Confluence Integrative Studies Institute

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Confluence Integrative Studies Institute (hereinafter referred to as Confluence Institute, or the Institute) is founded

on the premise that human efforts to identify, consider, and act upon solutions for the critical problems facing our world need to take into account the insights, resources, and moral and ethical frames of reference of the world’s religious traditions. A fundamental tenet of the Institute is that it is only through such integration of wisdom, culture, and tradition that effective and lasting global change can occur. Confluence Institute was established as a high-quality post-secondary institution for religious studies education with distance-learning capacity and experiential components to serve this ideal. Moreover, we distinguish our institution by providing academic instruction and mentoring in areas that are either under-represented or un-represented in schools of religion and seminary education in North America. Our faculty members are academic scholars or experts in their respective fields. Current programs, summarized below, reflect the Institute’s emphasis on underserviced areas in religious studies education.

  • Dharma Studies:

    The Dharma Traditions (Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain) are the major indigenous wisdom systems of India that emerged within Indic civilization but are now global in presence and scope. They represent a vast body of intellectual and practical systems of sacred and secular action that center on sustaining nature and society through fostering personal transformation. Dharma traditions have profoundly influenced global interfaith, transreligious, and New Thought movements. Recognizing the importance of their philosophical worldviews and meditation principles, Confluence Institute provides comprehensive and innovative approaches to the study of these traditions. In addition, the paths of personal transformation of consciousness developed by the Dharma Traditions have formed the basis of emerging models of cognitive science, alternative medicine, and consciousness studies. The Institute offers innovative educational approaches to Dharma Traditions in its academic and chaplaincy programs in Dharma Studies. We provide graduate education in the Dharma Traditions, including an M.A. in Dharma Studies with four possible concentrations; an M.A. in Yoga Studies; and ordination for chaplaincy training in Vedic or Buddhist Chaplaincy.

  • Interfaith Studies with Genuine Pluralism:

    Confluence Institute offers inclusive and in-depth interfaith ministerial training with contemplative studies; a genuinely pluralistic perspective; critical reflection skills and counseling education. Interfaith education at the Institute delivers more than a basic overview of the world’s religious paths. Here, the student will learn both the mystical and conventional precepts and practices of sacred traditions from around the world and receive knowledge of rites, rituals, and ceremonies from many traditions, along with the community-building and counseling tools necessary for developing a personal ministry with an interfaith orientation. Authentic meditation training is also included in the curriculum, and spiritual counseling and integrative wellness are emphasized. Our comprehensive and uniquely-structured Interfaith Ministry Progam is especially differentiated by its presentation within a Dharma framework. We also offer a broad-ranging Certification in Spiritual Counseling.

    Degrees Conferred:

    Center for Dharma Studies

  • M.A. in Hindu Studies
  • M.A. in Buddhist Studies
  • M.A. in Jain Studies
  • M.A. in Yoga Studies
  • Certificate in Dharma Studies

    Dharma Chaplaincy Program

  • M.Div. – Vedic Chaplaincy
  • M.Div. – Buddhist Chaplaincy

    Center for Interfaith Studies

  • Master’s Degree in Interfaith Ministry (M.Min. – Dharma Concentration)
  • Master’s Degree in Interfaith Ministry (M.Min.)
  • Certificate in Spiritual Counseling

    CISI Executive Director

    Rita D. Sherma, Ph.D. (on leave until further notice)


    Purushottama Bilimoria

    Rev. Philip Goldberg

    Rita Gross, Ph.D.