Maitripa College offers a robust, 72 credit minimum, three-to-four year Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree. The MDiv is a professional degree focused on a Buddhist approach to cultivating intellectual, spiritual, and professional skills in order to work as an agent of positive change in the world. Scholastic and contemplative training forms a stable foundation for skillfully enacting culturally- relevant wisdom and compassion. Candidates are prepared for a life of service and leadership in the non-profit sector and traditional chaplaincy roles within Buddhist, interfaith, or secular institutions and communities.
At the core of the degree curriculum are the three pillars of higher education at Maitripa Scholarship, Meditation, and Community Service. The Master of Divinity degree is designed for students seeking a practical, in-depth, and critical understanding of Buddhist thought, with a strong emphasis on real-life application, both internally and in service to the community. The program couples meditative training and active service in community partnerships with a core philosophical curriculum designed to ground the student in Buddhist principles, logic, philosophical arguments, meditative techniques, and methodologies of the academic study of religion. The synthesis of this training and study informs personal and professional applications of Buddhist orientations to concepts of self and other, the wish to alleviate suffering, and interdependence at local and global levels.
In addition, the MDiv degree attends to the personal, scholarly, and pastoral competencies required for chaplaincy by offering a breadth of learning opportunities in canonical language and literature, religious history, pastoral care and counseling, and comparative religion. Particular depth will be cultivated in areas of philosophy, meditation practices and methods, Buddhist psychology, ritual and liturgy, spiritual formation, leadership and administration, and Engaged Buddhism.
Students may elect to complete a concentration in either Canonical Languages and Literature, or Spiritual Formation. The concentration in Canonical Languages and Literature trains students in Classical Tibetan from beginning to advanced levels, with both Tibetan and Western scholars, and includes courses with close readings of texts in translation. The Spiritual Formation concentration enables students to devote considerable focus to mentored meditation and retreat.
The MDiv degree has traditionally been an important credential for ministry as well as for employment as a chaplain in hospitals, hospice, prisons, the armed forces, and some schools or institutions. Students may qualify to apply to pursue national Board Certification as chaplains after graduation.
The program may be completed as a full- or part-time student. Full-time students must take a minimum of 7 credits per semester, and are eligible for scholarship funds.
Students in the MDiv and MA degree programs may elect concentrations in either Canonical Languages and Literature or Spiritual Formation as a way of identifying areas of particular depth and training.
The concentration in Canonical Languages and Literature requires a minimum of four semesters of classical Tibetan coursework and four credit hours of coursework in close reading of a Buddhist text in translation. Courses which satisfy the literature requirement will be indicated in the course catalogue. Other canonical languages, such as Sanskrit or Chinese, also satisfy the language requirement when available.
Maitripa College is committed to training students in Classical Tibetan from beginning to advanced levels from learning the alphabet to producing translations. Our mission and vision to develop an accredited Buddhist University offering higher education guided by the principles of the Buddhadharma requires that we also contribute to the preservation of Tibet’s rich textual traditions and increase their accessibility in the West. By learning to read and translate Tibetan, Maitripa students have the opportunity to receive the wisdom of these teachings directly in their original language, study with western and Tibetan linguists, learn to recite prayers and practices in Tibetan, and take advantage of the rare opportunity to read classic texts with a Geshe Lharampa and lineage holder, Yangsi Rinpoche. This is also exceptional preparation for pursuing doctoral studies and research in any area of Tibetan studies.
Please see Classical Tibetan Language Studies at Maitripa College for more information.
The concentration in Spiritual Formation enables students to devote considerable focus to mentored meditation, both in the classroom and during structured retreat opportunities. Meditation and ritual practices that fulfill the minimum credits must demonstrate educational efficacy through mentorship, educational goals, and evaluation. Three meditation (MDT) elective courses (in addition to the minimum degree requirements for the MA or MDiv) must be taken, in which the course is designed to instruct students in practices for specific educational goals, including the cultivation of spiritual qualities or skills, gaining insight into philosophic concepts, or learning content. A minimum of one additional credit hour (100 hours of mentored meditation) must be earned through participation in retreat. Retreats may include on-site or residential Maitripa-sponsored retreats and, where approved and in consultation with Yangsi Rinpoche, may also include structured and supervised retreats to be completed by the student privately. In some cases, and with sufficient documentation, students may petition for limited recognition of retreats and practices completed in other lineages or at other centers.