In 2006, the College and Department of Buddhist Studies (DBS) of Fo Guang University were officially certified by the Taiwan Ministry of Education (MoE) as college and department within a fully accredited university. They are respectively the first such college and department in Taiwan recognized by the MoE to award academic degrees in Buddhist Studies.
The Bachelor’s and the English Master’s degree programs began in 2007 with both substantial domestic and diverse international student enrollment. Since inception, monastics and laity have been consistently well-represented at the College. The English Master’s program includes coursework with comprehensive English language instruction and is the first (and currently only) such Buddhist Studies program of its kind in Taiwan.
The Chinese Master’s and the Doctorate of Philosophy degree programs commenced in 2012; the College thus became the first faculty in Taiwan to award PhD degrees in Buddhist Studies
Mission & Vision
With uncompromising commitment to both ethics and scholarship, our faculty was envisioned as a balanced, integrated, complete educational institution fostering excellence in character as well as academic achievement. Furthermore, our research arm, the Center for Buddhist Studies, was established to make broad, impactful contributions to the understanding and appreciation of Chinese Buddhism visible on the world stage. To this end, international conferences are organized, visiting scholars are invited, and studies-abroad and academic exchanges are arranged for students to broaden their horizons.
If you are in search of an environment suited to your personalized learning and growth, please consider arranging a (virtual or in-person) visit to DBS!
Placing equal emphasis on breadth and depth, DBS course offerings allow students liberal flexibility and choice for their individual educational directions. Apart from the ample opportunities in foundational curricula of literature, hermeneutics, history, philology, philosophy, psychology, and arts and culture, the department also offers innovative electives imparting practical training, such as a popular undergraduate course on religious tourism. For the study of Buddhist textual traditions, the department offers intensive, expert language instruction in classical Chinese, Sanskrit, Pali, Tibetan, Japanese, and English.
Our students are actively encouraged to pursue minors or secondary majors in other departments so as to acquire interdisciplinary versatility. Through coursework in a contrastive domain, such as media arts, social sciences, or psychology, they are empowered to join Buddhism with another proficiency for potential future careers.
The department invites numerous (at least five) guest lecturers from outside the department and university every semester, to expose our students to eye-opening, transformative perspectives.
Last but not least, the department offers generous support for those bold and proactive students that take the initiative to form extracurricular small groups to share their ardent passions. Recent and current department-affiliated, student-initiated clubs (not to mention those university-wide) include: Journalism club, Chinese music ensemble, brush calligraphy, sketching and watercolor, badminton, hatha yoga, taijiquan, conversational English & Japanese circles, TOEIC/TOEFL study groups, Yogācāra & Prajñāpāramitā Sanskrit reading groups, and more.
2.Personal GrowthYunshui ((Cloud and Water) Residential College was conceived as an immersive environment where all full-time DBS students can live and study together. The College believe that the cultivation of social and practical life skills is vital during youth. Grounding in a communal lifestyle simultaneously nurtures and challenges students to maintain harmonious relationships and to reflect on and improve their own attitudes and behaviors. Thus,
- Ethics: integrity, responsibility towards both collective and self, group- and self- discipline,
- Etiquette: humility, mutual respect, courtesy, and amity
are thoroughly learned out of intrinsic utility rather than being merely the result of externally imposed policy.
DBS at a Glance
Straightforward Admissions Process: The DBS undergraduate program welcomes all applicants with a high/secondary school diploma or equivalent. GSAT (Taiwan university entrance exam) scores are not required for applications submitted directly to the Department.
Extensive Scholarship Support: The Department offers fully enrolled on-campus students a comprehensive scholarship of NT$50,000 each semester for up to four years of undergraduate study or up to two years for graduate (MA/PhD) study.
Esteemed Teaching Faculty: DBS students are taught by one of the largest and most diverse teaching faculties in the field of Buddhist Studies within Taiwan.
Innovative Course Offerings: Examples of recent course offerings unique to our department include “Introduction to Buddhist Liturgal Languages”, “Cultural and Functional Buddhism”, "Research Methods for Buddhist Studies”, and other interdisciplinary electives currently under development.
MA Program: MA program has Chinese and English tracks.
Advance to Higher Certification: The faculty has complete curriculum on Buddhist studies including programs on undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels, our department allows students interested in higher education a smooth transition with minimal barriers.
Academic Exchange Opportunity: Many of our students take advantage of the university’s signature dual-degree “FGU-UWest 2+2 Program” and similar studies-abroad at numerous partner universities worldwide.
Internship & Professional Development: Fo guang shan Monastery and its affiliated worldwide subsidiaries offers qualified DBS students internships and potential employment upon graduation.
Ethnic & Cultural Diversity: As of 2021, more than fifteen nationalities are currently represented in the DBS student body.
World-class Facilities & Resources: The College of Buddhist Studies has invested in creating an ideal physical environment for the study and practice of Buddhism. Students have access to fully furnished study and cultivation spaces, such as AV-equipped lecture halls, computer classrooms, meditation hall, dining hall, common areas, and an industrial-sized kitchen. Most notably, the Department library maintains a comprehensive, multi-lingual collection of classical and modern Buddhist literature from around the world, and the Center for Buddhist Studies holds a wealth of rare Buddhist materials and manuscripts for research.
On top of a solid foundation in moral character, DBS students acquire both soft skills and technical abilities lasting a lifetime, readily transferable and highly relevant to a spectrum of industries, such as:
Communications & Culture: journalism, editing, and publication; digital content creation; social media management; product design
Arts & Tourism: curation of art galleries; management of museums and exhibitions; operations at travel agencies and monasteries (e.g. Fo guang shan)
Hospitality & Management: administration of resorts, hotels, restaurants (e.g. Waterdrop Teahouses), temples, and non-profit organizations; human resources; public relations; marketing.
Education: pursuit of advanced degrees; research and/or teaching at private or religious institutions; teacher’s certification; English/Chinese language teaching certification.