M.DIV. (MASTER OF DIVINITY)
IN BUDDHIST MINISTRY
40 classes required (25 specified core courses, 15 elective courses), plus a Master’s Thesis
The Master’s of Divinity in Buddhist Ministry 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 as a Zen Priest (Note: Monks are only accepted on a case-by-case basis with established teachers) or as part of requirements to become a chaplain. Ordination happens at the local Sangha level with affiliated Sanghas, and is not offered through Buddha Dharma University (although many of our teachers are those with whom you may ordain).
The M.Div. 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).
Buddha Dharma University focuses on continually forging opportunities to experience a contemporary, in-depth and non-sectarian study of Buddhism, while also promoting the knowledge and understanding of the various 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.
One of Buddha Dharma University’s primary functions is to train priests and monks in fundamental Buddhist doctrine, traditional Zen liturgical practice and function, as well as educating priests in a broad spectrum of the essentials of pastoral care from both a priestly and administrative standpoint. As such, we are a Buddhist seminary with special emphasis on Zen training. This course of study aims to help Buddhist Ministers establish a clear direction for their ordained practice and outreach, while developing the knowledge and skill set to be successful in pursuing it. Successful completion of this degree will prepare a Buddhist Minister for service in running his/her own local Buddhist center and/or outreach program.