Naropa University Launches New Online Bachelor’s Degree in Art Therapy

Accepting Applications for Fall 2023, the New Program Prepares Students to Utilize Art as a Healing Modality

Artist works on a muralBOULDER, COLORADO, UNITED STATES, October 27, 2022—Naropa University is pleased to announce the launch of a new online bachelor’s degree in art therapy. Grounded in the same contemplative and socially engaged approaches that support Naropa’s successful in-person art therapy programs, the new online degree allows students to create meaningful change in their own lives and within their own home communities.

Naropa is the only Buddhist-inspired accredited university in the United States, and their art therapy programs express that inspiration by merging artistic process with the study of traditional and Eastern psychology for a deeply mindful approach. In addition to a comprehensive study of the therapeutic theories needed to prepare for a career as an art therapist, students engage actively in contemplative exploration, personal art-making, and artist identity development.

An important part of this mindful approach for the new online format will be the cultivation of sacred space—wherever in the world that may be. Chair of the BA Art Therapy Online program Leah Friedman explains, “One challenge with online school work can be the lack of transitional space within which one can be immersed in study. Crafting sacred artistic spaces in one’s home environment, whether it be metaphorical or tangible, allows for deep engagement with the material and tapping into the waiting potential of therapeutic space.”

Friedman was involved in the development of the program curriculum and says it is designed to “enable students to explore their sense of wonder and consider present and future essential, relevant questions. For example, can art therapists ‘read’ art? Does art reveal something deeper, such as symbolism and hidden meaning? Where do these ideas come from, and how can we gain insight by explaining the meaning of an image? How can therapists keep these dynamics in mind to avoid possible abuse of power and to centralize the client’s voice and perspective?”

Naropa’s unique approach to undergraduate curriculum includes courses that focus on art therapy theory, visual arts, world art history, psychology, and social needs; as well as involvement in community-based service-learning opportunities. The program will also include voices who have been historically marginalized and assess various forms of oppression in an effort to encourage students to envision a future co-created space for innovative art therapy education and practice.

Among colleges with a major in art therapy, Naropa uniquely offers both an undergraduate art therapy program and a graduate art therapy program, resulting in rich opportunities for faculty mentorship and career guidance. After graduating, students may choose to probe more deeply into art therapy by continuing their education in Naropa’s Graduate School of Counseling & Psychology.

Applications are now open for the Fall 2023 semester; you can learn more about the program, faculty, and more on Naropa’s website.

About Naropa University (Naropa.edu):

Located in Boulder, Colorado, Naropa University is a private liberal arts institution offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs. As the “birthplace of the modern mindfulness movement,” Naropa University is a leader in contemplative education, an approach to learning and teaching that integrates Eastern wisdom studies with traditional Western scholarship. Naropa University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.