We currently have three program offerings – two certificates and a Masters of Divinity. No college degree is required to begin education with Buddha Dharma University.
Certificate of Buddhist Studies
18 classes required (12 specified core courses, 6 elective courses)
The Certificate of Buddhist Studies is open to anyone, usually with a wish to learn Buddhist basics so that they may bring happiness and peace to themselves as well as to others. Buddha Dharma University focuses on continually forging opportunities to experience a contemporary, in-depth and non-sectarian study of Buddhism, whilst also promoting the knowledge and understanding of the various word traditions, schools and cultures of Buddhism. Programs are therefore taught and mentored by scholars and masters from a variety of traditions, thus taking advantage of America’s unique diversity of Buddhist practice and presentation. Buddha Dharma University provides the opportunity to experience a profound, meaningful and rewarding path to Buddhist scholarship and awakening to your original nature.
Certificate of Buddhist Ministry
32 classes required (21 specified core courses, 11 elective courses)
The Certificate of Buddhist Ministry is open to anyone, usually with a wish to go beyond the basics to be able to be of service ministering to other people. It goes beyond the Certificate of Buddhist Studies by requiring additional classes in more classic Buddhist sutras (e.g., Foundational Pali Suttas, Diamond Sutra, Perfect Enlightenment Sutra, Bodhidharma’s lectures) as well as additional courses examining Buddhist ethics. This is a strong certificate for people who desire to support their local sanghas, or simply want to deepen their personal practices.
Master’s of Divinity
40 classes required (25 specified core courses, 15 elective courses)
The Master’s of Divinity is open to those with a college degree (although this requirement can be waived under some circumstances). This degree is usually pursued by those wishing ordination or as part of their requirements for becoming a chaplain. It goes beyond the Certificate of Buddhist Ministry primarily by requiring the completion and defense of a Master’s Thesis. If we consider the taking of classes a way of gaining breadth in Buddhist knowledge and practices, the thesis provides the opportunity for gaining depth. At the end of the process, you will have become an expert in some area that will be chosen by you (in collaboration with thesis advisors).