Skip to content

Programs : Brochure

This page is the brochure for your selected program. You can view the provided information for this program on this page and click on the available buttons for additional options.
  • Locations: Bhaktapur, Nepal; Bodhnath, Nepal; Kathmandu, Nepal; Lumbini, Nepal; Pokhara, Nepal
  • Program Terms: January Term
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Program Sponsor: UMAIE 
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Program Description:


Hindu Mythology and Buddhist Philosophy in Nepal
This course is full and no longer accepting applications

UMAIE Scholarship


Learn about Hindu and Buddhist mythology and philosophy in Nepal, as we spend time in the living museum of the Kathmandu Valley’s superb religious art and architecture, get close to some of the spiritual places of the Himalayas, and visit the birth place of the Buddha. 

Academic Overview

Ever since the first drivable road into the Kathmandu valley was opened in the late 1950’s, Nepal has been recognized as a country with rich religious traditions, and the very name “Kathmandu” has been synonymous with spiritual awareness and soul-stirring beauty.  Hindu Mythology, and the stories and legends associated with Hinduism’s daughter-religion, Buddhism, comprise one of the most complex and intriguing sets of narratives ever created by humankind, with moral and ethical underpinnings as rich and profound as their symbolism and metaphorical imagery. This course will teach you how to understand and engage with the world’s oldest still-active mythico-religious tradition by reading ancient texts, absorbing and analyzing their meanings on multiple levels, and applying this knowledge to the observation and interpretation of the magnificent temples and shrines of the Kathmandu valley, with additional trips into the Himalaya and to the birthplace of the Buddha in the nation’s southern jungles. By the end of the course, you will be able to identify all the major Hindu deities and the aspects and postures of the Buddha by sight, as well as the major myths and stories associated with both religions. You will wrestle with the Buddha’s philosophical positions on the nature of suffering, the self, and reality. You will understand what the “Om” symbol represents, gods like Shiva, Kali and Vishnu will be old friends, and you will use words like “dharma” and “karma” with a confident understanding of their actual meanings.

Program Fee/Cost  
Estimated Program Cost Included in Program Cost *Tuition Notice
Program Estimate: $5,792 - $6,092
*Includes Tuition and Administrative Fee

The final program fee will be published here in early December, 2018

There is a $500 deposit - $250 due at the time of application and $250 due by July 31st.  Students who begin an application after July 31st will need to submit the full $500 deposit at once. The deposit will be deducted from the total program cost when it is billed in January.
  • Transportation
  • course arrangements
  • hotel accommodations in twin and triple rooms,
  • continental breakfast daily,
  • four lunches and ten dinners; all group meals will be vegan (subject to change)
For this J-Term Global Studies Course, students will receive 4 credits, but will only be charged for one credit of tuition.  The tuition charge is included in the estimate listed, but will appear separately on your bill.


Course Equivalency
Core Liberal Arts Requirement: Fine Arts AND Philosophy (B.A. 2nd Philosophy, B.S. only Philosophy)
**You may only take one course during your degree that counts for two requirements (double-dip).  If you have already taken a course
that meets more than one requirement you will be restricted to choosing one requirement.  Please see us if you have any questions.

Required Readings
1) Classical Hindu Mythology, by Cornelia Dimmitt & J.A.B. van Buitenen, Temple University Press.         
2) The Lonely Planet Guide to Nepal, by Mayhew et al., Lonely Planet Guides.                     
3) One Amar Chitra Katha Indian mythological comic book from India, purchased online                                                                               
4) Hindu, Buddhist, & Tantric Gods & Goddesses, Manjupurias, Scholar’s Nest Publishing.
5) What the Buddha Taught, Rahula, Grove Press.
6) Selected Buddhist Sutras from
1)   Attendance & Participation (10%)
2)   Iconography Test (10%)                                                                                                             
3)   Site Visit Presentation (10%)
4)   Reading Presentation (10%)
5)   Fieldwork Presentation (20%)                                                                                                                        
6)   Philosophy Paper (20%)
7)   Fieldwork paper (10%)
8)   Final Reflection Paper (10%)
Faculty Directors
Emily West, St. Catherine University (651) 690.6069, email:
Jeff Johnson, St. Catherine University (651) 690.6801, email:

Description of Faculty Directors
Emily Dr. West is an Associate Professor at St. Catherine University. Her Ph.D. is in Classics, with a specific concentration on the Sanskrit language, and most of her research is based on Hindu religious literature. Art History has been a passion of hers since a particularly formative high-school AP course, and was a substantial component of her college and graduate work. The devotional art of India and its formal iconography has been a particular focus of ongoing learning for Dr. West.  In 1989-90, she participated in the University of Wisconsin College Year in Nepal program, and lived in the Kathmandu Valley and did fieldwork on its river system. The months of hiking the valley’s waterways that this required left Dr. West with an intimate knowledge of its geography, road networks, and temple types and distribution.  This will be Dr. West’s 3rd time teaching a UMAIE course, and second time co-leading Hindu and Buddhist Art, Architecture and Mythology in the Kathmandu Valley.
Jeff Johnson Dr. Johnson is an Assistant Professor at St. Catherine University in the Philosophy Department. He has done research in Asian Philosophy, including Buddhist philosophy and some Indian Philosophy. Dr. Johnson has taught the Upanishads, The Bhagavad Gita, and a number of Buddhist Sutras in a World Religion course.  This will be Dr. Johnson’s 2nd time co-leading Hindu and Buddhist Art, Architecture and Mythology in the Kathmandu Valley.
Travel Advisories Button Please note that the United States Department of State has updated their travel advisories.  Click here to see the updated information on the advisory levels for each of the countries this course will visit.
Application Procedures & Deadline
· Select the Apply Now button at the top to start your online application.
· Login using your username and password.
· All applications received by your home institutions priority deadline will be sent to the faculty immediately. Applications will be taken after that deadline for programs with space still remaining until the final application deadline of October 1, 2018.

Final Application Deadline: October 1, 2018

For more information on course content, contact: Prof. Emily West
On application procedures or logistical information, contact your study abroad office. 

Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.