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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

Extend Your Education: College and Graduate Degrees for Well-Being in the Hudson Valley

Aug 31, 2021 09:34AM ● By Amy Estersohn

Blythewood Manor Italian Garden on the Bard College campus in Annandale-on-Hudson. Photo: Nancy Kennedy/

This article is for anyone who has thought about earning a degree that will deepen their understanding of the world and further their career. While there are many paths to healing, the degrees and programs featured here embrace a holistic approach to wellness that integrates mind, body, spirit and environment.

Bachelor’s Degrees for Well-Being

Annandale-on-Hudson: Bard College. Bard’s Return to College Program is intended for students who are 24 years and older and have at least one semester of transfer credits but have not finished a bachelor’s degree. Bard’s environmental and urban studies major may interest students who want to consider the environment from a scientific, cultural and historical point of view; the college sources much of its dining hall food from its own farm.

New Hyde Park: The Culinary Institute of America. The CIA’s Bachelor of Professional Studies in Applied Food Studies is perfect for any learner who is intense about sustainable practices in the food industry. Students complete a paid internship as part of their course of study and can focus on farm-to-table dining through a semester at the Napa, California, campus. 

Poughkeepsie: Vassar College. Vassar’s religion department puts a strong emphasis on spirituality and the interdisciplinary study of religion. Past courses offered include Inner Paths: Religion and Contemplative Consciousness; Six Systems of Meditation; and Asian Healing Traditions. 

Purchase: SUNY at Purchase College. Purchase offers an interdisciplinary contemplative studies minor that allows students to explore mindfulness with an arts emphasis. The program offers lectures, workshops and retreats. 

Graduate Degrees for Well-Being

Bronxville: Sarah Lawrence College. The Master of Science in Dance/Movement Therapy is one of only seven of its kind in the United States. Students pursue clinical internships and field work throughout the program.

Danbury: Western Connecticut State University. Students in the integrative biological diversity master’s degree program study climate change and biodiversity through a rigorous and expansive focus on biology. Students also partner with local organizations to carry out environmental stewardship projects.

New Paltz: SUNY at New Paltz. New Paltz offers a Master of Science in Music Therapy. To qualify for admission, students must be able to sing, play guitar and piano, and have some relevant undergraduate coursework. 

New York City: Columbia University. The Spirituality Mind Body Institute at Teachers College, Columbia University, offers a master’s degree for any student interested in the intersection of psychology, education and spirituality. 

Valhalla: New York Medical College. One of the oldest and largest medical colleges in the nation, NYMC offers Master of Public Health degrees. Students can choose specializations in a variety of areas, including environmental health science and health behavior and community health.

Amy Estersohn is an educator and a writer who lives in Hartsdale, NY. She offers guidance for teens and parents on the college admissions process. To learn more about her work, visit

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