Columbia’s Modern Tibetan Studies program, established in 1999, was the first program in the West dedicated to teaching about the society, history, and culture of modern Tibet. It provides a range of courses and programs for undergraduate and graduate students who want to focus on modern Tibet studies; supports and carries out research on modern Tibetan society, history, and culture; runs study programs, educational projects and conferences in close collaboration with other institutions and scholars in the US and abroad; organizes exchange visits with Tibetan and Chinese scholars from Tibet and elsewhere; and has an ongoing program of public activities in New York.

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Columbia’s Tibetan language program is among the best in North America, offering classes in first- through third-year modern Tibetan language. Through the Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures, Columbia also offers two years of classical Tibetan. The Tibetan language program ranks alongside Columbia’s nationally recognized programs in Chinese, Japanese and Korean language, which together constitute one of the leading East Asian language programs in North America.