Master of Divinity

The Master of Divinity degree prepares students for professional work in the fields of pastoral care, chaplaincy, community development, and dharma teaching. This 72-credit, three-year program is firmly grounded in Buddhist philosophy and meditation practice, while emphasizing an interreligious approach to individual and community care. This training is then applied in hands-on field education work, to develop individuals who can actively manifest wisdom and compassion in the world. The program breaks new ground in preparing Buddhist-inspired students to serve their communities in leadership capacities.

The MDiv degree prepares students through four streams of learning: 1) theological study—an in-depth understanding of the basic Buddhist texts and doctrines in historical and present-day contexts; 2) community—devoted to the insights and tools for fostering “engaged” communities; 3) interfaith pastoral care—the ability to serve the spiritual and human needs of a diverse community in ministerial/chaplaincy roles while embodying the principles and practices of one’s primary tradition; and 4) practice and meditation—the spiritual practice of sitting meditation from the Buddhist tradition.

Field education opportunities (either Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) or internship placements) based on individual student interests provide a context for integrating all four streams of learning and applying them to real-world needs, while initiating the process of lifetime learning through the student's work.

Optional Specialties:

Tibetan Tradition Emphasis   Students with particular interest in the scholastic tradition of Tibet have the option of rounding out the monastic college (shedra) aspect of their studies by selecting the optional Tibetan Tradition emphasis, which involves attending a month-long summer program of Nitartha Institute between the first and second years of the degree program. The courses they take during this program, in conjunction with their studies at Naropa, lead to the completion and receipt of the Foundation and Intermediate Curriculum Certificates of Nitartha Institute, which qualify students to enter the study of the Advanced Curriculum and to apply for the Teaching-in-Training program at Nitartha after their graduation from Naropa. (For background information, see

Mindfulness Instructor Training A three-course series training students to offer instruction in shamatha practice and being a mindfulness instructor. Participants develop skills in first-time meditation instruction and mentoring new practitioners.

Shambhala Training  Shambhala Training is the path of study and practice of Shambhala Warriorship: the tradition of human bravery, not being afraid of who you are. This training, in partnership with Shambhala International, shows how to take the challenges of daily life in our modern society as opportunities for contemplative practice.

Note on fees: There are several expenses associated with noncredit requirements in the Religious Studies programs. These do not involve any Naropa tuition cost, but do involve costs paid to the organizations offering these programs. The month-long contemplative practice retreat costs approximately $1,300. Master of Divinity students may enroll in Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) for academic credit, which may reduce the cost of clinical training, though additional fees charge by the CPE training center may also apply. Tibetan Tradition students register for a 3-credit Nitartha Institute program through Naropa, which will cover the tuition cost, but not the room and board, text, and other items of the Nitartha program, which add up to approximately $1,000. The prices listed above are estimates based on current costs. These costs are determined by outside organizations and are subject to change. There are also occasionally smaller course fees associated with individual classes, which are subject to change.

Degree Requirements

Please note that many students complete the program in four rather than three years. For a complete four-year plan, please see your academic advisor.  Some courses are only offered alternate years; please consult your academic advisor.