Contemplative Psychology Major (BA)

A Bachelor of Arts degree (120 credits) consists of Core Curriculum (30 credits) and at least one major (36–60 credits), as well as minors and/or elective courses of the student’s choosing.

The Contemplative Psychology major is 41 credit hours: 32 credits from the psychology core requirements and 9 credits from one of the concentrations. The core requirements consist of courses in psychology and meditation from the Buddhist and Shambhala traditions, as well as courses in Western psychology. Students pursue further study in one of five concentrations: Contemplative Neuroscience, Psychological Science, Psychology of Health and Healing, Somatic Psychology, or Transpersonal and Humanistic Psychology.

Other requirements include a contemplative community retreat offered every fall semester and a community-based field placement within the Boulder/Denver area.

Program Vision

The BA Contemplative Psychology program offers an innovative approach to the study and practice of psychology, guided by the principle that psychological health and well-being are innate. The Contemplative Psychology program creates and supports a learning environment that values personal experience and insight as essential to embodied achievement. Through various modes of inquiry, such as contemplative practice, empirical research, theoretical analysis, oral and written narrative, group dynamics, and community engagement, the field of contemplative psychology nourishes individual and collective transformation. The program develops the whole person through experiential learning that broadens and sharpens intellect, deepens intuition, nourishes compassion, and embodies confidence. Drawing from meditative wisdom traditions and contemporary practices of diversity, the curriculum provides fertile opportunity for understanding complexity, while fostering reciprocal learning across deeply valued difference.

Contemplative Psychology Major Requirements

Required Courses

Gateway

  • PSYB101   Introduction to Psychology (3)
  • PSYB314   Buddhist Psychology: Mindfulness Meditation (3)

Take twice for 2 credits

  • PSYB343W Contemplative Community Retreat (1)

Milestone

  • PSYB325   Awakening Compassion: Working with Others (3) 

300-Level Western Psychology
Choose 6 Credits

  • PSYB301   Research Methods and Statistics (3)
  • PSYB345   Developmental Psychology (3)
  • PSYB357   Cognitive Science (3)
  • PSYB371   Personality Theories (3)
  • PSYB373   Social Psychology (3)
     

400-Level Western Psychology
Choose 3 Credits

  • PSYB420   Abnormal Psychology (3)
  • PSYB490   Special Topics in Psychology (3)
  • PSYB495   Advanced Practicum in Psychological Research (3)
     

Concentrations

Choose one of the following concentrations (9 Credits)  

Contemplative Neuroscience 

This concentration provides a foundation for integrating neuroscientific approaches into the study of contemplative mind. Students' development in this area joins training in cognitive neuroscience with meditative experience. Topics include important findings from functional brain imaging studies on embodiment, perception, emotion, consciousness, mind wandering, and contemplative experience beyond mindfulness. Students use contemplative practice as laboratory for investigating their own mind and brain while employing a variety of complementary psychological research methods, including phenomenology, experimentation, task performance, and experience sampling. 

Required Courses

  • PSYB301 Research Methods and Statistics (3)
  • PSYB462 Contemplative Neuroscience (3)

Choose 3 Credits

  • PSYB357 Cognitive Science (3)
  • PSYB368 Psychology and Neuroscience of Emotion (3)

Concentration Total: 9 Credits 

 

Psychological Science

The Psychological Science concentration emphasizes the study of human experience and activity through systematic observation. Topics include development from infancy through adulthood, individual differences, embodiment, perception, emotion, consciousness, thinking, social influence, self, and other aspects of mental life. In addition to theoretical study, methods of obtaining and evaluating empirical evidence are explored, ranging from behavior assessment to contemplative phenomenology.

Required Course

  • PSYB301   Research Methods and Statistics (3) 

Choose 6 Credits

  • PSYB234   Perception (3)
  • PSYB345   Developmental Psychology (3)
  • PSYB371   Personality Theories (3)
  • PSYB373   Social Psychology (3)
  • PSYB420   Abnormal Psychology (3)

Concentration Total: 9 Credits 

Psychology of Health and Healing

The Psychology of Health and Healing concentration emphasizes body-mind synchronization as the key to inner harmony and well-being. Students explore a diversity of ancient and modern healing methodologies and learn experiential techniques for balancing the spiritual and somatic aspects of health.

Required Course

  • PSYB329   Approaches to Healing (3)   

Choose 6 Credits

  • PSYB208   Embodying Process and the Individual (3)
  • PSYB209   Herbal Medicine (3)
  • PSYB239   Nutrition (3)
  • PSYB303   The Psychology of the Five Elements I (3)
  • PSYB323   The Psychology of the Five Elements II (3)
  • PSYB333   Hakomi Somatics (3)
  • PSYB359   Learning from Trauma: Understanding Its Effects and Building Personal Resources (3)

Concentration Total: 9 Credits

Somatic Psychology

The Somatic Psychology concentration emphasizes the practice of making meaningful connections between emotional process and the body’s expressions, sensations, and symptoms. Course work includes three learning domains: 1) the historical and developing theory of body psychology; 2) the research and science regarding body psychology; and 3) the increase of body/self-awareness developed through experiential and movement-oriented classes.

Required Course

  • PSYB304   Somatic Intelligence: The Neuroscience of Our Body-Mind Connection (3)  

Choose 6 Credits

  • PSYB208   Embodying Process and the Individual (3)
  • PSYB255   Body-Mind Centering (3)
  • PSYB303   The Psychology of the Five Elements I (3)
  • PSYB328   Gestalt: Presence (3)
  • PSYB333   Hakomi Somatics (3)
  • PSYB359   Learning from Trauma: Understanding Its Effects and Building Personal Resources (3)
  • PSYB435   Authentic Movement: Movement/Body Awareness Practice (3)
  • PAR321   Contemplative Dance Practice (3)

Concentration Total: 9 Credits  

Transpersonal and Humanistic Psychology

The Transpersonal and Humanistic Psychology concentration helps students synthesize two major forces in Western psychotherapy and appreciate their unique contributions to the understanding of mental health. These include the recognition of spiritual longing for wholeness as essential to psychological growth, and the acknowledgment of the importance of the client-therapist relationship in the healing process.

Required Courses

  • PSYB350   Humanistic Psychology (3)
  • PSYB354   Transpersonal Psychology (3) 

Choose 3 Credits

  • PSYB225   Family Systems (3)
  • PSYB328   Gestalt: Presence (3)
  • PSYB330   Jungian Psychology (3)
  • PSYB355   Dynamics of Intimate Relationships (3)
  • PSYB430   Exploring Dream Psychology (3) 

Concentration Total: 9 Credits
 

Capstone

  • PSYB415   Maitri: Working with Emotions (3)
  • PSYB425   Field Placement (3)
  • PSYB482   Senior Seminar I: Transformational Psychology: The Group Experience (3)
  • PSYB483   Senior Seminar II: Transformational Psychology: The Threshold Experience (3)

Total Credits: 41