The Master of Divinity (M.Div.) Degree is a 72-unit graduate professional degree which prepares students to engage fully and with confidence in ministry, chaplaincy, and related professions as well as further academic work. The M.Div. program provides a unique opportunity for students to build a rich and nuanced understanding of Buddhist traditions at a Buddhist seminary, and, through its relationship to the GTU and its member schools, a well informed understanding of other faith traditions and the dynamic religious and spiritual landscape of contemporary society. Diversity and dialogue are an essential part of the program and support its aim — to develop skilled, thoughtful and effective leaders grounded in the Buddhist tradition, able to think critically and respond constructively to the needs of a changing world.
Students in IBS’s Master of Divinity program will:
- develop foundational knowledge of Buddhist history, literature, thought, practice, and ethics as the basis for effective ministry, chaplaincy, or religious leadership;
- develop ministerial skills appropriate to their professional goals, using a range of Buddhist and non-Buddhist sources, and demonstrate how these skills apply to their ministry;
- gain specific, in-depth, knowledge of the teachings and practices of their own Buddhist tradition and develop a well-articulated understanding of how that knowledge serves as a guide and resource for their ministry;
- relate their own tradition to multi-religious, multi-cultural, and multi-Buddhist contexts to support effective engagement with diverse communities; and
- produce research projects and develop communication skills through writing, public speaking, and dharma talks.
All students are required to complete a range of courses across six subject areas to provide a foundational basis for Buddhist ministry, chaplaincy, and religious leadership in an increasingly interfaith and intercultural world.
Students from all Buddhist traditions are welcome in the IBS M.Div. program. Those seeking ministerial ordination in a specific tradition should consult with their community to ensure course work meets ordination requirements. For those students wishing to prepare for Jōdo Shinshū ministry and/or professional chaplaincy, specialized tracks of study provide additional structure to the M.Div. program. Additionally, students may consider completing a concurrent certificate program to guide and focus their studies.
Interested in a career in Buddhist chaplaincy? Read these frequently asked questions to learn more.
- Master of Divinity Degree Program Requirements
- M.Div. Program Assessment
- M.Div. School Performance Fact Sheet
- A Bachelor’s degree (BA) or its equivalent from an accredited college or university; or evidence of having completed equivalent studies under a different educational system.
- Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores from within the last five years. GRE Verbal scores should be at least 150.
- Three letters of recommendation attesting to the applicant’s ability to do graduate-level work and familiarity with Buddhist thought and/or practice.
- A statement of purpose describing the applicant’s reason for pursuing graduate study at IBS and what goal they wish to accomplish through the MDiv program.
- A non-refundable $40 application fee, payable to Institute of Buddhist Studies.
- A complete application and personal information form, available via the IBS’s website.