Introduction to Buddhism

Subject code ABS801
Lecturer Dr Elizabeth McDougal
Delivery mode Online, live
On campus, live
Duration 10 weeks
Next start date Visit timetable

Subject Overview

This subject is an introduction to the fundamentals of Buddhist traditions. Students will examine the origin and development of Buddhism, key doctrines and common concepts such as the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Nobles’ Path, Dependent Origination, Karma, Samsara and Nirvana. The role of Buddhist thought and practice in approaching morality and ethics will be introduced and critically appraised. This subject gives students a foundation for exploring Buddhist studies by critically engaging with sources for Shakyamuni’s life and teaching and the development of Buddhist communities throughout Asia up to the modern period.



Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of fundamental concepts of Buddhis.
  2. Develop critical thinking about the traditional interpretations of Buddhism.
  3. Develop an understanding of classical Buddhist practices and their expressions across different cultures. 




  • Assessment 1: Reflective review of a prescribed preliminary reading on the foundations of Buddhism (15%, due week 2)
  • Assessment 2: Reading log or review of texts or media relating to Buddhist studies (35%, due week 4)
  • Assessment 3: Essay investigating key Buddhist concepts and their practices across cultures (50%, due week 10)


Offering a high degree of flexibility, our courses can be studied online or on campus, full or part-time. Our courses are designed for health and wellness professionals, counsellors, educators, and other leaders who are balancing a work schedule and already have an undergraduate degree. Enrol now or at a time that suits you.