Tsadra Foundation
Dissertation Fellowship for
Tibetan Buddhist Studies

Description and Purpose

We are happy to announce a new grant for graduate students engaged in Tibetan Buddhist Studies at North American universities. Apply by September 1st for the 2021 fellowship.  

This fellowship program provides two, one-year grants to graduate students at North American universities in order to support them in their pursuit of dissertation research focused specifically on Tibetan Buddhism. Dissertation research must include significant textual work on Tibetan Buddhist primary sources and include translation into English. Two non-renewable grants of $35,000 are available each year beginning in 2021.  

The purpose of the grant is not only to encourage more research in the area of Tibetan Buddhism but also to encourage the sharing of academic research with the larger world. Within one year of finishing the grant term, recipients will be required to submit an essay to the Foundation aimed at sharing their dissertation research with a nonacademic audience, with the purpose of advancing Buddhist literacy in North America and connecting educated readers with the research of academics on topics in Tibetan Buddhist studies. This essay may be published in a magazine or online publication by the recipient, or if no suitable venue is available, it will be published online on the Tsadra Foundation website. Recipients with exceptional research that is ready to be presented at academic venues may also apply for an additional small stipend to travel and present at conferences, meetings, or workshops. 


Graduate students in doctoral programs in North America who are engaged in the study of Tibetan Buddhist texts, practices, and related topics. 

A student is eligible to receive a fellowship if he or she: 

Is a graduate student in good standing at an institution of higher education in North America who, when the fellowship begins, is admitted to candidacy in a doctoral program at that institution–applicants need not be currently ABD, but must have achieved candidacy by the time the grant period begins;

Possesses adequate skills in the language(s) necessary to carry out the dissertation project (i.e., Tibetan and possibly also Sanskrit, Chinese, Pali, or Mongolian.)

Duration of the Grant:

12 Months. The fellowship may not be renewed. 

Terms and Conditions
A fellow shall:

Send a written report after six months and a final report to Tsadra Foundation detailing their progress;

Devote full time to research or writing on the approved dissertation topic;

Remain a student in good standing at his or her institution; and

Maintain satisfactory progress in the conduct of his or her research.

Grant recipients will also be expected to present their dissertation research in public at least once, as part of a workshop, conference, or event organized or supported by Tsadra Foundation. Additional funds will be made available for this, as needed. 

Finally, as described above, recipients will be required to submit an essay aimed at sharing their dissertation work with a nonacademic audience. This essay may be published in a magazine or online publication by the recipient, or if no suitable venue is available, it will be published on the Tsadra Foundation website. 

Applicant Information

Current Grant Applications for summer/fall 2021:

Application deadline: September 1st, 2020 – Notices will be sent by February 1st, 2021. 

To receive this grant, applicants must complete requirements for candidacy in their PhD program by August 31st, 2021, or the start of their grant period, whichever is earlier. 

The application review committee is composed of scholars in the field of Tibetan Buddhist studies with positions at major universities in North America. 

Application Instructions

Interested persons should email the following items to the committee (buddhiststudiesgrant@tsadra.org): 

  • A cover letter of no more than 1000 words explaining their dissertation research and the state of their dissertation work
  • Academic writing sample 
  • Curriculum vitae
  • One letter of reference 

No funding may be used for overhead at university institutions and programs. This grant may be held concurrently with other fellowships and grants and any academic appointments. There is no additional financial support for dependents.


Tsadra Foundation is in no way obligated to award any of the candidates who apply for this grant and a decision will be made by the members of the search committee after a thorough review of the submitted documents.

Selection Criteria

  • Significance of the topic and its potential contribution to Tibetan Buddhist studies
  • Potential for advancing the objective of public Buddhist literacy
  • Feasibility and clarity of work plan and likelihood of completing dissertation
  • Academic track record
  • Writing Quality

Application Contact

Email your complete application to buddhiststudiesgrant@tsadra.org

This email will be viewable by the entire academic committee that will choose the grant recipients. If you have a simple question, please direct it to:  

Marcus Perman
Executive Director
Tsadra Foundation