The Maitripa College MDiv degree attends to the personal, scholarly, and pastoral competencies required for chaplaincy through coursework, personal spiritual formation, opportunities for internship or clinical pastoral education unit and an action-research final project, and support for becoming a Board Certified Chaplain.
The degree curricula offers a breadth of learning opportunities in canonical language and literature, religious history, ritual and liturgy, and comparative religion. Particular depth will be cultivated in areas of Buddhist philosophy, meditation practices and methods, spiritual/pastoral care and psychological modalities, spiritual formation, communication, and contemporary Buddhist thought including engaged Buddhism. Students are strongly encouraged to pursue a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education or field placement internship with a regional partner, and complete a final project developed in consultation with their advisors.
An MDiv degree has historically been an important denominational credential for ministry, and then evolved to meet the educational needs of interfaith models of chaplaincy or pastoral care. Today, the MDiv typically aims to ground the student deeply in their own religious tradition while cultivating the vocation to serve all peoples’ spiritual needs, and it remains the predominant educational requirement for employment as a chaplain in hospitals, hospice, prisons, the armed forces, corporations, and other organizations providing spiritual care.
Increasingly, professional chaplaincy associations, employers, and those observing the need for greater inclusivity and diversity in meeting the spiritual and religious needs of people in contemporary society are recognizing that Buddhists bring many beneficial skills and perspectives to the field, such as: presence, ability to maintain equanimity and compassion when responding to a variety of emotional and mental states in themselves and others, selfless advocacy for the wellbeing of others, ethics of non-harm, theological commitment to the fundamental positive potential of all persons, and deep personal calling to alleviate suffering.
Upon graduation, the Maitripa College MDiv is recognized by the Association of Professional Chaplains as satisfying the theological educational requirement for becoming national Board Certified Chaplain, and students may qualify for and wish to request Endorsement from Yangsi Rinpoche and Maitripa College, which meets Board Certification requirements for the faith-based Endorsement of one’s religious community.