History and Background

The California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) was the first accredited university in North America to offer programs that synthesize the insights of Western psychology with Eastern spirituality. Alan Watts, a leading figure in that movement, described CIIS (then known as the American Academy of Asian Studies) as "one of the principal roots of what later came to be known, in the early sixties, as the San Francisco Renaissance." During that time, the Bay Area became synonymous with new currents in psychology—currents that continue to transform the field.

The Doctoral Clinical Psychology (PsyD) program was founded in 1991 with the aim of training mental health professionals who could think outside the box. We have since graduated over 500 professional psychologists. Our alumni have established a highly regarded presence in the San Francisco Bay Area, occupying many leadership and training positions. Many live and practice in other parts of the country and around the world, as well.

Like CIIS’s founders, our faculty and students continue to work at psychology’s cutting edge. Our curricular emphases on holism, depth, and diversity distinguish us from most other educational options in the field. We offer an advanced curriculum that is designed specifically for individuals who, having already obtained a master’s degree in counseling psychology (or closely related field), wish to deepen their training, as well as pursue professional opportunities (e.g., teaching, assessment, consultation) afforded by the doctoral degree. Specific admission requirements are described on the Admissions page.

CIIS is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WASC-WSCUC). Graduates of the program are eligible to apply for licensure as a Psychologist in California and many other states.


The PsyD Program at CIIS provides advanced and specialized training in clinical psychology that combines the principles of integral education with the clinical efficacy of contemporary psychodynamic psychotherapy. We promote an ethos of open and holistic inquiry, and emphasize the centrality of relationships in people’s lives.

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