Program Details

Explore Buddhism in India through interdisciplinary coursework and meditation while living in a monastery near the site of Buddha Shakyamuni’s enlightenment.—plus a unique opportunity to conduct rigorous independent field research.
Bodh Gaya, India
Program Type:
Study Abroad
Degree Level:
Fall Semester

Program Overview

Program Description:

Since 1979, this program has become recognized for the academic excellence of its comparative approach to both the theory and practice of Buddhism. The program weaves together the diverse resources of Bodh Gaya, a unique pilgrimage center in northern India, home to more than 40 Buddhist temples within a largely Hindi and Muslim community. Each temple offers a gateway for students to explore a particular culture and region where Buddhism manifests around the world, including Tibet, Sri Lanka, Burma, Japan, Bhutan, and others.

Through comparative study, the program examines each of the three major Buddhist traditions and their historical development: Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana. Students live in a Burmese Vihar, or monastery, where our highly qualified team of faculty and on-site staff provide an engaging and supportive environment. In addition, the program includes group travel to Varanasi and New Delhi, as well as a month-long Independent Study Project at the end of the semester that includes the opportunity to travel to a Buddhist community in India or neighboring countries.

Setting Description:
It was in Bodh Gaya, under the Bodhi tree that the prince-ascetic Gotama became the fully enlightened Buddha. For two and a half millennia, Bodh Gaya has been a magnet for pilgrims from all Buddhist cultures who come to venerate this sacred site, each in a fashion unique to his or her own tradition. Thus, within a two-mile radius, temples have been constructed to function with the cultural traditions of Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, Japan, China, Bhutan, and Tibet. As well as being a pilgrimage center for Buddhists, Bodh Gaya is home to several thousand Hindus and Muslims. Religious and cultural festivals abound here. After an orientation period in London and Delhi, the program proceeds to Bodh Gaya, where program participants are provided with lodging and vegetarian meals within the compound of the Burmese Vihar (monastery). The program concludes with a three-week independent study period, which may include independent travel to other areas of India, and a final week in Bodh Gaya.

Additional Program Information

Must be in good standing at an accredited U.S. or Canadian college or university
Scholarships Description:
Global Engagement Scholarships are need-based, ranging from $1000 to $3000. A completed program application is required to apply for a Global Engagement Scholarship.