Department of Buddhist Studies -- Q&A
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Q1：What will I learn at DBS?
Our Department offers undergraduate (B.A.), Chinese-instruction Masters (M.A.), English-instruction Masters (M.A.), and Doctoral (Ph.D.) degree programs. Please refer to our "Courses" page for detailed outlines of degree requirements, educational objectives, and career prospective.
Q2：At DBS, can I study other domains besides Buddhist Studies? What are some other fields? What are the benefits of interdisciplinary studies?
Of course! Our university has 16 other departments offering diverse coursework spanning a multitude of traditional and emerging disciplines. Students can choose for themselves which interdisciplinary domains to explore in-depth, e.g. Buddhism & Psychology, Buddhism & Media, Buddhism & Management, etc. Please refer to the "FGU Academic Manual" for further information about minor or secondary major degree requirements.
Q3：How do I apply to DBS? When are the deadlines?
There are four avenues of application, depending on your student status:
Local ROC students
Overseas Chinese students
Please consult our department's "Admissions" page for more details.
Q4：Can I enroll as a non-degree-program student and receive credit for my coursework?
Yes. Our department accepts applications for non-degree students at the undergraduate, Masters, and doctoral levels. Those interested can submit their applications to the "Office of Academic Affairs" during in the winter and summer interims prior to the start of the Autumn or Spring semesters. For more information, please refer to the "Office of Academic Affairs" page on "Non-degree Students". Non-degree students can request grade reports to prove satisfactory completion of coursework, which may be relevant to a future degree program.
Q5：Is there campus housing for students?
Students enrolled in a degree-program are eligible for dormitory housing; unfortunately, as rooms are limited, this privilege is not extended to non-degree students, who can instead commute or search for suitable rentals near campus.
Q6：Can I still apply for studies at DBS without any background in Buddhism?
We accept applications from students of all backgrounds. Our undergraduate program is most suitable for those without any fundamentals, so students interested in the Master’s program may first take undergraduate courses to develop their knowledge base. As doctoral coursework is more advanced, those without sufficient background may face difficulty at the PhD level and should find the Master’s program more suitable. As most students in the department reside at the college during the semester, much can be learned and shared simply through peer interaction and discussion, so please do not worry about slight language or knowledge deficiencies.
Q7：Can I audit courses as a listener?
Unfortunately, we do not allow visitors from the general public to join our courses without official enrollment. Enrolled students can audit courses university-wide, contingent on permission of the course instructor. Each semester, select events, conferences, or talks may be open to registration from the general public.
Q8：Does DBS offer degree or diploma upon graduation?
Officially-recognized degrees. Fo Guang University is not a seminary but a general university. Unlike some other Buddhist colleges in Taiwan that are not certified to offer degrees, our degrees are officially recognized by the Ministry of Education. Students who fulfill the requirements of their respective (B.A./M.A./Ph.D.) degree programs, will receive a corresponding degree and recognized by the Ministry of Education.
Q9：What are possible career prospectives for students upon graduation?
Q10：Who are the sponsors of the DBS departmental scholarships?
In order for eligible students to study undistractedly with minds free of worry about possible financial burdens, Ven. Master Hsing Yun established the “Promising Buddhist Youth Scholarship”, which offers NTD$50,000 per semester to covers nearly all expenses. Meals at the department are generously sponsored by the “Fo Guang Shan Cultural Education Endowment.”
Q11：How do I apply for the departmental scholarship? What are the eligibility requirements?
All students, who reside at the DBS college and abide by the established regulations for communal living and services, regardless of academic performance, can receive the departmental scholarship for a maximum of four or eight semesters, depending on the length of their degree program. For more information, please see the departmental page on “Scholarship Information.”
Q12：Must I reside at the college as DBS student?
We encourage our students to reside on-campus at the DBS college, because our practicum courses form an important component of our department’s educational vision. Apart from knowledge-based coursework, we aim to provide our students with a vessel for pragmatic education in which mental understanding gradually percolate and transform heart and body. It is our hope that our students can, through established communal disciplines and responsibilities, develop character, experience, and wisdom, which often cannot simply be transmitted verbally in a classroom.
Q13：What is “Practicum” coursework?
Simply put, apart from the typical academic courses available in a typical department or university, “practicum” coursework introduces students to the monastic communal life and discipline: morning and evening chants, meditation, and karma yoga (cooking, serving, cleaning, etc.). We at DBS believe that communal discipline and teamwork can be an effective means to unlock individual potential. Our only hope is to ripen and mature our students into sensible, effective human beings, who, apart from being armed with knowledge and skill, also have the strength of heart to assume responsibility for themselves, those around them, and the greater society. Please see our departmental page regarding “Practicum.”
Q14：What are “diǎnzuò” and “xíngtáng”?
These terms originating from the Chan/Zen tradition can be explained as:
“diǎnzuò” : cooking duties in the kitchen
“xíngtáng” : service duties in the dining hall at mealtimes
“záowǎnkè” : morning and evening liturgical chants, akin to lauds and vespers
Q15：Are there any age restrictions for enrollment at DBS?
None whatsoever. All interested are welcome to apply.
Q16：Must I be vegetarian at DBS?
Not at all, but we ask that you respect our DBS colleagues by not bringing non-vegetarian food inside the Yunshui environ, classrooms, and residences. You may partake of such freely in all other buildings and areas on the FGU campus.
Q17：Must I be Buddhist to study at DBS?
Not at all. Those with any curiosity or interest (academic, historical, cultural, philosophical, etc.) in Buddhism, are welcome to apply.
Q18：Does DBS encourage students to ordain as monastics?
Certainly not. Apart from academics and research, we do offer practicum coursework to expose students to monastic lifestyles and traditions; however, as ordination is a serious individual matter contingent on many supporting circumstances, those with such aspiration may find a more suitable environment at a traditional Buddhist foxueyuan (seminary) for the cultivation and training of monastics.