Naropa University

Naropa University

Boulder, CO
student ratio
total students
$30,400 | $30,400
in-state | out-of-state tuition
fall application deadline
acceptance rate
Moderately Difficult
admission difficulty
Average test scores for all first-year students that were accepted and enrolled.
sat math
sat reading
sat writing
act composite


Naropa University -- A Fully Accredited Buddhist-Inspired University

Naropa University is a nonprofit, private, nonsectarian liberal arts university founded in Boulder, Colorado in 1974 by Tibetan Buddhist Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, one of the foremost teachers of Buddhism in the West. Naropa's curriculum combines contemplative Eastern studies with traditional Western scholastic and artistic disciplines. This approach is designed to help students know themselves more deeply, spark inspiration, and construct engagement with others. By exploring inner resources and reflecting on the interplay of discipline and delight, a Naropa education prepares students to meet the world as it is and work to change it for the better.

Naropa University is the first fully accredited Buddhist-inspired university in the United States, and the foremost institution of contemplative education in North America. In addition, Naropa commits to green practices by offsetting 100% of its electricity from wind power renewable energy credits.

An Undergraduate Education at Naropa University

Blending rigorous academic study with artistic and contemplative practice and community engagement, Naropa University's undergraduate curriculum encourages students to take their learning beyond the facts, to engage deeply with the material. Grounded in Naropa's mission, the core curriculum weaves together contemplative theory and practice with issues of diversity and ecological sustainability. Through intrapersonal and interpersonal work, as well as the exploration of multiple modes of learning, students acquire the tools to better demonstrate knowledge and skill in a chosen discipline, as well as to apply their learning in real-world settings and begin meaningful careers.

Naropa's balance of intellectual and intuitive disciplines encourages interdisciplinarity, allowing students to refine their critical thinking and research skills while also cultivating openness, compassion, and self-confidence. Small classes with a strong emphasis on dialogue and developing mindful communication skills make education at Naropa an interactive process that highlights inclusivity and hones interpersonal skills. The classroom experience empowers students to take learning into their own hands, discussing issues and collaborating on participatory solutions.

Naropa offers eleven bachelor degree opportunities from four academic schools. A Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) is awarded to students who successfully complete 120 credit hours of study.

The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics

The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University is comprised of the undergraduate Core Writing Seminars, undergraduate and graduate writing programs, and the Summer Writing Program. The school offers the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Writing and Literature, which incorporates writing workshops and critical analysis with traditional literary studies requirements.

All faculty members at the school are active, published authors who incorporate practitioners' insights into their curriculum. The school's interdisciplinary courses are designed to teach students how to exercise performance skills and perfect their craft as practicing writers in the world. Curriculum integrates such diverse topics as ecology, philosophy, physics, and visual arts within the range of literary forms.

A Range of Traditional and Non-Traditional Degree Opportunities

Naropa University offers ten bachelor's degrees and six certificate programs outside of the Jack Kerouac School. The recently formed School of Humanities and Interdisciplinary Studies offers a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies, BA in Traditional Eastern Arts, BA or certificate in Religious Studies, and a certificate in Yoga Teacher Training. Minor areas of study include religious studies, Sanskrit, Tibetan language, and gender and women's studies.

The School of Natural and Social Sciences offers four bachelor's degree programs, including the BA in Environmental Studies and a BA in Peace Studies. Students can also complete BA or certificate programs in Contemplative Psychology or Early Childhood Education. Minor areas of study include contemplative education, early childhood education, environmental sustainability, and peace studies.

The School of the Arts combines performing arts from different fields within each of their degree and certificate programs. Students can complete the BA or certificate programs in Music or Visual Arts, or pursue the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Performance. Minor areas of study include music, performance, and visual arts.

Distance Learning Opportunities from Naropa

Distance learning opportunities at Naropa include online courses, low-residency degree programs, and low-residency certificates. Online courses available include "Emotional Roots of Development," "Ecology Concepts and Applications," "Transpersonal Psychology," and a "Contemplative End-of-Life Care Certificate Program."

Students planning to pursue graduate degrees can continue at Naropa through their low-residency degree and certificate programs, which allow students to complete graduate degrees by attending short classes on campus and completing the rest of the degrees from home. Certificates are available in Authentic Leadership and Contemplative End-of-Life Care.

Passionate Expert Faculty at Naropa

Students at Naropa complete a number of seminars as part of their core requirements, including seminars in writing, humanities, contemplative practice, diversity, and civic engagement. Core faculty members use their particular expertise and passion within these seminars to provide students with a rich educational experience. For example, associate professor Michelle Naka Pierce was born in Tokyo, Japan, and has authored four books, including several books of poetry. Her latest manuscript addresses the political overtones of Rothko's murals

Professor Richard C. Brown co-founded the Department of Contemplative Education at Naropa in 1990. Brown's commitment to contemplative education has lead him to develop several contemplative schools, publish a Buddhist view of child and adolescent spiritual development, consult on three continents about how to bring contemplative education to schools, and work with the government of Bhutan to reform the nation's education system.

Financial Aid Opportunities at Naropa University

Naropa University is dedicated to providing students with a quality education at a manageable cost. Seventy percent of undergraduate students receive financial aid. A number of institutional grants and loans are available, as well as state scholarships and student employment opportunities. Naropa University grants vary from ten to sixty percent of tuition in value, and are awarded to full-time degree-seeking students with high financial need.

In addition, qualified students may also be eligible for Naropa scholarships. For example, Naropa Honor Scholarships and Naropa Presidential Scholarships are awarded to a limited number of entering, full-time students with outstanding academic merit and financial need. The John W. Cobb Scholarship is awarded to one student each year engaged in peace studies. The Aimee Grunburger Award is awarded to one nontraditional student each year who demonstrates an excellence in poetry.

Located in Boulder, Colorado

Naropa University is located in Boulder, Colorado, a city known for its beautiful landscape, cultural strength, and creativity. The Beat writers heavily influenced the city, which still celebrates art and artists through performances, musical venues, and festivals. Outdoor activities also abound, with many opportunities nearby for hiking, biking, climbing, kayaking, skiing, snowboarding, and more.

Boulder has been named #1 Most Educated City in America by "Forbes" magazine. It has also been listed in the top 5 for Best Green Places to Live in America by "Country Home" magazine, and Cities with a High Percentage of Workers Employed in High-Tech Work by the American Electronics Association.

Location & Contact

2130 Arapahoe Avenue
Boulder, CO 80302-6697

Karen Wills

Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Admissions

Phone: 303-245-4693
Fax: 303-546-3536

Request More Info

Majors & Degrees

Degrees Offered
  • Education
    • Early Childhood Education
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
  • English
    • English
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
  • Interdisciplinary studies
    • Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies Related
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
  • Natural resources/environmental science
    • Environmental Studies
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
  • Parks and recreation
    • Health and Physical Education Related
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
  • Philosophy and religious studies
    • Religious Studies
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
  • Psychology
    • Psychology
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
  • Visual and performing arts
    • Dramatic/Theater Arts
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Fine/Studio Arts
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Music
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Music Performance
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      Bachelor's Degree offered for this major.


70% of applicants are admitted.
  • Acceptance Rate
    • Applied157
    • Accepted110
    • Acceptance Rate70%
    • Enrolled386
    • Female Applicants107
    • Females Accepted72
    • Female Acceptance Rate67%
    • Male Applicants50
    • Males Accepted38
    • Male Acceptance Rate76%
  • Applying
    • Application Fee$50
    • Required for All Essay or personal statement
      Transcript of high school record
      Letter(s) of recommendation
    • Required for Some
    • Average high school GPA for first-year freshman
  • Application Deadlines
    • Type Application Closing Notification Date Rolling Admissions
    • Fall freshmen Yes
    • Out-of-state Fall freshmen Yes
    • Early decision plan Not Reported
    • Other early decision plan Not Reported
    • Transfer Yes
  • Test Scores Accepted
    • Test Average School Accepted 25th Percentile* 75th Percentile*
    • * 25th and 75th percentile is the score that 25/75 percent of students score at or below.

Tuition & Fees

  • Tuition
    • In-state tuition *$30,400
    • Out-of-state tuition *$30,400
    • In-district tuitionN/A
    • * Tuition costs are based on a full academic year typically extending from September to June.
  • Fees
    • Full-time student fees$180
    • Room and board *$9,604
    • Room only *Not Reported
    • * Room and board charges vary according to board plan selected (i.e., 12-meal plan, 19-meal plan, etc.) and student level (freshman, sophomore, etc.)
  • Other Payment Considerations
    • Guaranteed tuition plan offeredNo
    • Tuition pre-payment planNo
    • Tuition payment plans offeredInstallments
    • Student groups that qualify for full or partial waiver of tuitionEmployees or children of employees

Student Body

  • Gender
    • Total Undergraduate Students386
    • Male Student Percentage33%
    • Female Student Percentage67%
  • Ethnicity
    • Hispanic/Latino10.62%
    • Black or African American2.33%
    • White or Caucasian61.4%
    • American Indian or Alaska Native.26%
    • Asian1.04%
    • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific IslanderNot Reported
    • Two or more races10.88%
    • Unknown10.1%
  • Other Student Statistics
    • International Breakout3.37% representing 10 other countries
    • Out-of-state Students60% out-of-state student

Campus Life

  • Housing
    • College-owned housing available Yes
    • Housing Requirements None
    • Housing options Coed housing
    • Percentage of undergraduate students who live in college-owned housing 20%
  • Student Activities
    • Student-run campus newspaper No
    • Drama / theater group Yes
    • Student-run radio station No
    • Student-run television station No
    • Marching band No
    • Choral groups Yes
  • Student Services
    • Legal services No
    • Health clinic No
    • Personal / psychological counseling Yes
    • Women's center No
  • Student Organizations
    • Greek fraternities No
    • Greek sororities No
    • Local fraternities No
    • Local sororities No
    • Other organizations No
    • Most popular organizations Student Union of Naropa, ROOT: Reconnecting on Outdoor Terrain, Team Asana (yoga club), Pagans at Naropa (pagan spirituality club), Semicolon (writing and publications club)
  • Campus Security and Safety
    • 24-hour emergency telephone / alarm services Not Reported
    • 24-hour patrols by trained officers Not Reported
    • Students patrols Not Reported
    • Late-night transport / escort services Yes
    • Electronically-operated dormitory entrances Yes
    • Other foot and vehicle patrol 4:30 pm to midnight, 24 hour on-call Safety and Security Manager


  • Faculty Breakout
    • Total Faculty182
    • Full-time Percentage24%
    • Part-time Percentage76%
    • Female Percentage65%
    • Male Percentage35%
    • Student:Faculty Ratio9:1 or 469 students to 51 faculty