Buddhist Psychology Programs: Degree and Training Options

Oct 14, 2019

The field of transpersonal psychology combines the study of psychology and spirituality. Students pursuing a degree in this area explore Buddhist principles as well as experimental healing treatments for patients, such as meditation.

Essential Information

Accredited Buddhist psychology degree programs do not currently exist; however, courses in Buddhist psychology are often available within transpersonal psychology graduate degree programs. Applicants to these programs typically need a bachelor's degree, and Ph.D. applicants may also need a master's degree. Continuing education and professional development courses that focus on Buddhist psychology are also available.

Master of Arts in Transpersonal Psychology

Coursework in transpersonal psychology programs explore the integration of traditional psychological theories with spiritual concepts. Students learn experimental therapy techniques and exercises as well as the principles of Eastern religions, including Buddhism. Programs take two to three years to complete and may include courses in:

  • Transpersonal psychology foundations
  • Ancient healing practices
  • Psychopathology
  • Meditation techniques
  • Tibetan Buddhist practices

Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology

Doctoral study in transpersonal psychology deeply explores the theoretical, professional, research and educational applications of spiritual psychology. A doctoral program in transpersonal psychology takes four years to complete and may be earned through residential or online programs. A bachelor's or master's degree in psychology or a related field is typically required as a prerequisite.

Doctoral coursework is heavily researched-based and students work toward writing a formal dissertation in their final years of study. Post-graduate transpersonal psychology programs also offer specializations in creative expression, research or spiritual guidance. In addition to independent research, classroom course topics may include:

  • Mind and body integration
  • Personality theories
  • Global psychologies
  • Advanced research methods
  • Experimental learning

Continuing Education Information

Psychologists and healing art professionals wishing to explore Buddhist psychology may also seek professional seminars and continuing education courses offered by various Buddhist universities and organizations. Such programs explore Buddhist principles and their therapeutic and spiritual applications to psychological healing.

Popular Career Options

Transpersonal psychology benefits psychologists and healing art professionals wishing to incorporate spiritual applications in their practice. Students who earn a master's degree in transpersonal psychology may develop careers in:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Spiritual guidance
  • Life coaching
  • Counseling
  • Clinical psychology

Buddhist psychology professionals may develop Buddhist-centered practices or work for Buddhist communities and organizations. Ph.D. holders in transpersonal psychology may also choose to go into private practice, teach at a university, offer various counseling services or work in spiritual and church communities.

Salary info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that postsecondary psychology teachers made a median of $76,710 per year as of 2018. The number of working college-level psychology teachers is projected to increase 12% during the 2018-2028 decade, which is faster than average compared to all job sectors, according to the BLS.

Full degree programs are not available in the field of Buddhist psychology, but this subject can be studied through courses within transpersonal psychology master's and doctoral degree programs. Students explore Eastern religions as well as traditional meditation and healing techniques so they can incorporate them into their own counseling practices.

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