Bachelors FAQs

What is Naropa University's undergraduate program like?

Naropa University's undergraduate program is a four-year, fully accredited Bachelor of Arts Degree program. We accept first-time students, as well as first-year, sophomore, and junior transfer students. Naropa's core curriculum is a highly individualized program in which first- and second-year students work closely with faculty to create a path of study. For the last two years of study, students focus on one of Naropa's twelve undergraduate majors: Contemplative Psychology, Early Childhood Education, Environmental Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, Music, Peace Studies, Performance, Religious Studies, Traditional Eastern Arts, Performance, or Writing & Literature.

Is Naropa University accredited?

Naropa University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Higher Learning Commission
30 North LaSalle Street, Suite 2400
Chicago, Illinois 60602-2504 
312-263-0456; Fax 312-263-7462

How was Naropa University started?

Naropa University represents the vision of the Venerable Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Trungpa Rinpoche (1940–1987), a Buddhist meditation master, scholar, and teacher, founded Naropa in 1974 as a summer institute. It was his view that Western education would be greatly enhanced if combined with the mindfulness training offered by Eastern traditions, such as aikido, yoga, t'ai-chi ch'uan, and meditation.

Do you have to be a Buddhist to attend Naropa?

While Naropa University is Buddhist-inspired, it is also nonsectarian and open to all. The mission of the school is to create a safe container where students of all faiths can explore their spirituality. A Naropa education is marked by a spirited interchange among persons of diverse views and traditions, provoking a greater understanding of the breadth of human experience. The majority of our students are not Buddhist, nor are the majority of faculty and staff.

What role will Buddhism play in my education?

Naropa University's learning philosophy of contemplative education is rooted in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. This integration of contemplative disciplines into the curriculum helps students to devote their full attention to their studies, classmates, and community at large.

Most classes in each of our twelve majors integrate varying degrees of Buddhist philosophies and traditions into coursework. One may open with a short period of silence, another may require meditation practice, while another will be conducted as a traditional college course. Students can integrate Buddhism into their experience at Naropa as much as they desire.

What is contemplative education?

Contemplative education balances the study of specific academic and artistic fields with traditional practices for training in present moment awareness. Through the practice of contemplative disciplines such as meditation, t'ai-chi ch'uan, yoga, and many others, students develop a sense of awareness that assists the absorption and assimilation of new information, as well as synchronizing body, mind, and spirit. The contemplative approach inspires openness, inquisitiveness, and kindness to oneself and others. Students enrolled in Naropa University must complete two to four courses in contemplative practice prior to graduation.

What if I don’t want to earn a degree at Naropa University?

Naropa University offers a Visiting Student Program for anyone who would like to study with us for a semester, an academic year, or as a participant in our Summer Writing Program. As a visiting student, you must apply for admission by filling out a visiting student application. If you are visiting from another college or university, you may not receive Naropa’s financial aid; however, we are willing to sign consortium agreements with your home college to enable you to receive federal financial aid while visiting Naropa. As a visiting student, you will work with an admissions counselor to create a full-time academic schedule that suits your needs. Learn more about the Visiting Student Program.

How much will it cost to attend Naropa?

The tuition rates for the 2017-18 academic year are detailed below:

Block tuition rate per semester: $15,810
Per credit tuition rate: $995
Registration fee: $250/semester
Transportation fee: $60/semester
Student Activity fee: $25/semester

For more information, please visit the undergraduate costs page.

Does Naropa offer in-state tuition discounts?

Naropa is a private institution, and therefore does not offer a difference in tuition for in-state and out-of-state students.

Do you require the SAT/ACT exams?

Naropa University operates a test-optional admissions program. Submission of SAT/ACT scores for undergraduates is completely optional, and applicants will not be penalized for not providing scores. If you would like to submit ACT and/or SAT scores, however, we would be happy to include them in our review process. Our ACT code is 4853 and our SAT code is 0908

Do you require a TOEFL or IELTS exam for international applicants?

Applicants who are citizens of a country in which English is not the primary language must send documentation of English proficiency in order to be admitted to the university. Proof may include the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The minimum required scores for all applicants (including non-degree-seeking, certificate, visiting, low-residency, online, undergraduate, and graduate applicants) for each test are as follows:

  • TOEFL:
    • 550 by paper (pBT)
    • 213 by computer (cBT)
    • 80 by internet (iBT)
  • IELTS: 6.5

It takes approximately four to six months from the time the applicant first contacts TOEFL or IELTS for scores to reach our Admissions Office. To find a testing center in your country, please consult the TOEFL or IELTS websites. Applicants should request that scores be sent directly to Naropa University (school code: 3342). For more information, please visit the international applicant requirements page.

What are the demographics for the undergraduate program?

Demographics for the 2017/2018 school year:

  • Total Undergraduate Enrollment: 384
  • Female: 63%; Male: 32%
  • Caucasian: 62%; Not Specified: 11%; Hispanic/Latino: 11%; Multiracial: 9%; Asian American: 1%, Black/African American: 1%
  • In-State: 36%; Out-of-State: 64%; International: 3%; First Generation Students: 16%
  • Average Age: 25; Average Age of First Year Students: 19
  • Student-Faculty Ratio: 9:1
  • Average Class Size: 14
  • Class Size Range: 3-50
  • Students Receiving Financial Aid: 79%
    • Pell-Eligible: 49%
    • Average Aid Package: $36,786

What type of housing does Naropa University provide?

Naropa University Housing page for full details on facilities and policies. All other Naropa students live off-campus in a variety of living situations. Our housing coordinator would be happy to assist you in finding resources for your search. You may contact the housing coordinator at or 303-245-4621. You may also visit our off campus housing resources page as well.

What is Naropa’s relationship with the University of Colorado at Boulder?

Naropa University students may take classes offered through the University of Colorado Access program, or through the Boulder Evening Program for the Colorado in-state tuition rate. Classes taken through these two programs can apply toward Naropa's degree programs. Students must work with their academic advisor to get approval for this process. Naropa students may also take advantage of many of the services and activities the University of Colorado offers, including the five branches of the Norlin Library, musical performances, cultural events, and the Conference on World Affairs.

What if I have been home-educated?

Naropa University welcomes applications from home-educated applicants. In lieu of a high school transcript, Naropa requests that home-educated applicants present a portfolio of the work they completed during their high school years. Home educated students may be creative in their presentation, but at a minimum, the portfolio should include the following:

  • A narrative describing the subjects studied per year and the modes of learning for each subject
  • A list of extracurricular/community activities, such as team sports, volunteer positions, and group membership
  • A list of any academic achievements during high school that support academic preparedness for college, such as internship positions
  • A parent or teacher narrative
  • A self-evaluation of their work and how it contributed to their intellectual growth
  • Transcripts from any college level courses taken (if applicable)
  • Transcripts from any mainstream high school courses taken (if applicable)
  • SAT and/or ACT scores are optional

Along with this portfolio, home-educated students must complete all other undergraduate admissions requirements.

What if I have a GED versus a high school diploma?

Naropa will accept a GED in lieu of a high school diploma. Along with submitting an official copy of their GED, it is recommended that applicants also submit a transcript from any high school attended.

Will my credits transfer to Naropa?

Naropa University accepts many forms of transfer credit, including the following: Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Exams, CLEP scores, DSST scores, DANTES Exams, some military credit, and some credits earned from regionally accredited colleges (please see requirements below).

Naropa will transfer a maximum of 60 credits for incoming undergraduate transfer students, which may be applied only to core requirements or electives. Students must complete an additional 60 credits at Naropa. Naropa will accept a maximum of 30 credits that are of a vocational nature, and a maximum of 30 AP or IB credits. Students who have completed 30 semester credits or more are eligible to apply directly to an undergraduate degree program.

Students should be aware that all prior transcripts or potential credits should be submitted to Naropa for evaluation. Unofficial transcripts, including those marked "Issued-to-Student," those that are not directly from the institution attended, or those that have been opened before being submitted to Naropa, will not be accepted. Please be sure to submit these materials as early as possible in the application process to ensure your best chance at getting the classes you need. Naropa enrolls fall semester students in up to 6 credits of core area requirements, and we require your transcripts to properly place you.

After evaluation, students are permitted one semester to make any appeals to their transcript evaluation or submit additional transcripts for courses completed before matriculation at Naropa. 

Additionally, once transferred in, transfer credit cannot be removed from your record. 

For more information on transfer credits (including requirements, military transfer credits, test scores, and transcript evaluations), please visit Naropa's transfer credit page.

What is the difference between quarter and semester credits?

Naropa University operates on a semester system; therefore, all credit granted is in semester hours or credits. If you are transferring to Naropa from a college or university that has used the quarter system, you can expect that you will lose some credits in the total transfer. For example, if you took a class for 4 quarter credit, it would equal 2.5 semester credits. The table below displays the quarter hour to semester hour conversion.













What kinds of things are Naropa graduates doing with their careers?

Naropa University graduates enter the world with strong academic, communication, and critical thinking skills, as well as a strong sense of self. Many of our students go on to pursue careers in their chosen field.

To meet our alumni, please visit our Meet Our Alumni page. Applicants also have the opportunity to speak with alumni from their program of interest if desired. To set up communication with alumni, please email .  

What is Naropa's deferral policy?

Accepted students may request to defer their acceptance for one semester or two consecutive semesters (one year). To request a deferral, accepted students must put their requests for deferral in writing and send it to the Office of Admissions through the post or through email. After the first day of classes, new students may no longer defer.

Each request for deferral is reviewed by the Admissions Committee and is accepted or denied on a case-by-case basis. Reasons for an acceptance of deferral would include traveling, service/volunteer work, family situations, financial situations, or personal timing.

If an accepted student's deferral request is denied, the student may not reapply for admission at another time.

If a student's deferral is approved, their accepted status will revert back to a complete status. If the student has already paid the admissions deposit of $250, it will be forfeited (nonrefundable). During this deferral time, the student may not attend another college.

Toward the end of their deferral time (one semester or two consecutive semesters), students will be contacted by their admissions counselor to determine if the student is interested in applying again for the following semester. If so, the Admissions Committee will once again review the student's application, and then will let the student know of the admissions decision. While in many cases deferred students are accepted again, this is not guaranteed.