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Emory Tibetan Studies Program
Dharamsala, India (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Spring
This program is currently not accepting applications.
Budget Sheets Spring
Dates / Deadlines:
Please contact Emory College Study Abroad for more information.
Fact Sheet:
Language Prerequisite:
Minimum GPA:
Language of Instruction:
English, Tibetan
Program Type:
Hosted by Emory University
Program Advisor:
Jeremy Billetdeaux
Program Description:


Hosted by:

Emory University and the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics
Student Perspective: Tyler Sit Candler School of Theology 2014
Reaching out to Tibetan Refugees - International Educator Article November 2012
Emory News: Emory Tibetan Studies Program Celebrates 12 Years
Emory Tibetan Studies Brochure
Student Blog: Hannah Williams, C'13
Semester Program Video
10th Anniversary Celebration

Academic Focus:

Tibetan Culture and Civilization, Tibetan Language, Buddhist Philosophy and Practice, and Independent Field Research and Methods.  Independent Research topics cover a wide range of subject matter including Religion, Buddhism, Philosophy, Visual and Performing Arts, Global Health, Ecology/Environmental Studies, Science, Medicine, Education, Political Science, Human Rights, and Women's Studies.

***This program is open to all majors.

Program Dates:

The program will be on hiatus for Spring 2017

Eligibility Requirements:

A minimum 3.0* GPA, following at least 3 semesters of college-level work and enrollment at an accredited institution the semester prior to the study abroad semester. No language requirement. Students are required to complete a phone interview and/or meeting with the Program Director prior to admittance.  Students are admitted on a rolling admissions basis. 

Former program participants include students from Barnard College, Bates College, Boston University, Colorado College, Columbia University, Kenyon College, Rice University, Stanford University, University of California-Santa Barbara, University of Georgia, University of Montana, University of Puget Sound, University of California-Berkeley, University of Vermont, Vassar College, Williams College, and Emory University.

*Students with below 3.0 GPA are still eligible to apply to this program. For more information about the GPA Waiver Process, please click here.

Program Information:

blogHWSituated in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas and home to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dharamsala is the capital of the Tibetan exile community.  Within this remarkably beautiful and culturally rich environment, Emory University and its partner  the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics (IBD) weave together rigorous academic study, field research, cultural immersion, and contemplative practice in order to provide a unique semester-long program for students interested in both India and Tibet.

Cultural Immersion and Field Research
Students live with Tibetan roommates while on the IBD Sarah campus and then with homestay families in McLeod Ganj.  During the program students participate in weekly fieldtrips, celebrate several important Tibetan and Indian holidays, and attend numerous cultural events, including Tibetan Uprising Day, Shoton (opera festival), a trance by the Nechung oracle, a session of the Tibetan exile parliament, and public teachings by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.  Many students also hike, do volunteer work, practice yoga, learn Hindi, or take a Tibetan class in cooking, dance or music in their free time.  The program concludes with three weeks of supervised field research where students have the opportunity to study with Tibetan experts, do internships, travel, advance their language skills, and deepen their understanding of a topic of their choice.

Emory's close relationship with the Dalai Lama
As part of Emory's on-going partnership with the Tibetan exile community, His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama has been named Presidential Distinguished Professor at Emory, the first university appointment accepted by the 1989 Nobel Peace Laureate. In this capacity, His Holiness has often offered a private class to our Tibetan Studies Program students, which is always a highlight of this exceptional study abroad program.  For information about this appointment and other dimensions of Emory's relationship with the Dalai Lama, please visit: .

"Meeting the Dalai Lama is an incredible experience, but  equally wonderful was becoming a member of such an interesting and diverse community. The Tibetan people are the nicest group of people that I have met, and their kindness and generosity will never be lost on me.  I will never forget how easy it was to have an adventure [in Dharamsala].   Every day offered something new to me, and the majestic Himalayan mountains provided a beautiful backdrop. Being on this program was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I am very grateful that I took part." - Student Participant

In addition to the semester program, Emory also offers a summer program focusing on Tibetan Mind/Body Sciences.  Students participating on the Spring semester Emory Tibetan Studies Program are also eligible to participate in the summer program, which begins soon after the semester program concludes.


Students enroll in four courses and earn a total of 16 credit hours.

Please note that the syllabi found below are from previous programs.  Syllabi for the upcoming program will be provided on the first day of class.

Tibetan Culture and Civilization
MESAS / ANT / REL (4 credits)
This course provides an historical and cultural overview with lectures by Emory faculty, field trips, and guest speakers. Topics include Tibetan religion, arts, politics, social life, medicine, education, environment, and issues of exile and diaspora. Tibetan Studies Culture Syllabus

Tibetan Buddhist Philosophy and Practice
MESAS / REL / PHIL (3 credits)
This course covers the fundamentals of Buddhism and more advanced explorations of Mahayana psychology, philosophy, and ethics. The class also often includes public teachings with the Dalai Lama and instruction in philosophy and meditation given by other leading Tibetan teachers.
Tibetan Studies Philosophy Syllabus

Tibetan Language
TBT 101 or TBT 102 (5 credits)
Students will enroll in either TBT 101 or TBT 102, depending on prior knowledge of Tibetan.
Tibetan Studies Language Syllabus

Tibetan Language 101 TBT 101 (5 credits)
This course is an introduction to modern spoken and written Tibetan. It enables students to understand and speak colloquial Tibetan at the novice level, be proficient in basic grammar, write the classical dbu can script, and read simple passages. In addition to daily classes, the course also includes practice sessions several times a week with local language partners provided by IBD.

Tibetan Language 102 TBT 102 (5 credits)
This course is a continued introduction to modern spoken and written Tibetan.  It enables students to understand and speak colloquial Tibetan at an advanced novice level, become proficient in more advanced grammar, write one of the cursive scripts (dbu med), ask basic research questions, and read simple texts. In addition to regular class sessions, the course includes individual sessions with the teacher and practice sessions several times a week with local language partners provided by IBD.

Independent Research: Selected Topics
MESAS / REL or by arrangement with another department (4 credits)
This course allows students to explore creatively a particular Tibetan Studies related topic under the direction of Emory-IBD faculty and local experts. The student's research typically culminates in a major paper, artistic product, or online/digital piece. Methodology might include field research, surveys, tutorials, internships, service, and/or library research. Students may arrange credit hours towards their major, pending approval from their department or faculty adviser.
Tibetan Studies Independent Research Syllabus

Students may also read previous research proposals and papers from former program participants:
Tibetan Studies Independent Research: Sample Proposals and Projects

Tibetan1Living Arrangements:

While on the IBD Sarah campus, students live in double rooms with a Tibetan roommate and eat most meals in one of the cafeterias.  In McLeod Ganj, students live with a homestay family for three weeks, where they are given both breakfast and dinner, with a lunch stipend provided by the program.  They then shift into a Tibetan-run hotel for another three weeks, during which time both group meals and food stipends are provided.  During the research period, stipends will be provided for travel, food, lodging, and research assistance.

Costs:  A full description of the program costs and billing procedures is available in the Spring budget sheet.

Financial Aid/Scholarships:

Students are eligible to carry existing financial aid and scholarships on Emory-approved study abroad programs. Students may also be eligible to apply for the following scholarships: Benjamin Gilman Scholarship and NSEP Boren Scholarship. For more information, please click here.

Visiting students from other universities are encouraged to meet with their study abroad office and financial aid office to inquire about funding available.

Articles and News:

Tibetan Studies courses for the MESAS major
Emory-Tibet Partnership
Drepung Loesling Institute
Institute of Buddhist Dialectics
His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama Named Presidential Distinguished Professor at Emory


Jeremy Billetdeaux, Associate Director, Emory College Study Abroad, Emory University, 404-727-2240,
Dr. Tara Doyle, On-Campus Director and Program Faculty Contact, Department of Religion, 404-727-9416,

This program is currently not accepting applications.