About MA Program
The M.A. in East-West Psychology is a two-year program requiring 36 units of study. The structure of the program is designed to provide an ample degree of flexibility that allows students to focus on specific areas of study, as well as to explore a variety of Western, Eastern, and indigenous approaches to psychology and spirituality. With the guidance of academic advisors, students design their own individualized curriculum, possible area of specialization, and psychospiritual approach. There are no required summer courses, although students may take electives during the summer to expand their studies or distribute their course load over five or six semesters.
Visit East-West Psychology MA curriculum for an outline of the curriculum and a sample schedule.
1. Core Requirements
EWP 6000: EWP Community Retreat
This is an off-campus retreat for all new M.A. and Ph.D. students. Emphasis placed on community building, story-telling, interactive exercises, and interpersonal communication skills.
EWP 6001: Introduction to East-West Psychology
This course provides new students with an introduction to the field of East-West psychology, pedagogical approaches, and departmental standards of scholarship for both M.A. and Ph.D. levels. Students become familiar with selected topics of the East-West-North-South encounter in psychology and spirituality.
EWP 6015: MA Integrative Seminar
Taken during their last semester of coursework, this seminar provides the opportunity for students to reflect on their learning experience in the program, to create a portfolio of their most important work, and to prepare future professional goals. (See below)
2. East-West Psychological Approaches
Three courses are chosen from the following East-West psychological approaches: depth psychology, transpersonal psychology, East-West spiritual counseling, and ecopsychology.
Depth Psychology is concerned with the totality of the psyche, the relationship between the conscious and unconscious mind, the ego and the self, and the spiritual and religious nature of the psyche. Depth psychological approaches include Jungian and post-Jungian schools of thought, archetypal psychology, and the psychoanalytically based schools of object relations, self-psychology, and interpersonal psychology. Depth-oriented feminist psychology and expressive arts also fall under this rubric. Many courses in this area of study take into consideration Eastern wisdom in relation to the particular school of psychology being studied.
Transpersonal Psychology is concerned with the study of experiences and ways of being that transcend the limits of egoic identity, as well as with their psychological, philosophical, and social implications. Courses include topics such as classical and contemporary transpersonal paradigms, philosophy of transpersonal psychology, transpersonal developmental theories, comparative mysticism, transpersonal approaches to sexuality and relationships, transpersonal psychotherapy, spiritual epistemologies, social implications of transpersonal studies, and advanced seminars focused on the field’s contemporary developments.
East-West Spiritual Counseling
East-West Spiritual Counseling explores the meaning and purpose of spiritual counseling and the ways in which it complements, coincides with, and differs from psychological counseling. Courses explore the integration and use of Eastern and Western psychospiritual models of being in the spiritual counseling process; the counselor’s own values, beliefs, and practices; and the ways in which they influence the process of spiritual counseling.
Ecopsychology courses explore the relationship between the human mind and the natural world, as well as its implications for individual, social, cultural, and ecological harmony and wholeness. Ecopsychology is situated at the intersection of a number of fields of inquiry, including environmental philosophy, psychology, and ecology, but is not limited by any disciplinary boundaries. Courses cover topics such as planetary psychology, living systems theory, ecospirituality and creative expression, and wilderness rites of passage.
3. Spiritual Traditions
Students choose two out of three foundational courses (Eastern Theories of Self, Mind, and Nature; Western Mystical Traditions; and Indigenous and Shamanic Traditions), and optionally deepen their knowledge by selecting from the ample course offerings on spiritual traditions in EWP or other departments.
4. Psychospiritual Practice
Requirements can be met in the form of 1-, 2-, or 3-unit courses or workshops. Psychospiritual practice courses include Eastern (e.g., Advaita Vedanta, T’ai Chi Ch'uan), Western (e.g., Christian contemplative techniques, Sufism), and indigenous disciplines (e.g., wilderness rites of passage, shamanism); contemporary participatory spirituality (e.g., Embodied Spiritual Inquiry, Holistic Sexuality); and socially engaged practices and service learning (e.g., the course Spirit, Compassion, and Community Activism).
Electives can be used to gain either depth through an area of specialization or breadth in different areas of interest. In addition to the East-West Psychological Approaches and other areas of study available at the Institute, students can create specializations in areas such as Shamanic Studies or Consciousness Studies.
6. MA Integrative Seminar and Portfolio
The MA Integrative Seminar is designed to give students an opportunity to integrate what they have learned over their course of study in the EWP master's program, to reflect on their course of action after completing their degree, and to provide the student with tools and techniques that will be helpful in accomplishing their future endeavors.
Students are guided in the compilation of their portfolio, which includes their curriculum vitae, two papers of publishable quality, and an individually tailored set of documents or activities depending on their personal and professional goals. These might include a brochure or flyer, business cards and stationery, the creation of a syllabus for a course offering, a Power Point presentation, the design of a workshop, the draft of a presentation at a conference, and/or a simulated teaching experience.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The MA Integrative Seminar is offered only during the Spring semester of each academic year. In consultation with their academic advisors, students should plan in advance their curricular sequence to fulfill this requirement during the last semester of their coursework. This may involve spreading coursework throughout five semesters or concentrating it in three. Full-time students who are admitted in the M.A. Program during the spring semester should be especially aware of this curricular stipulation.
- Required Portfolio Component (see below for some possibilities)
- A six-to-ten page paper discussing and evaluating your learning experience during your M.A. studies.
- Curriculum Vitae.
- Two papers: Select two of your best papers, one research paper and one process paper. Edit them for publication using the APA Manual of Style.
- A copy of your transcripts.
- A brief write-up on each course you have taken along with a copy of its syllabus: Describe the course contents and discuss the usefulness of the course and its impact on you.
- An annotated bibliography of the books and articles most valued by you during your course of study.
- A research bibliography divided by subject matter.
Individualized Portfolio Component: (some possibilities)
- Design a course: Include the course description and syllabus using the CIIS template. Include the table of contents of your course reader.
- Design a workshop/seminar: Include brochure, flyer, workshop materials, and/or sample slides for a power-point presentation.
- Design a business plan: Create your business cards, stationery, brochures, advertising plan, etc.
- Prepare a paper to present at a conference: Write the cover letter and follow the protocols for submission. List potential conferences that you are interested in attending.
- Prepare a paper to submit to a journal: Follow the protocols for submission. List journals that may be interested in your work.
M.A. Learning Goals and Objectives
Upon completion of the M.A. in East-West Psychology, graduates will be able to:
Goal 1. Have a critical understanding of the main contemporary approaches to the Eastern, Western, and indigenous encounter in psychology and spirituality.
Objective 1. Demonstrate foundational knowledge in at least three East-West psychological approaches (e.g., transpersonal psychology, depth psychology, consciousness studies) and several spiritual traditions (e.g., Advaita Vedanta, Buddhism, shamanism).
Objective 2. Demonstrate in-depth knowledge in a selected area of specialization within East-West studies.
Objective 3. Describe, analyze, critique, compare, and integrate knowledge from a variety of Eastern, Western, and indigenous psychological and spiritual traditions.
Objective 4. Apply critical thinking in relation to basic issues of East-West cross-cultural hermeneutics, such as orientalism, universalism, or pluralism.
Goal 2. Be competent in a variety of dialogical, writing, inquiry, and socially engaged skills.
Objective 1. Practice respectful dialogue and fruitful collective and collaborative inquiry.
Objective 2. Apply East-West psycho-spiritual perspectives to one or more socially engaged pursuits (e.g., community activism, ecopsychology, spiritual counseling).
Objective 3. Write academic papers integrating scholarly sources with their own embodied perspectives and informed opinions.
Objective 4. Incorporate somatic, vital, emotional, imaginal, and spiritual experience and knowledge in their scholarly approach to the academic content of the program.
Goal 3. Understand the dynamics of psycho-spiritual development and their relevance for personal growth.
Objective 1. Demonstrate knowledge of main psycho-spiritual developmental models, issues, and processes.
Objective 2. Show proficiency in the practice of at least one psycho-spiritual discipline.
Objective 3. Apply psycho-spiritual understanding to theirs and others' personal development.
Goal 4. Be prepared to work professionally as college teachers, writers, consultants, workshop leaders, spiritual counselors, social change activists, and/or community organizers.
Objective 1. Demonstrate professional skills corresponding to their chosen career path.
Objective 2. Design a concrete and sustainable professional plan.
Dual M.A./Certificate ProgramCourses taken for the East-West Spiritual Counseling Certificate (see About Certificate) can apply toward the East-West Psychology MA requirements. By enrolling in the certificate program, a MA student can fulfill most of the units needed in the area of specialization.
Teaching AssistantshipsA limited number of paid teaching assistantships is available every semester. Possible responsibilities include facilitation of experiential learning, teaching portions of the class, working with students outside the classroom on projects, miscellaneous administrative and logistic tasks, providing feedback to the faculty member on student learning and perceptions, and reading student papers and giving feedback (but not as the only reader).
An internship is an opportunity to integrate career-related experience into an academic education through on-the-job training rather than merely employment. Internships are typically a means for students to gain practical experience in their chosen field in a supervised professional work environment. The department provides students with a list of associated organizations in which internships are available: East-West Psychology Department Internship Opportunities, Internships can be carried out as fieldwork up to a maximum of 6 units.
EWP Scholarship Program
The department offers a scholarship program to support EWP students' presentation of their ongoing work at professional conferences. To be eligible to apply for the scholarships, candidates need to present official notification that the conference's organizing committee has accepted their presentation.
Applicants must meet the general admission requirements of the Institute. Two letters of recommendation are required from individuals familiar with the applicant's academic work and preparation for graduate work, as is a writing sample. Applicants need not have an undergraduate major in psychology, but a strong interest in psychology and an interdisciplinary orientation is assumed. Students with insufficient background in psychology may be required by the EWP Admission Committee to take additional courses as prerequisites to the M.A.
Successful candidates for admission into the EWP M.A. program typically have the following qualifications: a vision that is compatible with its mission, a path of personal and/or spiritual growth, sufficient maturity and stability to pursue independent inquiry, basic competence in communication and dialogical skills, demonstration of respect for a diversity of view points, the ability to clearly articulate their educational and professional goals, basic scholarly writing skills, and the capability to identify a prospective specialization that is consistent with the program's mission and resources.