Jane Carpenter Buddhist Psychology II class

Bachelors Degree
in Contemplative Psychology

Three unique components of the program—sharpening intellect, deepening intuition, and nourishing compassion—will build your confidence and prepare you for future career success. 

While traditional psychology programs begin with external theories, your Contemplative Psychology degree studies will progress from the inside out. Through contemplative practice, you will discover the riches of your self. Through the study of Eastern and Western approaches to mind-body healing, you will sharpen your intellect. And by engaging in practical fieldwork you will acquire confidence, skills, and compassion necessary to begin helping others.

Many of Naropa’s alumni from the bachelor's degree program in Contemplative Psychology go on to study psychology, holistic health, medicine, education, and law as graduate students in programs all over the country. Our Contemplative Psychology graduates also become admissions counselors, teachers, entrepreneurs, counselors, case managers, alternative health practitioners, nonprofit administrators, human resources professionals, and more.

Ryan Page

Student Highlight

“My love for Naropa rests on the principle of inclusion—the simple integrity of it. I have learned how to leverage my identity as a queer, marginalized person in the classroom in a way that has forever changed the way in which I trust and respect my own life.”

— Ryan Page
Contemplative Psychology Student


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Credits Required


The Contemplative Psychology degree program is 41-credit major that combines 32 hours of core contemplative psychology classes with 9 hours in your concentration. This major is part of your 120-hour contemplative undergraduate education at Naropa University. 

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Your Core Contemplative Psychology Curriculum

Your Contemplative Psychology program at Naropa is a journey—both personal and academic.

You will start by going inward, studying Buddhist psychology and meditation. You will then move into the study of traditional, contemplative, and transpersonal psychological theories, and your concentration in one of four areas.

Your degree program culminates in a capstone experience that combines the study of Maitri Space Awareness, your field placement, and the development of a multidisciplinary senior project grounded in your expanded awareness of yourself and what you want to contribute to the world. 

A sampling of Classes

  • Buddhist Psychology I: Mindfulness Meditation
  • Human Development
  • Learning from Trauma: Understanding Its Effects and Building Personal Resources
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Maitri: Working With Emotions
  • Senior Seminar I: Transformation Psychology—The Group Experience

Field Placement

As a Contemplative Psychology student you will complete a volunteer field placement in the community gaining skills, compassion, and career insight.

Naropa students have worked at the following: AIM House, Attention Homes, Boulder Resource Family Schools, Boulder Valley High School, Care Connect, The Bridge to Recovery, the Play Therapy Institute of Colorado, El Centro Amistad, Feet on the Earth, Frasier Meadows Assisted Living, Medicine Horse, Out Boulder, Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence, the Tennyson Center for Living, the Thorne Nature Experience, and many others.

Research Opportunities

 Explore opportunities for collaborative research with faculty in meditation and other phenomena related to human consciousness, adult development, critical and postcolonial psychologies, healing through expressive arts, sexual narratives, compassion meditation, and other areas.

Contemplative Psychology Senior Thesis Examples

Your Naropa University Contemplative Psychology program will culminate in the development and presentation of a multidisciplinary research project. Some past projects include the following:

  • The Uneducated Consumption of Food: Where The Ignorance Comes From, The Health Effects and Options for Diet Modification
  • A Sheep in Wolves Clothing: The Ramifications of Complex Childhood Trauma
  • Mujeres de Integridad: Understanding Psychosocial Insights of Immigrant Latinas Through Narrative Analysis
  • Why Am I Hearing and Seeing Spirits? Exploring Childhood and Adolescent Spiritual Intelligence and Spiritual Emergence
  • From the Mind to the Land: Offering Adolescents a Way Out of the Mental Health System
  • Through a Land-Based Holistic Program
  • Why Are You Dressed Like That? Culture, Creativity, and Moral Identity in Cosplay
  • Testing, Testing, Testing: The Exclusion of Multiple Intelligences and the Forgotten Body

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Mindfulness: Students attend to and are aware of what is occurring in the present moment.
  • Compassion: Students are kind and understanding toward oneself and others.
  • Contemplative Psychology: Students apply relevant knowledge from texts regarding contemplative practice tradition.
  • Psychological Science: Students apply relevant knowledge from peer-reviewed research or related scholarly works in psychological science.
  • Critical Integration among Divergent Perspectives: Students apply knowledge of academic and/or social movements critical of mainstream psychology or culture (i.e., white, male, Euro-American, Christian, secular, middle-class, heterosexual, cisgender, sane, able-bodied, etc.). 
  • Communication: Students demonstrate competence in communication skills.
  • Diversity, Inclusivity, and Social Justice: Students demonstrate competence in diversity awareness, inclusive community, and applying relevant knowledge of diversity or inclusivity toward social justice.
Susan Burggraf

Faculty Highlight

“Our students don’t accept conventions readily. At other schools, I was asked a question that I’d never heard before maybe once a semester. Here, it happens almost daily. And our students are very embodied. There is a quality of ‘cool’ about them.” 

— Susan Burggraf, PhD
Professor, Contemplative Psychology
Dean of the School of Natural and Social Sciences

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