About the Program

Environmental Studies is an inherently transdisciplinary field arising from the interaction of Western-based natural and social sciences with other sources of wisdom and tradition. The Environmental Studies 36-credit major is designed to empower students to develop the knowledge base and skill set needed to address complex environmental issues.

The Environmental Studies curriculum integrates the complex and interconnected relationships of the natural environment, human culture, and personal experiences. These relationships are studied through five interrelated strands: field science, sacred ecology, sustainability, permaculture, and environmental history and justice.

Program vision

Environmental Studies at Naropa University integrates a deep understanding of the living world through the study of science, systems, sacred ecology, historic and contemporary environmental movements, diverse perspectives and wisdom, and contemplation, as well as engaging in hands-on, community-based work. We believe that through critical examination and understanding, engaging in deep relationships, and developing appropriate skills, humans can learn how to respond to the rapidly increasing degradation of our natural resources, and creatively move forward with resiliency for a more balanced, sustainable relationship with the living world.

Senior project

BA majors are required to complete an individual senior project in the final year of the program. The project can take the form of either a traditional senior thesis paper or a community-based project. This requirement is fulfilled by completing ENV480, Senior Project.

Internship and independent study opportunities

The Environmental Studies program has fostered partnerships with community organizations where students can arrange internships and co-create meaningful independent study opportunities that supplement the Environmental Studies curriculum.

Program learning outcomes

  • Students demonstrate knowledge and application of environmental theories and concepts.  
    • Context, synthesis, interdisciplinary knowledge 
    • e.g. Deep Ecology, systems theory, permaculture theory, environmental racism, etc.  
  • Students engage practices and learn skills that develop internal and external resources required for responsible engagement with and in diverse settings. 
    • e.g. Networking, grassroots advocacy, community building, interpersonal conflict resolution, power analysis, project management 
  • Students learn embodied and mental strategies for meeting climate grief and anxiety to face the challenges of an increasingly uncertain future  
  • Students will engage in earth-based contemplative practices that deepens their relationship to the more-than-human world. 
  • Students demonstrate understanding of the intersectional impact of environmental crises on marginalized peoples  
  • Students articulate strategies that center affected communities in redressing injustices.  
  • Students demonstrate mastery across and between all four facets measured in final capstone project. 

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.

“*” indicates required fields