Department Overview

CIIS’ Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness department is dedicated to reimagining the human species as a mutually enhancing member of the Earth community.

The heart of the program is its focus on knowledge that is transformative—of ourselves and of our civilization. Our program attracts intellectually engaged individuals who are to varying degrees dismayed by what they see happening in modern societies and who are striving to find meaningful ways to develop their gifts to serve the future of the world.

Inspired by Alfred North Whitehead's view that the function of the university is to enable the future to appear first in conceptual thought, our faculty and graduate students hold in mind three fundamental goals:

  1. To open our consciousness, through learning and imagination, to those creative and evolutionary energies suffusing the earth, the universe, and the deep psyche, so that we are able to participate fully in the regeneration of human communities and their enveloping life systems.
  2. To analyze the current devastation of planetary life and to strive to liberate ourselves and our communities from the underlying causes of alienation, consumerism, militarism, androcentrism, racism, and unsustainable modes of life.
  3. To draw from the deep wells of philosophical and religious wisdom together with other scholarly and scientific insights in order to bring forth a profound vision of a vibrant planetary era.

Our students pursue a unique interdisciplinary curriculum which prepares them for professional careers in academia, writing and research, consulting, counseling and coaching, and entrepreneurship. Our faculty have established international reputations and a wide range of research interests in fields such as: evolutionary and archetypal cosmology, philosophy, religious studies, Jungian and transpersonal psychology, ecology, and the evolution of consciousness.

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Our Approach 

Our approach to Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness is based on the following understanding: 

We hope to free philosophy from its contemporary limitations—narrowly analytic, reductionist, and cosmologically alienated—and to revive the original essence of philosophy as the love of wisdom. In our department, philosophy explores new ways of thinking and being that are visionary and pragmatic, and resist the paradigm of fragmentation that continues to dominate Western thought and culture.

We pursue a multidisciplinary study of cosmology with a focus on the evolutionary unfolding of the universe and the Earth community. Cosmology, in our department, includes reflection on the discoveries of the natural sciences, as well as cosmological, ecological, and archetypal perspectives emerging in contemporary culture, including especially the arts and religion.

We seek to explore the worlds of consciousness and the deep psyche, particularly by research concerning archetypal structures and their formative expression in individual lives and culture. In our department, consciousness studies focus on transpersonal and Jungian psychology, the evolution of consciousness, Western esotericism, and new paradigm studies.

Integral Ecologies
We cultivate approaches to our common home (Oikos) which recognize the integral relation of Earth systems to questions of ethics and metaphysics, the political economy, culture, religion, and spirituality. We recognize that, just as no dimension of Earth remains untouched by humans, all facets of the human project must be reconsidered in light of our shared planetary ecology. Integral ecology includes the study of the natural and human sciences as well as the world's spiritual traditions.
View of Earth from space introducing a video presenting the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness Program at California Institute of Integral Studies Participate in the emergence of a new world view. Play Video
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How to Apply

Application opening dates

Apply for Spring 2023 starting September 15, 2022. (See list of programs admitting for spring.)

Apply for Fall 2023 starting November 15, 2022. (All programs accept fall applications.)

Application Link

Questions? Contact us.

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