About the Program

About the Transformative Studies Program

About the PhD in Transformative Studies

The primary focus of the doctoral program in Transformative Studies is to develop thought-leaders who are committed to exploring leading-edge issues in innovative ways that combine scholarship, creativity, and self-inquiry.

The program places great value on developing the ability to participate in the scholarly discourse through publication, and on the importance of viewing academic inquiry as an opportunity for personal and social transformation, while grounding transformative processes in academic depth, rigor, and imagination.

The program focuses on the development of the following capacities:

  • Making an original transdisciplinary research contribution in a chosen area of inquiry.
  • Engaging in inquiry as a creative and collaborative process in the context of a community of learners.
  • Engaging inquiry as an integral, spiritual, and transformative process of personal and social transformation.
  • Applying one’s research to real-world problems, articulating and embodying one’s values, and skillfully putting theory into practice.


The course of study is transdisciplinary. It is inquiry driven rather than driven exclusively by the purview of a single discipline. Students develop a solid grounding in research on transformative studies, the complexities of transdisciplinary research, and the knowledge base of their topic.

Research draws on a plurality of relevant disciplines as students select and focus on a topic they are passionate about.


The program is also meta-paradigmatic: Students are exposed to a plurality of perspectives and disciplines, and learn how to excavate the underlying assumptions and paradigms that inform them.

Students learn ways of inquiry that connect and contextualize in order to integrate different—even divergent—perspectives in a coherent way.

Inquiry Driven

The program stresses the role of the knower in the process of knowing. The psychology of knowledge, which addresses such issues as perception, assumptions, projection, creativity, habits of mind, error and illusion, and imagination, is considered central to the process of inquiry, as is the sociology of knowledge, which contextualizes inquiry in its social, cultural, and political milieu.

Every academic inquiry is viewed as an opportunity for and exploration of the roots and matrices of knowledge in self and society.

All inquiry is viewed as an opportunity for self-inquiry. Self-inquiry in turn is supported by, and informs, increasing academic depth and sophistication. Students are encouraged to understand the biases, assumptions, aspirations, and emotional investment that they bring to the process of inquiry.

Academic inquiry is framed as an opportunity for personal and social transformation, as a spiritual practice, and as an opportunity to cultivate creativity.


The program stresses the interrelationship between theory and practice. As thought-leaders and action-leaders, students develop skills that allow them to participate in scholarly discourse, to write for publication, and, if they choose, to conduct action-oriented research and interventions in applicable contexts.

Graduates of the program have the opportunity to teach in a discipline related to their area of interest and to conduct action-oriented research and interventions in human systems at the individual, group, and organizational levels.


Students will also work together in Learning Community, a not-for-credit required course designed to provide an opportunity for community building, personal exchange, collaborative exploration, and reflection on the learning process and the quest for personal growth and development.