Master of Buddhist Studies
The Master of Buddhist Studies degree (MBS) is a graduate programme that offers philosophical, cultural, and historical perspectives to the fundamental questions and insights of Buddhism. It is intended for anyone interested to study the rich history of Buddhist communities, their philosophy, scriptures, values, and rituals and to systematically explore Buddhism for its applications in the fields of personal and spiritual development. The curriculum consists of 60 credits that serve as a foundation for further academic research at the post-graduate levels (MPhil, PhD). The MBS is open to applicants from any professional background and undergraduate major.
The degree is awarded through the Faculty of Arts recognised under the Qualifications Framework (QF Level 6). English is the primary medium of instruction and students must be proficient in spoken and written English to be considered for enrolment in addition to meeting the University’s admission requirements.
Why MBS in HKU?
Studying Buddhism provides an opportunity to learn deeply about the workings of mind, the path to inner peace and harmony, and the purpose of human existence. Come and explore with us the teachings of the Buddha and his insights on the human condition. You will learn how Buddhism spread around the world, how it evolved and how it influenced modern cultures.
- Join a programme that was the first taught Master degree in Buddhist Studies in Hong Kong and the region and complete a well-established academic programme offered via the HKU Faculty of Arts, ranked to be number one in Hong Kong.
- Enjoy the freedom to design your own programme of study from a pool of over 20 courses with a great variety of themes and topics and receive quality training in different Buddhist traditions from historical, doctrinal and interdisciplinary perspectives.
- Connect with students from various nationalities and backgrounds and join a strong network of graduates from wide range of sectors such as business, finance, government, education, non-profit organizations, etc.
The basic qualification necessary for admission to the MBS programme is a Bachelor’s degree from The University of Hong Kong or an equivalent qualification from comparable accredited institutions.
Applicants from all disciplines are welcome.
Applicants who wish to be admitted to the programme on the basis of a qualification from a university or a comparable institution outside Hong Kong where the language of teaching and/or examination is not English are required to obtain:
- A score of 550 or above (paper-based test) or 80 or above (internet-based test) in the Test of English as a Foreign Language *(TOEFL). Applicants who take the TOEFL should request the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to send an official score report to the University (Institution code: 9671) directly. Original/certified copy of the Examinee’s score record will not be accepted;
- A minimum overall band of 6 with no subtest lower than 5.5 in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
Note: The TOEFL or IELTS result should be obtained within the two years before the date of application. TOEFL iBT® Home Edition and IELTS online tests are not accepted.
Medium of Instruction
Mode of Study
Full-time: 1 year
Part-time: 2 years
Classes are mainly conducted on weekday evenings and weekends.
Applicants who are interested to take only particular courses in the MBS programme may consider enrolling as Occasional Students. Please refer to the related item below.
Duration and Study Load
Students are required to take 8 courses to complete the whole programme. Therefore, full-time students normally need to take 4 courses per semester, part-time students may need to take 2 courses per semester.
Each foundation/elective course usually consists of three consecutive teaching hours per week. The number of teaching weeks in each semester varies, but normally there should be around 10-13 teaching weeks per semester.
Candidates will complete 8 courses by selecting 2 compulsory foundation courses, 5 elective courses, and 1 course for capstone experience. Courses offered cover a wide spectrum of areas which include:
2 FOUNDATION COURSES
5 ELECTIVE COURSES
Indian Buddhist Philosophy
Buddhist Texts, Thought and Culture
Buddhist meditation texts
Buddhist liturgy and rituals
*The courses offered vary each year and the list above is subject to change
The course information for the current academic year is available HERE for your reference.
Teachers for MBS 2023-24 are listed below:
Dr. Georgios T. Halkias
Ven. Sik Hin Hung
Prof. Klaus-Dieter Mathes
Dr. Guang Xing
Dr. G.A. Somaratne
Dr. Tsui Chung Hui
Ven. Dr. Sik Hin Yan
Ven. Dr. Sik Fa Ren
Dr. Amrita Nanda
Ven. Dr. Phuntsok Wangchuk
Dr. Dipen Barua
Dr. Catherine E. Hardie
Prof. Chang Qing
For the profile of individual teacher, please click HERE.
Course fee for 2024-25*:
Full-time: HK$165,000 (Pay in 2 equal installments)
Part-time: HK$165,000 (Pay in 4 equal installments)
*Subject to the University’s approval. As per the University’s advice, a unified course fee will be charged for both full-time and part-time students in 2024-25.
Scholarships are available for application. Please be reminded to submit scholarship application separately after you have submitted programme application. More information can be obtained HERE.
Closing date of scholarship application
February 29, 2024
(Late application will not be considered. Please make sure you have completed online application for admission before applying for scholarship.)
Continuing Education Fund
This programme (CEF course code: 37M130200) has been included in the list of reimbursable courses under the Continuing Education Fund. More details are available at:
Applications for 2024-25 should be submitted online through the following link:
* When you choose your programme for application in the link above, please select Master of Buddhist Studies programme from the Faculty of Arts.
Please click HERE to download the checklist of supporting documents needed for application. *
*Please note that you are not required to submit original/certified true copy of your documents to the University during the application stage. Should you be given an admission offer by the University, you will receive notification to submit original/certified true copy of your documents.
Supporting documents should be submitted online to the University’s document submission system,
or delivered to:
Centre of Buddhist Studies
Room 415, 4/F, The Jockey Club Tower
The University of Hong Kong
Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong
(Attn: Ms Carol Li)
The Faculty of Arts will inform applicants of their application result in writing. Please contact our Centre if you do not receive your application result by June 30, 2024.
Closing Date of Application
Round 1: December 15, 2023 (12 noon HKT)
Round 2: February 29, 2024 (12 noon HKT)
Applications submitted during Round 1 will be considered earlier. Applicants are therefore highly encouraged to submit their applications in the first round.
Anyone who is interested to take particular courses from the MBS programme may consider to enroll as Occasional Student (OS).
A Certificate of Attendance will be issued to OS who have attended at least 80% of teaching sessions. If an OS has completed all the required assignments/ examinations with passing grade, the final grade will be printed on the Certificate of Attendance.
* Credits obtained as OS cannot be transferred to future MBS study.
OS applications should be submitted at least two weeks before the semester begins (First semester begins on 1 September 2023; Second semester begins on 15 January 2024).
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is there any age limit for the application?
No, we welcome applicants from all age groups. We also have many past students who have retired already.
- Is the programme offered online? Can I complete the programme remotely?
Distance learning is not yet available for the MBS programme at the moment. For full-time study, you will only need one year to complete the programme, so if you are not in Hong Kong, you may consider taking a gap year to pursue the programme. We also hear feedback from students that the learning experience for face-to-face learning is far better than online learning.
- Do I have to be a Buddhist to apply for the programme? Would it be hard to catch up without an academic background in religious studies?
The programme welcomes applicants from ALL religions and backgrounds. Our students come from all walks of life, many of them don’t have a religious background and are new to Buddhist Studies. No prior knowledge in Buddhist Studies is expected for admission to the programme. If you wish, you may join our mentorship programme and be paired with a graduate mentor who could provide advice on your study.
- What are the supporting documents required?
You are only required to submit scanned copies of your supporting documents during the application stage. Please click HERE for more details.
- I am required to obtain a valid TOEFL or IELTS results but I do not have the test result at the moment, can I still submit an application first?
Yes, you may still submit an application first but please arrange a test as soon as possible. If you have already booked a test, please inform us the test date via email right after your application.
- Where should I upload my supporting document(s) to?
After submission of your online application, you will receive a link through email the next day which directs you to an add-on system for uploading the scanned supporting documents.
- Are there any funds available to support my study?
Scholarship is available for application and need to be submitted separately from the MBS programme application. For details, please click HERE. Deadline is February 29, 2024 for the intake in 2024. Late application will not be considered. If you are a local student, you may consider applying for the Continuing Education Fund (CEF). Please note that CEF will only be reimbursed after you have fulfilled the CEF requirement and successfully completed the programme. More details are available at: http://www.wfsfaa.gov.hk/cef/index.htm
- I wish to include reference letter in my application, will my referees receive email from the Centre to invite their submission of the reference letter?
For MBS programme applications, there would not be any email sent to your referees to invite their submission. If you wish, you may upload the reference letter to the supporting document submission system (under the category ‘Other Certificate’).For scholarship applications, reference letters are mandatory. Emails will be sent to your referees to invite them for submission of reference letters directly to our Centre.
- What would be the schedule of lectures?
All our courses conduct lectures once a week on weekday evening or at weekends at the main campus. Normally speaking, we advise full-time students to take 4 courses and part-time students to take 2 courses in each semester. The timetable of the current academic year can be found HERE for your reference. The actual lecture schedule depends on the schedule of the courses that you have selected.
- Can I extend my study period?
Yes, you may apply to extend your study period which is subject to the approval of the Centre and the Faculty. The University will charge additional tuition fee for the extended study period on a pro-rata basis.
- Can I change the study mode amid my study?
Yes, you may apply for change of study mode but it’s subject to the Faculty’s approval. The change in study mode is usually effective in the beginning of the next semester. However, please note that the tuition fee for full-time and part-time students are different and change in study mode will induce change in tuition fee.
As a pioneer and leading research institution in Buddhist Studies in the region, CBS has groomed over 1,200 MBS graduates from all walks of life.
We have launched a YouTube channel to share with you a series of stories from our graduates on their own life and learning journey! Do stay tuned by subscribing to our channel! Here are some of their shared content:
Please also visit the website of our Alumni Association, CBSAA, to learn more about our graduates and their activities!