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.

Photo of students and faculty

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 here.

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 intensives in 2019–2020 are September 4–9, 2019 and February 3-8, 2020. 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.

Classes begin online at the start of the semester, which is always a few weeks before the intensive.

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)
Stress Management and Fitness (2)

Advanced Health Coaching (3)
Integrative Nutrition (3)
Mindfulness and Stress Physiology (3)

Holistic Medicine and Modalities (3)
Transformative Imagery (3)
Sustainable Health and Ecological Resilience (3)

Integrative Seminar (2)
Wellness Entrepreneurship (3)
Patient Navigator (3)
Indigenous Medicine (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)
Sustainable Health and Ecological Resilience (3)
Stress Management and Fitness (2)

Patient Navigator (3)
Mindfulness and Stress Physiology (3)

Holistic Medicine and Modalities (3)
Transformative Imagery (3)

Integrative Seminar (2)
Wellness Entrepreneurship (3)
Indigenous Medicine (1)

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.

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 Stress Physiology
This course invites students to explore contemplative science both theoretically and experientially. We will explore the root causes of human suffering and the ancient tradition of meditation and self-reflection. Students will learn about the science of mindset and the field of health psychology, including the upside of stress. Students will gain an understanding of the physiological mechanisms of stress physiology, and their impact on health and well-being.

Sustainable Health and Ecological Resilience
This course takes a systems perspective to explore health across physical, social, ecological, spiritual, mental, and emotional levels. We explore tangible ways to support both individual and ecological health as health coaches. Topics include the microbiome, conscious consumerism, and the social determinants of health. Students learn to conduct life cycle assessments of common products to understand the impact of globalization on our health and well-being.

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.

Wellness Entrepreneurship
This course involves the development of the core skills needed to develop a thriving health and wellness business. Students learn practical skills around program development, accounting, and business strategy. Students develop their underlying theory of change, brand identity, and management tools. We also explore the development of our business as a personal transformational practice and deep exploration into identity and life purpose.

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 MA 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.

ICHWC-Approved Continuing Education

Integrative Health Studies is pleased to be ICHWC CE provider #100071. Any upcoming programs or workshops offered for CE units are listed on our Events page or contact us for more information. Further, graduates who serve as mentor coaches in the CIIS Wellness Center earn ICHWC CEs.

Educational Affiliations

Our program has affiliations with these leaders in health coaching. Graduates of these programs who would like to pursue an MA in our program are eligible to receive 3 units of credit when they apply to CIIS. Credits are awarded at the discretion of the program chair after review of the matriculated candidate's transcript.


Weljii was founded by Preeti Rao, MA, a graduate of our program and a leader in health coaching in India. Weljii-CIIS Integrative Health Coaching certificate is the first offering of this CIIS satellite campus in New Delhi. The partnership combines our program's focus on integral education with Weljii's mission to bring high-quality, internationally recognized wellness education programs to India.

Integrative Health Studies professors and graduates teach the core foundational content of our health coaching certificate to Ayurvedic doctors, nurses, nutritionists, sports coaches, and physiotherapists. The program is taught both in-person and online.

The Institute for Integrative Nutrition

The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) empowers people to improve their own health and then teach others how to be healthier through nutrition, lifestyle choices, business training, and coaching. The program teaches a variety of dietary theories, and encourages integration of traditional nutritional philosophies with modern health concepts.

The International Nurse Coach Association

The International Nurse Coach Association (INCA) educates nurses to integrate coaching into the mainstream of their nursing practice, in hospitals, home care, and independent practice through the INCA Integrative Nurse Coach Certificate Program (INCCP).

Questions About Admissions or Integrative Health Studies?

Admissions Counselor: Lily Ritchie
415-575-6152 |

Program Manager

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