Naropa University Launches Pioneering Psychedelic Minor  

Naropa University Launches Pioneering Psychedelic Minor  

Naropa University Launches Pioneering Psychedelic Minor  

New Program Prepares Undergraduate Students to Support Emerging Need for Psychedelic Therapy Facilitation in Colorado and Beyond

BOULDER, Colo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Naropa University (Naropa), the birthplace of the modern mindfulness movement and one of the nation’s only higher educational institutions to offer a postgraduate certificate in psychedelic-assisted therapies, is now launching one of the first psychedelic minor programs in the country for undergraduate students of all majors.

Launching in the Fall of 2024, the 12-credit BA Psychedelic Studies Minor provides a humanities and social science-based approach to studying psychedelics. The minor is designed for students who want to explore the historical and contemporary applications of psychedelics and natural medicines as well as the emerging use of these medicines in clinical practice. The curriculum explores the clinical application of psychedelic medicines, but importantly, also emphasizes religious and ceremonial contexts, cultural practices, policy implications and healing justice frameworks.

“Psychedelic minor graduates will be well prepared for a career in psychedelic-assisted therapy, with both Naropa University’s rigorous academic education and our singularly unique contemplative pedagogy woven throughout the curriculum,” said Naropa University President Charles G. Lief, J.D. “Naropa is a higher education leader when it comes to incorporating justice, equity, anti-oppression, and understanding lineage and indigenous community relationships with plant medicines. This minor will integrate well with the range of undergraduate majors offered at Naropa including Psychology, Interdisciplinary Studies, Art Therapy, Religious Studies, Creative Writing and Literature, Yoga Studies or Visual Arts. Several of these majors have an online option, making the new minor very accessible to students in North America and beyond.”

This new minor will present foundational education for Naropa undergraduates to apply the mindfulness and compassion skills that are essential to a successful career involving the therapeutic application of psychedelics. Moreover, Naropa’s generous undergraduate scholarships will support equitable learning access for students with fewer economic resources, who may be from marginalized communities or underserved geographic locations, to ultimately create a more diverse field of practitioners.

“The emerging field of legal psychedelic-assisted therapy will require trained facilitators to meet the demand for these services,” said Joseph Harrison, M.S., Executive Director of the Naropa Center for Psychedelic Studies (NCPS). “Naropa’s psychedelic studies minor will provide primary education for students interested in working in this emerging field. We are creating a pathway for students that begins with the BA Psychedelic Studies Minor. Serious students can further their learning through Naropa’s Graduate School of Counseling Psychology and then our postgraduate training programs to become licensed practitioners in states such as Colorado and Oregon.”

“Naropa students are thoughtful, justice-oriented critical thinkers prepared to embark on a serious course of study related to psychedelics in our world,” said Dr. Sara Lewis, Director of Training and Research at NCPS and the principal designer of the new minor.

“The minor in psychedelic studies integrates existing contemplative coursework across diverse disciplines with the latest scholarship on psychedelic studies,” said Betsy Gonzalez Blohm, Dean of Naropa College and the Graduate Collective. “Contemplative pedagogy centering diverse perspectives to support inner and outer transformation is core to Naropa’s mission, and offering academic study about the history, policy and current research on psychedelics supported by our unique approach to education is an extension of that mission.”

On the heels of Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) releasing draft rules for psilocybin facilitation training and licensure, Naropa is also preparing to launch a new psilocybin facilitator training certificate program.

For more information on the minor or to inquire about enrolling, visit

About Naropa University

Naropa University, nestled in Boulder, Colorado, was established in 1974 by Tibetan Buddhist teacher Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Drawing its name and inspiration from the teachings of the 11th-century Indian Buddhist sage Naropa, this private university stands out distinctly among America’s higher education landscape in its effort to integrate eastern wisdom with traditional western scholarship. Recognized as the pioneering force behind contemplative higher education and the start of the modern mindfulness movement, Naropa University is the sole institution to integrate a university-wide contemplative pedagogical approach. At Naropa, education transcends the ordinary; the institution embraces the entirety of its students—mind, body and spirit—augmenting traditional methodologies with practices like meditation. Since receiving its accreditation in 1986, Naropa University consistently upholds the exacting standards for quality and accountability set by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Learn more at


Leland Radovanovic

Grasslands: A Journalism-Minded Agency