Transform Yourself. Transform the World.
Naropa University, in Boulder, Colorado, is a non-traditional liberal arts university. Naropa’s approach is grounded in the belief that personal discovery precipitates inner and outer change and fosters compassion and creativity. Naropa purposefully creates an environment rich in self-discovery by combining traditional academics with experiential education and mindfulness practice. Known as contemplative education, Naropa’s one-of-a-kind way of educating builds intellectual acuity, a strong sense of self-awareness, and practical skills. These skills combine to inspire students to create meaningful careers that contribute to the greater good though psychology, education, social and spiritual leadership, or the arts.
With a vision to create a university that combines Eastern wisdom traditions with the best of Western scholarly traditions, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Tibetan Buddhist teacher and Oxford University scholar, founded the Naropa Institute in 1974, naming it after the eleventh-century Indian Buddhist sage Naropa, an abbot of Nalanda. The Naropa Institute has since become the accredited Naropa University.
Get to know Naropa University
- International Student Organization
- Jazz band
- Literary magazine
- Music ensembles
- Student government
- First-Year Seminars and Experiences
- Common Intellectual Experiences
- Learning Communities
- Writing-Intensive Courses
- Collaborative Assignments and Projects
- Undergraduate Research
- Diversity/Global Learning
- Service-Learning, Community-Based Learning
- Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience
- Career Services
- Writing Center
- Academic Advisors
- Library Services
- Faculty Mentors
- Disability Services
- Multicultural Engagement Center
- Academic Tutors
- Financial Aid Advisors
- Student Success Initiative
- Veteran Services
- Peer Mentors
- Gender & Sexuality Center
A Naropa education goes beyond traditional academics, offering a curriculum that includes interactive engagement both inside and outside the classroom. Opportunities such as internships, service learning, and special community events challenge students to engage more deeply both with each other and with their studies. Students are also encouraged to help build a stronger university community by organizing new student groups and campus events.
SMALL, POWERFUL CLASSES
Most Naropa classes range from ten to nineteen students. Students are expected to show up not just physically, but also intellectually, contributing to the dynamic discussions characteristic of the Naropa classroom experience. Emphasis on dialogue in the classroom highlights the importance of interpersonal interactions in both learning and teaching, thus allowing students to develop keen abilities to express themselves, support their ideas, hone their communication skills, and acknowledge multiple perspectives.
Naropa University practices contemplative education, an approach to learning and teaching that combines traditional academics with experiential learning and mindfulness practice to help students develop expertise, real-world skills, and self-awareness. Like most schools, students engage in research, write papers, and take exams. However, the traditional academic experience is enhanced by the addition of experiential opportunities such as field study, internships, and volunteerism, and mindfulness practices such as sitting meditation, t’ai chi ch’uan, and yoga.
“The contemplative approach, in my opinion, is more effective to the learning process, because it touches other layers of our consciousness that go beyond the thinking-mind. What I experience here is permanently imprinted in my being, because I do it with enthusiasm and use the integrity of my being to present myself for classes—I always show up with my body, mind, and spirit.” – Marina B., BA Contemplative Psychology Class of 2020
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 academic journey. The program also affords students the opportunity to engage in independent study and research.
Valuing active engagement both locally and globally, Naropa University offers a number of options for studying abroad. A powerful tool in expanding worldview, Studying abroad is a powerful tool in expanding one’s worldview, helping foster an understanding for the differences and interdependencies that characterize the world. Students may choose to participate in one of the Naropa-sponsored programs; the Bhutan Study Abroad program with the Royal University of Bhutan; LeapYear, a gap year experience; Where There Be Dragons, which offers study abroad opportunities in China, India, the Himalayas, and the Andes and Amazon; or the School for International Training (SIT), which offers more than 55 programs in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, and the Pacific.
The number of sections of each class size.
2-9: 33 | 10-19: 79 | 20-29: 27
30-39: 0 | 40-49: 0 | 50-99: 2 | 100+: 0
ENROLLMENT BY ETHNICITY
Nonresident aliens: 2%
Black or African American, non-Hispanic: 1%
White, non-Hispanic: 70%
American Indian or Alaska Native, non-Hispanic: 0%
Asian, non-Hispanic: 2%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, non-Hispanic: 0%
Two or more races, non-Hispanic: 7%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown: 8%
“At its best, one’s educational journey isn’t just about oneself. Naropa fosters engaging one’s education with a bigger vision.” – Jordan Quaglia, Assistant Professor Contemplative Psychology, MA ‘11
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 13:1, and class sizes typically range from 10 to 19 students. Naropa’s small classes and interactive classroom environments make it possible for faculty to see their students’ gifts and challenges. The personalized teaching at Naropa assists students in discovering their passions and honing their skills for meaningful career development.
As fellow seekers actively engaged in their own fields, the university’s world-class scholars, artists, and lifelong learners are transforming their disciplines while also helping students transform their lives.
SPECIAL STUDY OPTIONS
Programs available at this institution.
Teacher certification program
BOLDER AND BOULDER
Both Naropa University and the surrounding Boulder, Colorado community place strong emphasis on innovative thinking, social and environmental justice, spiritual development, and artistic expression. For this reason, community activities go beyond the expected college town happenings. While Boulder offers plenty of nightlife, many Naropa students find themselves more attracted to engaging in activism, outdoor recreation, spiritual practice, and volunteerism; attending concerts, readings, and lectures; and organizing their own community events.
“Orientation was full of authentic relating exercises, intention setting, drumming, ecstatic dance, and a fire ceremony! I cannot believe I get to do this; I am beyond grateful!” – Shannon S., BA Traditional Eastern Arts Class of 2020
PRACTICING IN COMMUNITY
Each semester, Naropa hosts Community Practice Day. On this day, classes are suspended and offices are closed, allowing the entire university community to engage in a variety of contemplative practices. The day includes sitting and walking meditation, guest speakers, and the opportunity to engage in mindfulness practices from a diversity of cultural and religious traditions. Such practices include Japanese tea ceremony, Hindu chanting, walking a labyrinth, contemplative prayer, and many more.
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.
Naropa University is located in Boulder, CO. A progressive town of 100,000 people known for its emphasis on the environment, arts, technology, and health, Boulder has attracted intellectuals, artists, and seekers. With a wealth of cultural and recreational opportunities, Boulder continually appears on lists of best college towns, as well as best places to live.
For Naropa students, Boulder is part of the 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 is also 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.
Percent of students living on campus.
First-time, first-year (freshman) students: 83%
Campus housing options.
Apartments for single students
“I would not be myself without Naropa, including the work I pursue and the relationships I nurture.” – Martine M., BA Peace Studies 09’
INTERNSHIPS AND COMMUNITY SERVICE
Service learning represents a key element of a Naropa education. The 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.
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.”
Academic GPA | Level of applicant’s interest
Application Essay | Recommendation(s) | Interview
Talent/ability | Character/personal qualities | First generation
Rigor of secondary school record | Extracurricular activities | Racial/ethnic status
Volunteer work | Work experience
Naropa University uses a rolling admission policy, though applying early provides applicants with the greatest chance to be considered for financial aid eligibility. The Office of Admissions continues to review applications until the school year begins. Naropa University is a member of the Common Application, but students may also apply online at naropa.edu/apply. The non-refundable application fee is $25.
Tuition & Cost
Room & Board: $10,058
74% of undergraduate Naropa students receive financial aid, and 64% of students are awarded grants and scholarships that don’t need to be repaid. Naropa scholarships range from $500 to $15,000 per academic year based off of cumulative GPA, financial need, demographic, or program of interest.
What Others are Saying
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