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,
“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
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.
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
Learning from Trauma: Understanding Its Effects and Building Personal Resources
Maitri: Working With Emotions
Senior Seminar I: Transformation Psychology—The Group Experience
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
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 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
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
Program Learning Outcomes
Mindfulness: Students attend to and are aware of what is occurring in the present
Compassion: Students are kind and understanding toward oneself and others.
Contemplative Psychology: Students apply relevant knowledge from texts regarding contemplative
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,
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.
“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