The majority of the courses in the Integral Transpersonal Psychology program are designed to pair a scholarly skill with a subject area of the student's choice. The degree is research oriented, and so it has a strong emphasis on critical thinking, scholarly writing, and research design and critique. These skills are presented in the context of content that orients the student to the transpersonal and integral fields.

Core Requirements (10 Units)

Western/World Philosophies with History and Systems of Psychology (3 units)
This course is designed to situate the fields of integral and transpersonal psychologies in global and historical context. The student will be invited to consider how the history and systems of psychology have been shaped by the context of Western philosophy. The course will pose the question of how psychology might be transformed in the context of other world philosophies such as Advaita Vedanta, integral yoga, Buddhism, shamanism, and integrative western philosophies that attempt to reflect values of interconnectedness. The course also introduces embodiment practices for use in the scholarly context.

Critical Thinking with Integral/Transpersonal Psychologies (3 units)
This course offers tools and processes of critical thinking in the context of an overview of integral and transpersonal approaches to psychology. Major concepts and theorists as well as developments of the transpersonal field will be considered. The student will have opportunity to learn and practice both intellectual discrimination and intuitive discernment in thinking about whole-person approaches to psychology.

Scholarly Writing with Integral and Transpersonal Studies (3 units)
This course engages the student in processes of enhancing their scholarly writing skills in relationship to integral and transpersonal studies. The holistic, transformative lens of integral and transpersonal approaches has applications well beyond psychology, in such fields as anthropology, shamanism, parapsychology, spirituality, Black psychology, eco-psychology, sociology, social activism, feminism, sexual orientation and gender identity, ecology, medicine, leadership, literature, and the arts. A consideration of such applications will provide context for learning and applying scholarly writing skills.

Praxis with Integral and Transpersonal Sociology and Social Action (1 unit)
This course provides students with an opportunity to find and engage in social applications of integral and transpersonal principles within their own communities. Given the transformative orientation of whole-person approaches, these fields carry an implicit call to participate in social healing and change. Guided by readings in transpersonal sociology and social action, the student will design and carry out a community-oriented project.

Research Courses (14 Units)

Research Design and Critique with Exceptional Human Experiences (3 units)
This course helps students to develop tools for literature review and research design while offering an overview of research literature on exceptional human experiences, such as those associated with mysticism, spirituality, and psychic phenomena. Such topics are often difficult to research, and for this reason studies in these areas provide informative examples for analysis. Through examination of the strengths and limitations of specific studies, the student will be invited to cultivate skills in analyzing and critiquing research designs.

Qualitative Research Methods with Somatic Psychology (3 Units)
This course considers the strategies of qualitative research methods in the context of somatic approaches to psychology. Qualitative research inquires into qualities of lived experience, and somatic psychology seeks to draw on lived experience as the data for constructing approaches to the mind that are finely attuned to how people actually inhabit their bodies and their lives. The student will have opportunity to examine how qualitative research can inform somatic and other whole-person approaches to psychology.

Quantitative Research Methods with Neuroscience of Consciousness (3 Units)
This course introduces quantitative methods of research in the context of neuroscientific approaches to the study of consciousness. Neuroscience seeks to understand aspects of the mind by measuring activity and change in various dimensions of the human nervous system, and quantitative methods are used to identify and describe potentially meaningful patterns in experimental results. The student will be invited to consider the value of quantitative approaches 
in whole-person approaches to psychology.

Integral Research Methods with Creative Expression (3 Units)
This course examines research methods that draw together various strategies in the context of creative-expression 
approaches to psychology. Integral methods include approaches such as grounded theory, mixed methods, theoretical research, and somatic phenomenology; further, creative expression considers artistic expressive activity as meaningful participation in the healing and revealing processes of transformation. The student will have opportunity to consider potentials for creative applications of integral research approaches through examining research in creative expression approaches to psychology.

Proposal Writing (2 Units)
This course provides the student with an opportunity to write, under faculty supervision, a preliminary research proposal. 
A completed preliminary research proposal will include well-crafted drafts of an introductory chapter, a literature review chapter, and a methods chapter, all in correct APA style. This this course, the student will have opportunity to demonstrate the skills and knowledge of critical thinking, scholarly writing, and research design and critique gained at earlier stages of the program.

Focus Area Coursework

A focus area consists of 12 units of coursework that is specifically oriented toward the student’s area of study. There are three focus areas are available for our degree:

Integral and Transpersonal Psychology
This is a self-designed focus area that must include two advanced seminars or their equivalent. The student will propose a focus area drawn from doctoral-level courses within other online doctoral programs at CIIS (such as Transformative Studies or Women’s Spirituality), or, if the student wishes to spend time in residence in the San Francisco Bay Area, may also be drawn from residential doctoral programs at CIIS (such as East-West Psychology). Prior to approval of the self-designed focus area by the advisor, the student must ensure that permission will be granted for admission to classes in these other programs, and that the classes will be offered in the semesters in which the student hopes to register for them.

Consciousness Studies and Contemplative Neuroscience
This focus area is designed to bring together consciousness studies, contemplative psychology, and neuroscience. If they are to be whole-person approaches, then fields such as integral and transpersonal psychology need to include neuroscience research within their scope of inquiry. In addition, engaging neuroscience is an important aspect of introducing the concepts and insights of transpersonal and integral approaches to a wider audience, both within psychology and to the wider public. What whole-person approaches bring to neuroscience is the ability to ask new and interesting questions that arise from the more holistic and systems perspectives of integral and transpersonal standpoints. The focus area will address issues of philosophical context through courses in consciousness studies that will be offered both within the our program and in cooperation with the Transformative Studies online PhD program. The neuroscience courses will provide conceptual orientation in neuroscience frameworks, as well as training in the use of neuroscience equipment, such as the EEG, in the study of contemplative and other non-ordinary states of consciousness.

Somatic Studies
The focus area in Somatic Studies is designed exclusively for students who have long experience with any body practice that might be called transformative. This might include one of the martial arts, a bodywork practice, a specific movement or dance practice, an advanced sport practice, or a gyrotonic, Pilates, or other similar practice. The practitioner-student will be invited to explore deeply the various implications of their practice: how it illuminates various aspects of its cultural origins; its particular contributions to the development of consciousness or to healing; how it relates to other such transformative practices; and so forth. Coursework considers the worldwide burgeoning of embodiment literature beginning in the mid-20th century and rapidly growing into the present, as well as its relevance to consciousness studies. This includes study of the phenomenological tradition initiated by Edmund Husserl and significantly advanced by Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Pierre Bourdieu as a method for excavating the unique insights into “reality” that are made available by one’s practice. In addition to advancing the student’s understanding toward the development of a scholarly doctoral dissertation, this course of study supports the cultivation of the student’s capacities for teaching the practice with an advanced understanding of its relevance to addressing some of the major problems facing the world today.

Comprehensive Examinations

The purpose of comprehensive examinations is to demonstrate that the student is ready to proceed to the dissertation phase of their doctoral degree. This degree has two comprehensive examinations. The first of these is a written examination covering basic concepts, theories, and theorists of general psychology. For students who do not have a master’s level background in psychology, or for those wishing to review and prepare for this examination, self-study materials will be provided. The second exam consists of two parts: a 20-25 page paper, written at a doctoral level, on a topic relevant to the student’s area of study, and a 30-60 minute oral presentation based on that paper, as it might be presented at a professional conference.

Dissertation

The student will write a dissertation under the supervision of a core faculty member as committee chair, and two other qualified scholars, approved by the chair, one of whom must not be affiliated with CIIS.

 Sample Schedule

Sample Schedule

Semester 1 (Year 1)

Western/World Philosophies with History and Systems of Psychology (3 units)
Research Design and Critique with Exceptional Human Experiences (3 units)

Semester 2

Critical Thinking with Integral/Transpersonal Psychologies (3 units)
Qualitative Research Methods with Somatic Psychology (3 units)

Semester 3 (Year 2)

Scholarly Writing with Integral and Transpersonal Studies (3 units)
Quantitative Research Methods with Neuroscience of Consciousness (3 units)

Semester 4

Integral Research Methods with Creative Expression (3 units)
Advanced Seminar in Focus Area of Study (3 units)

Semester 5 (Year 3)

Focus Area Coursework (3 units)
Proposal Writing (2 units)
Praxis with Integral and Transpersonal Sociology and Social Action (1 unit)

Semester 6

Focus Area Coursework (3 units)
Advanced Seminar in Focus Area of Study (3 units)

Semester 7 through Semester 12 (Years 4 & 5)

Dissertation Research and Writing

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