Master of Divinity (On-Campus & Low-Residency Options)

The Master of Divinity degree prepares students for professional work in the fields of spiritual care, chaplaincy, community development, and dharma teaching. With an on-campus and a low-residency online option, 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) interreligious spiritual care—the ability to serve the spiritual and human needs of a diverse community in chaplaincy/teaching 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.

Students will also complete a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) internship through Naropa's Center for Contemplative Chaplaincy, or another ACPE accredited CPE Center, based on individual student interests. The chaplaincy internship provides 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 www.nitarthainstitute.org.)

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.

Degree Requirements

On Campus Option
Sample Trajectory Odd year start Even year start
First year, Fall - Courses begin in a 9-day residential retreat setting and then continue on campus or online.    
• REL600 Meditation Practicum I: Seeds of Peace (3.0) (begins in retreat) 3 3
• REL611e First Turning of the Wheel: Nature of Mind and (3.0) (begins in retreat) 3 3
• REL602 Contemplative Communication in Spiritual Caregiving (3.0) (begins in retreat) 3 3
• REL616 Integration Lab I (1.0) (begins in retreat) 1 1
• REL614e Mind and Its World (3.0) (begins in retreat)  3 3
SUBTOTAL 13 13 13
First year, Spring - Courses begin in a 9-day residential retreat setting and then continue campus or online.    
• REL620 Meditation Practicum II: Self and No-Self (3.0) (begins in retreat) 3 3
• REL661e Second Turning of the Wheel: The Bodhisattva Path (3.0) (begins in retreat) 3 3
• REL615 Power, Privilege, and Diversity (3.0) (begins in retreat) 3 3
• REL654 Integration Lab II (1.0) (begins in retreat) 1 1
• REL714 Introduction to Spiritual Care (3.0) (begins in retreat)  3 3
SUBTOTAL 13 13 13
First year, Summer    
Odd Years: Both courses end in a 7-day retreat    
• REL763e Art of Spiritual Teaching and Formation (3.0)     3
• REL658e Ritual Arts (3.0)   3
OR    
Even Years: Both courses are online only    
• REL749e Contemporary American Religion (3.0) 3  
• REL804e Ethics and Spiritual Caregiving (3.0)  3  
SUBTOTAL 6 6 6
Second year, Fall    
• REL635 Meditation Practicum III: Mind-Training (3.0) 3 3
• REL710e Third Turning of the Wheel: Yogacara and Buddha Nature (3.0) 3 3
• REL728 Integration Lab III (1.0) 1 1
• REL650e Buddhist Meditation Intensive (noncredit)**     
• Elective (3) 3 3
SUBTOTAL 10 10 10
Second year, Spring – Some courses begin in a 9-day residential retreat setting and then continue on campus.
   
• REL780 Meditation Practicum IV: Maitri and Mandala (3.0) (begins in retreat) 3 3
• REL768 Integration Lab IV (1.0) (begins in retreat) 1 1
• Elective (6)  6 6
SUBTOTAL 10 10 10
Second year, Summer    
Odd Years: Both courses end in a 7-day retreat    
• REL763e Art of Spiritual Teaching and Formation (3.0)   3  
• REL658e Ritual Arts (3.0) 3  
OR    
Even Years: Both courses are online only    
• REL749e Contemporary American Religion (3.0)   3
• REL804e Ethics and Spiritual Caregiving (3.0)    3
SUBTOTAL 6 6 6
Third year, Fall    
• REL779 Interreligious Dialog (3)   3 3
• REL853 MDiv Capstone Seminar (2) 2 2
• Elective (3)  3 3
SUBTOTAL 8 8 8
Third year, Spring    
• REL747 Master of Divinity Clinical Pastoral Education (6.0) 6 6
• REL880 Comprehensive Exam (0) 0 0
• REL885 Master's Project (0) 0 0
SUBTOTAL 6 6 6
Total Credits: 72 72 72
Electives 12 12
Low-Residency OPtion
Sample Trajectory Odd year start Even year start
First year, Fall - Courses begin in a 9-day residential retreat setting and then continue online.    
REL600e Meditation Practicum I: Seeds of Peace (3.0) (begins in retreat) 3 3
REL611e First Turning of the Wheel: Nature of Mind and (3.0) (begins in retreat) 3 3
REL602e Contemplative Communication in Spiritual Caregiving (3.0) (begins in retreat) 3 3
REL616e Integration Lab I (1.0) (begins in retreat) 1 1
SUBTOTAL 10 10
First year, Spring - Courses begin in a 9-day residential retreat setting and then continue online.    
REL620e Meditation Practicum II: Self and No-Self (3.0) (begins in retreat) 3 3
REL661e Second Turning of the Wheel: The Bodhisattva Path (3.0) (begins in retreat) 3 3
REL615e Power, Privilege, and Diversity (3.0) (begins in retreat) 3 3
REL654e Integration Lab II (1.0) (begins in retreat) 1 1
SUBTOTAL 10 10
First year, Summer    
Odd Years: Both courses end in a 7-day retreat    
REL763e Art of Spiritual Teaching and Formation (3.0)  (ends in retreat)   3
REL658e Ritual Arts (3.0) (ends in retreat)   3
OR    
Even Years: Both courses are online only    
REL749e Contemporary American Religion (3.0) 3  
REL804e Ethics and Spiritual Caregiving (3.0)  3  
SUBTOTAL 6 6
Second year, Fall – Online Only    
REL635e Meditation Practicum III: Mind-Training (3.0) 3 3
REL710e Third Turning of the Wheel: Yogacara and Buddha Nature (3.0) 3 3
REL728e Integration Lab III (1.0) 1 1
REL650e Buddhist Meditation Intensive (noncredit)**  0 0
SUBTOTAL 7 7
Second year, Spring – Some courses begin in a 9-day residential retreat setting and then continue online.
   
REL780e Meditation Practicum IV: Maitri and Mandala (3.0) (begins in retreat) 3 3
REL714e Introduction to Spiritual Care (3.0) (begins in retreat)  3 3
REL768e Integration Lab IV (1.0) (begins in retreat) 1 1
Elective (3)* 3 3
SUBTOTAL 10 10
Second year, Summer    
Odd Years: Both courses end in a 7-day retreat    
REL763e Art of Spiritual Teaching and Formation (3.0)   3  
REL658e Ritual Arts (3.0) 3  
OR    
Even Years: Both courses are online only    
REL749e Contemporary American Religion (3.0)   3
REL804e Ethics and Spiritual Caregiving (3.0)    3
SUBTOTAL 6 6
Third year, Fall    
REL779e Interreligious Dialog (3.0)   3 3
REL853e MDiv Capstone Seminar (2.0) 2 2
REL614e Mind and Its World (3.0)  3 3
SUBTOTAL 8 8
Third year, Spring    
REL747e Master of Divinity Clinical Pastoral Education (6.0) 6 6
Elective (3)* 3 3
SUBTOTAL 9 9
Fourth year, Fall    
Electives (6)* 6 6
REL880e Comprehensive Exam (0) 0 0
REL885e Master's Project (0)  0 0
SUBTOTAL 6 6
Total Credits: 72 72