Diploma in Buddhist Studies

(This programme will be conducted in online mode.)

Programme details for Academic year 2024-25:

Commencement Date: 19th July 2024
Days: Fridays
Timing: 3 pm to 5 pm 
Days: Saturdays
Timing: 11 am to 1 pm and 3 pm to 5 pm


The Diploma in Buddhist Studies serves as a bridge programme for students who wish to apply for the MA (Buddhist Studies) programme later. It is also open to those who wish to study Buddhism in its interdisciplinary context. It is an intensive programme, engaging students for six hours per week, over 2 semesters.

The first semester is common to the Diploma in Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology and introduces students to the pre-Buddhist historical context, development of religious thought and the cultural interactions that have shaped Indian civilisation, through the medium of art, narratives and records of pilgrims and travellers. In the second semester students are introduced to the life of the Buddha through text and image, in a course that explores the Bodhisattva ideal and the Buddhas that form part of the Mahayana pantheon. The other courses deal with key concepts of Buddhism, establishing foundational knowledge on the basis of which the student can proceed with their own study of Buddhism, should they so wish. A very important course in the programme is the dissemination of Buddhism to the rest of Asia, where students engage with the process of transmission of ideas into diverse cultures. With two workshops in each semester, students get an insight introduction to art and architecture, scripts and inscriptions, manuscriptology and meditation practice.

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Key Information


HSC or equivalent examination (e.g. 10+2)


Teaching-learning occurs in a combination of lecture, seminar and workshop format. Students are encouraged to reflect and engage with the materials from diverse perspectives and a “Journal” component is integral to several of the courses, to facilitate writing skills. A variety of media are used in instruction, including films and site visits. Assessment occurs throughout the semester and most courses require an end-semester essay instead of an examination.


Semester I Semester II
India upto 500 BC Life of the Buddha: Word and Image
Development of Religious Thought Key Concepts of Buddhism
India and the World Buddhism Across Cultures
Workshop 1 Workshop 1
Workshop 2 Workshop 2


The Centre for Buddhist Studies has led the field in innovative curriculum design that addresses the learning needs of students who can engage full time, as well as those who pursue their passion part-time, at their own pace. The faculty have diverse specialisations, which is reflected in the syllabus.

The Diploma in Buddhist Studies engages students in reflection on contexts while leading them through the basic grounding in Buddhist teachings, so that they are familiar with a wide range of thematic areas in religious studies in general and Buddhism in particular.

Recognising that Buddhism is a living tradition, eminent members of the Sangha are regularly invited to or campus. This gives students an opportunity for experiential learning. The institution has had the privilege of hosting His Holiness the Dalai Lama four times. ven. Dhammadipa, a Buddhist monk from the Czech republic, is an annual visitor who has taught several key programmes on meditation texts as well as led retreats.

The K J Somaiya Institute of Dharma Studies has a library with over 30,000 books, which is an important resource.

In addition to the workshops that are an integral part of this programme, students can attend seminars, workshops and field trips that are offered by the institution across the various disciplines. This creates opportunities of learning beyond the classroom and permits interaction with students pursuing different interests: this is a key feature of the learning experience on our campus.

The most unique aspect of our Centre is community engagement at our outreach project, Jetavan, in rural Maharashtra, which is available for students to visit and volunteer for engagement. The centre has been set up in collaboration with Godavari Biorefineries and Ven. Dhammadipa.

Programme Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the programme, a student will:

  • Have an insight into the sources of our knowledge of ancient India.
  • Understand religious diversity and philosophical debates that enriched Indian tradition; learn how cultures originate from exchanges.
  • Learn about the life of the historical Buddha while investigating the idea of the Buddha through narrative literature and art in a pan-Asian context.
  • Learn about key concepts of Buddhism and its dissemination to different cultures across Asia.

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