Program Requirements

The master’s in East-West Psychology with a concentration in Asian Contemplative and Transcultural Studies at CIIS is a two-year, online M.A. program consisting of 36 units.

The program curriculum consists of 23 units of required courses (core courses and required and directed electives) from the principal areas of the program in psycho-spiritual practice, including eastern, western, indigenous, contemporary participatory spirituality, and socially-engaged practices and service learning. The program also includes an additional 13 units of electives in areas of the student’s choice.

The concentration also offers a certificate in Yoga Studies. An appropriate combination of core and elective courses are required for receiving this certificate. It can also be taken separately from the degree concentration and applied as a stackable component to the degree if desired.

Additionally, the following scholarships are available specifically for students of this master's program: Michael and Gityjoon Hebel Scholarship, Cultural Integration Fellowship Integral Scholarships and the Rina Sircar Scholarship. See the University's scholarships page for more details.

Sample Course of Study

Year 1 | Fall
EWP 6001 Introduction to East-West Psychology (2 units)
EWP 6000 Community Retreat (1 unit)
EWP 6043: Introduction to Yoga Psychology (3 units)
TSD 6641 Krishnamurti and Bohmian Dialogue and Inquiry (3 units)

Year 1 | Spring
EWP 6330 Knowledge Work and the Modern Academy (1 unit)
EWP 9106 Contemplative Traditions and Practices (3 units)
EWP 6466 Introduction to Chinese Philosophy and Psychology (3 units)

Year 1 | Summer 
EWP 6114: Auroville: An Immersive Research Experience (3 units)

Year 2 | Fall
EWP 6034 Modernity, Colonialism and Transcultural Hermeneutics (3 units)
EWP 6124 Chan/Zen Buddhism in Life and Art (3 units)
PARA 7225: Yoga Sutra of Patanjali (3 Units)

Year 2 | Spring
EWP 6326 Chinese Body-Mind Healing Systems: An Interdisciplinary Approach (3 units)
EWP 6128 Integral Yoga Psychology (3 units)
EWP 6015 Integrative Seminar (1 unit)

Year 2 | Summer
EWP 6321 How to Cultivate Qi (Life Energy) (1 unit)

Curriculum Highlights

EWP 6043: Introduction to Yoga Psychology (3 units)
Yoga is a term with both a broad and general meaning and a narrower and specialized meaning in the country of its origin. The west has its history of reception of the term, which has colored its meanings. In this course, we will look at the broader understanding of yoga as a pervasive Indic cosmo-psychology and an occult anatomy with its archive of practices, cultural expressions and goals related to life-choices. Taking a historical approach, we will explore the roots of yoga practice in the Indus Valley, the cosmological and psychological maps of the Vedas and Upanishads, the occult world of deities and supernaturals, the psychology of ritual, soul and reincarnation, the constitution of human nature, the psychology of knowledge, moksha and samadhi, the Gita's synthesis, the will and its uses, bhakti or devotion, the Tantric system of kundalini and the chakras; siddhis or paranormal powers, and cultural expressions influenced by these understandings. Finally, we will consider attempts at integrating these structures and processes and the utilities of yoga psychology to (post-)human potential.

EWP 8799 Ancient Chinese Landscape Poetry and Spiritual Ecology (3 units)
Ancient Chinese landscape (shanshui, or mountain-river, in Chinese) poetry and paintings are a unique genre remarkable for their spiritually transformative powers as well as their aesthetic appreciation of nature and Daoist cosmology. This course explores the characteristic features of landscape poetry, including dissolving the subject/object dichotomy; timeless, selfless spontaneity; and the dramatic manifestation of the experience of expansive mind in identifying with mountains and rivers. The course will explore the ways in which ancient Chinese poets viewed the natural world and how their heart-minds may have been transformed by Daoist spirituality, which is best described as spiritual ecology in contemporary discourse. Students will take the time to cultivate themselves spiritually as they quiet their minds prior to reading and discussing the poems, and also walk mindfully outside in the natural world while reflecting on the poems’ meanings.

EWP 6028 Magic and Mysticism: The Eastern Magical Traditions (3 units)
Magical traditions are usually associated with the acquisition of personal power, while mystical traditions are more often associated with surrender to higher spiritual ones. Both, however, may incorporate meditation, theurgy (rituals meant to draw down higher powers into the human sphere), thaumaturgy (the working of miracles), and communication with deities or demons in service of spiritual development. In this course we will look at the confluence of these two traditional paths of knowledge within Eastern traditions and view them as intimately related attempts to transcend the ordinary through mastery of the imaginal realm. Among the traditions surveyed will be the Earth-based beliefs and practices of East and South Asia, and Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Taoist, and Indian Sufi schools of thought.

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