Applying to CIIS

California Institute of Integral Studies actively seeks a diverse student body, one whose varied backgrounds, experiences, and interests help cultivate a rich and rewarding educational experience for all. Decisions regarding admission are based on consideration of (1) the applicant's potential for success in the chosen field of study based upon past academic/professional achievement, maturity, and motivation for educational and personal development; and (2) the congruence of the applicant's interests with the philosophy and purpose of the program and Institute.


The priority deadline for all graduate programs (except the Drama Therapy Program) for Fall admittance is 02/01/2014
The priority deadline for the Drama Therapy Program for Fall admittance is 01/15/2014 
The priority deadline for Fall admittance into the Bachelor Completion program is 04/01/2014
The final day for international applicants to submit a completed application for Fall admittance is: 07/01/2014
The FINAL day to submit a completed application for Fall 2013 is: 07/20/2014

*Applications may be accepted after these deadlines, pending availability of space.


The online application for Fall 2014 will become available: 11/15/2013
The online application for Spring 2014 will become avaliable online: 8/30/2013

The priority application deadline for the Fall 2014 Bachelor Completion program is: 04/01/2014
The priority application deadline for all graduate programs for Fall 2014 is: 02/01/2014


Begin your application by going to MyCIIS, our student portal. If you have never attended CIIS before, click on the 'new student' application. From here, you will be directed to the online application. During this process you will be issued a 'key' number, using this you can save and exit your application and log back in at any time to complete it.


There are several applications to choose from within MyCIIS.

New Student: you have never taken classes at CIIS or matriculated in any way.

Re-Admit: you were previously a student at CIIS but did not complete your program and would like to be re-admitted to that same program or a different program. Please note: you MUST have previously attended CIIS to use this application. If you were accepted to CIIS, but never began classes, you are still considered a 'new student'

Continuing Alum: you graduated from CIIS and would like to continue onto another degree program


Once you have successfully submitted your application, the Admissions team will begin processing your application. This usually takes 2-3 business days. Once your application has been processed, you will be issued a User ID and password for your 'MyCIIS' account. Please note, the initial key you were issued is different than your 'MyCiis' log-in information.

Using your new CIIS ID and password, you can log in and check on the status of your application. You will see a table of contents, marking which of your application materials we have received.


A complete application can vary by program but all programs require an application, nonrefundable $65 application fee and official transcripts from all institutions attended. See Admissions Requirements for individual programs. International applicants and those who have taken coursework outside of the US and Canada have additional requirements, see International Students for more information.


Please send your autobiography, resume, writing sample and any other requirements directly to Please make sure each document clearly states your name and the document (e.g.Joe Smith, Autobiography) and is saved in a .DOC or .PDF form.

You can also send your paper materials and transcripts directly to our office:

Admissions Office

1453 Mission St. 

San Francisco, CA


Letters of recommendation can be submitted online via MyCIIS. Your recommender will need to submit the letter of recommendation form and can upload the letter as a Word .doc or PDF file. Some programs do not require letters of recommendation, please see the Admissions Requirements for your program.

Please note that any additional materials submitted with your application (including binders and folders) will be discarded after an admissions decision has been made.

English Language Proficiency Test Report

Applicants for whom English is not their native language are required to submit an English language proficiency score. Exceptions are made for students who have earned their Bachelor of Arts degree from English language universities or who are currently a permenant resident of the United States. Admission to CIIS requires a minimum score for one of the following exams:

  • TOEFL: 80 test score.
    TOEFL is an Internet-based test. The CIIS TOEFL code is 4807. Visit the TOEFL website.
  • Pearson's Test of English Academic (PTE): 53 test score.
    Visit the Pearson's website.
  • IELTS 6.0 band score
    Visit the IELTS website

Foreign Credential Evaluation

All transcripts from schools outside the United States must be sent, at the applicant's expense, to World Education Services (WES) foreign credential evaluation service. A course-by-course report* is required for all programs and will be used in lieu of the CIIS application requirement for original transcripts.

Students who attended Canadian colleges or universities are not required to have a foreign credential evaluation completed. Canadian students should have a set of original transcripts, in English, sent directly to the Admissions Office from all previously attended institutions.

The evaluation service accepted by CIIS is:
World Education Services
Bowling Green Station
P.O. Box 5087
New York, NY 10274-5087
(212) 966-6311

The Admissions Office will accept foreign credential evaluations from other services in some cases, but additional materials may be required of applicants. Please contact the Admissions Office for further clarification at

*CIIS accepts the WES 'Basic' report, but applicants may wish to complete the 'ICAP'.


Give yourself ample time to complete your application. It often takes 3-4 weeks for transcripts to arrive at their destination; letters of recommendations will also take time. Be sure to give sufficient time to write your autobiographical statement, as this offers the best opportunity to "tell your story" to those who will be evaluating your application. So plan accordingly so as to not put your application at risk of not being considered.

Be thorough. An application that is not complete or not properly filled out will jeopardize your chances of being reviewed. Be sure to know what is required of your application and proofread all materials carefully. Look out for transfer credits from colleges and universities on your transcripts. Applicants are required to send transcripts from all institutions they've attended and earned 7 or more units.

Send your application in one envelope. While the Admissions Office will collate application materials, for the sake of expediency as well as for some peace of mind, it is advantageous to have everything sent in at one time. Have official transcripts mailed to you and include them with your application, but do not open them! Transcripts are official provided they have the university seal on the back of envelope and have not been opened.

The writing sample. The writing sample should preferably be on a topic that is related to your intended area of study. The sample should reflect your ability to synthesize ideas from various sources as well as lay out a coherent, well thought-out argument. Please be conscientious of length and packaging, programs mostly require 8-10 pages.

Letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation should come from people who can speak directly to your ability to successfully undertake the program you wish to pursue. Ideal recommenders include academic advisors, professors, professional supervisors or colleagues. It is also helpful for you to ask the recommender to notify you when he or she has sent their recommendation. And do not hesitate to follow up with the recommender if he or she has not sent the required document.

Autobiographical statement. The autobiographical statement should not be a generic life-story, but should directly address the specific questions that are asked by the program to which you are applying. Also, be sure to limit the length of the piece to 4 to 6 pages, as faculty must read numerous applications each term (i.e., more is not better).

Goal statement. The goal statement should be short and to the point, focusing on why you wish to pursue your chosen area of study and why you would like to undertake this study at CIIS. If there are faculty members with whom you would like to work, mention them by name and how you came across their work. You should mention not only what you hope to do academically while enrolled, but what you hope to do once you have completed the program. (Faculty highly value students who will make excellent alumni.)

Address your weaknesses. If you feel there is a weakness in your application, for example a low GPA, address it briefly in your application. You may want to explain why you have the apparent shortcoming and what you have done to overcome it. (Sometimes applicants will address this in a one-page addendum to their application.)

Ask Questions. If you have questions about your application or the application process, do not hesitate to contact the admissions counselor in charge of your program. They are here to assist you on your way.