updates on November 20, 2021: We are happy to announce that we are adding a new zone to the Asian Dissertation award starting this year. The new Southeast Asian and Pacific zone includes the following countries: Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand. We also extend the nomination period to January 15, 2022. 

The Khyentse Foundation Award for Outstanding PhD Dissertation in Buddhist Studies is given annually to the author of a doctoral dissertation in the field of Buddhist studies, defended during the previous two academic years. The dissertation must be based on original research in the relevant primary language or languages, and it should significantly advance the understanding of the subject or Buddhist scriptures studied.

The award, which carries a US$8,000 prize, is granted in alternate years to Asian and European dissertations. This year, the focus is on Asia.

Accredited institutions that offer PhD programs in Buddhist studies or religious studies in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan are invited to nominate one dissertation that was completed during the academic year 2019–20 or 2020–21.

  • The dissertation may be written in Chinese or in English.
  • The nomination period is from October 1 through December 31, 2021.
  • The winning dissertation will be announced by June 30, 2022.
  • The award consists of US$8,000 to enable the recipient to further his or her research.

Nominations must be accompanied by four separate documents:

  • A letter of recommendation by a member of the faculty and/or the chair of the department or institution
  • A summary of the dissertation (not more than 2 pages)
  • One representative chapter of the dissertation
  • Full contact information for the department and for the author of the dissertation

These documents should be submitted as email attachments to [email protected]. 

A four-person committee will select three dissertations to be read in their entirety by all committee members, who will select the winning dissertation. The committee’s decision will be announced by June 30 of the following year.

Past winners of the award include Dr. Chao Tung-Ming of National Taiwan University (2014), Dr. Jens Wilhelm Borgland of University of Oslo and Dr. David Higgins of the University of Lausanne (shared award, 2015), Mao Yufan of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (2016), Christopher V. Jones of St Peter’s College, Oxford University (2017), Wenli Fan of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (2018), and Cécile Ducher of the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes – PSL in France (2019), Mingyuan Gao of the Buddha Dharma Center of Hong Kong and Su-an Lin of Chengchi University of Taiwan (shared award, 2020) and this year, Yael Shiri of SOAS, University of London. 

Contact the dissertation coordinator with inquiries.