Strengths of Our Program

Integrative Health Studies delivers an MA curriculum at an accredited university, preparing students to be leaders and change agents in the expanding fields of integrative health and wellness. The faculty create a program that combines evidence-based science with mind-body-spirit integration in a supportive community of learners.

Online Hybrid Learning

Each semester (two years or four semesters of full-time attendance; three years or six semesters of part-time attendance) includes a required six-day academic intensive at the EarthRise retreat center in Petaluma, CA, just 45 minutes north of San Francisco. For the balance of the semester, students study synchronously and asynchronously online, using Canvas, a robust collaborative learning environment. The synchronous online meetings are mandatory, and are held roughly every two to three weeks for each course. Meeting times are set by the instructors and the schedule of synchronous meetings is available at registration. Online hybrid learning requires a flexible schedule, but allows you to live in your home community and maintain many life commitments.

You can read student responses to the online hybrid learning format on our Testimonials page.

Academic Intensive

You can start each day at our academic intensive at EarthRise in Petaluma, CA, by praciticing yoga, walking the labyrinth, or hiking in the hills. You will then gather with your classmates to share breakfast prepared in an organic kitchen with locally sourced foods. Next, you will have three hours of rigorous academic study with Integrative Health Studies core and adjunct faculty. After a lunch break, the afternoon brings at least three more hours of rigorous study. Dinner will be followed by evening programs on such topics as Enneagram, HeartMath, sound healing, subtle energy medicine, community activism and health advocacy, and by collegial sharing of life skills and talents.

Dates for the academic intensive in 2018-2019 are September 9-14, 2018 and January 20-25, 2019. Classes begin online before each intensive. We anticipate that each intensive will cost roughly $750 for meals and a shared sleeping room. This is in addition to tuition. Tuition rates can be found here.

Full- or Part-time Curriculum

Students may complete the program in a minimum of two years. They may also pursue the curriculum on a part-time basis. The tuition rates are the same, as CIIS charges by the unit. However, there will be more academic intensives to attend.

Attendance always begins with the fall semester.


Students present a capstone project on an integrative health research subject of their own interest. The scholarly process allows students to design, conduct, and assess applied research in integrative health and to engage professional skills.

Course of Study

The MA requires 36 units of coursework.

Students who attend our program full-time would follow this course of study. 

The Integrative Body (3 units)
Integrative Wellness Coaching (3)
Introduction to Academic Writing (1)
Mindfulness and Optimal Wellbeing (2)

Advanced Health Coaching (3)
Integrative Nutrition (3)
Stress Management and Fitness (2)
Indigenous Medicine (1)

Holistic Medicine and Modalities (3)
Business of Wellness (2)  
Transformative Imagery (3)
Interpersonal Neurobiology (1)
Coaching Praxis (0)

Integrative Seminar (3)
Sustainable Health and Ecology (2)
Patient Navigator (3)
Coaching Praxis II (1)

Students who attend our program part-time would follow this course of study.

The Integrative Body (3 units)
Integrative Wellness Coaching (3)

Advanced Health Coaching (3)
Integrative Nutrition (3)

Introduction to Academic Writing (1)
Mindfulness and Optimal Wellbeing (2)
Holistic Medicine and Modalities (3)

Stress Management and Fitness (2)
Coaching Praxis II (1)
Indigenous Medicine (1)
Sustainable Health and Ecology (2)

Business of Wellness (2)
Transformative Imagery (3)
Interpersonal Neurobiology (1)
Coaching Praxis (0)

Integrative Seminar (3)
Patient Navigator (3)

Course Descriptions

Introduction to Academic Writing
This course is designed to demystify academic writing, including critical reflection essays and research papers, in a safe, supportive, and rigorous workshop environment. The course builds academic writing skills on four tracks: the writer (journals, strategies for writer's block, getting organized), the community (peer review and response), the language (words, sentences, paragraphs, style, voice) and the discipline (e.g., anthropology, philosophy, etc.) An individual plan will be developed to help each student achieve their personal goals, and students will receive feedback from the professors and fellow students.

Integrative Wellness Coaching
This course launches students' study and experience of being an integrative wellness coach, and is targeted toward experiential practice of basic coaching skills. Students will engage in case studies, learn strategies for behavior change, and become familiar with basic practical guides and theoretical models.  Other courses in IHL curriculum are designed to supplement the students' special knowledge in health and wellness.

Advanced Health Coaching
This course will deepen the student's knowledge and skills for coaching clients in lifestyle improvement. Students will learn techniques and professional development protocols for working with clients recently diagnosed with health challenges such as diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. The course includes instruction in establishing appropriate referral systems and coach-support communications with licensed health-care personnel. Taught through a combination of webinars, online materials, and web-based training sessions, students will practice advanced behavioral coaching strategies for helping clients go beyond compliance with lifestyle medicine prescriptions. Students will also address ambivalence and strength resiliency, and will engage in overall wellness planning. IHL 6060 is a prerequisite.

Coaching Praxis
This course provides mentoring, constructive feedback and process time for coaching students to advance the skills and demonstrate applied learning from the prerequisite courses, Integrative Wellness Coaching and Advanced Health Coaching. Students receive timely feedback of their coaching sessions from the mentor coaches, according to established rubrics in use by the Integrative Health Studies program and the International Consortium for Health and Wellness Coaching. Mentoring and feedback can be in the form of debriefs after students coach volunteer clients, or direct coaching of the mentors with in-the-moment assessment. CIIS requires that students work toward 100 coaching sessions as they earn their CIIS Integrative Health coaching certificate. The course is taught by graduates of the CIIS IHL program who have earned their coaching certificate and have gathered coaching experience in the field.

Patient Navigator
This course provides the knowledge, skills, and competency training to prepare students for employment in the emerging field of patient navigator. A well documented and mounting need exists for caring professionals with skills to help patients obtain clinical and community services, understand and obtain maximum benefit from third party payers and affordable care exchanges, and navigate the confusing and fragmented U.S. health care system. As a result of new funding mechanisms and declarative statements by many medical agencies, the role of Patient or Health Navigator has undergone a dramatic increased in demand. This course offers special training as an integrative navigator, more in keeping with the key concepts of integral education at CIIS. Certificate of Integrative Patient Navigator upon successful completion of the course.

The Integrative Body
This course presents a new conceptual framework for understanding the complex, interdependent networks within the human body from an integrative and holistic perspective, while giving a concise overview of anatomy, physiology and pathology. Students will look at the fundamental processes of homeodynamic health as well as the underlying causes that account for chronic disease and illness.

Integrative Nutrition
This course explores a holistic approach to the various ways in which we nourish ourselves, and to the dietary and functional medicine aspects of digestive health and wellness. Students will study the research, tools, and skills needed to make recommendations about food, nutrition, and wellness; learn to identify and address nutrition-related acute and chronic conditions; and learn and apply clinical skills for comprehensive nutritional assessment.

Holistic Medicine and Modalities
This course provides an overview of holistic systems of medicine and modalities in use today, including those considered complementary and alternative to allopathic medicine, and of the attempt to blend various forms of healing arts into the field known as integrative medicine or integrative health. Through the exploration of various holistic medical systems and modalities, existing structures for integration, and engagement with holistic practitioners, we will cultivate our own creative visions for the dynamic and potent field of integrative medicine.

Stress Management and Fitness
This course exposes students to the concept of holistic stress management: the principles, theories, and skills needed to effectively manage personal stress, to understand the psychosomatic (mind-body-spirit) relationship, and to employ a holistic approach to stress management, including cognitive strategies and relaxation techniques in both personal and public health. This course serves as a preparation to coach clients on the benefits of physical activity and on other mind-body wellness practices for regulating stress and developing stress hardiness. The course presents hands-on skills training to professionally communicate and present comprehensive stress management information for individual clients or organizations.

Mindfulness and Optimal Wellbeing
Students will learn the theoretical aspects of the integral health model and human flourishing (psychospiritual, biological, interpersonal, and worldly), and learn to incorporate meditation and mindfulness practices into their personal and professional lives. The course will include an in-depth exploration of both traditional and modern scientific understandings about the relationship between mind and matter, and the relevance of mindfulness for lasting behavior change and optimal health.

Sustainable Health and Ecology
This course utilizes systems theory to explore sustainable life practices that create optimal well-being, social equality, community building, and environmental renewal. Health will be re-defined as a balanced use of life resources. This course offers practical skills in healthy lifestyle design, stress reduction, and self-care practices that social, emotional, and ecological intelligence.

Indigenous Medicine
This course is a cross-cultural introduction to the philosophy and practice of indigenous medicine. Students will study the tenets of indigenous science and discuss how they apply to indigenous medicine; explore different cultural systems of indigenous medicine to identify their commonalities and differences; and compare practices of indigenous medicine to those of the western/biomedical model of medicine.

Interpersonal Neurobiology
This course explores the intersections of recent findings in neuroscience with social cognitive perspectives and attachment theory. It allows practitioners in integrative health and psychology to extend those findings to approaches for cultivating supportive relationships and stronger connections, mindfulness, meditation, and the cultivation of empathy and compassion.

Business of Wellness
This course is designed for health and wellness practitioners who want to develop a successful practice; create sustainable programs; build increased leadership capacity; and generate social impact. Content will include: Setting the foundation of your business, brand identity, marketing, effective entrepreneurial skills and leadership, business organization and structures, program development, social change, and coaching style.

Transformative Imagery
Through a compelling and extensive body of research connected to the field of psychoneuroimmunology, we have learned that conscious and unconscious images within us have a direct impact on our physiology, offering guided imagery an important role for a range of health-related conditions. Students will learn and practice an interactive style of imagery facilitation which navigates the mind-body-emotions-spirit matrix, along with an understanding of its applications for a variety of health and lifestyle concerns.

Integrative Seminar
This seminar course provides the support to prepare and write the Modified Thesis, and represents the final integration of professional, academic and personal learning during the M.A. program. It is fashioned as a seminar-style exchange, with mentorship to examine evolving work, issues, and challenges as students complete the various components of the Project.

Questions About Admissions or Integrative Health Studies?

Admissions Counselor: Lily Ritchie
(415) 575-6152 |

Program Manager
(415) 575-6199 |

Stay Connected to CIIS