Naropa University’s Religious Studies master’s degree program is one of personal and
intellectual transformation. As a Religious Studies graduate student, you will cultivate
insights, knowledge, and meditative methods (such as mindfulness, yoga, and compassion
practices) that will empower you to serve the inner and outer needs of the world,
whether in the classroom, your community, through inter-religious dialog, or the larger
Whatever path you choose, you will study the great masters and their works, ancient
and modern, that are important to each tradition, while also delving into their profundities
through contemplative methods.
Alumni from Naropa’s Master of Arts in Religious Studies program have been accepted
to doctoral programs around the world, including Harvard University, Oxford University,
University of Chicago, University of California—Santa Barbara, University of Virginia,
Rice University, University of the West, and the California Institute of Integral
Our Religious Studies graduates have also created compelling careers for themselves
as professors, translators, teachers, social service professionals, ministers, experts in humanities, computing, librarians, lawyers, and activists.
Enhance your MA in Religious Studies degree with an optional two-year study of Sanskrit
or Tibetan language, in order to become a translator, in preparation for a doctoral
program, and/or to enrich your personal understanding of the related traditions.
Complete a 28-day group practice retreat in the religious tradition(s) of your choice,
all at one time or in two to four shorter retreats, for an in-depth contemplative
experience, living in a community context.
The Master of Arts program in Religious Studies (45 credit hours) and the Master of Arts program in Religious Studies with Language (61 credit hours) offer both academic and contemplative experiences that encompass the beautiful plurality
of global religious expression. This program will prepare you for doctoral-level graduate
study, research, translation services, or other careers that require strong analytic
and writing skills.
“I have the job I have today because of Naropa. Although I have a separate degree
in Library and Information Science, the main reason I am working at ATLA today is
because I have intimate knowledge of Buddhism and Hinduism. I specialize in these
fields in my current job and use my education daily. My knowledge of Sanskrit has
come into play, as well as by having the ability to read and understand Buddhist terms
— Roger Morales, MA 2013 Theological Librarian for the American Theological Library Association
Featured Religious Studies Courses
Methods and Issues in the Study of Religion
Non-Dualism in Theory and Practice
Classical Jewish Mysticism
The First Turning of the Wheel: Nature of Mind and Emotions
Program Learning Outcomes
MA Religious Studies, Contemplative Religions Concentration
Theory and Methods in Religious Studies - Students will demonstrate knowledge of the
academic discourse of religious studies through the application of historical, cultural
and contemplative dimensions in their written work and/or oral presentations.
Contemplative Practice and Perspectives - Students will demonstrate engagement with
the experience of contemplative practice and the consideration of multiple approaches
to contemplative learning through written work and/or oral presentations.
Respect for Diversity and Cross-Cultural Understanding - Students exhibit respect
for diverse religious traditions and cross-cultural understanding through dialogue
journals or reflection papers, or warrior exams.
Integration of Experience - Students exhibit a mature and nuanced approach to contemplative
exercises and practice through written and verbal expression, and expressions of compassion
toward self and others.
Reflexive Writing and Communication - Students demonstrate the skills of speaking
and writing from their own reflexive stance, while maintaining the standards of scholarly
MA Religious Studies, Indo-Tibetan Buddhism Concentration
Historical, Doctrinal, and Cultural Development of Buddhism - Students will be able
to trace the historical, doctrinal, and cultural development of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism,
including facility with the related basic Sanskrit and Tibetan Buddhist vocabulary.
Contemplative Practice - Students will demonstrate proficiency in the meditation practices,
such as tranquility-insight meditation, compassion practices, analytic meditation,
and so forth, and articulate their understanding of these practices in an experiential
manner, informed by their study of Buddhism.
Contemplative Scholarship - Students will demonstrate the integration of a contemplative
perspective into their academic writing and speech, exhibit the ability to write effective
academic term papers, with proper syntax, grammar, formatting and citations, and critically
articulate their understanding verbally in an effective manner in classroom discussions
Diversity - Students will exhibit respect for diverse religious traditions, including
various Buddhist traditions, through contemplative reflection papers, class discussions
and presentations and exhibit sensitivity to issues of race, class and gender and
other diversity issues in their academic work.
Language: For both the Contemplative Religions and Indo-Tibetan Buddhism Concentrations
of the MA in Religious Studies.
Sanskrit Literary Translation - Students will demonstrate a facility with the translation
of texts in Sanskrit, demonstrating a working vocabulary.
Sanskrit Literary Syntax & Grammar - Students will demonstrate a knowledge of literary
syntax and grammar, and appropriate interpretation of Sanskrit.
Sanskrit Oral Reading - Students will learn to read aloud a Sanskrit text that they
have studied, using proper pronunciation in a fluid, idiomatic manner.
Tibetan Literary Translation - Students will demonstrate a facility with the translation
of texts in Tibetan, demonstrating a working vocabulary.
Tibetan Literary Syntax & Grammar - Students will demonstrate a knowledge of literary
syntax and grammar, and appropriate interpretation of Tibetan.
Tibetan Oral Reading - Students will learn to read aloud a Tibetan text that they
have studied, using proper pronunciation in a fluid, idiomatic manner.
Tibetan Colloquial Syntax, Grammar, Vocabulary - Students will demonstrate a knowledge
of Tibetan colloquial syntax, grammar, and vocabulary for the colloquial form of the
language at the level taught in their courses.
Tibetan Colloquial Pronunciation & Comprehension - Students will demonstrate an ability
to speak Tibetan with proper pronunciation in a fluid, idiomatic manner and understand
what is spoken to them at the level taught in their courses.
“Our students share a common aspiration to be personally transformed by their education
at Naropa, however they aspire to apply their training after they graduate, be that
to acquire language skills and a breadth of knowledge of the Buddhist tradition, or
a grounding in a range of religious traditions, or develop chaplaincy skills to serve
— Phil Stanley, PhD Associate Professor & Core Faculty