How much time does the Ph.D. in Integral and Transpersonal Psychology at CIIS take to complete?

This is a part-time doctoral program, and the degree is structured so that students complete coursework in 3 years and then move to dissertation phase. Some students do complete in two years by accelerating the coursework. Usually, time to degree is 5.5 to 6 years. 

What types of students benefit most from the Integral and Transpersonal Psychology Ph.D. programs at CIIS?

Students entering the Integral and Transpersonal Psychology doctoral programs share an interest in whole-person approaches to psychology such as humanistic, transpersonal, holistic, integral, somatic, contemplative, Jungian, and East-West. This typically includes the following:

  • Working professionals who wish to deepen their knowledge, advance their education, contribute to research, and bring greater meaning to their existing field of experience
  • Thought leaders and activists who wish to use their education as a foundation for consulting, writing, or teaching in the public sphere
  • Individuals who, after varied life experiences, are expanding their worldview into a more whole-person perspective
  • International students from diverse places seeking graduate training and a whole-person education

Do I need a master’s degree in psychology to apply to the Integral and Transpersonal Psychology Ph.D. programs?

Although a master's degree is required for acceptance into the Integral and Transpersonal Psychology Ph.D. programs, the degree does not have to be in psychology. Students with an insufficient background in psychology may be encouraged to take one or more foundational courses in psychology from CIIS’ Integral Counseling Psychology or PsyD programs, or at another community college or university.

Do the Integral and Transpersonal Psychology programs prepare students to become licensed therapists?

No, the Integral and Transpersonal Psychology program and Designated Emphasis in Somatic Psychology are not clinical programs. The programs do not prepare students for licensure as psychological counselors, psychotherapists, or clinical psychologists. However, the degree is designed to serve students who have earned master’s in counseling or psychotherapy. It is expected that some of these students will pursue further doctoral studies researching topics related to counseling psychology, such as integral psychotherapy, somatic psychology, expressive arts therapy, drama therapy, and community mental health.

What kind of careers do the Integral and Transpersonal Psychology programs prepare me for?

It is expected that many of the graduates from the programs will continue working in their established fields as psychotherapists, social workers, psychologists, counselors, consultants, activists, organizers, leaders, teachers, researchers, nurses, physicians, lawyers, or in fields related to personal development, social change, or environmental protection. Some who are entrepreneurially inclined may use their education as the basis for becoming consultants, writers, speakers, or workshop leaders. A few may go into academic teaching or research and publication.

Do the Integral and Transpersonal Psychology programs have an online option?

Yes, the programs are conducted primarily online, with two residential seminars per year, each lasting about a week.

Can I attend part-time?

Yes, the programs are designed to be attended part-time. However, to qualify for financial aid, you must take six units per semester.

Can I receive financial aid if I am attending part-time?

Yes, depending upon eligibility. Please consult the Financial Aid Office for specifics: 415-575-6122 or

Can I speak with an Integral and Transpersonal Psychology faculty member before I apply?

Yes. The University provides various forums during which you can meet with a faculty member to discuss your interest, including the biannual CIIS open houses, as well as various info sessions.

If I cannot attend the CIIS info session, can I meet with someone affiliated with the department and speak with them at length?

Prospective students interested in visiting CIIS can schedule an appointment with an admissions counselor. Admissions counselors are happy to discuss academic interests and goals and provide materials and financial aid information. Since classes are online, they can sit in on classes when classes are in session by visiting online. Prospective students can also set up a meeting with a faculty member.

What types of financial aid or student employment are available?

Government loans totaling up to $20,500 and various Institute scholarships are available. Additionally, some students are employed within the Institute as student workers (either for pay or tuition exchange). It is best to speak directly with a financial aid officer to understand the specifics, and to request that financial aid information be sent to you.

Can I transfer credits from previous graduate work? How many units can I transfer?

An analysis of possible equivalences is carried out by the Integral and Transpersonal Psychology Admissions Committee during the interview, and the exact number of possible transfer units will be determined at that time. The Integral and Transpersonal Psychology department allows a maximum of six semester units to be transferred into the Ph.D. program. However, applicants with an insufficient background in psychology may be required by the Admissions Committee to take additional psychology courses as prerequisites.

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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