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Want a Minor in Psychedelic Studies? You Can Now Get One at Naropa University

Emily Mullins

by Emily Mullins

April 3, 2024 11:29 am ET Estimated Read Time: 3 Minutes
Fact checked by Kymberly Drapcho
Want a Minor in Psychedelic Studies? You Can Now Get One at Naropa University

Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, has created an exciting new initiative for students: a minor in psychedelic studies, designed to train those who want to practice psychedelic-assisted therapy and other related careers.

The program is set to launch in the fall of 2024, and it intends to offer students a humanities and social science-based approach to all things psychedelics. It’s tailored for students interested in exploring past and contemporary uses of psychedelics. Additionally, the curriculum will look into the expanding realm of psychedelic therapy, which has been increasingly shown to help with various severe mental health conditions such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and addiction.

The minor is a bachelor of arts program encompassing 12 total credits. The focus extends beyond the clinical utilization of psychedelic medicines to encompass religious and ceremonial contexts, cultural practices, policy implications, and frameworks for healing justice. Students will study classes including Herbal Medicine and Theories of Psychedelic Assisted Therapies, and it can integrate into Naropa majors like Psychology, Interdisciplinary Studies, Art Therapy, Religious Studies, Creative Writing and Literature, Yoga Studies, or Visual Arts.

“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 in a statement. “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…Several of these majors have an online option, making the new minor very accessible to students in North America and beyond.”

Naropa University is a unique institution. It was first founded in 1974 by Tibetan Buddhist teacher Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who was inspired by the wisdom and teachings of the 11th-century Indian Buddhist sage Naropa. The school uses a combination of Eastern and Western teachings in its curriculum, designed to create well-rounded students.

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“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,” the university writes.

Psychedelic-assisted therapy is a rapidly growing field, with states like Colorado, California, Washington, Oregon, and Massachusetts having already legalized some form of it for practice. As a result, there’s an increasing demand for qualified practitioners who have experience in this fascinating realm of study.

Joseph Harrison, M.S., Executive Director of the Naropa Center for Psychedelic Studies (NCPS), wrote: “The emerging field of legal psychedelic-assisted therapy will require trained facilitators to meet the demand for these services. 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.”

If the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves substances like MDMA and psilocybin for these uses, this field will likely explode even further in popularity. This will ultimately place schools like Naropa University at the forefront of research and training, placing current and prospective students of the school in an excellent position to build their careers.

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

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