The programme of study has two main elements, philological and cultural. The former involves the study of Buddhist texts from India to Japan; the latter looks at Buddhist culture from various aspects, history, religion, art history, etc. Other topics for investigation by both students and staff include bioethics, ecology and other problems of the modern world studied from a Buddhist perspective.
The other distinctive characteristic is its international flavour. Both faculty and students are sought from around the world. Throughout the five years, students are given individual tuition by specialists under whose guidance they proceed to a thesis, which must be produced within the five-year period. Eminent foreign scholars are invited to the college whenever possible to give lectures and seminars and we hope thereby to encourage the active flow of ideas and information between scholars and students.
The college has an affiliated Library and International Institute and all three function smoothly as a unit to aid both research and teaching. The college grew out of this Institute, which has published some thirty monographs over the last twenty years and which has an international reputation. The Library consists of over 100,000 books (both primary source materials and monographs) and periodicals. It is rich in both Japanese and Western holdings and has few rivals either in Japan or abroad.