Graduate Program


Application materials become available in late September for admission effective the following year. All application materials must be submitted on-line (http://grad.berkeley.edu/admissions/grad_app.shtml). All applicants should list an email and postal address that will be effective through the entire application period.

The Graduate Division web site (http://grad.berkeley.edu/admissions/admis_require.shtml) provides a detailed picture of the university's requirements. We admit students for the Fall semester only.

Applicants will submit unofficial transcripts, GRE scores , etc. on-line as part of the application. Admitted students will be required to submit two copies of all official transcripts in envelopes sealed by the issuing institutions at a later date.

A writing sample in English must be included with the on-line application. The writing sample is intended to gauge an applicant's academic writing ability, and should be a paper that the student feels best represents the quality of his/her work. An ideal writing sample will be around 20 pages on a topic related to Buddhist studies, but a paper on another topic or of a different length may be acceptable.


Students thinking of applying to the Ph.D. program are strongly encouraged to visit the Berkeley campus and meet the Buddhist Studies faculty and students prior to submitting their application. Students should contact the Graduate Advisor in advance of their visit for help in setting up faculty appointments and arranging to visit a graduate seminar.

Letters of Recommendation: Three letters of recommendation are required. As part of the application you will have to submit the names and contact information for the letter writers. Letters in languages other than English should be translated into English, but the original letter, in the original language, must be included. The Group recommends that letters of recommendation come from faculty members who can comment on the applicant's intellectual capacity, analytical skills, ability to write English, and general aptitude for scholarly work. Letters from nonacademic referees are rarely helpful. All letters must be submitted on-line by the recommenders no later than two weeks after the application deadline to ensure that they are included in the review process.

Graduate Record Examination: All applicants are required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Only scores from the past five years are acceptable. Applicants should plan to take the GRE General Exam well before the application deadline. To send an official score to Berkeley be sure to list the institutional code for Berkeley (R4833) and the ETS departmental code for Religious Studies (2904). For more information, contact Educational Testing Service, Box 6000, Princeton, NJ 08541-6000; (609) 771-7670 or 1-800-GRE-CALL.

Applicants from Abroad: International applicants are urged to examine closely the requirements for certification and translation of records and TOEFL requirements provided in the Graduate Application and the information on legal residency and fees. International students with F-1 or J-1 visas must pay nonresident tuition every semester of graduate study in addition to instate fees (with a 75% reduction in nonresident tuition after advancement to Ph.D. candidacy).

For more information on TOEFL see http://www.grad.berkeley.edu/ admissions/ admis_require.shtml#4_3. Since it will take six to eight weeks for us to receive the TOEFL scores after a request is made to the Educational Testing Service, students should report their score on the on-line application. This will allow the Admission Committee to begin their review of the file immediately. (Note: An official report must still be submitted to the Group from Educational Testing Service before a student can be admitted.)