Strengths of Our Program

Integrative Health Studies delivers an MA curriculm at an accredited university, preparing students to be leaders and change agents in the expanding fields of integrative health and wellness. The faculty create a program that combines evidence-based science with mind-body-spirit integration in a supportive community of learners.

Hybrid Online Studies

Each of the four semesters (two-years of full-time attendance) begins with a required six-day academic residency at the EarthRise retreat center in Petaluma, CA, just 45 minutes north of San Francisco. Students will start the day with yoga, tai chi, and meditation. Then, they will share breakfast prepared in an organic kitchen with locally sourced foods. Next, students will have three hours of rigorous academic study with Integrative Studies core and adjunct faculty. The morning program will be followed by lunch and a hike in the hills. The afternoon brings three more hours of rigorous study. Dinner will be followed by an evening programs on such topics as HeartMath, sound healing, subtle energy medicine, community activism and health advocacy, and by colleagial sharing of life skills and talents.

After the retreat, students will continue to study online and complete their academic work in their home communities. The CIIS online learning platform, Canvas, facilitates robust collaborative learning environments with faculty and student colleagues.

Retreat dates for the 2017-2018 academic year are September 11-16, 2017 and January 20-25, 2018. We anticipate that each retreat will cost $750-800 for meals and a shared sleeping room. Tuition rates can be found here.

Full- or Part-time Curriculum

Students may complete the program in a minimum of two years. They may also pursue the curriculum on a part-time basis. The tuition rates are the same, as CIIS charges by the unit. However, there will be more retreats to attend.


Students present a capstone project on an integrative health research subject of their own interest. The scholarly process allows students to design, conduct, and assess applied research in integrative health and to engage professional skills.

Course of Study

The MA requires 36 units of coursework. Students who attend our program full-time would follow this course of study. 

The Integrative Body (3 units)
Integrative Wellness Coaching (3)
Introduction to Academic Writing (1)
Mindfulness and Optimal Wellbeing (2)

Advanced Wellness Coaching (2)
Integrative Nutrition (3)
Stress Management and Fitness (2)
Integrative Wellness Management (2)

Complementary, Alternative, and Integrative Medicine (3)
Business of Wellness (2)  
Transformative Imagery (3)
Interpersonal Neurobiology (1)

Integrative Seminar (3)
Indigenous Medicine (1)
Sustainable Health and Ecology (2)
Healthy Aging (2)
Practicum (1; new in 2017)

Course Descriptions

Introduction to Academic Writing
This course is designed to demystify academic writing, including critical reflection essays and research papers, in a safe, supportive, and rigorous workshop environment. The course builds academic writing skills on four tracks: the writer (journals, strategies for writer's block, getting organized), the community (peer review and response), the language (words, sentences, paragraphs, style, voice) and the discipline (e.g., anthropology, philosophy, etc.) An individual plan will be developed to help each student achieve their personal goals, and students will receive feedback from the professors and fellow students.

Integrative Wellness Coaching
This course launches students' study and experience of being an integrative wellness coach, and is targeted toward experiential practice of basic coaching skills. Students will engage in case studies, learn strategies for behavior change, and become familiar with basic practical guides and theoretical models.  Other courses in IHL curriculum are designed to supplement the students' special knowledge in health and wellness.

Advanced Wellness Coaching
This course advances and deepens the study and experience of being an integrative wellness coach. With a focus on health communications between client and coach, and coach and health care providers, students will develop knowledge and skills for working with people with chronic disease who require lifestyle management strategies to improve their conditions. IHL 6060 is a prerequisite.

Integrative Nutrition
This course explores a holistic approach to the various ways in which we nourish ourselves, and to the dietary and functional medicine aspects of digestive health and wellness. Students will study the research, tools, and skills needed to make recommendations about food, nutrition, and wellness; learn to identify and address nutrition-related acute and chronic conditions; and learn and apply clinical skills for comprehensive nutritional assessment.

The Integrative Body
This course presents a new conceptual framework for understanding the complex, interdependent networks within the human body from an integrative and holistic perspective, while giving a concise overview of anatomy, physiology and pathology. Students will look at the fundamental processes of homeodynamic health as well as the underlying causes that account for chronic disease and illness.

Integrative Wellness Management
This course brings the foundational skills in coaching into a larger organizational setting and focuses on professional competencies for designing, implementing, and sustaining work-site wellness programs. The course will examine research in combination with real-world examples and case studies, so that students may explore wellness programs that are effective for both employees and organizations.

Stress Management and Fitness
This course exposes students to the concept of holistic stress management: the principles, theories, and skills needed to effectively manage personal stress, to understand the psychosomatic (mind-body-spirit) relationship, and to employ a holistic approach to stress management, including cognitive strategies and relaxation techniques in both personal and public health. This course serves as a preparation to coach clients on the benefits of physical activity and on other mind-body wellness practices for regulating stress and developing stress hardiness. The course presents hands-on skills training to professionally communicate and present comprehensive stress management information for individual clients or organizations.

Mindfulness and Optimal Wellbeing
Students will learn the theoretical aspects of the integral health model and human flourishing (psychospiritual, biological, interpersonal, and worldly), and learn to incorporate meditation and mindfulness practices into their personal and professional lives. The course will include an in-depth exploration of both traditional and modern scientific understandings about the relationship between mind and matter, and the relevance of mindfulness for lasting behavior change and optimal health.

Healthy Aging
This multidisciplinary course is designed to introduce the basics of aging and health by integrating a broad range of topics relating to personal, interpersonal, and global aspects of aging. This course will examine demographic trends, and a variety of gerontological issues, including cognitive health and decline, physiology and pathology, functional performance and physical fitness, geriatric pharmacotherapy, housing and the continuum of care that includes end-of-life care and dying. Special emphasis is placed on experiential learning in geriatric case management and interactive field experiences with older adults.

Sustainable Health and Ecology
This course utilizes systems theory to explore sustainable life practices that create optimal well-being, social equality, community building, and environmental renewal. Health will be re-defined as a balanced use of life resources. This course offers practical skills in healthy lifestyle design, stress reduction, and self-care practices that social, emotional, and ecological intelligence.

Indigenous Medicine
This course is a cross-cultural introduction to the philosophy and practice of indigenous medicine. Students will study the tenets of indigenous science and discuss how they apply to indigenous medicine; explore different cultural systems of indigenous medicine to identify their commonalities and differences; and compare practices of indigenous medicine to those of the western/biomedical model of medicine.

Interpersonal Neurobiology
This course explores the intersections of recent findings in neuroscience with social cognitive perspectives and attachment theory. It allows practitioners in integrative health and psychology to extend those findings to approaches for cultivating supportive relationships and stronger connections, mindfulness, meditation, and the cultivation of empathy and compassion.

Business of Wellness
This course is designed for health and wellness practitioners who want to develop a successful practice; create sustainable programs; build increased leadership capacity;and generate social impact. Content will include: Setting the foundation of your business, brand identity, marketing, effective entrepreneurial skills and leadership, business organization and structures, program development, social change,and coaching style.

Transformative Imagery
Through a compelling and extensive body of research connected to the field of psychoneuroimmunology, we have learned that conscious and unconscious images within us have a direct impact on our physiology, offering guided imagery an important role for a range of health-related conditions. Students will learn and practice an interactive style of imagery facilitation which navigates the mind-body-emotions-spirit matrix, along with an understanding of its applications for a variety of health and lifestyle concerns.

CAIM: Complementary, Alternative, and Integrative Medicine
This course provides an overview of the holistic forms of medicine in use today, those considered complimentary and alternative to allopathic medicine, and the attempt to blend various forms of healing arts into the field known as integrative medicine or integrative health. Through the exploration of various CAIM modalities, existing structures for integration, and meetings with holistic practitioners, we will engage our own creative visions for the dynamic and potent field of integrative medicine.  

Integrative Seminar
This seminar course provides the support to prepare and write the Modified Thesis, and represents the final integration of professional, academic and personal learning during the M.A. program. It is fashioned as a seminar-style exchange, with mentorship to examine evolving work, issues, and challenges as students complete the various components of the Project.

Questions about Admissions or Integrative Health Studies?

Admissions Counselor: Pauline Reif
(415) 575-6152 |

Program Manager
(415) 575-6199 |

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