The Nitartha Institute Buddhist Studies Curriculum presents the Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana view through a well-developed progressive series of courses designed as Foundation, Intermediate, and Advanced curriculum studies. Nitartha begins with the study of mind and its relation to objects. In essence, we ask the following questions:

How do we know what we know? How do we know if this knowledge is correct?

These courses provide a foundational understanding of the terms and methods used to support analytical inquiry into how mind engages with its world. They build a well-developed ground on which the intermediate and advanced curricula are built. The courses in Buddhist Philosophy (BUD) fall within the categories of valid cognition and inner science of mind.

The entire Foundation and Intermediate curricula can be completed in 3 years by taking a combination of Summer Institute courses and semester/online courses. Advanced courses are open for self-guided study for those who have completed the Foundation and Intermediate curricula.

Upcoming Buddhist Philosophy Courses

Semester Courses

Fall 2021 semester begins in September!

Click below to see start dates, prerequisites, and more!

Self-Paced Online Courses


Nitartha offers three levels of shedra courses: Foundation, Intermediate, and Advanced. Students are advised to complete the Foundation and Intermediate levels of study before progressing to the Advanced courses, however Foundation and Intermediate courses are not always a prerequisite for Advanced courses. This shedra curriculum is devoted to the in-depth study of the Buddhist view and to the contemplative practices through which students can engage these teachings and apply them to their experience. Click below to learn more about the different levels of study or download the course catalog as a PDF.

Foundation Curriculum

Nitartha’s foundation level curriculum presents the views of foundational Buddhism, including Vaibhashika and Sautrantika philosophical systems.

Intermediate Curriculum

At the intermediate level, the Mahayana philosophical systems of Cittamatra and Madhyamaka are explored in depth. The Tathagatagarbha tradition and the exposition of the path to enlightenment are also introduced.

Advanced Curriculum

The advanced curriculum features in-depth study of primary texts selected from the Eight Main Treatises of Sūtra and Tantra of the Kagyu school and the Thirteen Core Indian Buddhist Treaties of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism.