Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Buddhism Non Honours TRS3032

  • Academic Session: 2020-21
  • School: School of Critical Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 3 (SCQF level 9)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This course explores the central teachings, practices and texts of Buddhism from its origins to the present day. The historical development of Buddhist thought and practice will be examined through the consideration of a variety of Buddhist texts and themes in both the Theravada and Mahayana traditions.


1x2hr seminar per week over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus.


This is one of the Level 3 options in TRS and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Grade D3 or above in any TRS level 2 course or at the discretion of the Head of Theology and Religious Studies.

Excluded Courses

TRS3005 TRS 3: Buddhism 

TRS4010 TRS: Buddhism

TRS4084 Buddhism




Essay (2,000 words) - 40%

Examination (90 minutes duration) - 50%

Ten weekly one-page response papers - 10%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

response papers are not available for reassessment.

Course Aims

This course will provide the opportunity to:

■ examine the central teachings, practices and texts of Buddhism from its origins to the present day, with specific emphasis on the first one thousand years of its development;

■ develop the critical skills necessary to analyse key Buddhist texts and practices in their historical contexts and to hone those skills in close reading, persuasive writing, and oral presentation;

■ engage critically with recent debates in the discipline of religious studies concerning Buddhist traditions.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ offer a general account of the historical development and diversity of Buddhist traditions;

■ identify key Buddhist teachings and practices and analyse them in historical, cultural, and ethical contexts;

■ read and understand key Buddhist texts, and drawing on primary textual evidence present a clearly argued analysis of religious positions taken in these texts;

■ present a general analysis of a key teaching or practice within Theravada or Mahayana Buddhism;

■ assess the interpretive and theoretical problems when using prevailing western notions such as "religion," "philosophy", "God," "faith" and "scripture' to discuss Buddhist teachings and practices.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.