Art Therapy BA Naropa University

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Contemplative Art Therapy

In Naropa's Bachelor of Arts in Contemplative Art Therapy, merge your artistic process with the study of traditional and Eastern psychology for a deeply mindful approach to art therapy. Discover an art therapy school where you can grow as an artist as you explore the healing power of art.

Major in contemplative art therapy at the only Buddhist-inspired accredited university in the United States. Naropa's contemplative art therapy program is dedicated to mindfulness, both in the artistic process and in our approach to teaching the psychology behind effective art therapy. 

Among colleges with a major in art therapy, Naropa uniquely offers both an undergraduate contemplative art therapy program and a graduate art therapy program, resulting in rich opportunities for mentorship and career guidance. Explore the depths of your own art — and your own heart — as a contemplative art therapy major.


Quick Facts

  • 51 Credit Hours
  • 2 Transformative Capstone Experiences, Including a Choice between Internship and Field Placement
  • 8 Unique Milestone Courses in Studio Art, Art Therapy, and Psychology 

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in Contemplative Art Therapy

Learn the practice and theory of contemplative art therapy at an art therapy school that puts mindfulness at the core of its curriculum. Engaging course work in studio art, art therapy, and contemplative psychology offers a visionary approach to using art as a tool for healing. As you earn your undergraduate degree in contemplative art therapy, you will master studio techniques, explore Buddhist psychology, collaborate with motivated peers, and engage in fieldwork in the surrounding community. Courses within the major in contemplative art therapy include:  

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If you’ve been searching for art therapy schools with curriculums that address heart and spirit along with mind, you’ve found your home. Naropa's unique Bachelor of Arts in Contemplative Art Therapy offers a vibrant arts community, experiential learning, and a deeply introspective undergraduate curriculum aimed at healing you, your future clients, and the world.

Community Engagement

The undergraduate major in contemplative art therapy offers a choice of two culminating, senior-year experiences: the Field Placement or the Internship. Both opportunities provide socially relevant learning in art therapy and integrate community-oriented skills such as grassroots organizing, grant writing, and policy research. 

For seniors moving on to careers as art therapists or to graduate art therapy schools, the Field Placement and Internship are powerful, collaborative opportunities to synthesize their contemplative art therapy education. 

Forty-three percent of contemplative art therapy bachelor's degree students are hired following completion of a senior internship.

Contemplative Education

The Naropa Bachelor of Arts in Contemplative Art Therapy is not a typical art therapy program, and Naropa is not your typical school. As the West’s founding school for contemplative education, Naropa integrates mind, body, and soul in a holistic education aimed at transforming students, communities, and the world. 

The undergraduate major in contemplative art therapy instills mindfulness as a valuable tool for approaching art, relationships, and self-knowledge through courses like Buddhist Psychology: Mindfulness Meditation and Contemplative Ceramics: Form and Human Contact. Students cultivate their inner lives to prepare for meaningful lives beyond art therapy school.

Mentorship Opportunities

As one of the country’s few undergraduate art therapy programs paired with a graduate art therapy program, the Bachelor of Arts in Contemplative Art Therapy is uniquely positioned to provide mentorship opportunities. A graduate mentor will guide you through your major in contemplative art therapy, serving as sounding board, coach, and support. 

Naropa's art therapy mentorship program, unique among art therapy schools, prepares undergraduates to excel in the graduate art therapy program, to pursue master's degrees in studio art or mental health, or to step into meaningful careers as art instructors, art coaches, or mental health workers.



“I know that when I finish the [art therapy] program here at Naropa, I will be set up for and have a lot of advantages when entering grad school.”
Jennifer "Fern" Deininger, BA in Contemplative Art Therapy, 2019


What to Expect

Graduate School Readiness

Receive mindful mentorship that gives you a head start in graduate school.


Learn to look inward as a first step in reaching out to help others.

Relational Skills

Refine communication skills through hands-on learning in diverse settings.

Self-Awareness as an Artist

Cultivate confidence and dignity in your work as artist and art therapist.

Foundation in Studio Art Therapy

Follow in the footsteps of art therapy pioneers.