Students pursue a "third person" academic approach drawn from the humanities and sciences to analyze the cultural, historical, and scientific underpinnings of contemplative experiences in religion, art, music, and literature. This is developed in combination with a "critical first-person" approach based in practical experience of contemplative techniques and methods to provide an integrated understanding of the role of contemplative thought and experience in societies and on the individuals who constitute them.

Student Goals

Students in this concentration will:

  • Identify the wide variety of contemplative experiences across cultures and across time
  • Examine scientific and philosophical explanations for contemplative experiences
  • Cultivate direct first-person knowledge of contemplative experiences
  • Assess the meaning and significance of contemplative experiences both within the traditions from which they emerged and on a personal level for our students
  • Produce and present a humanities- or science-based independent research project


  • Humanities
  • Sciences

Department Undergraduate Group (DUG)

Student Leaders: Malini Naidu

Graduating Class

Class Year Total Students Capstones Completed Honors Graduates
2019 6 6 0

Alumni Pathways

Alumni have pursued careers in medicine, education, research, and a range of non-profit organizations. Others have pursued graduate study in psychology, neuroscience, Contemplation and Peace Studies, and Tibetan Buddhist Studies.

What are Contemplative Studies concentrators doing...


Director of Undergraduate Studies: Harold Roth