About PhD Program

About the PhD in Women’s Spirituality

Founded by internationally known trailblazers in the women's spirituality movement, this doctoral program is located at the intersection of women/gender studies, ethnic studies, religious studies, and philosophy.  Through evening and weekend classes, online courses, and a semi-distance option, the program offers you a flexible format that allows you to integrate your studies with your professional and/or family life

Our PhD program:

  • Offers you rigorous academic trainin that is grounded in transdisciplinary, spiritual, and feminist methodologies
  • Prepares you to conduct original research in one of the following areas: Women in World Religions; Feminist and Ecofeminist Philosophy and Activism; and Women's Mysteries, Sacred Arts, and Healing
  • Provdes a community of engaged scholars who are taking leadership on national and global issues related to women, gender, ecology, and spirituality

Your doctoral dissertation makes an original contribution to cross-disciplinary scholarship in this emergent field.

Curriculum Overview

In addition to the 36 units of coursework, a PhD in Women's Spirituality requires that students take five 0 (zero) unit culminating courses before advancing to candidacy.

Applicants to the PhD program must have completed an MA degree prior to enrollment. Students admitted with an MA in a field other than philosophy, religion, women's studies, or women's spirituality may need to take up to 18 supplemental units from the Women's Spirituality curriculum. If some of the student's masters-level coursework included an examination of gender and/or religion, those courses may count toward the 18 supplemental units.PhD Curriculum

I. Required Foundation Courses - 19 units (20 units for semi-distance students)

A. PARW 6286: Building Conscious Allyship (required for semi-distance students)

B. PARW 6500: Contemporary Women's Spirituality

C. PARW 6027: Foundational Elements of Academic Research and Writing (residential or online option) D. Women's Mysteries, Sacred Arts, and Healing: 3 units

F. Feminist and Ecofeminist Philosophies and Activism: 3 units

G. PARW 7609: Womanist Feminist Worldviews

H. PARW 8012: Women's Spirituality Research Methodologies

II. Areas of Emphasis  - 6 units

III. Electives - 8 units

IV. Foreign Language Proficiency - Noncredit

V. Culminating Coursework

A.  Two comprehensive exams

B.  Dissertation Proposal

C.  Dissertation

If relevant, students may be required to take additional courses to support and enhance their academic writing skills.

Length of Study

The required preliminary coursework for the PhD degree may be completed in five semesters or two-and-a-half years if the student is enrolled full-time and successfully completes all academic course requirements. After the preliminary coursework is completed, PhD students require several additional semesters in order to complete their comprehensive exams, their proposal writing course, and their advanced research course. Once the dissertation committee has been constituted and the dissertation proposal has been completed and approved, PhD students work closely with the chair of their dissertation committee to devise a timeline for the research and writing of their dissertation. CIIS requires that students spend a minimum of one year engaged in research and writing the dissertation. Full-time PhD students who have elected to work through the summers may be able to complete their PhD in five to six years, but part-time PhD students and those with particular research needs will usually need more time.