Course Requirement: Students are required to complete course requirements as listed for a total of 72 units with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. Courses with a grade of D+ or below are not applicable to graduation. No more than 6 units may be fulfilled through the transfer of credit from another institution.
Dossier Requirement: Rather than completing a thesis, Buddhist Chaplaincy students are required to submit a dossier that includes copies of the following course assignments: 1) MDIV 565 Buddhist Homiletics dharma talk paper; 2) MDIV 645 Spiritual Care & Counseling verbatim; 3) MDIV 655 Spiritual Formation autobiography paper; 4) MDIV 676 Advanced Topics in Professional Chaplaincy project paper; and 5) MDIV 670 Spiritual Leadership project paper. These items should be submitted to the department when the student is registering for the final term. If MDIV 670 is taken in the final term, this item is should be submitted to the department when it is submitted to the instructor.
On-campus housing is available to students, but they are not required to live on campus. Students living off-campus should be aware that the requirements are such that it would be very difficult to live too far outside of Los Angeles County and complete this program. The long hours and intensive nature require regular attendance on campus for classes, as do group processes and other events. This program was designed to serve students living locally.
Internship / Clinical Pastoral Education Requirements
Students are required to participate in a clinical internship during their studies. This requirement is typically met by completing one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). However, another kind of internship may be appropriate depending on the clinical setting in which the student would like to specialize. Military chaplain candidates, for example, have their own unique training. The internship is done under the supervision of the institution the student serves. That institution may report back to UWest on the student’s progress. Students are solely responsible for locating, applying to, and completing their internship, but may receive advice and guidance from their advisor. This requirement is in addition to the 72-unit graduation requirement.
Contemplative Practice Requirement
Students are expected to be engaged in some form of meditation, contemplative, religious, or spiritual practice for as many hours a week as they are taking units that semester. (For example, 12 units = 12 hours of practice per week, which is 6480 hours of contemplative practice that can be fulfilled through meditation, mindfulness practice, temple work, courses, retreats, and other approved forms of spiritual engagement.) Students should check in with their advisor every semester to ensure their spiritual practice supports their spiritual formation as chaplains.
While ordination, endorsement, or certification is not required to graduate, it is helpful for students seeking work to obtain these credentials prior to completing the program because they may be required by employers. Students should have a plan in place for meeting the requirements for ordination, endorsement, or professional certification with whatever chaplaincy organization serves and supports spiritual care work in their chosen work setting. By the time of graduation, for example, students should probably have a written ordination or endorsement from their respective senior Dharma teachers, community, or lineage. UWest does not provide ordination or endorsement as part of the chaplaincy program.