Master of

Earn your master's in divinity at Naropa, the West's first Buddhist-inspired university. We take the concept of the chaplain degree program a step further with a focus on community and an interreligious approach rooted in Buddhist philosophy and meditation.

Now Taking Applications for January 2021

Due to increased demand, we're adding the opportunity to start in the Spring Semester.


Among other religion and spirituality degrees, the Naropa Master of Divinity uniquely prepares future chaplains and spiritual community-builders for lives of contemplative leadership. This three-year accredited program combines deep theological study, community engagement, interfaith pastoral care, and meditation practice, all within a real-world context. 

You can earn your master of divinity degree on our Boulder campus or through our low-residency option, which includes online courses and Colorado-based retreats. Both pathways are grounded in Buddhist teachings and meditation practices. You can also select one of two optional specialties: Shambhala Training or Mindfulness Instructor Training.

Quick Facts

  • 72 Credit Hours
  • 11:1 Student-Teacher Ratio
  • 2 Unique Learning Pathways (On-Campus and Low-Res)


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in the Master of Divinity

Naropa graduates learn that a spirituality degree is best earned in a supportive, compassionate environment fostered by seasoned faculty whose lives and careers are steeped in contemplative practice. You'll benefit from their decades of lived experience as contemplative, interfaith chaplains in a variety of settings, from classrooms to trauma hospitals to hospice care.

Your master of divinity degree will provide a solid foundation in theological study and interreligious methods of individual and community care. During the graduate program, you'll apply your divinity studies to hands-on experiences in the field, learning to serve diverse communities with empathy and grace.

Courses in the Naropa Master of Divinity degree include:

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If you’ve been searching for chaplain degree programs but prefer an interfaith approach, look no further than Naropa. Our Buddhist-centered divinity program functions as an interfaith seminary, welcoming graduate students who represent a diversity of spiritual and religious backgrounds.


Flexible Degree Options

Naropa’s Master of Divinity offers two pathways for graduate students. Those who prefer in-person courses can study on our Boulder, Colorado, campus. Graduate students who wish to remain in their current zip code can study online, connecting with Naropa faculty and divinity program peers during residential retreats. Each pathway is rooted in Buddhist philosophy and practice.

Divinity students may also choose to add Mindfulness Instructor Training or Shambhala Training to their degrees. In short, divinity students benefit from all that Naropa's Wisdom Traditions department has to offer, from engaging courses to powerful, faculty-led retreats.

Hands-On Chaplaincy Experience

Naropa faculty believe in the value of hands-on learning experiences, especially for service-oriented disciplines in which students are preparing for roles as counselors, chaplains, educators, and community leaders. Each Master of Divinity student will apply their classroom learning in a Clinical Pastoral Education internship. 

The Center for Contemplative Chaplaincy, through which divinity program internships are completed, is dedicated to creating meaningful contemplative chaplaincy experiences. Here, students learn an interfaith approach to caring for the spiritual health of individuals and communities in a variety of clinical environments, from hospitals and hospices to nonprofit and nature-based settings. 

Careers in Chaplaincy

Since 1974, Naropa has provided a home for students wanting to study Buddhism and apply Buddhist teachings to meaningful careers. We’re proud to see so many of our graduates serving their communities.

In keeping with the Naropa tradition of service, Master of Divinity students go on to become mindfulness educators, sangha leaders, prison and military chaplains, social justice activists, and hospice and hospital chaplains. In 2017, a Naropa master of divinity graduate went on to become the first Buddhist chaplain in the U.S. Air Force.



“In an immeasurable way, Naropa has helped me be more completely myself. It has not changed who I am, but has made me more comfortable with who I am. In a material sense, Naropa's staff has assisted me in finding internships and fieldwork that allow me to practice chaplaincy work before actually entering the field.”
Joseph Emery, Master of Divinity, 2017



Strong Theological Foundation

Gain in-depth knowledge of Buddhism and practice interreligious dialogue.

Rich Meditative Practice 

Understand the role of meditative practices in Buddhism and other religions.

Contemplative Chaplaincy Experience

Practice a contemplative, interfaith approach to chaplaincy.

Diversity Awareness 

Embrace diverse cultures and religions as part of your spiritual path.

Inner Wisdom

Transform from within to be of greater service to others.