Degree/Course of Study Overview

Maitripa College offers a robust, 72 credit Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree under the direction of Yangsi Rinpoche, Geshe Lharampa. 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 form a stable personal foundation for skillfully enacting culturally-relevant wisdom and compassion. The program emerges from the unique integration of the three pillars of Maitripa College—Scholarship, Meditation, and Community Service—to place contemplative and learning-centered pedagogies in the context of spiritual life in community. Scholar-practitioner graduates are prepared for a rewarding and fulfilling life of service, from leadership in the non-profit sector to chaplaincy, spiritual care, or community ministry in Buddhist, interfaith, or secular organizations.

The Maitripa College MDiv degree attends to the personal, scholarly, and pastoral competencies required for chaplaincy or spiritual leadership through innovative coursework, personal spiritual formation, and opportunities for internship or clinical pastoral education unit and an action-research final project. The Maitripa College MDiv degree is the only Buddhist chaplaincy training program in North America recognized by the Association of Professional Chaplains as fulfilling both the theological educational and Endorsement criteria for graduates who wish to become national Board Certification Chaplains.

What Maitripa College MDiv Graduates Do

Maitripa College began matriculating MDiv students in 2010, and revised the curriculum to the 72-credit standard soon thereafter. Graduates of the program are working in chaplaincy, in service to Buddhist organizations, or other fields. In regard to chaplaincy, all MDiv students who applied to Clinical Pastoral Education programs have been accepted into programs with competitive admissions standards. Since 2013, seven graduates have become employed as chaplains, and four have already fulfilled educational, religious, and professional experience requisites to become Board Certified Chaplains. Maitripa College has Endorsed three graduates for professional chaplaincy at their request. All five MDiv graduates between 2019-2021 have been accepted to post-graduate CPE residency programs in Oregon and California. In addition to chaplaincy, all graduates have offered service to Buddhist organizations; some have done so on a full-time professional basis, and six teach dharma or meditation.  Some graduates have continued in their professions with a deeper engagement with the spiritual dimensions of their work and spiritual care of those whom they serve, and another is completing doctoral graduate studies in religion.

How Do I Know if This Is the Right Program for Me?

Whether we use terms like ‘vocation,’ ‘calling’, or ‘aspiration,’ applicants to the MDiv program wish to skillfully meet the suffering of the world, often in direct relationship with persons experiencing life’s challenges and celebrations. Do you often wonder, however, in what ways you can best meet the needs of those in crises, emergencies, or powerful transitions, or help others to deepen the spiritual meanings made of life circumstances? Then you may be like our current MDiv students, who believe that cultivating their personal, academic, and spiritual development will enable them to be of truly meaningful service to others, while contributing to the alleviation of personal, local, and systemic sufferings. The program attracts cohorts of students with a willingness to engage in the generation of positive qualities of mind and heart to facilitate spiritual, ethical, and psychological maturity.

The Practicalities

The 72-credit degree may be completed as a full- or part-time student. Students must take a minimum of 6 credits per semester in order to be eligible for scholarship funds. Students wishing to graduate in 3-4 years and able to attend graduate school as their full-time occupation enroll, on average, 10 credits per semester for six semesters, and 6 credits for two summer terms. The total cost of the MDiv degree before discounts and scholarships is $29,560 over 3-7 years.