Yes. We are planning that for some years. It should manifest in academic 2016/17.
With proof of your English education you do not need any additional language tests.
Honours degree has different meanings for different degrees. Most commonly it is an award in connection with undergraduate Bachelor’s degree variations. If you meant on that answer is “yes”.
We are having some funds each year but they are locked to those students who are coming from economically weak countries.
Due to time zone difference and job, it would be difficult to match the timing. Is it necessary in an online program to be present at the exact time or I can spare time during the week at my convenience?
Lectures are recorded and are accessible 24/7, so students from all parts of the world can access them at their own conveniance, anytime and anywhere. Even if there are webinars for some of the modules they will be recorded for later.
Bhaktivedanta College is a reputable international institute that draws on ancient Indian wisdom to nurture motivated, well-integrated, and independently thoughtful young adults. In a supportive and spiritually uplifting environment, the College enables students to realise their academic and vocational potentials, apply Krishna conscious principles to contemporary lifestyles, and make lasting contributions to all worthy areas of human endeavor. Read more here: bhaktivedantacollege.com/about-us/vision-mission-statements/
Read about the aims of the course leading to a BA in Theology and Religious Studies (TRS) here: bhaktivedantacollege.com/program/theology/
The term bhakti means “devotion” or “love”, and the term sastri refers to a person who is conversant with ancient sacred texts of spiritual knowledge and wisdom, known as sastra in the Sanskrit language. The title Bhakti Sastri is traditionally offered to accomplished students of the theology and philosophy of the Vedas. According to the Bhagavad Gita, texts that teach how to develop bhakti, love of God, the Supreme Soul Krishna, are the best.
This is an eight-week course being held only once a year.
Yes it is the same degree.
Would the certificate awarded by Bhaktivedanta College & University of Chester mention the word online?
We are issuing two certificates: one from UOC and one from BC.
Another option is to postpone the studies for a later date. For more info on postponing, please follow this link.
After 7 days, if we don’t get any statement from the student, it is considered that s/he has taken the course and refund or transferring is not possible anymore. Those who didn’t pass the closed-book exam (including those who didn’t take it) can take the whole course again at later time after paying administrative fee of 25 EUR. Admistrative fee for Bhaktivaibhava course is 100 EUR.
Those who started their studies before November 26th 2015 fall within the old refund policies:
If students who sign up for a particular online module or complete program are unable to take up the module due to some unavoidable circumstance, they should communicate with the online course administrator via email. During the first week of any online module it is possible to request transfer to the same module on the next scheduled delivery, free of charge. Changes after seven days are not possible without paying administrative fee of 50% from the tuition fee of a particular module. In general full program payments (Bhakti Sastri) are not refundable since they are discounted.
We will give a 100% refund on cancellations in the first week of the course. We will give a 30% refund if after the first week you decide you don’t want to continue for any reason. After the first week we can discuss a refund, or transfer you to a later course under special circumstances, such as illness. It is our policy to extend the greatest possible flexibility to students under these circumstances.
We are mainly focusing on Indian classical notes (SA Re Ga Ma etc) as opposed to cordes, although they can also feature in at some point. But again, it is a course for beginners.
If a student, due to some unavoidable circumstances, is unable to take up the module, s/he should inform our secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org during the first 7 days of any module to be transferred to the same module for its next scheduled delivery.
After 7 days, if we don’t get any statement from the student, it is considered that s/he has taken the course and transferring is not possible anymore. Postponing of one module can be made for two consecutive deliveries. After that, new full payment for that particular module is required for continuation of studies.
Although online studies offer many benefits, one of the challenges of online studying in general is in achieving sufficient interaction with others and cultivating verbal proficiency and skill in presenting relevant topics. Speaking more specifically in relation to our studies, there is both theological, personal, social and spiritual significance in our endeavor to present the message of Bhagavatam verbally. Srila Prabhupada doubtlessly wanted it, and he went to length to train his disciples how to present it. As ISKCON and in general as contemporary Vaishnavas, we are inescapably meeting a need to present the teachings of Krishna in a relevant and empowered way to both intelligentsia and the masses. Therefore it is essential for us to make an endeavor and do at least two short 10-20 minute presentation per Canto.
How to do it:
o assemble students for an online presentation (skype etc)
o present locally at your center/ temple/ sanga and send us the recording
o present on a radio/ tv/ newspaper and send us links
o present locally at Radhadesh
o one can record Power Point presentation
o one can do home video presentation and send the youtube/vimeo link
o record webinar session and provide the link
Do students usually bring their own instruments (harmoniums, kartals etc), or they can buy them in Radhadesh?
Students do not have to bring their instruments since they are provided by the course. Still, you can choose new instruments at the beginning of the course and buy them. We are selling the instruments for approximately same price as we bought them.
At the end of each module student will receive the grade directly from the Bhaktivedatna College administration or sometimes from the tutor. Student should not pay attention to the automatic grades given in the Moodle system.
The administration fee of 25 EUR (for Bhaktivaibhava course 100 EUR) is applied to students who, in agreement with our secretary and in line with our refund and postponing policies, have to take a course or exam for the second time. From the moment we confirm the acceptance of the fee, the student has 2 weeks time frame to take the course.
IMPORTANT: in the box ‘Special instructions’ on Paypal payment page you MUST write your BCOC username and course/module name for which you are re-taking the exam.
For any successfully finished online module student can get the printed copy at home address. To get the certificate via snail mail, one should:
Please use the following address and format:
for: (YOUR NAME HERE)
Petite Somme 10
Is it possible to transfer my non-refundable deposit for the Kirtan course to some other course offered by Bhaktivedanta College?
Deposit can only be transferred for the next year’s kirtan course, also as a non-refundable deposit. It can’t be used for or transferred to anything else.
We offer lacto-vegetarian food and usually half of the meals are vegan.
Is the rule from the student guidelines regarding the dress code applicable to Kirtan Course students?
This is written in the Student Handbook:
“Public behaviour and dress code
To wear devotional attire in the temple and in the classroom (for women, gopi skirt and sari; for men, kurta and dhoti, or exceptionally, yogi pants). At other times, more casual attire may be acceptable if it is neat, clean, and modest (i.e. attire that does not call unnecessary attention to the body). For men, to keep their hair short (if not shaven) and faces shaved. To develop an awareness of local customs and sensitivities and to be careful not to offend neighbours and villagers.”
The idea is to keep the dressing code as much in sync with spiritually aspiring community. The main point is to wear clothes which are not focusing one’s attention to the body (uncovering the body in an inappropriate way). Some common sense should be applied.
‘The guideline from Student Handbook says ladies should wear gopi skirts and saris for both temple and classroom, but then here in FAQs we are informed that common sense for modesty is actually all that is needed. So which is it, because these seem like two different conclusions?’
Common sense for modesty is actually all that is needed.
Yes, they are.
Sure. It doesn’t have to be Indian clothes. Just think what would you wear in a ‘slightly conservative’ setting.
We provide all listed (in two sets) except bath towels.
Latest two weeks before the Kirtan Course starts we will send you a digital form for submission of arrival/departure details. We will organize your pick up from any station in Belgium. The prices are listed here under the ‘Airport and other pick-up’ tab.
Yes. The days off are Saturday and Sunday.
No one is bound to stay in Radhadesh all the time. It is expected that you don’t miss the classes, the rest is up to you.
Full morning program attendance is not mandatory. You are expected to take part in at least one part of the morning program. If nothing else is possible, attending the morning lecture at 7:45 would be the minimum.
College building is attached to the practicing classrooms, and the temple is just across the street. All Radhadesh facilities are in the 5 minutes walking circle. Here you can see a part of Radhadesh property from the sky.
Every Kirtan Course student will have his/her own harmonium for individual learning and practice. There is no need to carry a personal harmonium except if someone really wants it. There is also a possibility for students to buy instruments for the same price we bought them for Radhadesh.
I just wanted to know what kind of practice I can do before I get to the seminar since I just don’t have too much art experience.
Everyone can practice copying a painting of Krishna or Prabhupada and doing drawings of existing Krishna art learning to express oneself in devotional art is an ongoing process with patience and continuous practice required.
Everyone must have:
– Personal portable easel (usually available in lightweight aluminium) very important!
– Brushes assorted Bristol or synthetic flat or filbert # 2 # 4 # 6 # 8 # 10 (at least these , or any others you might like as well)
– Synthetic rounds # 2 # 4
– drawing pad 11×14 . And another large sketch paper pad 18×24
– Pencils 6B or softer, any other materials for drawing, charcoal, conte crayon eraser etc.
– One pad of tracing paper at least 11×14. Container for turpentine, rags or paper towels for painting and cleaning brushes.
Paints, turpentine, and canvas will be provided.
A digital camera or phone camera is very advisable as we will be learning how to take reference photos. I recommended to all students to do a copy of an existing BBT painting before attending class to get familiar with the type of painting we will be doing and doing drawings of Srila Prabhupada and other figures.
Please begin thinking of a painting you would like to do during the class. A simple one figure, perhaps of Krishna is suggested, the time is limited so keep it simple. You can also begin some idea sketches for this class in preparation. If anyone prefers to do a copy of an existing Krishna painting, that’s fine, we will help anyone at their existing level.
No, we are looking for both raw talent and experienced artists
Do I need to bring paint brushes with me? What other equipment do I need to bring, or can they be gotten there?
We ask all students to bring your own brushes, portable easel and drawing pads. Paints, canvas, and turpentine will be provided.
The daily schedule for the art seminar is from 10:00 to 18:00 pm, with a break for lunch. We encourage everyone to participate in every session to get the full benefit of the classes.
We will be providing all the instruments for the duration of the course. However, if you do prefer to bring your own instruments, you may, of course, do so.
Unfortunately, we did encounter some cases of plagiarism. In such cases, the student will be requested to take the course again and final mark will be capped at the minimum for passing.
If a student strongly disagrees with the mark assigned by the tutor for any of the components (which are not automatically marked by the system), s/he can ask for the monitoring procedure:
1. another BC tutor in the role of a monitor marks the component and suggests the change to the original tutor
2. if monitor and tutor agree on the mark (new one or the same), that mark is final
3. if monitor and tutor do not agree on the mark, external monitor is invited to mark the component and that mark is final
A student cannot put another complaint about monitor’s or external monitor’s mark as these marks are final.
Yes, there is a scope of employment in ISKCON and outside. There is also a variety of scopes to continue your studies.
- BA in Theology and Religious Studies
- Bhakti-yoga for beginners course
- Bhakti Sastri Course (six modules)
- ISKCON Disciples course (one module)
- Bhakti-vaibhava course (1st Canto)
- BA in Theology and Religious Studies
- Kirtan Course Certificate
- Transcendental Art Seminar
Coming earlier or later is fine. Two additional nights are included in the price (no matter if one comes before or staying longer after the course). Extra fee of 15 EUR per day (food & accommodation) will be charged for additional nights.
Bhaktivedanta College is a non-profit educational initiative overseen by the ISKCON Ministry of Educational Development and a Board of Trustees. The College’s Faculty Council deals with the academic standards and quality assurance. The management is done by its Administrative Council.
There are various prospects for graduates. Read more:
According to the University of Chester, is it possible for holders of a Bachelor’s degree in Theology and Religious studies from Bhaktivedanta College to pursue postgraduate studies in a discipline other than theology or religious studies?
There is no straightforward, universal answer to this question. While some institutions or programmes will regard the Bachelor’s degree in Theology suitable, others will not necessarily do so, but will require subject-specific foundational studies. While Theology or Religious studies BA/BTh will demonstrate a good level of education and required academic ability, many programs will have subject-specific entry requirements. So it is best to make enquiries about specific programs at the institution where you plan to enroll.
Our graduates have pursued their careers in a variety of different directions: some continued postgraduate studies in different disciplines like Hinduism, Education, Social and Political Sciences, etc…, some are working as teachers, some have taken positions in ISKCON temples and other related institutions, some have taken on other engagements,… You can find reports of graduates on our website.
Bhakti Sastri PLUS is an additional degree issued to students who complete all six modules of the Bhakti Sastri program PLUS one module of their choice from the curriculum of our BA in Theology and Religious Studies online year-one program (TRS). The optional modules are:
Introduction to Western Philosophy
History of Vaishnava Thought
Introduction to Hinduism
Encountering World Religions
Theory and Method in the Study of Religion
Modern Interpretations of The Bhagavad-Gita
Introduction to Ethics
One of these TRS modules can be pursued only after all six modules of the Bhakti Sastri program are completed. And if after receiving a Bhakti Sastri PLUS degree the student wishes to continue the TRS program, the passed module will be taken into consideration and the student will be exempt from reassessment in that.
Externally validated means there is a third party in between BC and UOC which is independent and which is monitoring educational quality.
Latest two weeks before the Kirtan Course we will send the online transportation form to be filled in. Possible ways how to reach us and the approximate prices are visible here:
Registration to the complete Bhakti Sastri PLUS can be done here see under “Registration” Tab.
Students can inquire and apply any time of the year, preferably in spring so that there is enough time for the admission process to be completed before the academic year starts in September.
For the onsite course please refer to: bhaktivedantacollege.com/program/theology/ under the Tab “Admission”.
For the online course please refer to: bhaktivedantacollege.com/online/ba-theology-and-religious-studies-trs-online/ under the Tab “Admission”.
There is no particular list of the things what to bring. For sure you need to bring some warm clothes (something) and dress for rain (just to prepare you :-).
The academic topics include philosophy and theology, religious studies, scriptural studies and practical theology. At the end of Year 3, students are required to write a dissertation on any of the chosen areas, agreed upon with a mentor. The curriculum is fun yet challenging. The College facilitates the devotional, intellectual, artistic, cultural, and missionary aspirations of the students. Thus the curriculum includes all these aspects, and the courses contain varied teaching methods to best involve the students in the process of learning. Each course has its own mood and is exciting and inspiring.
It depends on your knowledge and interest in India’s culture, philosophy and practice. The Certificate in Bhakti-yoga Studies program aims to introduce you to some general ideas and principles, whereas the Bhakti Sastri course requires some preliminary knowledge about the most common bhakti texts and practices.
The BA program (BA Hons in Theology and Religious Studies) is the most extensive program we offer during three years and will provide you with an accredited Bachelor’s degree. Since two years the Bhakti-Sastri course modules are integrated in our degree program as well.
You will find a commitment to providing you with extraordinary convenience, online tools and resources, and the opportunity to achieve your educational goals. You can count on an attractive and challenging curriculum in a supportive learning environment.
We are having wireless internet access at the college premises and temple reception but we are not providing laptops.
Courses are open to anyone, anywhere in the world.
Onsite: The academic year runs from September through June. Each of the three terms run for eleven to twelve weeks. The terms are separated by a two-week break at Christmas and a two-week break around mid-March. Generally all the Bhaktivedanta College courses last for one or two weeks. Some weeks are set aside for writing essays, preparing presentations, or studying for exams.
Online: The academic year runs from August through June. The terms are separated by a two-week break at Christmas and a two-week break around mid-March. The courses are taught and spread in a different way than the onsite courses in order to facilitate a proper distant learning experience. Some weeks are set aside for writing essays and preparing other assignments depending on the course requirements.
On average, we have about two dozen students per class.
Every weekend you will be able to go for shopping by car (college arrangement, free of charge) or you will be able to order whatever you need. We also have Radhadesh taxi driver and, if needed, you can go to the nearby city during the week.
The students attend the morning program at the Radhadesh temple, which is followed by breakfast. The morning classes usually run from 10.30 AM till 1.30 PM, followed by lunch. Afternoon classes (if required for the course) usually run from 3 PM until 6 PM, followed by an evening snack of fresh bread and butter and milk. Gaura-arati is at 7 PM.
The VTE accreditation refers only to the Bhakti Sastri program, not the Certificate in Bhakti-yoga Studies course. The VTE certificate is your official Bhakti Sastri certificate issued by BOEX (the ISKCON Board of Examination). The diploma you will receive from Bhaktivedanta College upon finishing your studies confirms that you have taken the course, but is not the Bhakti Sastri certificate. To receive the Bhakti Sastri certificate you will have to provide a letter of recommendation from one of your local ISKCON representatives, confirming that you chant sixteen rounds, follow the four regulative principles and are positively engaged in Sri Caitanya’s sankirtana mission. We’ll ask you for the recommendation letter and a completed VTE Application Form after you enroll in the course. You also have to take closed-book exams in the ISKCON center nearest you under the supervision of a devotee.
No pre-requisites mentioned, but do the facilitators expect the participants to be able to play an instrument (harmonium, kartals, mridanga)?
There is no minimum requirement for knowledge or experience in playing instruments or leading kirtans. In fact, the facilitators hope that participants do not know everything; otherwise, what would they teach? Joking aside, it is helpful if the candidate has an ear for music and singing, and even if the experience or knowledge of a person is extremely basic, or nil, that does not make a difference, as long as ENTHUSIASM is there and noticeable along the way. We want enthusiastic participants, not necessarily just talented ones or students with the attitude that “I know it all.” So if your heart is in it, this is the right course to come to for learning and doing kirtan.
It is a package price: ashram accommodation and meals are included. More details are given under the tab “Fees” at:
The yearly tuition is split into three installments, of which are to be paid 50% at the beginning of the 1st term (beginning of September) and 25% at the beginning of both the 2nd and 3rd term (beginning of January and April).
You can pay by bank transfer, Paypal, or in cash. You will find the necessary information under the tab “Admission” at:
There are a variety of assignments, depending on the nature of the course. Some courses require essays or other samples of writing. Some require exams. Others require group or individual presentations made to the class. There may be required reading or research for academic courses. After each course, there is usually a time reserved for essay writing, studying for exams, or preparing a presentation.
At the heart of all our programs is our exceptional faculty. They are both leading scholars in their fields and mature Vaishnavas, an ideal combination to support your academic and spiritual pursuits. One of the requirements for a faculty member is that he or she demonstrate personal integrity, expertise in the field, and competence as a teacher, lecturer, and mentor. Read more under Staff:
Yes. If you are not interested in receiving VTE accreditation, you can take the course and receive a Bhakti Sastri diploma from Bhaktivedanta College confirming that you have taken the course. You can even do your exams for the VTE certificate later.
If you are a UK/EU resident, then you do not require any visa. Only if you are from outside the European continent.
Upon enrollment you will be asked to pay via Pay Pal. If you don’t have Pay Pal, you can use a bank wire and inform us by e-mail about it:
Account holder’s name: Bhaktivedanta College
Bank name: Belfius Barvaux, Belgium
Bank account number: 068-2456949-63
IBAN: BE40 0682 4569 4963
You can pay by PayPal or bank. For Pay Pal, please pay to paypal@bhaktivedantacollege.
For further questions about payment methods please contact sridama@bhaktivedantacollege.
One must have a secondary education diploma or be a mature student above 22 years of age. Applicants who do not have a high school diploma should at least have two A levels plus three different GCSE passes at grade C or above. The College does look at individual cases on the basis of the submitted application. Students of all ages are welcome. In the study year 2012-13 we had students from 18 to 50 years of age.
Yes. During the procedure for getting it, you will need to provide contact details from a person who knows you well and who can give us a good understanding of your personality.
No. It is open to all levels of devotees. We do expect the persons registered for this course to follow the four regulative principles and chant as many rounds as possible daily, in line with Srila Prabhupada’s standards for residing in a Krsna conscious community. As long as you stay on the Radhadesh property (ashram, guesthouse, apartment, etc.), particularly in an ashram, you are expected to follow the house rules and behave like a regular temple devotee (take part in morning programs, assist with services when required, respect the local devotees). So no “spiritual qualifications” needed other than enthusiasm and respect for the environment in which you stay.
You’ll be responsible to find a local ISKCON representative who is willing to oversee your “close book” exams as you write them. You need internet and a computer to do the examinations.
No particular scriptural qualifications required. It might help if you have some general knowledge, especially in the theoretical courses, wherein we discuss different acharyas and their approaches to kirtan. But it is also an opportunity to learn a lot.
Each Bhakti-sastri course runs once a year and you can start with any of it. Bhaktivaibhava Course also runs once a year.
Other courses run multiple times per year:
– ISKCON Disciple Course – 3 times
– Bhakti Yoga for Beginners – 2-3 times depending on interest
– Thematic Bhagavad Gita – 2 times
Do not worry about technical skills – if you can handle e-mail then you’re ready to go.
We encourage students to find sponsors through their local ISKCON temple or congregation.
For information on scholarships, please Contact Us: bhaktivedantacollege.com/contact/
There will most likely be supervised kirtan practice in small groups during the instrument sessions, and perhaps even at separate times. The students can also perhaps organize this during their free time. Indeed, it is not suitable to practice before the Deities.
Yes, if you feel you can manage. However, if you haven’t studied at the university level before or for a long time, you may wish to start with one course to get familiar with the way of studying.
Each student has a personal mentor with whom they can discuss personal difficulties and goals as well as an academic tutor for support in academic matters.
There will not be separate classes for students on different levels. We are well aware that everyone will be on different levels. So, although there will be group sessions, teachers will do their best to give time and attention to individual students, to ensure that they are able to advance as much as they can from whatever level they are on. Thus all student will have possibilities to advance at their own pace in singing and playing instruments.