Department Overview

Climate change and biodiversity loss are among the greatest existential threats humanity has ever faced. Beyond merely physical threats, they represent a crisis of values and consciousness, which call forth new visions of human becoming and planetary flourishing.

CIIS’ Ecology, Spirituality, and Religion department offers a nurturing community engaged in revitalizing relationships to Earth while exploring the intersections of world religions, Indigenous traditions, eco-spirituality, eco-justice, and eco-feminism.

Our unique curriculum explores traditional cultures and emerging worldviews within a critically-informed methodological framework in order to help students understand, articulate, and address ecological trauma and transformation. Students in both of our programs gain skills and insight needed to transform practices, worldviews, and consciousness in service of a more just, sustainable, and flourishing planetary future.

Our programs allow students to cultivate the knowledge, skills, and wisdom to respond to existential threats and evolutionary challenges from integral and transdisciplinary perspectives.

Our graduates pursue professional careers in academia, the nonprofit sector, the arts, and other paths involving human-animal relations, religious rites and practices, ecopsychology, ecofeminism, environmental humanities, wilderness studies, and related themes. Our innovative and diverse faculty work to shape the global dialogue linking spirituality, religion, and cosmology with ecology and sustainability through research in environmental ethics, socio-ecology, evolutionary cosmology, theology, and religious studies.

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Our Approach

Our graduate programs explore the roles that spirituality, philosophy, and religion play in generating and responding to ecological challenges.

The world's religious and spiritual traditions exist in complex relationships to ecological realities. At times they offer deep insight into the human condition, along with profound teachings about how humans should relate to one another and to our Earth community. At other times, they seem to contribute to the devaluation and destruction of the living environment.

Through critical and creative exploration of these traditions, our students develop the knowledge and wisdom required to respond to the ecological imperatives of our moment in history.

Our department has come to understand that the ecological crisis represents a crisis of human consciousness and requires a fundamental revisioning of cultural values. To that end, our curriculum trains students to explore and contribute to scholarly and political discourses and practices, articulating academically rigorous, culturally informed, and ethical solutions for a more just, sustainable, and flourishing future.

Elizabeth Allison in a video introduction to the ecology graduate program. Human Health and Ecological Resilience with Elizabeth Allison and Natalie Metz Play Video
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How to Apply

Application Open Dates

Apply for Spring 2023 starting September 15, 2022 - see a list of spring-admitting programs.

Apply for Fall 2023 starting November 15, 2022 - all programs accept fall applications.

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Questions? Contact us.

We are here to help! If you have any questions about applying to a program or registering for an Info Session, please reach out to the Admissions Office

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