Degree Requirements

The Master in Buddhist Studies and the Master of Divinity degrees will be awarded to students who have completed the minimum credits required and culminating exam, thesis or project, some taken in mandatory core courses and others in elective courses, as indicated in the coursework distribution requirements. Students are encouraged to utilize the Degree Audit tracking function in Populi and meet with an advisor each semester to monitor coursework distribution and progression to fulfilling requirements for degree completion.

Courses from other colleges, universities, or educational programs generally may not be awarded transfer credit at Maitripa College, but under certain conditions, transfer credit may be recognized; see Transfer Policy below. Language courses and/or training received elsewhere may be accepted for up to one year of credit at Maitripa College provided it was received at an accredited institution, and pending instructor approval. Students may also test out of a language requirement or prerequisite at the discretion of the course instructor. Students may also test into intermediate or advanced placement language courses. Regardless of transfer credit or placement, students in the MA in Buddhist Studies must complete six credit hours of language study at Maitripa to complete their language credit requirement.

Demonstration of Final Mastery: MA in Buddhist Studies

Students must choose one of the following three options:

1.     Completion of a Master’s Thesis (see PHL500) – The extraordinarily motivated, organized, self-motivated, and successful student may propose a master’s thesis to a committee of faculty. If approved, the student will work with advisor(s) to complete the thesis in a timely manner, a process that may include submission of drafts and an oral presentation of their research.

2.     Passing a Final, Comprehensive Exam (see PHL500) – The comprehensive exam is an on-campus four-hour exam covering the breadth of content of the subject matter of the master’s degree. A list of potential questions from which the faculty will draw are given to the students in advance for their study and preparation. The actual exam will have twelve questions from which the student will choose eight to serve as the subjects of their essays, which will be evaluated on a pass/fail basis by MC faculty.

3.     Action Research Project (see ARP502; ARP504) – Introduced in Spring 2020, all subsequent entering cohorts will by default, unless permission is granted under special circumstances for either option above, complete an Action Research Project. The Action Research Project is a form of integrative and collaborative research, reflection, and writing. Students chose a principle question and work with faculty mentors to design a research project, implement the research over a period of six months or longer, and analyze and share, in written and oral forms, their findings. The Action Research Project is intended to synthesize learning over the course of the curricula, the students’ personal, academic, and spiritual formation, and ethical and transformative action.

Demonstration of Final Mastery: MDiv

Students must choose one of the following options:

1.     Complete the Comprehensive Paper in Buddhist Theology and Chaplaincy (see THL 500)
The Master of Divinity program has culminated in the completion of a substantial final written project that embodies the integration of the student’s practical and theoretical knowledge and understanding gained in the program. The student is provided with a series of questions in various areas of scholarship, meditation, service, and applied Buddhist theology, with a minimum number of questions per area that are required to be answered in short essay format.

2.     Action Research Project (see ARP502; ARP504) – Introduced in Spring 2020, all subsequent entering cohorts will by default, unless permission is granted under special circumstances for the option above, complete an Action Research Project. The Action Research Project is a form of integrative and collaborative research, reflection, and writing. Students chose a principle question and work with faculty mentors to design a research project, implement the research over a period of six months or longer, and analyze and share, in written and oral forms, their findings. The Action Research Project is intended to synthesize learning over the course of the curricula, the students’ personal, academic, and spiritual formation, and ethical and transformative action.

Curricula Leading to Degree

The core courses of the curricula constitute a set of required courses for all students and comprise the majority of credit hours required for degree completion. Additional credit hours required for degree completion are comprised of electives chosen from available courses each semester by the student in consultation with their academic advisors. Some students may focus on Tibetan language, while others may take advanced philosophy or history topics, while yet others may build professional skills and learn theories of contemplative care or leadership in a dharma community, for example. Distribution of electives should reflect both breadth and depth, and are organized within the Course Groupings information in Populi.

Maitripa College faculty and staff are committed to periodic review and revision of curricula in light of new findings, methods, and research in pertinent fields of study, feedback from students and alumni, and faculty expertise. Individual students’ course of study will vary according to enrollment status, optional concentrations, language studies, electives, and periodic rotation of course availability and development of new courses. Students are encouraged to work with academic advisors to create individualized, complete course plans. Student services and academic advisors are prepared to review sample course progression options which map possible routes to degree completion.

Master of Arts Degree in Buddhist Studies

In order to qualify for the Master of Arts degree in Buddhist Studies, students must take a certain set of required core courses and accrue a distribution of credit hours in Scholarship, Mediation, and Service pillar courses through additional elective courses, totaling 44 or more credit hours.

Master of Divinity Degree

In order to qualify for the Master of Divinity degree, students must take a certain set of required core courses and accrue a distribution of credit hours in Scholarship, Mediation, and Service pillar courses through additional elective courses, totaling 72 or more credit hours.

Declaration of Candidacy for a Degree

To initiate the steps leading to the award of a master’s degree, students must identify the term they expect to complete degree requirements by filing a graduation/degree candidacy declaration form through the Maitripa College administrative offices at least one academic year before anticipated graduation (declaring in September for a June graduation the following year).

Upon submission, the student’s expected graduation term and degree will be recorded. The student must submit a new form if he or she wishes to change his or her graduation term or degree.