Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Frequently Asked Questions about Our Program

1. What are the admissions requirements?

The admissions requirements are as follows:
  1. A B.A. in any major from an accredited college or university with a G.P.A. of 2.5 or higher.
  2. Three (3) letters of recommendation.
  3. A 500-word autobiographical essay.
  4. Copies of diplomas for all degrees earned, and official transcripts.
  5. Attendance for a two-day, in-person interview process on campus. Individual and group interviews will evaluate assess interpersonal skills and assess the candidates' readiness for the program.
  6. A $50 application fee.
2. What are the residency requirements?

On-campus housing is available to students (see below), 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, and should not be considered a low-residency program.

3. Does UWest ordain monks, nuns or ministers?

No. The purpose of the M.Div. in Buddhist Chaplaincy is to prepare students for ministries of care and counseling in vocational environments. Students interested in ordination should seek it from their temple, church, mosque, community, or practice center.

4. Are UWest and the M.Div. in Buddhist Chaplaincy program accredited?

Yes. Both University of the West and the M.Div. in Buddhist Chaplaincy have been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

5. Does UWest have housing? Can I live on campus with my spouse?

University of the West has two residence halls, one for me and one for women. Spouses can cohabitate in a dorm room if space is available. Off-campus apartment housing can also be arranged through University of the West for married couples.

6. Can I take the M.Div. in Buddhist Chaplaincy program online?

The program in its entirety cannot be completed online. Some courses included in the program’s curriculum are offered online and count toward fulfillment of the program, but there is no M.Div. online degree program.

7. Are international students accepted into the M.Div. in Buddhist Chaplaincy program?

UWest will only accept Applications for Admission from students currently living inside the United States, including international students who reside in the U.S. at the time they submit their application. International students are also required to submit a TOEFL score or IELTS score in accordance with the University of the West admissions policy.

8. Will UWest’s M.Div. in Buddhist Chaplaincy program help me become professionally certified as a chaplain?

Yes. Professional chaplains are generally certified by whatever organization serves and supports spiritual care work in their particular area. (Healthcare and hospice chaplains are certified by the Association for Professional Chaplains, police chaplains by the International Conference of Police Chaplains, military chaplains by the National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces, and so on.) All of these organizations have their own standards and competencies. For all intents and purposes, though, we could think of board certification with the A.P.C. as the "gold standard" for professional chaplains. Among their requirements is 72 semester-hours of graduate education covering nine core areas (ritual/liturgy, comparative religions, religious education, pastoral care and counseling, spiritual formation, religious history, institutional organization and administration, sacred literature, and theology/philosophy). UWest has designed its program specifically to cover those nine areas in 72 semester hours (see curriculum design).

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