Naropa University
"Naropa asks you to "show up"—not just physically, but intellectually. At Naropa, you will...
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Naropa University

Boulder, Colorado

Transform Yourself. Transform the World.

Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado is a Buddhist-inspired liberal arts university grounded in the philosophy that personal discovery precipitates inner and outer change. Through rigorous academics, contemplative practice, and community engagement, students develop intellectual acuity, a strong sense of self-awareness, and practical skills that allow them to create meaningful careers that contribute to the greater good.


Student Profile

402 undergraduate students (38.8% male, 61.2% female); 35% in-state, 63% out-of-state, 2% international

Faculty Profile

43 full-time faculty, 121 part-time faculty. 9:1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

18% of students live in college owned and operated housing. Naropa University on-campus housing is apartment-style—there are no old-fashioned dorm rooms! All student housing – the Snow Lion apartments – includes a full kitchen, fully furnished living areas and bedrooms, plenty of closet space, access to an open courtyard, and wireless Internet. The complex also includes free off-street parking, a coin-operated laundry facility, a small community meeting space, and a meditation room. First-year students are required to live on -campus, and open housing students are also welcome to live on campus and participate in residence life co-curricular programming that supports a holistic, contemplative education.

School Location

Naropa University is located in Boulder, CO. A progressive town of 100,000 people known for its embrace of the environment, arts, technology, and health, Boulder has attracted intellectuals, artists, and seekers people who are passionate about working for peace, fostering social justice, and exploring human spirituality.
For Naropa students, Boulder is part of their learning laboratory. On any given week, students can attend experimental poetry readings and concerts, meet authors, attend art exhibits, explore museums, practice yoga, or volunteer in a community garden (not to mention hike, snowboard, rock climb, or kayak).
Boulder, too, is part of Colorado’s Front Range green energy and technology corridor. People come to Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins to start green businesses, biotechnology companies, software and design firms, organic food companies, and other ventures. Colorado’s Front Range cities offer Naropa students plenty of opportunities for internships, career exploration, and personal growth. Boulder also ranks high on countless lists for its beauty and quality of life.

Other Information

With a vision to create a university that combines Eastern wisdom traditions with the best of Western scholarly traditions, ChögyamTrungpa Rinpoche, Tibetan Buddhist teacher and Oxford University scholar, founded the Naropa Institute in 1974, naming itafterthe eleventh-century Indian Buddhist sage Naropa, an abbot of Nalanda. The Naropa Institute has since become the accredited Naropa University.

Academic Programs

School of the Arts: BA Music, BA Visual Arts, BFA Performance
School of Humanities & Interdisciplinary Studies: BA Religious Studies, BA Traditional Eastern Arts, BA Interdisciplinary Studies
School of Natural & Social Sciences: BA Contemplative Psychology, BA Early Childhood Education, BA Environmental Studies, BA Peace Studies
Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics: BA Writing & Literature

View a list of graduate programs at
View Extended Studies offerings here:

Inherently Engaged.

A Naropa education is by its very nature engaged; to actively participate in class, in the community, and with oneself is central to life at Naropa. Students at Naropa engage in dialogue, form student groups, organize campus events, and, most importantly, build a strong university community.

Small, powerful classes.

Most Naropa classes range from ten to nineteen students. Students are expected to not only “show up” physically, but also intellectually, contributing to the dynamic discussions characteristic of the Naropa classroom experience. In this way, students develop a keen ability to express themselves, support their ideas, hone interpersonal communication skills, and acknowledge multiple perspectives. 

Contemplative education.

Contemplative practices such as sitting meditation, t’ai chi ch’uan, yoga, aikido, and ikebana complement the academic aspect of a Naropa education. In addition to the analytic and creative skills, research experience, and written communication skills gained through studying humanities, social sciences, and the arts, students also gain mindfulness, compassion, self-awareness, courage, and discipline, resulting in a more complete, holistic education. Graduates report improved listening skills, openness to difference, and ability to cope with conflict.

Internships and community service.

Naropa’s core curriculum includes a Civic Engagement Seminar, giving students an opportunity to serve others while also gaining insight into future careers. Various other courses also incorporate service learning into the curriculum, and the university often hosts days of service to local organizations.

Many programs offer internships that help students deepen their humanity and hone professional skills they can use in the workplace.


Naropa’s Interdisciplinary Studies program offers students the opportunity to design their own custom major by integrating two to three disciplines taught at the school. Students receive support in designing their course of study and work with faculty mentors throughout their studies. The program also affords students the opportunity for independent study and research.

Study abroad.

In order to transform the world, students need to know something about it. Naropa offers students the option to experience more than 40 countries, including mind-expanding semester-abroad programs in Bhutan, Bolivia/Peru, India, and Nepal. Students interested in international service and sustainability, can immerse themselves in progressive global communities such as Scotland’s Findhorn, Israel’s Kibbutz Lotan, or Monteverde, Costa Rica. They can also choose from dozens of other programs with which Naropa is affiliated.

World-class minds and mentors.

Fulbright scholars. Internationally respected researchers. Practicing psychologists. Award-winning poets. Groundbreaking environmentalists. And, most importantly, exemplary teachers.

Rather than take a top-down approach to education, Naropa faculty see themselves as mentors and collaborators, people who are experienced seekers passionate about helping others on similar paths. Whether it’s guiding someone toward an interesting internship, discussing philosophy, or advising a thesis, Naropa professors challenge students to grow intellectually, professionally, and personally.

Naropa’s student-faculty ratio is 9:1; class sizes typically range from 10 to 19 students. Naropa’s small classes and interactive classroom environment make it possible for faculty to see their students’ gifts and challenges, so they can personalize their teaching, assisting students in discovering their passions and honing their skills in service of meaningful career development.

As fellow seekers actively engaged in their own fields, the university’s world-class scholars, artists, and life-long -learners are transforming their disciplines while also helping students transform their lives.

Bolder and Boulder.

Located at the base of the Rocky Mountain foothills in Boulder, Colorado, Naropa University is a vibrant and eclectic community of people seeking to create positive change in the world.

This community impulse to “be the change” causes Naropa’s three campuses to become centers of purposeful artistic, environmental, and intellectual collaboration.

Drawn to activism, Naropa’s students think outside the norm when it comes to campus life. Instead of social groups they pursue social justice. Rather than watch sports, they scale mountains. Instead of heading to the multiplex, they give concerts, attend lectures, participate in leadership workshops, and discuss life’s meaning.


Each semester, Naropa hosts Community Practice Day. On this day, no classes are in session and offices are closed, allowing the entire university community to engage in a variety of contemplative practices together and build relationships. The day includes sitting and walking meditation in the morning, a guest speaker, and an afternoon full of diverse workshops that offer the opportunity to try a new practice, whether it’s a Japanese tea ceremony, Hindu chanting, walking a labyrinth, or contemplative prayer.


Naropa hosts a number of events that celebrate the environment, green solutions, and sustainable practices. Each year, the university celebrates Sustainability Day in the fall, and Earth Day in the spring. These events include guest speakers, eco-activities, student performances, dialogues around improving personal and campus sustainability, and engagement with local environmental groups and start-ups. Additionally, the Naropa community participates in the annual RecycleMania, a national competition for universities to divert waste from landfills.


Equipped with self awareness, outstanding analytical and communication skills, and the courage to take chances, Naropa graduates go on to make meaningful lives for themselves as writers, social entrepreneurs, teachers, lawyers, artists, therapists, doctoral students, community recyclers, world travelers, and lifelong learners.

Many Naropa alumni pursue graduate studies,and have been highly successful in gaining admission to prestigious graduate programs worldwide in psychology, the arts, religious studies, urban planning, sustainability, education, and other fields.

Naropa students graduate with tremendous amounts of personal agency and spirit, because as one students put it, “At Naropa, you not only engage with subjects in a scholarly way, there is also an integration of that learning into your body, heart, and spirit. It’s not only transformative for me, but also in its implications for taking that work into the greater world.”


Naropa University has a rolling admissions policy. This means that all applications received before the priority deadline (January 15 for fall admission; October 15 for spring admission) will be given equal consideration and will have the greatest chance to be considered for financial aid eligibility. Applications received after the priority deadline will be reviewed in the order they are received. Learn more about the admissions process at University has a rolling admissions policy. This means that all applications received before the priority deadline (January 15 for fall admission; October 15 for spring admission) will be given equal consideration and will have the greatest chance to be considered for financial aid eligibility. Applications received after the priority deadline will be reviewed in the order they are received. Learn more about the admissions process at


The average cost of tuition and fees per year for a full-time undergraduate student is $28,620. The average student receiving financial aid receives about $14,520 in scholarship and grant funding. In addition, Naropa offers student employment opportunities through federal work-study. Students are also eligible for $5,500-$12,000 in federal loans each year. Tuition payment plans are also available. Learn more about costs and financial aid at