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Program in Environmental Leadership Graduate Programs Naropa University

  • Boulder, CO
  • Private
  • Urban
  • 81%19%
    student ratio
  • 16
    total students
  • $16,848 | $16,848
    in-state tuition | out-of-state tuition
  • January 13
    fall application deadline
  • 72%
    acceptance rate
  • 1 Degree
    degrees/awards offered


Naropa University Graduate Program in Environmental Leadership

Naropa University is a private, nonprofit, nonsectarian liberal arts institution dedicated to advancing contemplative education. Drawing from both Eastern teaching philosophies and Western teaching 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 Environmental Leadership Overview

The 2-year, 39-credit MA in Environmental Leadership degree program at Naropa University trains students to become innovative leaders and activists committed to guiding communities and organizations toward environmental sustainability. Students gain experience and understanding in how to lead from a place of strength and inner awareness, and graduate with mature leadership skills applicable to a broad range of career options.

The program is built on an integrated, living-systems perspective influenced by ecopsychology, contemplative traditions, multicultural viewpoints, and collaborative decision-making.

The curriculum comprises semester-long courses and an 8-day summer field course that includes a 3-day wilderness solo. In the final year, students apply their leadership skills to collaborative projects within organizational or community settings. Most classes are scheduled in the late afternoon and evening and on occasional weekends.

Graduating students also receive certificates in Authentic Leadership from Naropa University's School of Extended Studies.

Comprehensive Curriculum of Study

The goals of the MA in Environmental Leadership degree align with four programmatic categories: theoretical perspectives, effective leadership skills, strong human nature relationships, and practical applications of this learning.

In their theoretical perspective coursework, students examine environmental justice and diversity issues and the cultural, economic, and scientific dimensions of environmental topics. They learn how to become effective leaders trained in the critical policies, issues, and theories in the environmental field. Courses include "Transforming Systems," "The New Science and its Cultural Applications," and "Sustainability: Policy and Practice."

Effective leadership coursework focuses on development of skills to lead transformational change toward a just and sustainable society and hands-on application of innovative leadership models. Courses include "Groups as Living Systems: Matrixworks," "Multicultural Perspectives for Environmental Leaders," and "Leadership Skills Seminar."

Coursework in strong human nature relationships helps students develop a set of contemplative and ecopsychological practices, which they use to explore and deepen the human nature relationship and as a foundation for reflective and participatory leadership. Courses include "Inner Work for Environmental Leaders I and II" and "Wilderness Solo."

Coursework in practical applications prepares students to take what they have learned out into the world. Courses include "Nonprofit Management & Entrepreneurship," and "Applied Environmental Leadership Project."

Applied Environmental Leadership Project and Exams Replace Thesis

Because the MA in Environmental Leadership is a skills-based degree, students are not required to complete theses. The Applied Environmental Leadership Project during the second year replaces the academic thesis. It is a hands-on, creative project integrating theoretical perspectives, personal leadership skills, and tools for social change within communities or organizational settings.

Initially, students observe and/or volunteer in organizations or community settings so that they can develop understandings of those organizations' or communities' goals, work, and systems. Based on this, students take leadership roles in substantial projects that directly benefit those organizations. These projects are carried out with full collaboration and approval of the organizations for which they are designed. Formal, professional-level reports and presentations conclude these projects.

Students also take two exams to determine competency in skills: one comprehensive written exam and one oral exam (in a Naropa University tradition known as a "warrior exam").

Environmental Leadership Faculty

Naropa's Environmental Leadership program is taught by dedicated faculty who are highly skilled in both authentic leadership and environmental issues. Dr. Jeanine M. Canty, Director of the School of Natural and Social Sciences, investigates ecopsychology, consciousness, transformative learning, environmental and social justice, and cultural studies. Dr. Anne Zonne Parker, a Fulbright and National Science Foundation recipient who led wilderness expeditions for many years with the Sierra Club and Marble Mountain Expeditions, has received grants for her work on traditional agriculture in Bhutan, Nepal, and India.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Graduate students may be eligible for a Naropa scholarship. In addition to scholarships, Naropa students are eligible for Federal Stafford loans each year and may have student employment opportunities.

Sustainable Campus

Naropa University is situated on an urban, 12-acre campus in Boulder, Colorado, just 25 miles from Denver. Offsetting 100% of its electricity from wind power renewable energy credits, Naropa University is committed to sustainable environmental practices. The campus enforces a zero waste policy, where resources are reused, recycled, composted, or repurposed.

Location & Contact

Program in Environmental Leadership

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
    • Environmental Policy And Resource Management Master of Arts (MA)
  • Degrees Awarded
    • Master's Degrees 10
    • 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? No
    • Evening/weekend programs available? No
    • Distance learning programs available? No
    • 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


72% of applicants are admitted.
  • Acceptance Rate
    • Applied 18
    • Accepted 13
    • Acceptance Rate 72
    • Enrolled 7
  • 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 Degreesin-person interview, letter of interest, resume, and 2 letters of recommendation, transcripts
    • 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 availableResearch Assitantships, Tuition 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 Students16
    • Female Percentage81%
    • Male Percentage19%
  • Participation
    • Total Graduate Students16
    • Part-time Percentage6%
    • Full-time Percentage94%
  • Ethnicity
    • Hispanic / Latino14%
    • Black / African American0%
    • White / Caucasian57%
    • American Indian / Alaskan Native7%
    • Asian0%
    • Native Hawaiian / Other Pacific Islander0%
    • Two or more races7%
    • Unknown15%


  • Faculty Breakout
    • Total Faculty5
    • Full-time Percentage20%
    • Part-time Percentage80%
    • Female Percentage40%
    • Male Percentage60%




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