Students from all Buddhist traditions are welcome in the IBS MDiv program. Those seeking ministerial ordination in a specific tradition should consult with their community to ensure course work meets ordination requirements.

Additionally, IBS has developed three specific tracks of study to support those who wish to pursue careers in Jōdo Shinshū Buddhist Ministry or Buddhist chaplaincy.

Jōdo Shinshū Buddhist Ministry Curriculum

Since 1949 one of the primary missions of IBS has been to provide a comprehensive program of education and training for persons aspiring to enter the Shin Buddhist ministry in the West with the support of the Buddhist Churches of America and the Jōdo Shinshū Hongwanji-ha in Kyoto, Japan. The MDiv track for Shin Buddhist Ministry, includes courses and professional development opportunities for students preparing for ordination.

Required courses for the IBS MDiv in Shin Buddhist ministry are:

Course CategoryRequired Course (if none listed, any course with approval)
Buddhist HistoryHRHS-1515 Buddhist Traditions of South Asia (3 units)
HRHS-1518 Buddhist Traditions of East Asia (3)
HRHS-3075 Shin Buddhist History: Premodern (3)
Teachings of BuddhismHRPH-1614 Introduction to Shin Buddhist Thought (3)
Buddhist Texts & LiteratureWorks of Shinran I, II, III & IV (12)
HR-3017 Three Pure Land Sutras (3)
HRHS-3250 Seven Pure Land Masters (3)
Buddhist EthicsHRCE-3020 Buddhist Ethics (3)
Comparative ReligionComparative religion course, usually offered through GTU or member school (3)
Ethnic & Cultural Diversity
Chaplaincy, religious or spiritual counselingPSHR-3076 Buddhist Pastoral Care
Practice of religious or spiritual counseling
Practice of communicationSpecial seminar on Homiletics
FE-1810 Shin Buddhist Services and Ceremonies (3)
Religious or spiritual educationHRCE-3014 Issues in Buddhist Ministry (3)
Ethics of professional practice
Leadership in organizations and institutionsOrganizations and Institutions: Efficacious Buddhist Practices in Communities and Groups
Special seminar on Hongwanji Rules & Regulations
Faith-based internshipsMAP workshops offered by the Center for Buddhist Education (3 workshops)
Research-based final project or thesisMA-1000 or HR-1630 Methods in the Study of Buddhism
6 units “in thesis” for Final Research-Based Project
24 Total courses (72 units)
20 Required courses (60 units)
4 Elective courses (12 units)

Buddhist Chaplaincy Curriculum

The Institute of Buddhist Studies is pleased to offer a Buddhist Chaplaincy Program for students wishing to pursue a chaplaincy career in hospice or health care, prison outreach, or the armed services. The Association of Professional Chaplains (APC) has outlined a set of requirements for certification as a professional chaplain. The APC requires a total of 24 units in the first four categories below. The remaining 48 units can be taken in any of the remaining categories.

Additionally, students are required to take at minimum one course at another GTU member schools to broaden their experience and familiarity with diverse traditions.

*Are required for the IBS MDiv in Buddhist Chaplaincy.

Required 24 units from the following categories:

Course CategoryCourses (* are required for this track)
Buddhist History* HRHS-1515 Buddhist Traditions of South Asia (3 units)
* HRHS-1518 Buddhist Traditions of East Asia (3)
* HR-2849 Buddhism in the West (3)
Teachings of Buddhism* HRPH-1614 Introduction to Shin Buddhist Thought (3)
* A course on Buddhist practice (e.g., Zen Meditation, Theravada Meditation, etc.) (3)
Buddhist Literature* Two “Readings” or Buddhist literature courses (6)
Buddhist Ethics* HRCE-3002 Buddhist Ethics (or other ethics course with approval) (3)
Comparative Religion* Comparative religion course, usually offered through GTU or member school (3)
Cultural Diversity
Pastoral Care and Chaplaincy to total 12 units* PSHR-3076 Buddhist Pastoral Care
* Aspects of Buddhist Psychology II
* Plus 2 additional pastoral care classes such as:
Advanced Seminar in Buddhist Pastoral Care
Pastoral care taken at GTU member school
Aspects of Buddhist Psychology I or III
Sati Center for Buddhist Chaplaincy year-long program with academic credit
Communication in Chaplaincy and Ministry
Religious Education and Foundations of Buddhist Ministry* HRCE-3014 Issues in Buddhist Ministry
Ethics in Chaplaincy and Ministry
Leadership in organizations and institutionsOrganizations and Institutions: Efficacious Buddhist Practices in Communities and Groups
Education in Ministry and ChaplaincyStructured, supervised chaplaincy site such as Clinical Pastoral Education, Sati Center, or Sojourn.
Research-based final project or thesisMA-1000 or HR-1630 Methods in the Study of Buddhism
6 units “in thesis” for Final Research-Based Project

Combined Ministry/Chaplaincy Curriculum

Students desiring to be well versed in both the Shin Buddhist ministerial and Buddhist chaplaincy tracks are required to follow the below curriculum:

Course CategoryRequired Course (if none listed, any course with approval)
Buddhist HistoryHRHS-1515 Buddhist Traditions of South Asia (3 units)
HRHS-1518 Buddhist Traditions of East Asia (3)
HRHS-3075 Shin Buddhist History: Premodern (3)
Teachings of BuddhismHRPH-1614 Introduction to Shin Buddhist Thought (3)
Two courses from the Works of Shinran sequence (6)
Buddhist Texts & LiteratureHR-3017 Three Pure Land Sutras (3)
HRHS-3250 Seven Pure Land Masters (3)
Buddhist EthicsHRCE-3020 Buddhist Ethics (3)
Comparative ReligionComparative religion course, usually offered through GTU or member school (3)
Ethnic & Cultural Diversity
Chaplaincy, religious or spiritual counselingPSHR-3076 Buddhist Pastoral Care (3)
PSHR-5160 Advanced Pastoral Care Seminar (3)
Practice of religious or spiritual counseling
Practice of communication
Religious or spiritual educationHRCE-3014 Issues in Buddhist Ministry (3)
Ethics of professional practice
Leadership in organizations and institutionsOrganizations and Institutions: Efficacious Buddhist Practices in Communities and Groups
Special seminar on Hongwanji Rules & Regulations
Faith-based internshipsMAP workshops offered by the Center for Buddhist Education (3 workshops)
And/or structured, supervised chaplaincy site such as Clinical Pastoral Education, Sati Center, or Sojourn.
Research-based final project or thesisMA-1000 or HR-1630 Methods in the Study of Buddhism
6 units “in thesis” for Final Research-Based Project
24 Total courses (72 units)
17 Required courses (51 units)
7 Elective courses (21 units)

In addition, special seminars on (1) Homiletics, (2) Shin Buddhist Liturgy, and (3) Hongwanji Rules & Regulations will be offered.