Religious Studies

Religious Studies // Master of Arts

"Naropa was the only [school] that also valued both contemplative practices and a contemplative perspective in education. Naropa's multi-dimensional approach to education... provides the best foundation from which to pursue both a career in religious studies, and a life. "
James Peacock
Religious Studies student

What is religion and how does it affect people, cultures, and history?

The master's degree in Religious Studies at Naropa University is a distinctive program that allows you to delve into these questions by studying and personally experiencing the contemplative traditions of the world's great religions.


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Though taught in Naropa's Buddhist-inspired environment, our master's degree programs embrace the world's vast diversity of religious expression and offer the chance to not only study Buddhism but also the other great wisdom traditions, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and others.

Whether you choose the broader, comparative Contemplative Religions concentration or the more specific study of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism or Contemplative Judaism you will develop an understanding of the scholarly study of religion, interreligious dialogue, and engage in the contemplative practices of the faith traditions you're studying.

Religious Studies: Contemplative Judaism Master’s Degree Highlights

  • Study Jewish traditions and texts which emphasize the experiential dimensions of Jewish practice.
  • Take electives studying other contemplative faith traditions.
  • Take part in a Contemplative Practice Intensive.
  • Research and write a final master’s project paper.

Religious Studies: Contemplative Religions Master's Degree Highlights

  • Take part in a thirty-day Contemplative Practice Retreat in the faith tradition of your choice.
  • Take additional contemplative electives in one or a spectrum of traditions.
  • Develop interreligious dialogue skills.
  • Research and write a final master's project paper.

Religious Studies: Indo-Tibetan Buddhism Master's Degree Highlights

  • Choose an emphasis in History of Religions or Tibetan Tradition.
  • Take in-depth Buddhist meditation practica.
  • Complete Dathün: a monthlong Buddhist meditation intensive.
  • Research and write a final master's paper.

Duration: The Religious Studies MA program is a 45-credit, two-year program.

Meet Religious Studies Faculty

Careers of Religious Studies Program Graduates

The Religious Studies master's degree is ideally suited for students interested in pursuing doctoral-level studies. Naropa Religious Studies alumni have been accepted into PhD programs at 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 Studies.

Our Religious Studies graduates have also gone on to become professors, translators, lawyers, teachers, social service professionals, and ministers.

Other Naropa University Religious Studies Programs

Master of Arts in Religious Studies with Language

Master of Divinity