About the Program

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 internship 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: theological study—an in-depth understanding of the basic Buddhist texts and doctrines in historical and present-day contexts; community—devoted to the insights and tools for fostering “engaged” communities; 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 practice and meditation—the spiritual practice of sitting meditation from the Buddhist tradition.

Clinical Pastoral Education or fieldwork 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 students' work.

optional specialties

Tibetan Tradition Emphasis

Tibetan Tradition Concentration presents the systematic foundational courses of the traditional educational system of a Tibetan monastic college (shedra). These courses are based on the Western-style classes and materials developed at Nitartha Institute since 1995 when it was founded by The Dzogchen Ponlop, Rinpoche. These courses present all Three Turnings of the Wheel of Dharma. (See www.nitarthainstitute.org for information on how the materials and teaching methods for these classes have been developed, as well as for information on the programs and publications of Nitartha Institute itself.) (Note: The MA in Religious Studies includes two of the eight History of Religions courses: The Three Jewels and The Second Turning of the Wheel of Dharma.)

Mindfulness Instructor Training

Students train as mindfulness meditation instructors and are able to apply their skills in teaching and guiding contemplative practice in diverse contexts.

Shambhala Training 

Shambhala Training enables students to face the challenges of contemporary life with resiliency and bravery. This training is in partnership with Shambhala International and is presented as a series of weekend retreat programs.

Note on fees: There are several expenses associated with noncredit requirements in the Religious Studies programs. These do not involve any Naropa tuition cost, but do involve costs paid to the organizations offering these programs.

The month-long contemplative practice retreat costs approximately $1,300. Master of Divinity students may enroll in Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) for academic credit, which may reduce the cost of clinical training, though additional fees charge by the CPE training center may also apply. 

Tibetan Tradition students register for a 3-credit Nitartha Institute 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 $1,000. 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.