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Why Study at McMaster?

Apply now to begin a PhD or MA in one of the world’s leading programs in the study of Buddhism and other Asian religions. Recent graduates of the program at McMaster University now teach in top universities in North America and Asia. Your studies will be guided by faculty members who are renowned experts in the field. James Benn, Shayne Clarke, and Mark Rowe can supervise your interdisciplinary research in the texts, traditions, and practices of Buddhism and other Asian religions. You will be trained in the techniques of philology, ethnography, literary studies and textual criticism.


Graduate Funding

Did you know that there are numerous funding opportunities to support your graduate studies? The minimum guaranteed funding for doctoral students is currently $20,500 a year for four years. Further financial support from the university is available to full-time students on a competitive basis. Some of our MA students receive upwards of $8,000 a year.

McMaster's Department of Religious Studies offers teaching assistantships, various scholarships, external awards, travel scholarships, and bursaries.

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Conferences, summer internships, language programs, teaching opportunities, and research are just some of the ways that graduate students travel. Travel grants from the University and the Department support student initiatives overseas and locally, giving students the opportunity to conduct research and develop professional skills.

Discover Hamilton


Scholarly activities are only part of the total experience of being a grad student. Extra-curricular activities in the Department include summer softball, hockey leagues, departmental gatherings, writing seminars, professional development, and more. Boasting the largest university gym in Canada, graduate-only bar (where you’ll often find us after a seminar), an amazing array of restaurants, and kilometers of hiking trails, Hamilton offers plenty beyond the classroom.

McMaster is situated in Hamilton, Ontario, a city of more than half a million wrapped around the western most shore of Lake Ontario, approximately equal distance between the cities of Toronto and Buffalo, New York.

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Look to the Future

Of our more than 40 students who have received a PhD since 1996, approximately 60% have moved on to hold full-time academic positions, and another 20% to part-time teaching. Masters students have also gone on to careers in the private sector and have been accepted into prestigious PhD programs. Beyond academia, graduates have gone to positions in government, NGOs, and the private sector.

Meet Your Professors

photo of James A. Benn

James A. Benn

Professor | Director, McMaster University Centre for Buddhist Studies

photo of Mark Rowe

Mark Rowe

Associate Professor and Acting Chair of Graduate Affairs, Religious Studies