SOAS University of London

Department of Religions & Philosophies, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

MA Buddhist Studies (2022 entry)

Select year of entry: 2022 2021

  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Employment
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Overview

Overview and entry requirements

The MA Buddhist Studies is an interdisciplinary programme that engages with Buddhism as a field of inquiry from a historical, philosophical, anthropological and material culture perspectives though a selection of modules together covering most of Buddhist Asia. The programme follows a non-confessional, contextual approach, which highlights the diversity of Buddhism in its historical and geographical developments and appreciates it as a living religion. Attention is given to how scholarship, both in the West and in Asia, has shaped our understanding of Buddhism. The programme benefits from teaching on Buddhist languages and regional cultures across the School.
It caters to students who wish to broaden their knowledge of Buddhism as a whole or of specific Buddhist traditions as well as to students intending to embark on further research or fieldwork among Buddhist communities.
It is supported by an active Research Centre which offers extraordinary opportunities of further engagement with the study of Buddhism.

The programme’s inter-disciplinary focus aims to provide students with advanced training in the area of religion and politics through the study of a wide range of theoretical and regional perspectives. It will serve primarily as a platform for professional development and further (MPhil/PhD) graduate research. The programme will offer students

  • Advanced knowledge and understanding of significant approaches, methods, debates, and theories in the field of religion and politics, with particular reference to the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East;
  • Advanced skills in researching and writing about topics in and theorisations of religion and politics;
  • Advanced skills in the presentation or communication of knowledge and understanding of topics in religion and politics as they pertain to regional, international, and transnational contexts.

See Department of Religions & Philosophies, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

SOAS academic staff members are qualified to offer guidance and supervision in a wide range of research areas relating to Buddhist literature, doctrine, philosophy, history, ritual, iconography, and art in South Asia, Tibet, Central Asia, China and Japan.

SOAS Centre of Buddhist Studies is a hub of distinguished Buddhist scholarship that generates synergy among academics and research students, from SOAS and beyond, involved in the study of Buddhism in Asian societies. It is composed of 17 permanent members of staff and emeriti, as well as a pool of associate and graduate student members from SOAS and other UK institutions.

Why study MA Buddhist Studies at SOAS

  • we are World Top 50 for Arts & Humanities (QS World University Rankings 2022) - with a rate of 91.7% overall student satisfaction (NSS 2021)
  • we have been ranked 3rd for research outputs and 7th place overall in the Theology and Religious Studies research rankings in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021
  • SOAS is ranked in the top 5 universities in the UK for producing a CEO or Managing Director, according to new research
  • our Centre of Buddhist Studies convenes The Buddhist Forum, a long-standing and well reputed lecture series offering a venue for international scholars to present their latest research to a wide and interested audience
  • SOAS Centre for the Study of Japanese Religions also convenes regular lectures and seminars which frequently include Buddhist topics. The lectures and conferences organised by the Circle of Tibetan and Himalayan Studies predominantly deal with Buddhist art, literature and other aspects of Tibetan Buddhism. There are also lectures and seminars in other departments, which frequently include Buddhist topics

Explore

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time

Entry requirements

  • We will consider all applications with a 2:2 (or international equivalent) or higher in social science of humanities subject. In addition to degree classification we take into account other elements of the application such as supporting statement. References are optional, but can help build a stronger application if you fall below the 2:2 requirement or have non-traditional qualifications.

    Please see our 'postgraduate entry requirements' page for Overseas and EU qualifications and equivalencies.

Featured events

duration:
Full time: 1 calendar year Part time: 2 or 3 calendar years. We recommend that part-time students have between two and a half and three days free in the week to pursue their course of study.

Fees 2022/23

Home students fees:
£11,980
Overseas students fees:
£23,400

Fees for 2022/23 entrants. This is a Band 1 fee. The fees are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. Further details can be found on the Postgraduate tuition fees page

Convenors

Structure

Structure

Students must complete 120 credits of MA taught modules in addition to the compulsory dissertation (60 credits) as outlined below. 

Students may be allowed to study for the MA on a part-time basis:

The part-time MA may be taken over two years, in which case the student takes two 30 credits (or equivalent 15 credits) in the first year, and two 30 credits (or equivalent 15 credits) and the dissertation in the second year.

Alternatively, it can be taken over three years in which case the student can distribute the 120 credits evenly in each of the three years.  The dissertation can be written in year two or three, but it is strongly recommended that this be undertaken in the final year of the degree. It must be submitted in September of the year in which the student registers for it.

Note to part-time students: Modules not listed as running, are likely to run in the next academic year.

For more information, please contact the programme convener.

Module Code Credits Term
Dissertation in Buddhist Studies 15PSRC990 60 Full Year
Taught Component
Compulsory Module
Module Code Credits Term
Critical Concepts in Buddhist Studies 15PSRH050 15 Term 1
PLUS
module(s) to be selected from List A with a total value of 30 credits
PLUS
module(s) to be selected from List A or B with a total value of 30 credits
PLUS
module(s) to be selected from List A, B or C with a total value of 15 credits
PLUS
module(s) from List A/B/C OR choose an Open option to the value of 30 credits
Open options
List A
Module Code Credits Term
Chinese Buddhism: History and Themes 15PSRH053 15 Term 1
East Asian Buddhist Thought 15PSRH018 15 Term 2
Buddhist Meditation in India and Tibet 15PSRC172 30 Full Year
List B
Module Code Credits Term
The Great Tradition of Taoism 15PSRH036 15 Term 2
The Origins and Development of Yoga in Ancient India 15PSRC173 30 Full Year
The Religions of Ancient India 15PSRH054 15 Term 2
List C
Languages
Module Code Credits Term
Japanese 1 A (PG) 15PJKH035 15 Term 1
Japanese 1 B (PG) 15PJKH036 15 Term 2
Japanese 2 (PG) 15PJKC009 30 Full Year
Japanese 3 (PG) 15PJKC010 30 Full Year
Japanese 4 (PG) 15PJKC011 30 Full Year
Korean 1 A (PG) 15PJKH037 15 Term 1
Korean 1 B (PG) 15PJKH038 15 Term 2
Korean 3 (PG) 15PJKC013 30 Full Year
Chinese 1 A (PG) 15PCHH031 15 Term 1
Chinese 1 B (PG) 15PCHH032 15 Term 2
Chinese 2 (PG) 15PCHC011 30 Full Year
Chinese 3 (PG) 15PCHC009 30 Full Year
Chinese 4 (PG) 15PCHC012 30 Full Year
Vietnamese Language 1 A (PG) 15PSEH020 15 Term 1
Vietnamese Language 1 B (PG) 15PSEH021 15 Term 2
Vietnamese Language 2 (PG) 15PSEC037 30 Full Year
Relevant modules in other departments
Module Code Credits Term
The Silk Road and its Origins: Art and Archaeology 15PARH095 15 Term 1
Buddhist and Hindu Art of the Maritime Silk Route 15PARH057 15 Term 1
The Indian Temple 15PARC034 30 credits - 1.0 unit
Tibetan Buddhist Monuments in Context 15PARH075 15 Term 2

 

Programme Specification

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.

Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

The structure of MA Buddhist Studies provides a unique study pathway, characterised both by its coherence and by its flexibility.

The core module "Critical Concepts in Buddhist Studies" is taught by four staff whose expertise cover most of Buddhist Asia, provides students with a broad and stimulating journey into key notions and methods in the study of Buddhism.

Programme leaning outcomes

Knowledge
  • Students will learn how to assess data and evidence critically, locate and synthesise source materials, critically evaluate conflicting interpretations and sources, use research resources (library catalogues, journal databases, citation indices) and other traditional sources.
  • Subject specific skills, for instance, textual criticism, edition, translation, and interpretation of literary, epigraphical, and ethnographic sources, as well as analysis of archaeological and art-historical artefacts.
  • Whenever appropriate, students will enhance their knowledge of one Buddhist language, or gain familiarity with one of these languages, freely chosen among a wide pool on offer.
  • Students will gain familiarity with Buddhism in its various regional and historical contexts, and with the academic field of Buddhist Studies, its rich history and the variety of academic perspectives on Buddhism.
Intellectual (thinking) skills
  • Students should become precise and cautious in their assessment of evidence, and understand through practice what documents can and cannot tell us.
  • Students will develop the capacity to discuss theoretical and epistemological issues in an articulate, informed, and intellectual manner
  • Students will learn to become precise and critical in their assessment of scholarly arguments and to question interpretations, however authoritative, in order to reassess evidence for themselves
  • Students will learn to present complex arguments clearly and creatively.
  • Those students who take a language option should be able to assess primary sources in foreign languages and critically evaluate interpretations proposed by different scholars.
  • Students will acquire both theoretical and regional expertise in order to develop and apply sound academic approaches to the study of Buddhism.
Subject-based practical skills
  • Academic writing
  • IT-based information retrieval and processing
  • Presentational skills
  • Independent study skills and research techniques
  • Reflexive learning
Transferable skills
  • Write concisely and with clarity.
  • Effectively structure and communicate ideas (oral and written).
  • Explore and assess a variety of sources for research purposes.
  • Work to deadlines and high academic standards.
  • Assess the validity and cogency of arguments
  • Make judgements involving complex factors
  • Develop self-reflexivity
  • Question the nature of social and cultural constructs

Dissertation

Students will moreover have to submit a Dissertation in Buddhist Studies of 10,000 words, on a topic chosen from the module chosen as major. The remaining modules may be chosen in the large pool of modules on Buddhist topics and languages, thus allowing each student to build up a specialized knowledge of one or more areas of Buddhist Asia. Students are allowed to take modules taught outside the department of Religions and Philosophies up to one module, which may or may not include a language.

SOAS Library

SOAS Library is one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, attracting scholars from all over the world. Moreover, every year there is a lively events programme that attracts renowned speakers from around the world, allowing students to engage with cutting edge debates on contemporary politics.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

Fees for 2022/23 entrants, per academic year (Band 1 tuition fee) 

Full-time Part-time 2 Years Part-time 3 Years
Home
Students
Overseas
Students
Home
Students
Overseas
Students
Home
Students
Overseas
Students
£11,980 £23,400 £5,990 £11,700 £3,955 £7,725

Fees go up each year, therefore, your tuition fee in your second and subsequent years of study will be higher.

Our continuing students, on the same degree programme, are protected from annual increases higher than 5%.

For full details of postgraduate tuition fees see our postgraduate tuition fees page.

Scholarships
CSJR Postgraduate Student Bursary

Application Deadline: 2022-05-02 00:00

Felix Non- Indian Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2022-01-28 15:00

Felix Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2022-01-28 15:00

International Postgraduate Scholarship – East Asia

Application Deadline: 2022-05-31 00:00

International Postgraduate Scholarship – Europe

Application Deadline: 2022-05-31 00:00

International Postgraduate Scholarship – India

Application Deadline: 2022-05-31 00:00

International Postgraduate Scholarship – Pakistan

Application Deadline: 2022-05-31 00:00

International Postgraduate Scholarship – The Americas

Application Deadline: 2022-05-31 00:00

SOAS Master's Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2022-05-02 00:00

Sasakawa Postgraduate Studentship

Application Deadline: 2022-04-05 00:00

Tibawi Trust Award

Application Deadline: 2022-05-02 00:00

Xia Jing Shan/SOAS Postgraduate Bursary

Application Deadline: 2022-05-02 00:00

For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section

Employment

Employment

In addition to an understanding of global faiths, histories and cultures, graduates from the Department of Religions and Philosophies develop the skills to analyse and communicate ideas in a clear, rational and comprehensive manner. These key proficiencies are valuable in many careers and are transferable to a wide range of sectors and roles.

Recent Department of Religions and Philosophies graduates have been hired by:

  • Asia Society
  • British Council
  • Cabinet Office
  • Chatham House
  • Edelman
  • Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
  • HELP USA
  • King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Princeton University
  • Royal Government of Cambodia
  • The Happiness Factory
  • The Inter Faith Network for the UK
  • The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
  • UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency
  • United Nations Development Programme

Visit SOAS Careers Service

A Student's Perspective

From Indian Buddhism to Japanese Esoteric Buddhism, the diversity of the courses perfectly fitted my interests in Buddhism.

Qingniao Li

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