Apr 3, 2024 - News

Boulder's Naropa University to offer psychedelic minor program

A sign with the words NAROPA UNIVERSITY outside a large, brick building with several windows in the background.

Naropa University in Boulder. Photo: Paul Aiken/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty Images

A private university in Boulder is ramping up efforts to train professionals and students in the emerging psychedelic therapy field.

The big picture: Naropa University announced last month it will offer a minor in psychedelic studies this fall, becoming the first higher educational institute to launch such a program for undergraduates.

  • The minor will provide an academic overview of psychedelics, and could lead to a career in the burgeoning industry, Sara Lewis, director of training and research at the Center for Psychedelic Studies, tells us.

Why it matters: It's the latest example of how the small school β€” it has fewer than 1,200 stude β€” is positioning itself as the premier institution for psychedelic therapy training.

  • Joe Harrison, executive director at the Center for Psychedelic Studies, told us the university's goal is to train the next generation of practitioners.

Context: About 140 people participate each year in the university's certification program in psychedelic-assisted therapy, Lewis said. The eight-month program has been available for clinicians, like nurses and therapists, since March 2022.

  • The program provides training in using MDMA, psilocybin and ketamine for therapy. It costs $7,500, and an additional $4,000 to include the MDMA training.

Between the lines: The school prioritizes applicants from Colorado and Oregon β€” the two states where such therapy is legal β€” for its certificate program.

What's next: Colorado is currently developing rules for the psychedelic therapy industry, including requirements for obtaining licenses for healing centers, where people will be able to use psychedelics under supervision from a licensed professional.

  • Once those rules are set, Naropa plans to provide an additional training program specifically for psilocybin facilitators.
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