CDS - Courses and Degree Programs

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Founded in 2015, The Mira and Ajay Shingal Center for Dharma Studies helps scholars and students from the Hindu and Jain Dharmic heritage communities and other traditions understand Dharma in its multidimensional richness, and encourages cross-cultural and interreligious understanding.

Course Offerings

Fall 2017

Philosophies of Religion: India & the West (A. Ramelow, P. Bilimoria)
Research Sanskrit (P. Bilimoria)
Theology & Ethics (R. Sherma, V. Miles-Tribble)
Hindu Ritual Studies (S. Saraswati, R. Sherma)
Yoga Studies Foundations (R. Sherma)
 

Spring 2018 Courses

Natural Science in Interreligious Context (T. Peters, R. Russell, R. Sherma)
Hindu Theology: Foundations  (R. Sherma)
Indian Philosophy: Overview (P. Bilimoria)
Gandhi, Non-Violence, Jainism (P. Bilimoria)

Summer 2018

The Yoga Sutra: Understanding Yoga Psychology (G. M. Schweig)

Spring 2018

Natural Science in Interreligious Context (T. Peters, R. Russell, R. Sherma)
Hindu Theology: Foundations  (R. Sherma)
Indian Philosophy: Overview (P. Bilimoria)
Gandhi, Non-Violence, Jainism (P. Bilimoria)

Fall 2017

Theology & Ethics Seminar (R. Sherma, V. Miles-Tribble)
Philosophy's of Religion: India & the West (P. Bilimoria)
Research Sanskrit (P. Bilimoria)
Yoga Studies Foundations (R. Sherma)

Spring 2017

Sacred Texts Seminar (R. Sherma, R. Esterson)
Dharma Philosophy & Ethics (P. Bilimoria)
Introduction to Jainism (P. Bilimoria)
Introductory Sanskrit (P. Bilimoria)
God the Mother in Hinduism (R. Sherma)

Fall 2016

Hermeneutics: Hindu Critiques (R. Sherma)
Intro to Hindu Theology (R. Sherma)
Hindu Theology of Oneness (S. Saraswati)
Jaina Philosophy & Ethics (P. Bilimoria)
Introductory Sanskrit (P. Bilimoria)
Christianity & Dharma Religions (P. Bilimoria, T. Cattoi)

Degree Programs

The GTU currently offers two degrees through the Center for Dharma Studies: a Master of Arts in Hindu studies and a Doctor of Philosophy with four concentrations in Hindu Studies:

  • Historical & Cultural Studies of Hinduism
  • Hindu Theology & Ethics
  • Hindu Sacred Texts & their Interpretation
  • Yoga Studies: Philosophy & Ethics (Religion & Practice)

MA and PhD in Jain Studies are available through the Historical and Cultural Studies of Religion. The CDS also offers a certificate in Hindu studies and a unique program of Yoga- Studies.

Unique CDS courses focus on the multidimensional study of Hindu thought and culture in its diversity—with rigorous research in both theory & practice, with the added option of immersion in Hindu praxis. Advanced Sanskrit and major Indian languages are offered to enable comprehensive research. Hindu Studies at the GTU employs textual and contextual exploration towards an in-depth understanding of the lived experience of the Hindu world and its engagement with the challenges of a global era, providing rigorous preparation for academic professions, Hindu-American leadership training, and an invaluable background for careers in international relations or global business.

In the field of Jain Studies, the CDS offers a unique opportunity for the cultural and theological study of Jain texts, teachings, and traditions of transmission in an interreligious and interdisciplinary context that provides the conceptual space for constructive dialogue and collaboration that extends across religious traditions. Innovative approaches encourage critical reflection on the ways in which Jain principles such as radical non-violence and pluralism can contribute to a more balanced, equitable, sustainable, and compassionate human society. 

Scholars wishing to pursue a degree or certificate in Hindu Studies may choose to focus their studies in these departments and concentrations:

  • Historical and Cultural Studies of Religion
    • Anthropology of Religion
    • Art & Religion
    • Comparative Religion
    • Hindu Studies
    • Jain Studies
    • New Religious Movements
    • Religion & Literature
    • Sociology of Religion
  • Theology and Ethics
    • Aesthetics
    • Comparative Ethics
    • Hindu Theology
    • Philosophical Theology
    • Theology & Science
  • Sacred Texts and their Interpretation
    • Hindu Sacred Texts
  • Religion & Practice
    • Yoga Studies

Master of Arts in Hindu Studies

Students in the MA in Hindu Studies program will be given opportunities to apprehend the self-understanding of Hindus by studying the multidimensional ways in which the Hindu ethos functions, its specific characteristics of non-exclusivity and celebration of internal diversity, and its history of reciprocal illumination with other faith traditions on the Indian subcontinent, as well as its tradition of self-reflective reinterpretation and reform.

In accordance with the interreligious environment of the GTU, the Hindu ethos will be studied in dialogue with other religious traditions in order to deepen understanding of the cross fertilization and profound relationships amongst cultures and faiths while honoring the distinctiveness of each religion.

Master of Arts in Yoga Studies

Interested in studying Yoga Beyond the Mat? 

The Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley offers fully accredited Certificate, Masters, and Doctoral programs that focus on the academic study of Yoga.

Students in the Yoga Studies concentration study Hindu and Jain yoga traditions with attention to research topics such as:

Contemplative yoga

Yoga of self-knowledge (jñāna)

Yoga of devotional love (bhakti)

Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali

The Bhagavad Gītā

Other themes to be explored include:

Immortality and Liberation

Tantra Yoga

Dharma and Yoga philosophy

Nāda Yoga (the yoga of sound vibration and music)

Yoga and the West

Yoga, Health, and Healing

Applicants to the Certificate and MA Yoga Studies programs at the Graduate Theological Union are expected to have academic preparation in the humanities and some training in yoga specifically, but are not required to have extensive academic background in Hindu or Jain yoga traditions.  Prospective students are encouraged to contact the GTU Admissions department or the Center for Dharma Studies directly to discuss potential research topics and prior educational experience in order to determine a fit within the program.

Doctor of Philosophy in Hindu Studies

The Doctoral concentrations in Hindu and Jain Studies offers students the opportunity to develop their own interests while working closely and collaboratively with Center faculty. Students may work within and across the disciplines of religious studies, history, literature, theology, philosophy, sociology, cultural studies, art and religion, or science and religion to innovate knowledge in sacred and commentarial literature, spiritual formation, ritual studies, translation, social structures, cultural exchange, sampradāya-specific systematic theology, constructive theology, secularization, the semiotics of liturgy, interaction with other religious traditions, the diaspora, classical medical literature and bioethics, Hindu communities and social engagement, Hinduism in America, or Hindu-American leadership.

Students will attain expertise in ancient and modern Indian languages and research methodologies especially suited to the academic professions, and will acquire proficiency in teaching, scholarly research, and socially engaged religious leadership. Students are further invited to explore the programs, courses, and faculty at UC Berkeley.

Doctor of Philosophy in Yoga Studies

Interested in studying Yoga Beyond the Mat? 

The Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley offers fully accredited Certificate, Masters, and Doctoral programs that focus on the academic study of Yoga.

Students in the Yoga Studies concentration study Hindu and Jain yoga traditions with attention to research topics such as:

Contemplative yoga

Yoga of self-knowledge (jñāna)

Yoga of devotional love (bhakti)

Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali

The Bhagavad Gītā

Other themes to be explored include:

Immortality and Liberation

Tantra Yoga

Dharma and Yoga philosophy

Nāda Yoga (the yoga of sound vibration and music)

Yoga and the West

Yoga, Health, and Healing

Applicants to the PhD program are expected to enter with some language skills and some academic background in yoga studies. Prospective students are encouraged to contact the GTU Admissions department or the Center for Dharma Studies directly to discuss potential research topics and prior educational experience in order to determine a fit within the program.

Hindu Studies Certificate

The Certificate is intended for GTU students who wish to have a basic knowledge of Hindu Studies for professional breadth. It involves five courses related to Hindu Studies or Yoga Studies and a paper. The Certificate in Hindu Studies provides an opportunity to expand your vision and open a window to a richly colorful world of Hindu thought, life, and experience.

Intersession and Summer Programs

CDS may offer courses for credit during the winter and summer intersessions, as well as during the summer. Auditors are welcome with faculty permission.

Non-Degree Study at CDS

Auditors are welcome in CDS classes with faculty permission.