Faculty and Staff

Columbia University has the largest number of faculty actively engaged in Tibet-related research and teaching in the Western hemisphere, including two endowed chairs.

Dr. Robert Barnett

Director, Modern Tibet Studies Program, and Assistant Professor.

Dr. Robert A.F. Thurman

Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies.

Dr. Gray Tuttle

Leila Hadley Luce Assistant Professor of Modern Tibetan Studies.


Built on a legacy of over seventy years, Columbia boasts the largest collection of Tibet-related resources, many online such as:

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Program of Studies

Tibetan and Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies is a vibrant area of academic study at Columbia University. Two main academic programs are offered at Columbia:

Student Information

A wide-range of courses on Tibetan language, religion, and culture are offered at Columbia University. Some of these are available at Cornell and Yale through the Shared Course Initiative at the Language Resource Center.


Columbia University is home to the largest collection of TIbetan books in the Western hemisphere. The link below provides an overview of the physical and digital Tibetan resources hosted by Columbia University.

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Tibetan and Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies are subjects of active research at Columbia University with projects under the Center for Buddhist Studies, the Tengyur Translation Initiative, and more.

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Affiliated Programs

Learn more about the affiliated centers and programs at Columbia University, such as the American Institute of Buddhist Studies, the ANU-Columbia Partnership for the Study of TIbet, and other affiliated programs.

History of Tibetan Studies

Pioneer of Tibetan Studies at Columbia University, Theos Bernard

Tibetan Studies at Columbia University began with Theos Bernard (1908-1947), who submitted the first dissertation in Religion in 1943, instigating the eventual founding of the Religion Department in 1961. The roots of Asian studies in general, however, can be traced back to 1901 and CU's first endowed chair in Asian studies, the Dean Lung chair, a gift of Horace W. Carpentier.

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Tibetan Studies faculty, staff, and students at Columbia University are active in research in publication.

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