AcademicsUndergraduate AcademicsCore Curriculum

Core Curriculum

Designed to develop both breadth and depth of study, the Core Curriculum will prepare you for deepened scholarship in your chosen major.

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 an introductory writing seminar, six area requirements (total of 18 credits), and a 3-credit capstone course in which students engage in original research to produce projects 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) (Included in Research & Communication below)
  • COR440 Capstone II (3)

Core Area Requirements

These courses explore contemplative and spiritual views and practices that invite students to engage body, mind and heart in cultivating insight, receptivity, and wisdom. Students learn to cultivate openness, curiosity, and compassion, building capacity to skillfully meet complexity and uncertainty. All courses in this area present historical and cultural contexts, key concepts and terminology; honor the range of diverse experiences (physical, cultural, etc.); and emphasize diversity within and across traditions as relevant to the course.

  • COR130 Contemplative Learning Seminar: Naropa’s Roots and Branches (3)
  • EDU330: Holistic & Contemplative Teaching Traditions (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)
  • REL240 Buddhist Science of Mind (3)
  • REL255W Opening the Heart: Meditation Weekend (1)
  • REL250 Spirituality and Creative Expression (3)
  • REL323 Religious Experience in Africa: Sacred Cosmos, Ritual, and Community (3)
  • REL334 Hindu Tantra (3)
  • REL338 Sufism (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)
  • TRA220 Ikebana/Kado II (3)
  • TRA133 Yoga I (3)
  • TRA233 Yoga II (3)
  • TRA333 Yoga III (3)
  • TRA423E Online Yoga Teacher Training (3)
  • TRA463 Yoga Meditation (3)
  • WRI329 Writing Workshop: Contemplative Poetics (3)

These courses address issues of power, privilege, oppression, and collective liberation. They present concepts and methods that deepen students’ ability to understand and constructively engage with issues at the intersection of race, class, gender, sexuality, and more. These courses include inner and interpersonal practices such as working with emotions and cultivating resilience. They may also include historical analysis and case studies, artistic expression, public scholarship, and opportunities for community engagement and social action. All courses in this area emphasize critical thinking and communication skills.

  • COR150 Diversity Seminar (3)
  • COR315 Special Topics: Social Justice & Antiracism (3)
  • EDU445: Multicultural Children’s Literature (3)
  • ENV257 Food Justice (3)
  • ENV355 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)
  • MUS260 Listening to Jazz (3)
  • PAX250 Introduction to Peace and Conflict Studies (3)
  • PAX335 Socially Engaged Spirituality (3)
  • PAX340 Conflict Transformation: Theory and Practice (3)
  • REL212 Queer Theory, Feminism, and Religion (3)
  • REL323 Religious Experience in Africa: Sacred Cosmos, Ritual, and Community (3)
  • WRI210 Experimental and Activist Literatures (3)
  • WRI361 Seminar: Contemporary Native North American & Indigenous Literature (3)
  • WRI363 Seminar: Reading & Writing: Queer Lit (3)

In these courses, students learn to live in an ecologically just and regenerative relationship with the living earth. They learn to embed principles and practices of sustainability into every aspect of their lives to address local and global environmental crises, to build flourishing communities, and to help foster life-sustaining societies. These courses emphasize critical thinking, writing, and oral presentation skills.

  • COR222 Sustainability Seminar (3)
  • EDU300 Nature and Education (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 Solidarity 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)
  • ENV411 Science for Sustainability (3)
  • WRI380 Writing Workshop: Eco-Poetics (3)

In these courses, students explore creative practices and forms of artistic expression as vehicles for inquiry and communication. Students will discover how art can be a means to awaken perception, conduct embodied research, and develop the possibilities of the imagination toward healing, meaning making, and transformation of themselves, and their communities. Courses in visual arts, writing & poetics, music, dance-movement, and performance engage students in the joys, challenges, and deep learning of the solitary and collective creative process.

  • 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)
  • TRA110 Aikido I (3)
  • TRA114 Indian Devotional and Raga Singing (3)
  • TRA120 Ikebana/Kado I (3)
  • TRA220 Ikebana/Kado II(3)
  • WRI312 Poetry & Poetics (3)
  • WRI318 Writing Workshop: Long Poem (3)
  • WRI329 Writing Workshop: Contemplative Poetics (3)
  • WRI331 Writing Workshop: Creative Nonfiction (3)
  • WRI339 Writing Workshop: Flash Fiction (3)
  • WRI362 Writing Workshop: Fiction (3)
  • WRI369 Writing Workshop: Narrative Forms (3)
  • WRI380 Writing Workshop: Eco-Poetics (3)
  • WRI389W Fall Writers Practicum (1)
  • WRI391W Spring Writers Practicum (1)
  • WRI394W Writers Practicum with Anne Waldman (1)
  • WRI395W Writers Practicum with Allen Ginsberg Visiting Fellow (1)
  • WRI415 Writing Workshop: Innovative Poetry (3)
  • WRI417 Writing Workshop: Writers in Community (3)
  • WRI428 Writing Workshop: Innovative Fiction (3)
  • WRI440 Writing Workshop: Extended Narratives (3)
  • WRI451-453 Summer Writing Program

Working with an understanding that leadership takes multiple forms and expressions, courses in this area provide students with opportunities to explore and practice leadership mind-sets and skills. Students develop knowledge and capacities for creative professional and civic life, leveraging their gifts to be of service locally and globally.

  • COL220 Exploring Leadership (3)
  • COL450 Internship (3)
  • ENV342 Permaculture Design (3)
  • ENV401 Environmental Leadership Skills (3)
  • EDU245 Multicultural Educations and Contemplative Critical Pedagogy (3)
  • PAX370 Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship (3)
  • REL346 Wisdom and Compassion: The Buddhist Path (3)
  • WRI326 Professional Development: Small Press Publishing (3)
  • WRI381 Professional Development: Project Outreach (3)

In this area students deepen and sharpen their writing and research skills, weaving their own experience, ideas, social locations, and authentic purpose with broader social, historical, political, artistic, scientific, and cultural contexts. Students learn and practice research methods relevant to their emerging capstone projects, such as finding and evaluating sources, interviewing, and arts-based inquiry. Assignments and instruction address the writing process and writing strategies, providing frequent feedback to support student’s growth and development as scholars and writers.


COR340 Capstone I (3)*

  • 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.

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.

Search Naropa University



This is where experiential learning meets academic rigor. Where you challenge your intellect and uncover your potential. Where you discover the work you’re moved to do—then use it to transform our world.

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Naropa Campuses Closed on Friday, March 15, 2024

Due to adverse weather conditions, all Naropa campuses will be closed Friday, March 15, 2024.  All classes that require a physical presence on campus will be canceled. All online and low-residency programs are to meet as scheduled.

Based on the current weather forecast, the Healing with the Ancestors Talk & Breeze of Simplicity program scheduled for Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday will be held as planned.

Staff that do not work remotely or are scheduled to work on campus, can work remotely. Staff that routinely work remotely are expected to continue to do so.

As a reminder, notifications will be sent by e-mail and the LiveSafe app.  

Regardless of Naropa University’s decision, if you ever believe the weather conditions are unsafe, please contact your supervisor and professors.  Naropa University trusts you to make thoughtful and wise decisions based on the conditions and situation in which you find yourself in.