Program Requirements

The Ph.D. in East-West Psychology at CIIS consists of 40 units of online or in-person coursework, including an introductory course with a retreat component, two comprehensive exams, proposal writing, and dissertation research. Students work closely with their advisors to design an individualized curriculum and participate in research classes designed to help articulate their dissertation research project.

East-West Psychology also offers certificates at the doctoral level in Spiritual Counseling, Ecoresilience or Yoga Studies. Once enrolled in a certificate program, the topic of the certificate becomes the student’s area of specialization.

Course of Study

36.2 Units of Coursework + Dissertation Units

Semester 1 | Fall
EWP 6000 EWP Community Retreat (1 unit)
EWP 6001 Introduction to East-West Psychology (2 units)
Advanced Seminar 1 (3 units)
Elective 1 (3 units)

Semester 2 | Spring 
EWP 6329 Conscious Diversity (2 units)
EWP 6330 Knowledge Work and the Modern Academy (1 unit)
Advanced Seminar 2 (3 units)
Elective 2 (3 units)

Semester 3 | Fall
EWP 7035 Research Methods 1: (Research Foundations) (3 units)
Elective 3 (3 units)
Elective 4 (3 units)

Semester 4 | Spring 
EWP 7036 Research methods 2: (Research Lab) (3 units)
EWP 8100 Research Colloquium (1 unit)
CT 6468 Academic Foundations: Composition and Communication (2 units)

Semester 5 and Onward
EWP 9800 Thesis/Dissertation Proposal Completion (0.1 unit per semester for 1-3 semesters)
EWP 9900 Thesis/Dissertation Seminar (0.1 unit per semester for 1-4 years)

Ph.D. Advanced Seminar Options - select two of the following:
EWP 6024 Advanced Ph.D. Seminar: Civilization in Transition - From Shadow to Soul 
EWP 6126 Jung and the Sacred 
EWP 9005 Gnosticism, Alchemy, Terraspirituality 
EWP 9010 Integral Scholarship 
EWP 9104 Principles of Healing
EWP 9106 Contemplative Traditions and Practices 
EWP 9107 Archetypal Mythology
EWP 9406 Jung’s Red Book
EWP 9566 Comparative Mysticism

19-Units of Electives in an area of specialization, possibilities include:
  • Depth Psychology
  • Asian and Yoga Psychology
  • Integral and Transpersonal Psychology
  • Ecopsychology
  • East-West Spiritual Counseling
  • Indigenous and Shamanic Studies
  • Culture and Psychology
  • Spiritual Traditions
  • Psychospiritual Practice
  • Consciousness Studies

Comprehensive Writing Courses—Variable Units 
EWP comprehensive exams are taken Fall or Spring with the Research Colloquium and the respective CT (Consciousness and Transformation) writing course listed below.
EWP 8100 Research Colloquium (1 units) 
CT 6468 Academic Foundations: Composition and Communication (2 units; Fall only)
CT 6461 Academic Foundations: Academic Writing and Scholarship (2 units; Spring only) 

Upon successful completion of coursework, two research colloquia, and comprehensive exams, students proceed to the dissertation completion stage. This includes committee formation, developing and having approved a proposal, and writing and defending their dissertation. Students have ten years upon entering the program to complete their degree. Once students advance to candidacy, they will have four years to complete the dissertation.

Curriculum Highlights 

EWP 6329 Conscious Diversity: Inner and Outer—A Diversity Process Class (2 units)
We live in a diverse world and need to be able to respond appropriately, not just from the heart, not just from the mind, but from skillful means, in ways that enhance cross-cultural relationships, value differences, and deepen one's ability to act responsibly, think critically, and negotiate borders that might otherwise divide. This course will draw upon the inspiration and work of Arnold Mindell and his application of Process Work (Process Oriented Psychotherapy), World Work and Deep Democracy, in order to gain skills that will cultivate awareness, cultural sensitivity, and inclusivity. Students will acquire tools and concepts designed to resolve tensions, utilize strengths, support collaboration, and create welcoming environments. Students will begin to learn how to become skillful practitioners, facilitators, and changemakers, modeling the world they want by the way they work with themselves. It is up to each of us to contribute to a new tomorrow, a diverse rich world, where everyone feels at home.

EWP 6245 Archetypal Psychology (3 units)
James Hillman, founder of Archetypal Psychology, bases his explorations on a complex metaphorical strand derived primarily from many of C. G. Jung's ideas, methods, and deeper attitudes. However, Jung often focuses his psychology on more structural and conceptual methods and assumptions, whereas Hillman speaks of his grounding as "soul-making" based upon imagination or a "poetic basis of mind." In dream explorations, as well as in other interpretative work, one finds Archetypal Psychology to be polytheistic and radically multiplistic, yet exact. "Stick to the image," insisted Rafael Lopez-Pedraza, an early co-founder. "Save the phenomena!" cried Hillman in those earliest rollicking gatherings. These two mottos define and insist on a specific discipline of imaginal work. This course will focus on working with dreams using this archetypal approach. Assumptions, methodology, and further implications will be thoroughly explored using dream material brought to class by the participants.

EWP 6326 Chinese Body-Mind Healing Systems: An Interdisciplinary Approach (3 Units)
This course adopts an interdisciplinary approach drawing on Chinese philosophy and cultural history, anthropology, and psychology to the study of Chinese body-mind healing systems. We will study and analyze the basic concepts and theories of traditional Chinese medicine in its intellectual and cultural context. The course will emphasize the following components: (i) comprehensive study of fundamental concepts and theories of traditional body-mind healing systems, such as Qi, heart-mind, yin yang, five phrases, manifestations of internal organ systems, meridians, including original source materials in English translation; (ii) practice basic diagnostic skills and traditional Chinese health regimens; and (iii) critically assessing contemporary globalization and integration of traditional medicines in Western health system.

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