Why Students Apply

Students who come to the MA Ecopsychology program at Naropa feel a strong calling to be part of the ecological revolution now under way. Our students tend to be passionate about environmental issues and the role that consciousness plays in personal and cultural shifts toward sustainability. They also find direct contact with the natural world to be a support for personal healing and profound growth.

There are at least three reasons students apply to this program:

  1. Students have an already-established career, and they use the program for professional growth. The MA Ecopsychology program expands and deepens their work, bringing more integration of the psychological and the ecological. For example, one Ecopsychology graduate from Eugene, Oregon had been a clinical psychologist for more than twenty years. Feeling a bit stifled in her work doing therapy and feeling drawn to ecopsychology, she wanted to bring ecotherapy into her practice. Now that she has graduated, while continuing to maintain her psychotherapy practice, she teaches ecotherapy at a local college and gives talks on the psychological dimensions of climate change. She has also authored two academic books on ecopsychological topics. Ecopsychology’s insights into the health potential of contact with nature is now a central part of this graduate's work.
  2. Students who do not have an established career use this degree to move into a career that incorporates and applies ecopsychology. Working closely with an advisor, students tailor the program to support movement into fulfilling and meaningful careers. Some graduates go on to PhD programs at other institutions, while others seek applied work after completing the MA. We continue to be delighted and inspired by the employment opportunities students create. One student from Wales had long had an interest in Buddhism and sustainability but did not know exactly how to combine and express these interests. After completing his MA Ecopsychology degree, he became a leader and trainer in the Transitions Movement that is spreading rapidly across the U.S. and parts of Europe. His approach to this movement embodies one of the core insights of ecopsychology: appeals to positive emotions such as love, joy, and devotion lead to more effective and more sustainable environmental action than appeals to fear, guilt, and sacrifice.
  3. Students come to this program for personal enrichment and transpersonal growth. They draw upon the opportunities offered by the MA Ecopsychology program as a vehicle for psychospiritual growth and transformation. One graduate who works at a yoga studio now talks to everyone who will listen about the merits and benefits of an ecopsychological lifestyle. The development of community among program students and faculty, the intellectual challenge of the program, and the experiential engagement with contemplative and transpersonal practices were all essential for her.