Focus Strand Essays

BA Focus Strand Essays

A focus strand essay is intended to be a serious and thoughtful examination of a particular question and its significance for one aspect of the liberal arts. Students write a major essay in each of the four classics strands during their first three years. Based on the class readings from the respective strand, each student chooses a topic for their focus strand essay, to be approved by the focus strand professor. Students are encouraged to consult with their focus strand professor while writing, and freshman students in particular are encouraged to work closely with their Rhetoric and Writing professor throughout all phases of their writing.

Essays are graded by the focus strand professor and become a substantial part of the student’s focus strand course grade. Students whose papers are deemed unsatisfactory may submit a revision before the end of the semester. A copy of the graded essay will be kept on file as part of the student’s academic record.

MA Focus Strand Essays

MA students submit a focus strand essay every semester. A focus strand essay is intended to be a serious and thoughtful examination of a particular question and its significance to the study of classic Buddhist texts. Based on class readings, each student chooses a topic, reflects upon its wider implications, and explores its deeper meaning in relationship to the text. Essay topic needs to be approved by the focus strand professor. The essay is not intended to be a work of specialized research, but rather a careful examination based on a close reading of the original text. Students are encouraged to consult with their professor often in the process of writing their essay. Focus strand essays are graded by the focus strand professor and become a substantial part of the student’s focus strand course grade.

The focus strand assignment for each semester is as follows:

  • First year, fall semester: Buddhist Classics

  • First year, spring semester: Comparative Hermeneutics

  • Second year, fall semester: Buddhist Hermeneutics

  • Second year, spring semester: Buddhist Classics