sumwork D.Min. M.A. nondegree study admissions events resources e-mail

D.Min. | M.L.A. | nondegree study | admissions | events | resources | UCS Home Page

"The education I am experiencing is completely holistic. Body, mind, heart, and soul are all being stretched and developed. The courses have been truly transformative and the experience of being compassionately held through the process by the faculty is profound."

Georgette Star
M.L.A. Graduate

"Coming to study at the University of Creation spirituality has been one of the greatest blessings of my life. Here one finds wisdom and delight and spiritual transformation... I have changed here, becoming more open to people and ideas and to recognizing and accepting the blessings that the universe is constantly offering us. Be prepared to be surprised and delighted."

Bob Fredericks
Brisbane, Australia
Christian Brother

"Stretches the mind, deepens the soul. There is passion and compassion at Naropa Oakland -- a growth experience in my first year for which I am very grateful."

Becky Mayer
UCS Sabbatical Student Bookstore Owner

East meets West in downtown Oakland

Mission & History

Master of Liberal Arts in Creation Spirituality (MLA)


Nine-Month Weekday Program

Weekend of the Spirit

Faculty Bios

Thesis & Project Titles

Naropa University
Oakland Campus

In Spring, 1999, Naropa University opened a Branch Campus at the site of Matthew Fox's University of Creation Spirituality in Oakland, California and contracted with key administrators and faculty to offer a fully accredited Master of Liberal Arts in Creation Spirituality program.

Welcome from the President
Welcome to Naropa University Oakland Campus where the Master of Liberal Arts in Creation Spirituality Program offers a lively and rich curriculum. We invite you to explore the Naropa University--Oakland Campus and to join us in an exploration of what it means to be truly human, to renew and deepen our communication with our natural world and society; to provoke and sharpen our intellect, develop our sense perceptions, and to nurture our inherent wisdom and compassion. From this discipline of learning, we might uplift every aspect of our world without aggression. By mixing our study and appreciation of the past, our elders, out teachers, with an unbiased openness to our present experience, we together learn how to live fully and constantly live to learn.

John Whitehouse Cobb, Naropa President

The crisis in our environment, the growing

gap between rich and poor, old and young,

and the continued plague of racism call out

for us to move beyond differences and

recognize that truth and wisdom exist in all

faiths, all cultures, all races.

-- Matthew Fox

Creation Spirituality integrates the wisdom of western spirituality and global indigenous cultures with emerging scientific understanding of the universe and the passionate creativity of art. It is the earliest tradition of the Hebrew Bible and was celebrated by the mystics of medieval Europe. Creation Spirituality provides a solid foundation and holistic perspective from which to address the critical issues of our times, including the revitalization of religion and culture, the honoring of women's wisdom, the celebration of hope in today's youth, and the promotion of social and ecological justice. Creation Spirituality is not a new religion but is concerned with developing theologies and practices within religion and culture that promote personal wholeness, planetary survival, and universal interdependence.

The Naropa University was founded in 1974 by Tibetan master and scholar Chogyam Trungpa, and is patterned after an 11th century university renowned for joining intellect, intuition, and contemplative traditions. Accredited since 1986, Naropa offers degree programs designed to cultivate a spirit of openness, critical intellect, and the development of effective action, while transmitting the principles of awareness and wisdom.

In the Spring of 1999, the Naropa University of Boulder, Colorado established a Master's of Liberal Arts in Creation Spirituality at the University of Creation Spirituality in Oakland. The Naropa-Oakland campus represents the first Naropa site located outside Boulder, Colorado and the 9-month Master of Liberal Arts program is the first of many degree programs to be developed and offered at the site. The program is designed both for weekend as well as full-time study, offering a unique curriculum in mysticism, art, and social change, ecopsychology, and deep ecumenism.

"Since both Creation Spirituality and engaged Buddhism are mystical and prophetic spiritualities committed to environmental and social justice, this ecumenical adventure will ignite the potential for compassion in the hearts of people and their communities," says UCS founder, Matthew Fox.

From the Dean of Students and Co-Chair
It is the vision of the Naropa University--Oakland Campus to provide a transformative learning environment for students of diverse ages and backgrounds. The invitation is for all of us, faculty, staff, and students to become ever more mutually enhancing members of the Earth community at this critical time in the story of the universe. The innovative educational programs, spiritual practices, and course presented in the Master's Program in Creation Spirituality are designed to engage students in serious academic study and experiential processes which value body/mind/spirit modes of learning, self-direction, service to the community, compassion and a reverence for all creation.

Marlene DeNardo,Co-Chair and Dean of Students



About the Program
The Master of Liberal Arts degree requires 32 credit hours of study in one of two tracks. One is a full-time 9-month program and the other a 2-year Weekend Program (Weekend of the Spirit, or WOTS), which allows students to complete the degree in 2 or more years of weekend courses. Students can begin their course of study in either the Fall or Spring semester. Extended part-time options are available in both the nine-month and weekend programs.

Fall semester of the nine-month program begins with a required two-week intensive on Creation Spirituality and the New Cosmology, followed by a wilderness experience in a bio-region of northern California. An Overview course in Creation Spirituality, Cosmology, and Body Prayer continues this intensive study throughout the semester.

In addition to the required courses, students select Seminars, Art-as-Meditation, and Art as Community Building courses of their choice. Seminars are classes that engage participants in provocative dialogue and intellectual discipline. Art-as-Meditation classes awaken creativity through art, movement, images and meditation practice. Art of Community Building classes engage students in the community and offer informational and practical experiences and skills in community building that leads to societal transformation.

Second semester students continue this course of study with new emphasis brought to their work. In addition, each student creates a Master's Project or Integrative Paper to complete their degree requirements.

Art-as-Meditation is the primary form of prayer in the creation-centered tradition. Ritual itself is a practice of art-as-meditation.

See our Art-as-Meditation page for detailed information.

Fall semester of the nine-month weekday program begins with a required two-week Intensive on Creation Spirituality and the New Cosmology followed by a wilderness experience in a bio-region of California. An Overview Course in Creation Spirituality, Core Readings, and Cosmology continues this intensive study throughout the semester. In addition to the required courses, students select Seminars, Art-as-Meditation and Art of Community Building courses of their choice. Seminars are classes that engage participants in provocative dialogue and intellectual discipline. Art-as-Meditation classes awaken creativity through art, movement, images and meditation practice. Art of Community Building classes engage students in the community and offer informational and practical experiences and skills in community building that lead to societal or cultural transformation. Also, Public Events with scholars, artists, creative thinkers, and activists engage the learning community in a dialogue with participants from Oakland and the Bay area.


The Weekend of the Spirit (WOTS) Program is especially designed for those who desire a Master of Liberal Arts Degree in Creation Spirituality and who seek an alternative to a full-time study program. This unique course of studies, which blends the richness of seminars and art-as-meditation, is offered mainly on weekend, thus allowing people with diverse schedules and commitments to participate.

In addition to the variety of coursework offered through the weekend Master's program, students themselves bring unique contributions to the program and each other. Students in the program over recent years have come from Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio, Oklahoma Oregon, Nevada, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin, as well as California. The diversity of each student's background and experiences offers a rich resource for the adult learning process which encourages deep personal learning, healing, and spiritual awakening.

Six or seven weekends (1 credit each) are scheduled each semester, with most designed as a Friday night and all-day Saturday course. Weekends typically include a seminar session and an experiential art-as meditation component. WOTS weekends require preparatory reading and a 4-5 page follow-up.

Core required courses in Creation Spirituality and Cosmology are offered each semester, along with courses in mysticism, reinventing work, and other areas related to creation spirituality. In addition, weekend courses may explore topics such as art and social change, sacred dance, ecopsychology, feminist spirituality, urban spirituality, deep ecumenism and world spiritualities, and exploration of myths and dreams. The combination of seminars and art-as-meditation experientials provides intellectual challenge while tapping the artist within.

Other Components
Integrated into the overall WOTS master's Program are the following components which provide additional depth and flexibility for weekend students.

COMPASSION PRACTICUM: After their initial semester in the WOTS Program, students engage in a "Compassion Practicum" in their local regions or communities. The Compassion Practicum encourages hands-on work of compassion and justice-making in the spirit of Creation Spirituality within our culture.

INDEPENDENT STUDY: In addition to the weekend courses, students may pursue Independent Study projects appropriate to their own interests in relation to Creation Spirituality. A faculty advisor works with students in their Independent Study projects.

CROSS-REGISTRATION: For students who live within commuting distance, it is possible to cross-register into the weekday program, thus gaining additional credits during one or more semesters.

For information regarding tuition, financial aid, or program inquiries, please contact the Admissions Office: 510-835-4827 Ext. 19 or e-mail .

Full-Time Faculty
Dorsey Blake, Charles Burack, Marlene DeNardo (co-chair), Matthew Fox (co-chair), Ana Perez-Chisti, Clare Ronzani

Part-Time Faculty
Anita Barrows, Peter Brokenleg, Daniel Buford, Kaleo Ching, Adriana Diaz, Lawrence Edwards, Dale Ellis, Mary Ford-Grabowsky, Gina Rose Halpern, Jackie Hairston, Genny Lim, Michael Mansfield, Jill Martin, Betty McAfee, Judith McKinnon, Rolf Osterberg, Russill Paul D'Silva, Robert Rice, Jyotsna Sanzgiri, Bruce Silverman, Jeremy Taylor, Luisah Teish, Michael Ziegler

Visiting Faculty
David Abram, Carl Anthony, Angeles Arrien, Andrew Harvey, Joanna Macy, Clarissa Pinkola-Estes, Anita Roddick, Beverly Rubik, Rupert Sheldrake, Brian Swimme

Also available: detailed bios of all faculty.

Selected Master's Thesis & Project Titles

  • Julie Anne Anglin, "The Many Faces of Eve, Seeking Truth and Beauty In Balance"
  • Laura DuBois, "Traveling on Threads of Memory into the Heart of the Web- Sacred Geometry: An Archetypal Language of Relationship"
  • Dawn M. Defresne , "Sibyl of the Rhine: The Life Story of Hildegard von Bingen"
  • Robert Fredericks, "Being Wonderfully Together" What Christianity Can Learn From Cosmology and Engaged Buddhism"
  • Duncan Harte, "The Journey Unfolds: Designing A Certificate Program in Liberal Arts"
  • Se!n Daniel Johnson , "Initiation Into Devotional Singing and Teaching: Sound and Music as Spiritual Practice"
  • Bonnie F. Long, "The Keys to Transformation: Who is Holding the Keys?"
  • Tracy E. Longacre, "Rwanda in the Aftermath of Genocide" (Photo Exhibit, Slide Show, and Research Paper)
  • Steven Francis Lyman , "If We Want to Survive, Let's Hold Hands and Weep"
  • Victoria S. MacDonald, "Video Divina: Film as Sacred Emissary"
  • Tandra F. McLaughlin, "Searching for Cosmology in the Sacred Forest"
  • Anne H. Olund, "A Journey With Julian of Norwich- A Photographic And Poetic Path"
  • Bonney Jeanne Parker, "Keeping Hope Alive: Spirit At Work"
  • Clarice Redmond, "Telling My Story: The Integration of the Prophet and the Mystic"
  • Georgette Donatello-Star, "Entering the Circle: A Girl's Rite of Passage"
  • Benedict Whelan, "The Confluence of Science and Spirituality Through Reason"
  • Charlotte Gildea, "Awakening: A Personal Journey to Ecological Awareness"
  • Jane Maxfield, "Reinventing the Wheel: A Collection of Mandalas and Meditations for the Cycles of the Year"
  • Elizabeth W. Shear, "Learning Large: Youth Work in the Presence of the Sacred"
  • Stephan H. Snider, Jr., "Oppression in the North Carolina Piedmont: Stories of Family, Community, Race, and Land"
  • Lyndi Swanson, "Journey To A Living Cosmology: Reclaiming A Connection to the Sacred"

© 1999 UCS [more]
Visual design by Eyerarts

The Naropa University has received temporary approval to operate from the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education to operate its accredited Master of Liberal arts at its Oakland Campus in order to allow the Bureau to conduct a quality inspection of the institution.