The UVA Tibetan Language Program offers four years of instruction in Tibetan during the academic year. The sequence begins with two years of elementary (TBTN 1010/1020) and intermediate Tibetan (TBTN 2010/2020), and then continues with two separate tracks for third and fourth year. The first track focuses on modern Tibetan ( TBTN 3010/3020 and 3030/3040) and the second track concentrates on classical Tibetan literature with a focus on Buddhism (RELB 5470/5480 and RELB 5800/5810). In addition, advanced reading classes in classical literature are offered beyond the fourth year (RELB 8230).
UVA also has an intensive summer Tibetan program (Summer Language Institute Tibetan) which attracts students from major research Universities across the world such as Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, the University of Chicago, Oxford University, and Oslo University as well as Buddhist centers and independent centers.
Modern Tibetan classes are taught through a unique “Contextual Teaching Methodology”, which makes it easier for students to retain what is taught. Students are able to speak the language early on as phonetics is introduced along with alphabets. Classes also integrate learning of different aspects of Tibetan culture and tradition since knowing culture is as important as speaking a language. We also offer a Tibet Corner where students can practice their language and learn more about Tibetan culture from local Tibetans. Classical Tibetan classes are taught with rigorous attention to grammar and lexical items, as well as focused on facilitating independent reading. The classes range over a wide variety of literary genres, time periods, and religious sects.
UVA also has great resources for the study of Tibetan language in the world’s largest digital library devoted to Tibet, the Tibetan and Himalayan Library (www.thlib.org). Every year the UVa Tibet Center hosts multiple visiting Tibetan scholars on grounds as well as sponsoring speakers and events, while it also supports three UVa offices with Tibetan staff in different locations in Tibet.