Academic Programs

Department of Buddhist Chaplaincy

Preparing You to Share Your Wisdom with the World

The Buddhist Chaplaincy programs are at the heart of UWest’s mission of facilitating understanding and appreciation between East and West and educating the whole person. UWest’s Master of Divinity program is one of only four accredited programs in the United States specifically for Buddhists, and our Doctor of Buddhist Ministry program is one of the first of its kind in the world.

Our programs specialize in preparing Buddhist practitioners for hands-on work in chaplaincy in interfaith settings, such as hospitals, hospices, police departments, prisons, and the military. All of our faculty are actively engaged in the practice of Buddhist chaplaincy. The department collaborates closely with the Business Administration, Psychology, and Religious Studies departments to emphasize and pinpoint real-life application of the knowledge gained in the Buddhist chaplaincy program.

The department is ecumenical, welcoming Buddhists from every branch of Buddhism as well as those of other denominations (not all students identify as Buddhist or only Buddhist). Students are encouraged to engage in spiritual reflection and formation from within their own faith tradition and to share those reflections with their classmates. In addition, students learn about other faiths, to be of service to a wide variety of people in need.

The department upholds the standards of professional chaplaincy set forth by the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC) and encourages all students to complete Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) or other clinical practicum experiences appropriate to their future work setting. These professional standards and trainings ensure that students gain hands-on experience in spiritual care and are ready to enter the world as professional Buddhist chaplains upon graduation.