Tibetan and Himalayan Studies MPhil

The golden chorten at the Tashiding monastery complex in West Sikkim. Photograph by Dhillan Chandramowli. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

This programme aims to introduce Tibetan and Himalayan studies to students who do not have much background in the subject. Emphasis is on teaching the Tibetan language (both spoken and literary). Students are also introduced to the history and civilisation of the area, including Tibetan history, society, literature and religions.

During full term students will typically attend around seven or eight hours per week of face-to-face classes, lectures or tutorials. Students will be expected to come to these well-prepared through self-directed study and reading.  Academic articles and books will be assigned for general background on the region, and there will be weekly lectures on various aspects of Tibetan history and civilisation as well as lectures on Buddhism in the first and second terms. Selected topics will be treated in more detail in a set of eight essays/tutorials, most of which will be scheduled in the third term of the first year.  Throughout the course, attendance at lectures by visiting scholars will be strongly recommended.

Students will be encouraged to use the long summer vacation between the first and second year to attend a summer school abroad or visit Tibetan-speaking communities in Tibet or in South Asia to develop language skills, and to begin work on their dissertation.

Teaching takes place through language classes, lectures, seminars and tutorials. Dissertations, which account for 30% of the final assessment, are to be submitted early in the third term of the second year. Final exams covering language, set texts, history and civilisation, are then held at the end of the Trinity term.


The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Faculty of Oriental Studies and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff. Under exceptional circumstances a supervisor may be found outside the Faculty of Oriental Studies.

Further Information

Tibetan and Himalyan Studies is collaborating closely with the Tibetan & Himalayan Studies Centre at Wolfson College.

Please click here to access the Tibetan Graduates Studies Seminar (TGSS), a weekly series of colloquia and guest lectures at the Oriental Institute.

Many graduates of Oriental studies have undertaken further research and pursued successful careers in the academic world, education, publishing and in museums.

Some graduates have also chosen a different career path and found employment in other fields including business, finance, law, civil service, journalism, government and industry.

Graduates or Tibetan and Himalayan Studies often move on to postdoctoral academic positions, research projects in Tibetan studies, or Buddhist translation projects. While teaching and research in an academic context is the most typical career path, it is also possible to find employment in other fields such as charities and NGOs, public education, copy editing for publishers specialising in Buddhism, or fillm making, to name just a few examples.

The Faculty of Oriental Studies has a number of scholarship and funding opportunities across a wide range of subjects. Please see here for a list of these opportunities.

Use the University's fees, funding and scholarship search tool to see what funding you might be eligible for. Apply by the January deadline to be automatically considered for most funding.