Master of Divinity

The Master of Divinity degree prepares students for professional work in the fields of pastoral care, chaplaincy, community development, and dharma teaching. This 72-credit, three-year program is firmly grounded in Buddhist philosophy and meditation practice, while emphasizing an interreligious approach to individual and community care. This training is then applied in hands-on field education work, to develop individuals who can actively manifest wisdom and compassion in the world. The program breaks new ground in preparing Buddhist-inspired students to serve their communities in leadership capacities.

The MDiv degree prepares students through four streams of learning: 1) theological study—an in-depth understanding of the basic Buddhist texts and doctrines in historical and present-day contexts; 2) community—devoted to the insights and tools for fostering “engaged” communities; 3) interfaith pastoral care—the ability to serve the spiritual and human needs of a diverse community in ministerial/chaplaincy roles while embodying the principles and practices of one’s primary tradition; and 4) practice and meditation—the spiritual practice of sitting meditation from the Buddhist tradition.

Field education opportunities (either Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) or internship placements) based on individual student interests provide a context for integrating all four streams of learning and applying them to real-world needs, while initiating the process of lifetime learning through the student's work.

Optional Specialties:

Meditation Requirements and the Nitartha Institute Shedra Option: In addition to three meditation courses taken simultaneously with their related Buddhist Studies course, there is a non-credit requirement for a Buddhist Meditation Intensive (REL650), for which students have two options: 1) choose to do a month of intensive Buddhist meditation practice done as a month or divided into two-week, 10-day, or 7-day programs, in a Buddhist tradition of the student’s choice, e.g., Tibetan, Zen, Theravada, and so forth, or 2) choose the Nitartha Institute “Shedra” option, in which the students attend a month of the Nitartha Institute Summer program plus, separately, two weeks of intensive Buddhist meditation in the tradition of their choice. With their other degree requirements, the Nitartha option qualifies students to receive the Nitartha Institute Certificates of Completion for its Foundation and Intermediate Curriculums, and to enter its Advanced Curriculum. They also qualify to enter the Nitartha Teacher-in-Training Program if they attend a second month-long summer program. (For information, see

Note on fees: The noncredit requirement of the month-long Buddhist meditation retreat costs approximately $1,300 (or $700 for two-weeks for students choosing the Nitartha Institute Shedra Option). The Nitartha Institute option students also register for a 3-credit Nitartha summer program through Naropa, which will cover the tuition cost, but not the room and board, text, and other items of the Nitartha program, which add up to approximately $3,500, though Nitartha and Naropa may award scholarships for some of those costs. The prices listed above are estimates based on current costs. These costs are determined by outside organizations and are subject to change. There are also occasionally smaller course fees associated with individual classes, which are subject to change.

Mindfulness Instructor Training: A three-course series training students to offer instruction in shamatha practice and being a mindfulness instructor. Participants develop skills in first-time meditation instruction and mentoring new practitioners.

Shambhala Training: Shambhala Training is the path of study and practice of Shambhala Warriorship: the tradition of human bravery, not being afraid of who you are. This training, in partnership with Shambhala International, shows how to take the challenges of daily life in our modern society as opportunities for contemplative practice.