Students sit around a table learning from their professor
Class Session in Bodh Gaya

After nine weeks of class in Bodh Gaya, students spend three weeks working on an independent study project. This is the student’s opportunity to select a subject of special interest and pursue it in depth. These projects may be approached through a variety of academic disciplines and often involve travel in India or neighboring countries.

Carleton Global Engagement faculty carefully supervise the planning of each independent study project, but emphasis is placed on student initiative in both the design and execution of this work. The project culminates in a written report, which is presented when the student returns to Bodh Gaya at the conclusion of the program in December.

Examples of past independent study projects include:


  • The Healing Power of Chöd: Demons, Karma, and Love
  • Conceptions of Creativity Amongst Tibetan Artists in Mcleodganj
  • Pilgrimage in North India
  • Tibetan Medicine
  • Tibetan Buddhism’s Influence on Tibetan Doctor Training: The Making of Wise and Compassionate Amchis
  • Vegetarianism in Ambedkarite Buddhism
  • Buddhist Archaeology

Art History

  • Newari Temple Construction   
  • Bhotia Art


  • Teaching Buddhist Values
  • Mandalas and Math


  • Role of Music in Tibetan Ritual 
  • Throat Singing
  • Music as Spiritual Practice


  • Awakening Through Dream: A Tibetan Buddhist Perspective
  • Theravadin Abhidhamma      
  • Bodhisattva Consciousness

Political Science

  • The “Tibet Question”  
  • Dharma and Development  


  • Phenomenology of Vipassana Meditation
  • Body/Mind Paradigms in Vajrayana
  • Mindfulness in Context: Examining the Effects of Vipassana Practice on the Mental Health of Burmese Practitioners
  • Rebirth and Regression Therapy


  • The Dakini Dance: ‘Cham at Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery
  • The Marks of Buddha
  • A Nunnery in Nepal    
  • Buddhist-Christian Dialogue   
  • Filial Piety & Buddhism 


  • Ambedkarite Buddhists: How Identity and Practice Influence Experiences of Injustice
  • Dharma, Dana, and Social Engagement: A review of Engagement and Activism within Buddhist Burmese Society
  • Buddhism and Work Ethics