Frequently Asked Questions - Admissions


Is DRBU accredited?

Yes, DRBU is accredited by the WASC Senior Commission of Universities and Colleges (WSCUC). WSCUC is the accreditation commission for universities in California and is the same accreditor for schools like Stanford and UC Berkeley. See further information about accreditation.

Can international students attend DRBU?

Yes. We can issue F-20s for student visas for both the undergraduate and graduate program.

I am an international student who speaks English as a second language. Can the TOEFL or DuoLingo English Test score requirement be waived for my application?

Generally, we do not waive the TOEFL or DuoLingo English Test score requirement. Our programs are reading and discussion based, so academic readiness in English is very important. However, if you have significant evidence of your English ability (such as attending a school with English instruction), we may be able to waive this requirement. Please contact us to discuss your situation.

I have been out of school for awhile and I’m not in touch with my teachers anymore. What should I do about my letters of reference?

The BA and MA applications both require two letters of reference. One is ideally from a teacher who knows you in an academic context, and the second can be from anyone who knows you well (no direct family members). If you do not have any recent academic teachers, consider someone who taught you in another context, such as a spiritual, art, sports, or religious teacher. If that is not possible, we can grant permission to accept a reference from a boss or someone who has worked with you in a supervisory role. Please contact the admissions office to discuss your situation and we will find a solution. We do not want this part of the application to be a barrier to any of our applicants.

Is financial aid available?

Yes. Our financial aid is need-based, and offered in the form of service scholarship (work study) and University grants. Currently, we do not ask our students to take out loans to finance their education, and thus far, all of our students have graduated debt-free. We do not want finances to be a barrier for any students sincerely interested in attending DRBU. Please contact us to discuss your situation in more detail.

Should I submit all my application materials together?

We welcome you to submit parts of the application separately. We understand certain things take more time to arrive, such as transcripts or letters of reference.

What is the impact of COVID-19 on DRBU classes?

DRBU resumed in-person classes. The parameters of on-campus life depend on how the COVID pandemic is progressing. We will be following established guidelines on good health protocols. This will most likely mean masking, testing, and appropriate social distancing in order to keep our community healthy and safe.

If I am accepted, can I defer my enrollment for a semester or a year?

We do offer the option for admitted students to defer their enrollment for one year. We do not offer a spring-start option, and our curriculum is sequential, so it is not possible to defer only one semester.

Can I visit campus?

Yes, prospective students and their families are welcome to schedule a visit to campus. Please contact us at to schedule a time.

Are DRBU degree programs offered online?

No, our degree programs are based on-campus in Ukiah, CA. We do offer drop-in classes online through DRBU Extension.

What would I study at DRBU?

Our BA is a liberal arts program that focuses on the wisdom traditions of Buddhism, China, India, and the West. Our MA focuses on Buddhist Classical texts. Both programs incorporate classical language learning in either Classical Chinese or Sanskrit. We invite you to explore our curriculum (BA | MA) in more detail.


What are the deadlines to apply?

We are now accepting applications to enter Fall 2024. We use rolling admissions and will start to review your application as soon as it is received in full. Our deadlines are as follows:
Early Action - 11/15/2023
Regular Decision - 01/15/2024
Rolling Admission - ongoing until class is full

I have credits from another college. Should I apply as a transfer student?

In terms of transferring, the situation at DRBU is quite unique. Our curriculum is structured as all-required and sequential. For example, in Chinese Classics class, you take three semesters ranging from early texts like the Daodejing and moving forward in time. The same is true in Indian Classics, Buddhist Classics, Western Classics, and so on. Due to this, it's not possible to start mid-way with transfer credits, and all students enter as freshman. You do get to choose your language option–either Sanskrit or Classical Chinese.
Many of our students come with several years of college already done somewhere else. While we do have students coming just out of high school, the average age for BA students is in the 20s and ranging up. We often get inquiries about people who want a second BA degree from DRBU because it doesn't resemble the education they got elsewhere.

I’m a non-traditional aged student. Are most BA students coming straight out of high school?

One of the things that makes DRBU a very unique place to study is the diversity of life experience in our students. The BA program has students ranging in age from 18-60s. Many come after being out of school for years. Our model of education is suited for a mature student of any age who is interested in investing in their own growth and learning.

I'm having trouble with the Common App. Can you help?

Please contact us and we can find a solution to your specific problem. For quick reference, here is DRBU’s page on the Common App.

What can I do after graduating with a BA in Liberal Arts?

Our approach to liberal arts education trains students to develop their potential across all dimensions of life. This includes cultivating flexibility, versatility, open-mindedness, ethical sensibility, and working across cultures. In our constantly changing society, the ability to adapt to change opens one up to a larger world. Our students can carry their foundational DRBU education forward into a multitude of careers and pathways to leadership. Generally speaking, popular careers fields for Liberal Arts graduates include education, law, medicine, business, communications, software development, social services, and arts.
As a small community, DRBU provides excellent opportunities for mentoring from our faculty and staff that can help support a diversity of post-graduation opportunities. As of spring 2021, 38% of our BA students have gone on to graduate school.

We welcome you to explore our alumni spotlights to see profiles of recent graduates.


What is the typical background of an MA student? Are there any prerequisites?

There are no specific prerequisites for applying to the MA program other than completion of a BA degree. We have had students with backgrounds in humanities, arts, health, science, math, and many other fields join the MA program. No formal background in Buddhism is required.
Explore our student profiles to get to know some of our current students.

What if I have a PhD or another graduate degree already, can I still study at DRBU?

Yes. We've had multiple students with MA or PhDs from other institutions enroll in our MA program.

What can I do after graduating with an MA in Buddhist Classics?

While the MA in Buddhist Classics can provide a grounding for students who wish to pursue graduate or doctoral work in Asian Studies, classics, Buddhist studies, or similar degrees, that is not its only, or even primary, intent. Many students choose to join the program for their own enrichment or spiritual development. For others, it can further professional development, enhance almost any career, or simply enlarge their world view stimulated through an immersion in the Buddhist way of life. The program allows individuals to reach personal understanding of both the teachings in Buddhist texts and the contemplative exercises that can inspire personal growth and professional innovation. By the end of the program, students should be able to explain and discuss Buddhist practices, methods, and concepts in a “language” that is integrated with the cultural and intellectual thought-ways of the West and the larger modern world.
We welcome you to explore our Alumni spotlight to see profiles of recent graduates.

Certificate in Buddhist Translation

Do I need to be proficient in Classical Chinese?

While it is preferred that students have experience with Classical Chinese, they are not required to be proficient in Classical Chinese to be admitted to the Graduate Certificate program. However, students should have proficiency in English and ideally a second language.

What source languages do students translate from?

Currently the Graduate Certificate Program focuses on translation from Classical Chinese.

What texts do students translate?

Each semester students have the opportunity to work on translating a different text. In the past, students have worked on translating portions of the Avatamsaka Sutra, the Vimalakirti Sutra, the Mahāyāna Vaipulya Dhāraṇī Sūtra, and poems by Master Hanshan.

Who pursues a Certificate in Buddhist Translation at Dharma Realm Buddhist University?

People who are interested in the translation of Buddhist texts as a spiritual practice, and the integration of spiritual practices and academic study.