Tibetan Buddhism preserves a rich philosophical and practice oriented tradition. On this semester length program, students will go beyond textbooks and study this tradition in a living monastery. Students will take classes on Buddhist philosophy and history, all while gaining insight into the day to day lives of Buddhist monks and nuns.

Our program is set at the Rangjung Yeshé Institute, an organization that has been teaching Buddhism to western students for twenty years. Participants will study Buddhist Philosophy with traditionally trained monks, complemented by classes taught by western scholars. They will also be able to take courses on Buddhist history and the religions of Nepal, and those who wish will have the opportunity to study meditation with acclaimed meditation masters. But perhaps most importantly, students will be immersed in Tibetan Buddhist life. Classes are held on the grounds of Ka-Nying Shedrup Ling Monastery. Set in the bustling town of Boudhanath—just outside of the city of Kathmandu, Nepal—this monastery and its environs are in the heart of Tibetan religious life in Nepal. Because of this, students will be able to engage with the daily realities of Tibetan Buddhism on a daily basis—an experience like no other in the world.

Classes begin in late August and run through December, allowing students to be in Nepal during the year's best weather.  Also, because this is a semester long program, students return with 1.5 terms worth of academic credit (up to 24 credits!), while only missing a single term at OSU.

For more information or to apply, contact Dr. Geoff Barstow at barstowg@oregonstate.edu.


The program has some fixed costs, and others that are less determinate. Overall, students should expect the entire program to cost them eight to ten thousand dollars, largely depending on how much they spend on eating out and souvenirs. This is actually less than a term and a half worth of (tuition, housing and so on) for in state students at OSU in Corvallis. Further, the College of Liberal Arts has agreed to give all participating students a $500 scholarship, and a similar scholarship is available to religious studies majors and minors.

Fixed Fees

RYI Program Fee


Housing Costs (homestays, meals included) 1000

OSU Fees








Indeterminate Costs




Local Travel




Books and Supplies


Meals and Daily Expenses




CLA Scholarship


REL Scholarship (REL Majors / Minors)


Students are required to take several courses, and others are strongly encouraged.  If students take a full slate of four courses, they will receive 24 OSU credits.  That said, this is an academically rigorous program, and some students may elect to only take three courses.

TSTD 101: Buddhist Philosophy and Hermeneutics
This course, taught by a traditionally trained Khenpo (the Tibetan equivalent of a western PhD) meets five times a week and moves slowly and thoroughly through a single Buddhist philosophical text.  It is the heart of the educational experience at RYI, and the closest most of us will ever get to a traditional Tibetan monastic education. 9 OSU credits
BSTD 205: Anthropological Study of Nepalese Religion
An investigation of the rich religious traditions of Nepal, with emphasis on the Kathmandu Valley. The course begins with an overview of Hinduism, with its diversity of symbols, beliefs and practices. The course identifies unifying elements, especially those relevant to Buddhism. The second part of the course focuses on Buddhism in Nepal, especially the unique form practiced by Newars, the indigenous people of the Kathmandu Valley, and the sole remnant of Sanskrit-based South Asian Mahāyāna Buddhism. 4.5 OSU credits

Supplemental Buddhist history and philosophy courses.
Each year RYI offers a selection of Buddhist history and philosophy courses, and OSU students are encouraged to select one of these.  The specific course chosen will depend on the individual student’s background, experience, and interests. 4.5 OSU credits
Language Courses
Students have the option of studying either Nepali, Tibetan, or Sanskrit.  For most students, the best choice is Nepali, though those who have a strong interest in Tibetan Buddhism may wish to take Tibetan.  The language that students select will also determine whether they live with a Tibetan or Nepali family.  Sanskrit is also available, but only makes sense for those considering a career in Buddhist philosophy! 4.5 OSU credits.

For more information or to apply, contact Dr. Geoff Barstow at barstowg@oregonstate.edu.

The program is set in Boudha, the bustling heart of Tibetan life in Kathmandu.  You will be surrounded by Tibetans living their daily lives, performing religious ceremonies, chatting with their friends, or simply hanging out.  Merely experiencing Boudha is one of the most exciting parts of the program!

Sometimes we all need things, whether necessities or simply comforts.  Fortunately, Boudha has plenty of clothing stores, electronic shops, and even supermarkets.  For food, there are plenty of excellent restaurants, as well as coffee shops, tea houses, and other options.

Students on this program will live in homestays, with either Nepali or Tibetan families.  These homestays include both living space and the opportunity to eat with your family.  For many, this is one of the most enriching and rewarding aspects of the program, allowing you to create lasting relationships and truly see how these families and communities live.  That said, if a particular homestay environment doesn’t work for you, it is an easy matter to change households.  Most diets (vegetarian, vegan, or other restrictions) can be accommodated easily!

Health is always a concern on programs such as this one.  While Kathmandu is undoubtedly a polluted city, RYI has decades of experience helping students stay healthy, as well as medical professionals on staff.  With proper hygiene and a modicum of care, you can expect to stay healthy and happy during the program.

For more information or to apply, contact Dr. Geoff Barstow at barstowg@oregonstate.edu.