Minor in Contemplative Studies

Why Contemplative Studies?

Every day now, contemplative practices, such as mindfulness meditation, Yoga, and T'ai Chi Ch'uan, are gathering more support, in the form of scientific evidence that they can improve physical health and wellness, mental health, intellectual functioning, and interpersonal relationships. The noise in the media is loud for these quiet approaches. What would it be like to make them part of your worldview?

The Minor in Contemplative Studies at WCU is your chance to learn, practice, and apply this worldview to your academic, professional and personal life. It is designed for undergraduate students from any discipline. This worldview has been helpful for thousands of years all across the arts and sciences—from the visual and performing arts, to literature, philosophy, and history, to psychology, to health sciences, and social services. And we have the scientific evidence that tells us how and why.

In this 18-credit minor, you'll learn and apply contemplative practices. You'll explore the unfolding scientific understanding of contemplation in neuroscience, medicine, and psychology. You'll delve into the philosophies of India and China that underlie many of the practices and contribute to the worldview. Best of all, you'll have the opportunity to watch yourself change and grow in positive, healthy ways.

Courses for Contemplative Studies

ART 216: Painting I
Painting I provides an introduction to the techniques, practices of oil painting through an emphasis on color, form, surface, and self-expression. Students work primarily from observation exploring the still life, landscape, architecture, and the figure as they develop a personal aesthetic and are provided with a knowledgeable understanding and strong technical foundation in painting.

HEA 315: Mind-Body Health 
Theories and practice of health and healing through the mind/ body connection. Emphasis on learning/practicing techniques for health promotion; in fact, the MindfulnessBased Stress Reduction (MBSR) program is delivered as part of the course. Writing emphasis course.

HEA 325: Stress Management 
Comprehensive survey of stress concepts, theories, and management techniques. Emphasis is placed on personal application.

HEA 333: Alternative and Complementary Medicine 
Exploration of alternative, complementary, and integrative medical systems and healing practices, such as homeopathy, Chinese medicine, herbal medicine, therapeutic touch, from a consumer and personal viewpoint.

MPT 240: Fundamentals of Music Therapy
This course provides a survey of the music therapy profession. Students will learn about music therapy literature, current practice, multicultural considerations, and clinical applications of music therapy through experiential learning, research, and writing.

PEA 142: Yoga I 
Provides students with the skills and experiences to develop self-awareness and an appreciation for healthy living through the understanding and practice of yoga.

PEA 144: T'ai Chi Ch'uan I 
The study of a martial art that combines movement with chi; uses the principles of yin-yang and the five-element theories and is compatible with Chinese medicine, acupuncture, and Chinese herb treatment. Includes study of movement, skeletal structure, and t'ai chi as a meditative art.

PHI 204: Karma, Darma, and Buddha 
The religious and philosophical heritage of India, from Vedic times to the present. Examination of major classics, such as Rig Veda, Upanishads, Bhagavad-Gita, and Yoga-sutras; recent writers such as Tagore, Gandhi, and Radhakrishnan.

PHI 205: Yin-Yang, Dao, and Zen 
A survey of Far Eastern philosophy, religion, and scientific thought. Confucianism, Taoism, and the various schools of Mahayana Buddhism, including Zen, are given primary emphasis.

PSY 200: Positive Psychology 
Introduction to psychological perspectives that emphasize positive emotional states including happiness, joy, resilience, compassion, and forgiveness. Examines a variety of topics and their relationship to subjective well-being, including positive coping, optimism, interpersonal relationships, spirituality, creativity, and achievement.

SWO 491: Sexuality Concepts for Social Workers
Students are given the opportunity to examine how their values related to sexuality, leads to their individual sense of morality. Students analyze where the Circles of Sexuality Model and the NASW Code of Ethics naturally intersect, and discuss why Social Workers are often in ideal positions to spread the benefits of accurate and positive sexual health education to the individuals, groups and communities they serve. Trauma-informed social work and trauma-sensitive mindfulness applications are key topics explored throughout this course. Writing emphasis course

How to Declare the Minor in Contemplative Studies

  1. First, discuss your plans with your advisor. Consider the impact of additional requirements and time that will be may be involved in completing the minor.
  2. Once you decide to add the minor, you can do this via your myWCU account. Request an Academic Plan Change
  3. As you complete the Contemplative Studies courses, be sure to update your individual records and ensure that you are meeting the necessary requirements.
  4. When you initiate the process for graduation clearance, the Registrar's Office also contacts the Department of Health for clearance in your minor. Your minor advisor will contact you at this time if necessary.

Note: to earn the minor, you must complete 12 credits of core courses and 6 credits of elective courses.

The Minor Consists Of The Following 18 Credits

Four Core Courses (12 credits)

  • Two Key Courses, required (6 credits):
    • HEA 315: Mind, Body and Health (3 credits, W course)
    • HEA 325: Stress Management (3 credits)
  • Two Contemplative Tradition Courses, required (6 credits)
    • Choose India:
      • PHI 204: Karma, Darma, and Buddha (3 credits)
      • PEA 142: Yoga I (3 credits)
    • Or Choose the Far East:
      • PHI 205: Yin-Yang, Dao, and Zen (3 credits)
      • PEA 144: T'ai Chi Ch'uan I (3 credits)

Elective Courses (6 credits)

Select two elective courses, which may include a second two-course Contemplative Tradition module, or two selections from the electives list:

  • Choose India (if not taken as the required option):
    • PHI 204: Karma, Darma, and Buddha (3 credits)
    • PEA 142: Yoga I (3 credits)
  • Or choose the Far East (if not taken as the required option):
    • PHI 205: Yin-Yang, Dao, and Zen (3 credits)
    • PEA 144: T'ai Chi Ch'uan I (3 credits)
  • Or choose from these electives:
    • ART 216: Painting I
    • HEA 333: Alternative and Complementary Medicine (3 credits)
    • MPT 240: Fundamentals of Music Therapy
    • PSY 200: Positive Psychology (3 credits)
    • SWO 491: Sexuality Concepts for Social Workers (3 Credits, W course)

Note: A grade of “C” or better is required for each course in the minor.

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