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Program in Contemplative Education Graduate Programs Naropa University

  • Boulder, CO
  • Private
  • Urban
  • 94%6%
    student ratio
  • 17
    total students
  • $16,848 | $16,848
    in-state tuition | out-of-state tuition
  • January 13
    fall application deadline
  • 85%
    acceptance rate
  • 1 Degree
    degrees/awards offered


Contemplative Education at Naropa University

Naropa University is a nonprofit, private, nonsectarian liberal arts institution devoted to advancing contemplative education. Drawing from both Eastern teaching philosophies and Western educational traditions, this educational model integrates rigorous liberal arts training with personal experiences of awareness, insight, and compassion to "infuse knowledge with wisdom" and allow students to fully integrate what they learn.

Founded in 1974 by Tibetan Buddhist teacher and Oxford University scholar Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Naropa University is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The university offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the arts, education, environmental leadership, psychology, and religious studies.

Master of Arts in Contemplative Education

The MA in Contemplative Education at Naropa University is a low-residency program designed for teachers from pre-K through higher education levels. Students learn nonsectarian spiritual approaches to teaching, learning, human development, and community building, establishing a strong foundation in contemplative teaching, curriculum development, and personal awareness.

They also learn the practices that enhance mindfulness; awareness; empathy; and synchronization of body, mind, and speech. Furthermore, they gain in-depth knowledge about ancient and modern disciplines in both the Eastern and Western traditions.

These practices and principles help students create compassionate learning environments for diverse learning styles, develop and implement effective contemplative pedagogies, and effect meaningful educational reform in the classroom and beyond.

MA in Contemplative Education Curriculum

The master's program consists of 36 credits : 24 credits of online courses and 12 credits of in-residence courses. Students complete the program in 2 years, including 3 in-residence summer sessions. The fall and spring term classes are offered online.

Summer Sessions

The first summer session is a three and a half week retreat that takes place before the fall term of the first year. It consists of contemplation, observation, and practice as well as study that includes holistic, sacred, and artistic teaching perspectives. Courses include "Presence in Teaching" and "The Mindful Teacher."

The second summer session takes place between the first and second years and focuses on Maitri Space Awareness, which is a "holistic and spiritual mode for teaching and learning." Courses include "Cultivating Authentic Knowledge" and "Embodied Wisdom."

The last summer session, which concludes the second year of study, gives students the opportunity to present their master's thesis projects, which integrate research with the application of contemplative education in their classrooms. The commencement ceremony is also held during this session.

Online Sessions

Through online coursework, students receive individualized instruction that helps them apply contemplative educational methods within their classrooms and workplaces. Courses include "Perspectives in Sacred Learning," "Compassionate Teaching," "Transforming Instruction and Curriculum," and "Emotional Roots of Development."

Students also complete master's projects in the fall and spring semesters of the second year.

Professional Development in Contemplative Education

Naropa University also offers non-degree professional development programs for educators with advanced degrees. Students may participate in the summer sessions. These retreats provide nurturing environments that consist of awareness exercises, meditation, and mindfulness walks in the mountains, as well as academic study.

Students may also take certain online courses that (a) build upon summer retreat experiences, or (b) are stand-alone courses.

Education Beyond the Classroom

Education Beyond the Classroom (EBC) is a special option that allows individuals who are not classroom teachers to earn an MA degree in Contemplative Education.

EBC students take all of the program's courses, but they can customize the course assignments to meet their academic interests (rather than completing assignments that involve classroom application). Possible areas of focus include alternative education, educational administration, educational philosophy, educational reform, learning environment design, and spirituality in education.

Students also integrate insight into personal experiences, daily life applications, and relationship skills with their studies.

Student Population Profile

The MA in Contemplative Education program has a diverse student body. Most students work in the teaching profession, but some are just beginning their careers and others are well-established. Other students are school principals, directors, educational administrators, and teacher educators.

They range in age from the early 20s to the early 60s and come from all over the United States, as well as other countries. Students build strong learning communities with their peers and teachers. The diverse range of professional and personal experience that students bring to these communities enriches the learning process.

Accomplished Faculty Members in the Theory and Practice of Contemplative Education

The program's faculty members immerse themselves in the theory and practice of contemplative education.

For example, Richard Brown, a practicing Buddhist since 1978, has been a public elementary school teacher and a K-8 teacher at a Buddhist-inspired school, as well as an educational therapist. He has also published articles in scholarly journals and a co-authored book.

Michele Blumberg has undergraduate and graduate degrees in education as well as certification in the Montessori approach to learning. Her experiences includes teaching at Montessori and Waldorf schools, directing her own small school, and working as an educator in human service agencies.

An Ideal Setting for Contemplative Education

Naropa has an intimate, picturesque campus that provides lovely outdoor spaces in which to reflect and build awareness of self and others. In addition, excursions into the Boulder Mountain Parks provide even more opportunities to develop meditative wisdom and learn contemplative practices.

Location & Contact

Program in Contemplative Education

Graduate Programs
Naropa University

2130 Arapahoe Avenue
Boulder, CO 80302-6697
United States

Dr. Susan Burggraf

Director, School of Natural and Social Sciences

Phone: 303-546-3524

Office of Admissions

Phone: 303-546-3572
Fax: 303-546-3583

Request More Info

Degrees & Award

  • Degrees Offered
    • Major Degree Levels Offered
    • Education Master of Arts (MA)
  • Degrees Awarded
    • Master's Degrees 8
    • Doctoral Degrees Not reported
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported
    • * Shows the number of degrees awarded for the last academic year that data was reported.
  • Earning Your Degree
    • Part-time study available? Yes
    • Evening/weekend programs available? No
    • Distance learning programs available? Yes
    • Terminal master's degree available? Not reported
  • Degree Requirements
    • Master's Degrees
    • Doctoral Degrees Not reported
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported


85% of applicants are admitted.
  • Acceptance Rate
    • Applied 21
    • Accepted 18
    • Acceptance Rate 85
    • Enrolled 11
  • Applying
    • Application Fee - Domestic $60
    • Application Fee - International $60
    • Electronic applications accepted? Yes
    • Applications processed on a rolling basis? Yes
  • Application Deadlines
    • Type Domestic International Priority Date
    • Fall deadline January 13th January 15th Yes
    • Winter deadline Not Reported Not Reported Not Reported
    • Spring deadline Not Reported Not Reported Not Reported
  • Entrance Requirements
    • Master's Degreesinterview (by phone or in-person), 2 letters of recommendation, transcripts, and resume, statement of interest
    • Doctoral's DegreesNot Reported
    • First-Professional's DegreesNot Reported
    • Other Advanced DegreesNot Reported
    • International DegreesTOEFL required, 600 paper based, TOEFL iBT

Tuition & Fees

  • Tuition & Fees
    • In-state tuition *$16,848
    • Out-of-state tuition *$16,848
    • International student tuitionNot Reported
    • *Typical tuition for this institution for full-time graduate students per academic year
  • Fees
    • Per-academic year feesNot Reported
    • Per-term feesNot Reported
    • One-time feeNot Reported
    • *Typical fees for this institution for full-time graduate students per academic year
  • Financial Support
    • Financial award applicants must submitFAFSA
    • Application deadlines for financial awardsMarch 1
    • Types of financial support availableTuition Waivers, Career or Field-Related Internships, Federal Work-Study, Financial Support for Part-time Students, Scholarship and/or loans, Graduate Assistantships

Student Body

  • Gender
    • Total Graduate Students17
    • Female Percentage94%
    • Male Percentage6%
  • Participation
    • Total Graduate Students17
    • Part-time Percentage100%
    • Full-time Percentage0%
  • Ethnicity
    • Hispanic / Latino6%
    • Black / African American0%
    • White / Caucasian75%
    • American Indian / Alaskan Native0%
    • Asian19%
    • Native Hawaiian / Other Pacific Islander0%
    • Two or more races0%
    • Unknown0%


  • Faculty Breakout
    • Total Faculty3
    • Full-time Percentage33%
    • Part-time Percentage67%
    • Female Percentage67%
    • Male Percentage33%




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