Program Requirements

The online master’s in Ecology, Spirituality, and Religion at CIIS requires 36 units of coursework. The curriculum progression includes two introductory courses; coursework in religion, philosophy, spirituality, and ecological issues; a fieldwork practicum; electives; and a capstone experience.

Course of Study

Year One (18 units)

Two core classes (6 units)

  • PAR 6078 Theory and Method in the Integrative Study of Religion and Ecology (3 units)
  • PAR 6079 Ecology in a Time of Planetary Crisis (3 units)

One Religion course (3 units) - Options may include:

  • PARP 6532 Christianity and Ecology
  • PARP 6563 Buddhism and Ecology
  • PAR 6483 Hinduism and Ecology
  • PARP 6538 Krishna, Buddha, and Christ
  • PARW 6548 Women and World Religions

One Philosophy course (3 units) - Options may include:

  • PARP 6403 Spirit and Nature
  • PARW 7006 Women Philosophers, Mystics, and Wisdom Teachers
  • PAR 6071 Philosophy and Ecology: Toward a Green Metaphysics, Phenomenology, and Epistemology
  • PAR 6089 Myth, Imagination, and Incarnation: Barfield, Tolkien, Lewis, and the Oxford Inklings 
  • PAR 6472 The Colors of American Philosophy: Pluralism, Pragmatism, and Political Transformation

General Electives (6 units) - Students may choose from any course in the School of Consciousness and Transformation  

Year Two (18 units)

Two Core Classes (6 units):

  • PARP 6533 Touch the Earth: Ecology Practicum (3 units)
  • PARP 6897 Integrative Seminar (3 units)

One Religion Course (3 units, same tradition as first year)

One Ecology Course (3 units) - Options may include:

  • PARP 6522 Science, Ecology, and Contested Knowledge(s)
  • PARP 6523 Environmental Ethics
  • PARP 6525 Toward an Integral Ecological Consciousness
  • PAR 6292 Next of Kin Perspectives on Animal Ethics and Biodiversity
  • PARP 6278 Integral Ecologies

One Feminism, Globalization, and Justice Course (3 units) - Options may include:

  • PARW 6428 Ecological Consciousness and Climate Justice
  • PARW 7002 Ecofeminist Philosophy and Activism
  • PARW 6419 Transformative Philosophies of Justice: Local and Global Perspectives
  • PARW 6425 Gender, Power, and Spirit in Indigenous Cultures
  • PARP 6431 Martin Luther King Jr.—Justice, Cosmology, and Interconnection

General Electives (3 units) - Students may choose from any course in the School of Consciousness and Transformation

Curriculum Highlights 

PARP 6525 Toward an Integral Ecological Consciousness (3 units)
The scale of the global ecological crisis requires the development of new understandings of the human–Earth relationship. This course introduces transdisciplinary approaches that broaden and deepen the study of ecology. Following a review of the state of the Earth and human participation in planetary well-being, lectures and discussion engage such topics as deep ecology, social ecology and green politics, ecofeminism, environmental justice, political ecology, and the relation of ecology to religion and spirituality. Embodied practices guide students in cultivating a personal relationship with nonhuman beings and the living Earth.

PARP 6533 Touch the Earth: Practicum Seminar (3 units)
Upon learning about the multiple and interlocking crises facing the Earth community, including mass extinction, global climate change, freshwater depletion, and forest destruction, many students ask, "But what can I do?" This course is dedicated to providing the tools and support to answer that question in the way that is most harmonious with your unique gifts. During the spring semester, students complete 100 hours of service at a community organization, and meet five times as a group to discuss their field work and their insights about the implementation of ecological theory and practice in the larger San Francisco Bay Area community.

PARP 6748 Nature and Eros (2 units) 
This course is an engagement in holistic education. During the industrial era, education was understood primarily as the transfer of knowledge and information from teacher to student. The widely assumed worldview of the industrial era regarded nature as something out there, something inferior to the human, something that humans learned about in their classrooms. But in the new evolutionary cosmology, nature is understood as both our primary matrix and our primary teacher. Nature is the source of existence and is an ongoing wellspring of wisdom for what it means to be human. This six-day intensive retreat employs conceptual, emotional, experiential, and intuitive learning processes in order to embrace nature as the multidimensional matrix not only of our bodies, minds and souls, but of our civilization as well.

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