MA in Resilient Leadership

Two track options — Sustainable Systems or Climate Justice

The Resilient Leadership program at Naropa University prepares students to address ecological and social issues within community and organizational settings with insight, knowledge and compassion. Students build an integrated understanding of systems, sustainability, and both social and environmental justice; develop deep relationships with self, community, and nature; and acquire applied leadership skills. Students concentrate in either Sustainable Systems or Climate Justice. The two-year, 39-credit residential program is composed of semester-long courses and one summer block where students get hands on experience within the natural world and in community. In the final year, students apply their leadership skills to a substantial project in collaboration with a professional organization or complete a formal written thesis. Most classes are scheduled in the late afternoon and evening, and on occasional weekends, to accommodate working students.

  • Credits and completion time: 39 credits, 2 years
  • Format: residential, classes are mostly in the evenings, with some weekends and one summer block
  • Key components: professional training in leadership skills, ecological, and social justice literacy and theory, and contemplative as well as nature-based practices.  Opportunity to take a Wilderness solo course. Applied Leadership Project (Sustainable Systems track) project carried out in collaboration with community partners or formal Thesis (Climate Justice track).
  • Career directions: leadership towards sustainability, environmental policy, and social justice in organizations, communities, self-designed businesses, further scholarship, and teaching
  • Sample of post-degree employment: Founder and owner, Boulder's Best Organics,  Resource Conservation Specialist with the City of Boulder, Board of Directors of Naturally Boulder- a task force of the Boulder Economic Council, National Outreach Coordinator of Northwest Earth Institute in Portland, OR, Founder and Director of  Community Cycles, Boulder, Education and Outreach Coordinator, Local Environmental Action Division, City of Boulder, Founder of Syzygy Community House a nonprofit dedicated to creative sustainability prototyping and education, Executive Director of Colorado Canyons Association, Special Assistant/Community Liaison Office of the Mayor of the City and County of Denver and many more great jobs across the country.
  • Program prerequisites: BA with suggested (not required) undergraduate course from the natural sciences and one undergraduate course from the social sciences.

MA in Ecopsychology

Ecopsychology integrates psychology and ecology in the study of human-nature relationships. The low-residency MA provides a thorough overview of the intellectual, philosophical and practical aspects of ecopsychology, deepens our understanding of and connection with nature, articulates our emerging worldview of the human-nature relationship, and contributes in some tangible way to the earth and our communities as a result of our insights, actions and service work.

  • Credits and completion time: 38 credits, 2 years
  • Format: online with short residential components
  • Key components: ecopsychological and transpersonal psychology theory and practice, including contemplative practice. Wilderness solo course. Service learning placement in the student’s community. Master’s thesis.
  • Career directions: Graduates will apply it in a variety of career areas including education, business, social services, health care, environmental advocacy, organizational development and community development.
  • Sample of post-degree employment: wilderness work with corporate leaders, creating websites and study groups on ecopsychology, teaching in a Waldorf high school, wilderness rites of passage with teens, teaching art and ecopsychology at the university level, and guiding ecopsychology retreats and seminars.
  • Program prerequisites: BA and writing sample; some familiarity with transpersonal psychology or ecopsychology.


The Wilderness Therapy curriculum combines psychological counseling skills with disciplines such as adventure therapy, ecopsychology and wilderness skills training. The Wilderness Therapy program prepares students to become professional counselors with the skills and knowledge needed to work in wilderness settings as well as in traditional clinical settings.

  • Credits and completion time: 60 credits, 3 years
  • Format: residential
  • Key components: professional training in counseling as well as wilderness/nature/ecopsychology-based therapy. Contemplative practice. Multiple backcountry expeditions, one as a wilderness solo.
  • Career directions: LPC licensure in traditional counseling or nature/wilderness-based therapeutic programs.
  • Sample of post-degree employment: therapist at a nature/wilderness-based program, therapist at residential program including nature/wilderness-based therapy, addictions counselor, private practice in equine-assisted therapy; counselor in school or college setting.
  • Program prerequisites: BA courses in human development, abnormal psychology, theories of personality plus 14-day wilderness trip 

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