core curriculum

Core Curriculum

Undergraduate Core Requirements

The 120-credit Bachelor of Arts degree consists of one or more majors, electives, and a 24-credit core curriculum. Our approach to education nurtures in its students a lifelong joy in learning, a critical intellect, the sense of purpose that accompanies compassionate service to the world, and the openness and equanimity that arise from authentic insight and self-understanding.

Our core curriculum is comprised of six core requirements, an introductory writing seminar, and a capstone course in which students engage in original research to produce projects and products that integrate and apply their learning.

In the six areas of the core curriculum, students explore the inner resources needed to engage courageously with a complex and challenging world, to help transform that world through skill and compassion, and to attain deeper levels of happiness and meaning in their lives. Courses in the major provide students with in-depth study in a specific discipline or interdisciplinary course of study, preparing them for graduate and professional schools as well as for meaningful livelihoods and careers.

A Naropa education—reflecting the interplay of discipline and delight—prepares its graduates both to meet the world as it is and to change it for the better.

Shared Core Requirements

  • COR110 Writing Seminar  (3)
  • COR340 Capstone I (3)
  • COR440 Capstone II (3)

Core Area Requirements

  1. Contemplative Inquiry & Practice
    These courses explore contemplative and spiritual views and practices that invite students to engage body, mind and heart in cultivating insight, receptivity and wisdom. 

    Contemplative Inquiry & Practice COURSES

    COR130 Contemplative Learning Seminar: Naropa’s Roots and Branches (3)

    COR335 Special Topics: Contemplative Inquiry & Practice (3)

    ENV350 Nature, the Sacred, and Contemplation (3)

    PAR100 Wisdom of the Body (3)

    PAR230 Preparing the Voice: Breathing Is Meaning (3)

    PSYB208 Embodying Process and the Individual (3)

    PSYB255 Body-Mind Centering (3)

    PSYB314 Psychology of Mindful Meditation

    PSYB325 Awakening Compassion Working with Others (3)

    PSYB415 Maitri: Working with Emotions (3)

    REL158W Breeze of Simplicity: Meditation Weekend (1)

    REL160 Meditation Practicum I: Freeing the Mind (3)

    REL255W Opening the Heart: Meditation Weekend (1)

    REL210 Religion & Mystical Experience (3)

    REL150 Buddhist Journey of Transformation: An Introduction (3)

    REL210 Religion & Mystical Experience (3)

    REL250 Spirituality and Creative Expression (3)

    REL314 Contemplative Islam: An Introduction to Its History, Thought, and Practice (3)

    REL323 Religious Experience in Africa: Sacred Cosmos, Ritual, and Community (3)

    REL334 Hindu Tantra (3)

    TRA453 Yoga History, Theory and Philosophy (3)

    REL345 Zen Buddhism (3)

    REL346 Wisdom and Compassion: The Buddhist Path (3)

    TRA105 Taijiquan I: Beginning Form (3)

    TRA110 Aikido I (3)

    TRA114 Indian Devotional and Raga Singing (3)

    TRA120 Ikebana/Kado I (3)

    TRA133 Yoga I (3)

    TRA 233 Yoga II (3)

    TRA 333 Yoga III (3)

    WRI329 Writing Workshop: Contemplative Poetics (3.0)

  2. Social Justice & Antiracism
    Students learn concepts and methods that deepen students’ ability to understand and constructively engage with issues at the intersection of race, class, gender, sexuality, and more.

    Social Justice & Antiracism COURSES 

    COR 150: Diversity Seminar

    COR 315: Special Topics: Social Justice & Antiracism

    ENV207 History of the Environmental Movement (3)

    ENV245 Geography: Pilgrimage and Sacred Landscape (3)

    ENV253 Environmental Economics (3)

    ENV257 Food Justice (3)

    ENV 355 Environmental Justice (3)

    ENV363 Indigenous Environmental Issues (3)

    INTD210 Introduction to Gender and Women’s Studies (3)

    INTD310 Feminist and Queer Theory Methods of Inquiry (3.0)

    MUS260 Listening to Jazz (3)

    PAR241 Art Movements of the 20th Century: The Movers, Shakers, and Rule Breakers (3)

    PAX250 Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies (3)

    PAX335 Socially Engaged Spirituality (3)

    PAX340 Conflict Transformation: Theory and Practice (3)

    PAX 327: Law, Human Rights and Social Change (3)

    REL212 Queer Theory, Feminism, and Religion (3)

    REL348 Buddhism and Modernity (3)

    REL323 Religious Experience in Africa: Sacred Cosmos, Ritual, and Community (3)

    TRA453 Yoga History, Theory and Philosophy (3)

    WRI210 Experimental and Activist Literatures (3)

  3. Sustainability & Ecological Regeneration
    Students learn to embed principles and practices of sustainability into every aspect of their lives in order to address local and global environmental crises, to build flourishing communities, and to help foster life-sustaining societies.

    Sustainability & Ecological Regeneration COURSES 

    · COR 222 Sustainability Seminar: Regenerative Community in Action (3)

    · COR320 Special Topics: Sustainability & Ecological Regeneration (3)

    · ENV100 Physical Geography: Beholding the Body of the Earth (3)

    · ENV207 History of the Environmental Movement (3)

    · ENV215 Sustainability (3)

    · ENV245 Geography: Pilgrimage and Sacred Landscape (3)

    · ENV253 Environmental Economics (3)

    · ENV257 Food Justice (3)

    · ENV260 Introduction to Permaculture (3)

    · ENV318 Deep Ecology (3)

    · ENV355 Environmental Justice (3)

    · ENV363 Indigenous Environmental Issues (3)

    · ENV370 Ecopsychology (3)

    · WRI 380 Writing Workshop: Eco-Poetics

    · EDU300 Nature and Education

  4. Artistic Expression & Creative Practice
    Students explore creative practices and forms of artistic expression as vehicles for inquiry and communication.

    Artistic Expression & Creative Practice COURSES 

    COR330 Special Topics: Artistic Expression & Creative Practice (3)

    ART101 2-D Design: Art Techniques and Experimentation (3)

    ART102 Contemplative Ceramics: Form and Human Contact (3)

    ART125 Introduction to Drawing (3)

    ART132 3-D Ephemeral Art (3)

    ART155 Figure Drawing (3)

    ART180 Sculpture (3)

    ART245 Introduction to Painting: Realism (3)

    ART311 Mixed Media (3)

    ART385 Advanced Studio Practice (3)

    ART440 Warrior Artist: Risk and Revelation in Studio Art (3)

    MUS230 Improvisation (3)

    MUS400 Composition (3)

    PAR100 Wisdom of the Body (3)

    PAR230 Preparing the Voice: Breathing Is Meaning (3)

    PAR210 Acting Studio I (3)

    PAR220 Dance Lab: Contemporary Dance (3)

    PAR302 Dance Ensemble (3)

    REL250 Spirituality and Creative Expression (3)

    TRA105 Taijiquan I: Beginning Form (3)

    TRA110 Aikido I (3)

    TRA114 Indian Devotional and Raga Singing (3)

    TRA120 Ikebana/Kado I (3)

    WRI312 Poetry & Poetics (3.0)

    WRI318 Writing Workshop: Long Poem (3.0)

    WRI329 Writing Workshop: Contemplative Poetics (3.0)

    WRI331 Writing Workshop: Creative Nonfiction (3.0)

    WRI339 Writing Workshop: Flash Fiction (3.0)

    WRI362 Writing Workshop: Fiction (3.0)

    WRI369 Writing Workshop: Narrative Forms (3.0)

    WRI380 Writing Workshop: Eco-Poetics (3.0)

    WRI389W Fall Writers Practicum (1.0)

    WRI391W Spring Writers Practicum (1.0)

    WRI394W Writers Practicum with Anne Waldman (1.0)

    WRI395W Writers Practicum with Allen Ginsberg Visiting Fellow (1.0)

    WRI415 Writing Workshop: Innovative Poetry (3.0)

    WRI417 Writing Workshop: Writers in Community (3.0)

    WRI428 Writing Workshop: Innovative Fiction (3.0)

    WRI440 Writing Workshop: Extended Narratives (3.0)

    WRI451-453 Summer Writing Program

  5. Leadership & Service
    Students develop knowledge and capacities for creative professional and civic life, leveraging their gifts to be of service locally and globally.

    Leadership & Service COURSES

    COR 345 Special Topics: Leadership and Service (3)

    COL 450 Internship (3)

    ENV 342 Permaculture Design (3)

    EDU245 Multicultural Educations and Contemplative Critical Pedagogy (3)

    EDU345 Elementary Literacy I: Foundations of Reading (3)

    EDU355 Elementary Literacy II: Development of Oral and Written Language (3)

    PAX 335 Socially Engaged Spirituality (3)

    PAX 370 Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship (3)

    WRI 307W Professional Development: Teaching Practicum: Designing a Writing Workshop (3)

    WRI 326 Professional Development: Small Press Publishing (3)

    WRI 381 Professional Development: Project Outreach (3)

    WRI 417 Writing Workshop: Writers in Community (3)

    REL346 Wisdom and Compassion: The Buddhist Path (3)

  6. Research & Communication
    Students learn and practice research methods relevant to their emerging capstone projects, such as finding and evaluating sources, interviewing, and arts-based inquiry.

    Research & Communication COURSES 

    COR340 Capstone I (3)

    In this collaborative learning environment, students explore personal and intellectual connections to what really matters in their lives and work as activists, artists, contemplatives, healers, scholars and social innovators. They read and write extensively, weaving their own experiences, ideas, social locations, and authentic purpose with broader social, historical, political, artistic, scientific, and cultural contexts. They learn and practice research methods relevant to their disciplines and emerging capstone projects, developing skills and frameworks for understanding ethical issues specific to their scholarly, artistic, and civic pursuits. Students leave the course with a capstone project proposal, preliminary literature review, and oral presentation.

    COR400 Capstone Design (1)

    This asynchronous course is for transfer students who have completed six-credits of college-level writing. Students will write a capstone project proposal and do an oral presentation of their project proposal. Capstone Design must be taken at least one semester before Capstone II. 

    COR440 Capstone II (3)

    Building on work produced in Capstone I, students implement an original project that may include creative, service-based, or social innovation components, culminating in a final product that reflects substantial research and work. This product could be a 25-30 page academic paper or its equivalent in creative, innovative, or service-oriented content (with a minimum 12-15 page text). The semester ends in celebration and ceremony, featuring student presentations of their work, which may include visual art exhibits, film, theater, music and creative writing as well as socially innovative curricula, programs and models.

    *Transfer students: Only research-based writing courses will fulfill the Research & Communication requirement. It cannot be fulfilled with any AP or CLEP scores. Students who transfer in the equivalent of a three-credit research-based writing course will be required to take COR400 Capstone Design (1-credit online asynchronous course) before COR440 Capstone II.


Sam Cliff - Naropa Student

Student Story

I am continually surprised by the connections I make through Naropa and am grateful that my academic, activist, and spiritual interests are encouraged to grow here.

— Sam Cliff
Undergraduate, Creative Writing

Read More

Naropa College

Naropa College is a collective of faculty and staff dedicated to fostering a vibrant and integrated undergraduate degree experience. Naropa College oversees the Core Curriculum and collaborates with the academic departments and campus partners to support each student on their unique learning journey, from orientation to graduation. 

An Invitation

Naropa College invites you to be courageous—to explore what it means to be truly human—to renew and deepen your connection with the natural world and society; to provoke and sharpen your intellect; to develop your sense perceptions; and to nurture your inherent wisdom and compassion. By engaging scholarship with an unbiased openness to your present experience, you may become fearlessness enough to uplift the world without aggression and allow the gift of your precious human life to have beneficial impact on others.