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Department of Integrative Health Studies

Shape the future of health and wellness coaching.

CIIS’ Integrative Health Studies program prepares students to become integrative health and wellness practitioners. Our non-clinical program is committed to bridging biomedical and alternative or complementary approaches to treatment. Students take all required courses as a cohort and experience supportive, collective learning on their way to becoming National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coaches or pursuing related careers in whole-person wellness.

What Our Faculty Have to Say

Learn about our non-clinical master’s degree program that can be completed in a minimum of two years and 40 units.

What Does An Integrative Health Coach Do?”

Dr. Meg Jordan, Integrative Health Program Co-Chair

What Kind of Community Is in the Integrative Health Program?”

Megan Lipsett, Program Co-Chair and Assistant Professor

A Quick Glance Into Our Curriculum”

Learn About the Curriculum, we provide a stimulating, immersive, contemporary deep dive into the world of complementary and integrative health.

Our Integrative Health Studies program centers a rigorous, comprehensive curriculum that prepares graduates to become behavior change experts, equipped with evidence-based practical skills in a range of integrative modalities.

The depth provided in our master’s level training allows students to design a capstone project that can help launch their professional careers providing culturally sensitive knowledge, practices, and resources needed to advance the health of individuals and communities.

Our graduates meet the eligibility requirements to sit for the Health & Wellness Coaching Certifying Examination to become National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coaches. They become leaders and are trained for professional careers in medicine, coaching, research, policy, education, corporate wellness, community health centers, and more.

FeaturesCertificate Only ProgramsCIIS Integrative Health Studies
Master's Degree 
Health Coaching Certificate
Accreditation from NBHWC
Patient Navigation Certificate 
Transformative Imagery Certificate 
Academic Capstone of Rigorous Scholarship 
In-Person Academic Intensive 
Alumni Professional Network
Knowledge of Evidence-Based Practices
Knowledge of Social Determinants of Health, and Health Equity 
Expanded Scope of Practice 
Opportunities to Practice Coaching

Our Programs

Our M.A. is National Board of Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC)-approved.

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    The M.A.

    Master of Arts in Integrative Health Studies – Address disparities in health for individuals and communities and help change lives with lasting wellness

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    The Certificates

    Certificates – Those who complete the M.A. will also earn three certificates in Transformative Imagery, Patient Navigation, and Health Coaching to enhance their credentials. 

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    • It's true that you can get a health coaching certificate with 20-60 hours of work with a private training firm. Our program is different. We offer our coaching certificate as part of the course of study for an accredited master's degree. It is more academically oriented and grounded in coaching research and behavior change theory. You will learn to support lifestyle change and to work with other healthcare professionals.

      Our curriculum not only goes into depth on the basic health science, but includes an integral mind/body/spirit approach, honoring indigenous wisdom and instructing students in applied coaching psychology with year-long mentorship courses and authentic leadership. You will study leading theories and evidence-based models, including Motivational Interviewing, Transtheoretical Model, Positive Psychology, Internal Family Systems, Non-Violent Communication, and Enneagram for Coaching.

      Graduates meet the eligibility requirements to sit for the ICHWC Certifying Examination required for health and wellness coaches to become National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coaches. A graduate degree sets you apart and holds good value in a shifting job market.

    • Many organizations offer programs that are fully online, which allow you to learn and study exclusively in your home community. We love online learning, but we want you to have the chance to learn in person with your student colleagues and with faculty even as you meet online.

      We therefore include in each semester a six-day academic intensive. During the fall retreat, we will also visit the CIIS campus, so that you can meet the administrative and library staff who support your journey.

    • Yes, students can pursue the curriculum on a part-time basis. The tuition rates are the same, as CIIS charges by the unit. However, keep in mind that more academic intensives will be required.

    • Full-time students in our program take nine units each semester; that translates to about 36 hours of coursework each week. Part-time students, who have six units each semester, should plan on 24 hours of coursework each week.

      Some of that coursework will be synchronous online classes, partner work, or study sessions. The specific days and times of required online classes will be available when you register; partner work will be scheduled after classes begin. If you have responsibilities like a job, it is best to have a plan or flexibility for the synchronous meetings and partner work. The asynchronous parts of your coursework are easily scheduled around your other commitments.

    • While many of our graduates practice health coaching as solo practitioners, others use their master’s degree in medical offices, CAIM clinics, corporate wellness programs, and apps. You will study evidence-based knowledge and skills that can be applied to a variety of careers. We recommend that students who want to work in corporate settings or for large organizations, either as health coaches or in wellness programs, follow the companies they are interested in on Twitter or LinkedIn to see how these organizations are integrating wellness into their cultures.

    • Our candidates come with a variety of interests and backgrounds; most want to learn more about integrative and holistic health so that they can work as health coaches in some way. Our students excel in collaborative learning and mutual support, and form a strong community for each other. Attending an online info session is a great way to learn more about the people who might be joining you in the program, and to talk directly with faculty about your interests and how the program may align with them. It's not necessary to have a health degree or experience.

    • Graduates of our program form strong bonds most of which are sustained through events. Many graduates have hired other graduates and helped each other find jobs. CIIS has a careers office that will help with resume writing and interview skills. That office and ours send out job listings, and we also post jobs to our LinkedIn group.

    • Preventative health and integrative healing modalities are central to many people, and as a result, health coaches are taking more of a role in established healthcare. One sign of this is that the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) partnered with the International Consortium for Health and Wellness Coaching (ICHWC) to issue the national certification exam for health and wellness coaches. We also know that doctors at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and with the CDC are exploring how to bring health coaching into hospitals and clinics as we know that changing behavior is crucial to addressing rising chronic disease rates. Further, many of our graduates are developing health coaching and mindfulness apps. Other graduates are working to bring health coaching to under-served populations.

    • We have a Facebook page and a LinkedIn group where we feature the work of students, graduates, and integrative wellness organizations.

    Our Upcoming Events

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    Our Department in Action

    Alumni News

    Alumna Kevonya Elzia tells CIIS about her journey from the Integrative Health Studies and Transformative Leadership programs to being a community health nurse and health, equity and justice facilitator.

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