GTU Welcomes Institute of Buddhist Studies as New Member School

BERKELEY, CA – August 5, 2021 – The Graduate Theological Union (GTU) and Institute of Buddhist Studies (IBS) are pleased to announce the deepening connection between their scholarly communities as IBS becomes the GTU consortium’s ninth member school, following thirty-six years of collaboration as a GTU affiliate. IBS is the first non-Christian institution to be represented among the GTU’s member schools, further living out the GTU’s commitment to fostering interreligious life, learning, and leadership. In addition to IBS and its other member schools, the GTU is comprised of five academic centers and five affiliates, making it the largest consortium of theological schools and institutes in North America.

The Institute of Buddhist Studies is a leading American Buddhist graduate school and seminary that provides graduate-level education across the full breadth of the Buddhist tradition, with specialized training in academic studies of Buddhism, Buddhist chaplaincy, and Jōdo Shinshū Buddhist ministry.

“The Institute of Buddhist Studies has long been a valued affiliate of the GTU consortium. We are thrilled to now welcome IBS as a member school, enhancing the integration of IBS faculty and students into the academic life of the GTU,” said Dr. Elizabeth Peña, Interim Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the GTU. “The contributions of IBS are crucial to the GTU’s goals in interreligious, interdisciplinary scholarship and activism.”

For more than half a century, the Institute of Buddhist Studies has provided Buddhist education, innovative research, and an engaged community of scholars and practitioners in Berkeley, California. Established in 1969, IBS affiliated with the Graduate Theological Union in 1985. Today, IBS offers two graduate degree programs, the Master of Divinity and the Master of Arts in Buddhist Studies as well as six graduate certificate programs, including a certificate in Buddhist chaplaincy. It also participates in the GTU’s Master of Arts program, for students with an interreligious focus. 

“Our students have benefited from the interreligious learning opportunities offered by the GTU and its member schools for the past three decades,” said Dr. Scott Mitchell, Dean of Students and Faculty Affairs at IBS. “By becoming a full member school, we’ll be an even more vital part of this community, contributing to and shaping the future of interreligious education. The impacts of this step are already felt and will be far reaching.”

The GTU and IBS look forward to new opportunities for learning, research, and collaboration between their students and faculty as the fall semester begins next month.



About the Graduate Theological Union

The Graduate Theological Union (GTU) is one of the world’s most comprehensive centers for religious education, and one of the largest and most diverse partnerships of seminaries and graduate schools in the United States. 

More than a consortium and academy, the GTU is a dynamic laboratory that provides scholar-innovators with a staging ground to reimagine the future of interreligious life. An education with the GTU equips leaders to translate learning into action that will have tangible impact in the world.

Since its founding in 1962, the GTU has been at the forefront of interreligious education and dialogue, and the work of our eminent alumni, students, and faculty across cultures, traditions, and technologies continues to create new pathways to a truly pluralistic future.

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