One of several areas of concentration within Religious Studies, the Buddhist Studies program was founded by members of the faculty in 2004. It provides undergraduates and graduate students the possibility of focusing their studies on one of the world's great religions. The Buddhist Studies program is interdisciplinary and cross cultural in its orientation, drawing from faculty expertise in anthropology, area studies, cultural studies, global studies, linguistics, and Religious Studies. The program also emphasizes the study of Buddhism across cultures, covering most of Asia — from Sri Lanka to Mongolia, and from India to Japan. The program maintains a close affiliation with the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies.
Buddhist languages taught at UCSB include:
The Buddhist Studies program also stresses the importance of understanding Buddhism's historical and contemporary interactions with other religions, including Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Shamanism, Shinto, and Daoism. This comparative and global element of the program is supported by faculty strength in Religious Studies, one of the most academically diverse departments in country.