Master of Divinity

Master of Divinity

"I wanted to be pushed not only in terms of practice, but also in terms of study. I felt that Naropa was the only place that could allow me to be a practitioner-scholar and put those skills to use in the world."
Joseph Emery
Divinity student

What if you could prepare your heart and soul to minister to others in a Buddhist-inspired environment?

The Master of Divinity degree at Naropa University is the professional applied Religious Studies degree designed to prepare you for pastoral work, chaplaincy, social service professions, and community engagement, using wisdom gleaned from Buddhist traditions.

Taught in Naropa's Buddhist-inspired context, the MDiv program will expose you to Buddhist teachings and contemplative practices while also emphasizing an interfaith approach to pastoral practice. (You don't need to be a practicing Buddhist to flourish in the program, but we encourage a strong interest and curiosity in Buddhism.)

Applied learning in the program connects our students to professional disciplines and contexts.  Students may elect to complete either a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) internship in healthcare settings, or to do  Field Education in a variety of ministry, social service, and prison settings.  These opportunities, based on your interests will give you the opportunity to integrate the intellectual, contemplative, and pastoral skills you have acquired in the program in a real-world context.

By asking you to participate in the contemplative work of Tibetan Buddhism, you will ready yourself to be of service in the world, developing the awareness, courage, and compassion necessary to serve others, whether they need a celebrant or someone to ease their sorrow.

After Naropa

The Master of Divinity degree from Naropa allows you to serve as leaders, ministers, and teachers in a variety of pastoral contexts.   We have graduates who are serving in healthcare settings and ministers in Buddhist temples as well as interfaith churches. Others have gone on to become professors; chaplains in hospitals and prisons; and leaders in nonprofit and other institutional settings. Careers of Religious Studies MDiv Program Graduates

What Makes us Different?

Naropa’s MDiv program emphasizes developing empathy, compassion and resilience within a contemplative context.  The program offers a unique and broad whole person approach that will enhance personal and professional goals, whether they be healthcare chaplaincy, prison ministry, or social engagement.

Our classes are small and interactive (typically below 20 students), allowing for a richly interactive learning environment, combining nontraditional, reflective elements such as intensive meditation retreats with relevant skill building such as pastoral caregiving and public speaking.  Contemplative inquiry permeates our Religious Studies classes that include exploration of a variety of religious traditions including Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, Biblical texts, and Jewish mysticism, .

Unlike many larger institutions, we provide an atmosphere of open doors, easy access, and approachability a well as a rich culture with dozens of community events, speakers and performances.

Degree Highlights

  • Join your contemplative practice with everyday life through immersion in weekend meditation programs that occur every semester.
  • Deepen your contemplative practice by attending a month-long meditation intensive.
  • Take part in small-group Process Labs, which provide emotional and spiritual support throughout your MDiv journey.
  • Choose a service-learning placement as either:
    • A field education internship in a religious institution, NGO, prison or other social service agency; OR 
    • A Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) supervised internship in medical setting that provides on-call duty time as well as personal and theological reflection.
  • Research and write an MDiv thesis that integrates contemplative principles with personal interests and chaplaincy skills.


Our faculty are nationally and internationally renowned scholars and practitioners who challenge and inspire students in an intense yet supportive environment. Particular concentrations of academic strength in the MDiv faculty lie in the fields of pastoral care, comparative religion, and Indo-Tibetan Buddhism.  In addition, as part of the school’s commitment to community engagement, faculty have also participated in chaplaincy and palliative care conferences as experts, as well as presented and published widely on mindfulness in education. 

Dedicated to academic excellence and innovation in contemplative pedagogy, Naropa University has a notable history of hiring rising scholars and welcoming progressive thinkers. Across multiple areas — experience, interest, ethnicity, or gender — the faculty is diverse, ensuring exposure to broad perspectives.  MDiv Faculty create an environment of intellectual inquiry, interpersonal and intrapersonal discovery while also providing professional development.   

Faculty engage students through teaching styles that range from the traditional Socratic method to experiential learning, with a rich array of classroom and field environments. Outside the classroom, they are active community members, give career advice, and provide a supportive environment for the study of pastoral caregiving and ministry. Meet Religious Studies Master of Divinity Faculty

Duration: The Master of Divinity program is a 72-credit, three-year program.

Other Naropa University Religious Studies Programs

Master of Arts in Religious Studies
Master of Arts in Religious Studies with Language