MBSR Teacher Certification Pathway

Brown University's Certificate in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Teaching is a sequential, three-step training pathway of six courses and one final review. Included in these three steps are silent retreats and teaching requirements that are necessary to complete the training.

We encourage all participants to take the full pathway with our program and faculty, however, we understand you may have already started the pathway with another provider. Brown University will recognize and accept from another school and/or provider the MBSR Foundations course only. As of June 1, 2022, we no longer accept any courses as transfer other than MBSR Foundations. If you have taken MBSR Foundations with another provider you will be asked to indicate the course details when registering for the Teacher Advancement Intensive.

Training Pathway at a Glance

View these infographics to better understand each step of the pathway. Upon successful completion of Level 1 requirements, you will be qualified to teach MBSR and can continue your journey toward full certification.

The prerequisites* to begin MBSR teacher training involve both formal learning and personal practice experiences and are outlined below.


  1. Maintain a personal meditation practice of at least two years (less experience may be considered)
  2. A graduate degree (medicine, healthcare, education, or business preferred—others considered) is preferred. Equivalency in experience is considered and must be demonstrated (additional written document required within application). 
  3. Yoga or other contemplative movement practice experience
  4. Attendance at an 8-week MBSR program
    • It is important to take this MBSR program before deciding to be an MBSR teacher and before beginning the training so that you make a more informed decision that requires a major commitment and can experience the program fully as a participant. You will then take a second 8-week MBSR program as part of MBSR Foundations. The second time around, you will be invited to participate fully in the classes, and you will also be invited to observe what is happening in the classes. The weekly MBSR class becomes a key part of each Foundations seminar as you have an opportunity to unpack the program with your classmates and the instructor.
  5. Attendance at your first qualifying silent, teacher-led meditation retreat. You may complete either a one 5-7 day retreat or two 3-day retreats.
*Please note, Brown University offers the prerequisite MBSR course. More information about retreats can be found here.

**These requirements are not included in the MBSR Certificate fee, and may incur an additional cost.

The first step in the Certificate explores the very personal nature of mindfulness practice and students begin to cultivate skills for the classroom and private practice. 

Level I Requirements:

  1. MBSR Foundations
  2. Teach three introductory sessions
  3. Attend your second qualifying retreat**  You may complete either a one 5-7 day retreat or two 3-day retreats.
  4. MBSR Teacher Advancement Intensive

Upon completion of Level 1, you are qualified to teach the 8-week MBSR class.

**These requirements are not included in the MBSR Certificate fee, and may incur an additional cost.

During this step of the Certificate, students strengthen their teaching skills and focus their practice. It is highly-recommended students teach one 8-week MBSR program before enrolling in Curriculum Study Group and Skill Building Workshop.

Level II Requirements:

  1. MBSR Curriculum Study Group and Skill-Building Workshop
  2. MBSR Individual Mentoring

Completing the Certificate represents a culmination of formal training programs, teaching, as well as one's personal meditation and retreat experience.

Certification Requirements:

  1. Ethos of Mindfulness-Based Programs*
  2. Dialogue and Inquiry for Mindfulness-Based Programs*
  3. Attend your third and fourth qualifying retreats** You may complete either a one 5-7 day retreat or two 3-day retreats. Note that the Insight Inside Us retreat is required as one of the four total retreats.
  4. Successfully completed teaching a total of six (6) MBSR programs
  5. MBSR Teacher Certification Review

*May be taken anytime after completion of MBSR Foundations

**These requirements are not included in the MBSR Certificate fee, and may incur an additional cost.

What You Will Learn

As a global leader in MBSR teacher training, the Mindfulness Center at Brown through the School of Professional Studies offers an experiential and didactic education. In the certificate program, as an MBSR teacher-trainee, you can:

  • Apply the training to enhance your mindfulness practice
  • Cultivate skills to guide meditation practices and group learning
  • Use the only researched rubric available for assessing mindfulness-based teaching effectiveness
  • Ground yourself in the science of mindfulness 
  • Understand the underlying principles of trauma-sensitivity, inclusion, and diversity
  • Develop the skills necessary to guide MBSR mindfulness practices for clients, patients, or students

Course Descriptions

The first step in MBSR teacher training, providing a deep excavation of the practices, curriculum, pedagogy, and unfolding process of the MBSR program through living through the course--and then having the opportunity to talk about it with the teacher and your cohort. This is a 10-week program that meets twice per week, once for the MBSR program and once for the Foundations seminar. 

The MBSR portion of this program will be offered by teachers at the Brown School of Professional Studies.


This is the “train-to-teach MBSR,” course that offers multiple opportunities to practice teach to your peers, with feedback from the group and the teachers. The TAI also includes daily meditation practice sessions where you continue the exploration of the MBSR practices, develop and deepen skills for guiding, pacing, and more. This program meets for three, three-day sessions for a total of 9 days over a period of 1-2 months as a live-online program. 


Especially created for new teachers to continue the practice-teaching process from the TAI. This weekly, 10-session program offers opportunities to teach all the elements of the MBSR curriculum, to gain skills in giving and receiving feedback, and in self-reflection and self-assessment. This is a 10- week program that meets once per week for two and a half hours each week. 


While teaching a full 8-week MBSR class, trainees record themselves teaching, review their class recordings and meet weekly with a mentor, sharing recorded clips of the class, reviewing class plans, group dynamics, and more. This is an intensely personal journey receiving support, clarity, and refinement in teaching, week by week, for 10 sessions, one hour per week. The schedule for this individual program is flexible and arranged between the instructor and participant. 


This course extends and deepens your knowledge base, while offering important experiential learning and reflective opportunities.  The Ethos program covers four (4) fundamental topics:  (1) Buddhist underpinnings, (2) Experiential learning, (3) Diversity, identity, and trauma, and (4) the Science of MBSR.  

This program may be taken any time after Foundations, affording trainees an opportunity to study and synthesize conceptual learning into practice.


In Dialogue & Inquiry for Mindfulness-Based Programs trainees are invited to explore--via peer-led practice sessions--a variety of inquiry and dialogue skills, as they are often employed in the MBP classroom. This is unfolded week to week and draws upon didactic considerations from some of the tenets of Buddhist psychology In this way, trainees receive a grounding in both the types of dialogic methodologies employed in MBP programs and their skillful application.  This program meets weekly for 5 weeks, 2 hours each week.

This program may be taken any time after Foundations, affording trainees an opportunity to practice the specifics of dialogue and inquiry, in a focused way. 


The final step in a process that is never really over! This marks a moment of culmination in one’s formal training, and highlights the depth, rigor, practice, and dedication of a trainee’s teaching - and learning - experience. Participants submit an extensive portfolio that is thoroughly reviewed and assessed by a senior MBSR trainer.