of Tibetan Buddhist material, but will be able to relate to the original directly.

The course takes the form of first learning the Tibetan script and how words are formed and pronounced, then practising the reading of a graduated series of Tibetan Buddhist practice texts.

As reading progresses, the meaning and structure of the language used in the readings will be explained. Gradually, participants learn to read aloud and to understand what is being read. The readings are carefully chosen to accommodate a diversity of interests.

This course assumes no existing knowledge of the language and no assessment is therefore required prior to application. Prospective students are welcome to contact the tutor with any queries about the course before registering (Charles Manson


The course is taught in English and Tibetan. Class size is limited to 15 to allow close involvement.

This will be achieved through 20 hours of blended learning: this is composed of 15 hours of online structured lessons with the teacher. This is supplemented by a minimum of 5 hours of guided independent learning supported by complementary material and regular feedback from the tutor. The course objective will be achieved within the 10-week course.

Online Course Requirements

Please ensure you have checked the Learner Support page for the Collaborate Session Preparation and Checklist, Required Equipment & Software.


Course materials, if not supplied, are not included in the fee but can be purchased from SOAS bookshop Please see under the syllabus tab for course content and materials.

Timetable Information:

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