Our residential MA program has been designed to help shape the intellectual, moral, and spiritual leadership necessary for meeting historic global challenges. Drawing upon some of the most powerful ideas and impulses of our philosophical, scientific, and religious traditions, our faculty has constructed an intensive multidisciplinary course of study to help accelerate students' journeys into their leadership roles.

Students focusing on Integral Ecology will learn to address the ecological crisis in a way that integrates nature and culture, facts and values, science and spirituality. The curriculum supports scholar-activists committed to eco-social justice and the ideal of a flourishing Earth community.

Photo of earth from space

MA Curriculum: 36 units

I. Foundational Course (3 units)

Introduction to Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness

II. Philosophy, Cosmology and Consciousness Electives (18 units)

Select from the following courses (course options may vary):

Cosmological Powers

Cosmology of Literature

Synchronicity and Its Implications

Asian Spiritual Masters

Plato and Platonism

Christian Contemplative Traditions: History, Theology, Practice, and Theory

Merleau-Ponty: The Body and the Earth

Epic of the Universe

The Alchemy of Permaculture

Spirit and Nature

Karma and Biography

Becoming Intimate with Nature

A Brief History of Western Thought

The Great Turning

Science, Ecology, and Contested Knowledge(s)

Environmental Ethics

Perspectives on Integral Ecology

Touch the Earth

Krishna, Buddha, and Christ

Buddhism and Ecology

Integral Gaia

Hill of the Hawk I and II

The Earth Journey

Nature and Eros

Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy

Integral T'ai Chi

Hegel, Wilber, Morin: System and Method (Advanced Seminar)

Archetypal Process: Whitehead, Jung, and Hillman

Psyche and Cosmos I: Transpersonal Psychology and Archetypal Astrology

Psyche and Cosmos II: Transits in Depth (Practicum)

American Philosophy

James Hillman and Archetypal Psychology: An Introduction

Teilhard and Steiner

Archetypes, Art, and Culture

Advanced Seminar: C. G. Jung

Psyche and Spirit: From the Psychology of Religion to Transpersonal Theory

Advanced Seminar: Nietzsche's Life and Work

The Planetary Era: Toward a New Wisdom Culture

III. General Electives (13 units)

Choose courses from any CIIS program.

IV. Culminating Coursework (2 units)

Integrative Seminar (see description below)

V. Optional Thesis (0 units)

Advisor approval required (see description below)

MA, Integral Ecology Track: 36 units

I. Required Courses (6 units)

Introduction to Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness

Select one:

Towards an Integral Ecological Consciousness

Integral Gaia

II. Philosophy, Cosmology and Consciousness Electives (7 units)

Select from the courses listed in the electives list above.

III. Integral Ecology Electives (6 units)

Select from the following (course options may vary):

Cosmological Powers

Cosmology of Literature

Epic of the Universe

The Alchemy of Permaculture

Spirit and Nature

Becoming Intimate with Nature

The Great Turning

Science, Ecology, and Contested Knowledge(s)

Environmental Ethics

Touch the Earth: Integral Ecology Practicum

Buddhism and Ecology

Hill of the Hawk I and II

The Earth Journey

Nature and Eros

Advanced Seminar: Hegel, Wilber, Morin

The Planetary Era: Toward a New Wisdom Culture

IV. General Electives (12 units)

Choose courses from any CIIS program.

V. Integral Ecology Practicum (3 units)

Touch the Earth: Integral Ecology Practicum (This course combines a semester-long Integral Ecology fieldwork experience of the student's own choosing with a discussion seminar.)

VI. Culminating Coursework (2 units)

Integrative Seminar (see description below)

VII. Optional Culminating Coursework (0 units)

Advisor approval required (see description below)

Integrative Seminar

The Master's Integrative Seminar is structured to help graduating students discover and consolidate what they have learned in their studies. Through a process of collaborative inquiry, students refine their unique perspectives and their ability to bridge various bodies of knowledge, while developing plans for their next steps after graduation. The course culminates with a public presentation of the students' key insights to the assembled community. Students who plan to graduate in the summer or fall semesters should plan to take the Integrative Seminar in the preceding spring.

MA Thesis Option

An MA thesis is available under exceptional circumstances which are determined in consultation with the student's advisor. Requirements for approval to write an MA thesis:

1. A proposal for an MA thesis must secure the agreement of a program faculty member to serve as thesis mentor. The student and mentor must also secure the agreement of a program or appropriate CIIS faculty member to serve as the second reader. Both agreements should reflect a strong alignment between the student's proposed thesis topic and the faculty member's scholarly expertise and interests.

2. A program faculty member will be unlikely to serve as mentor for a thesis that does not issue from the student's positively evaluated coursework with the professor in question.

3. The student and topic must be at an advanced MA level.

4. The proposed topic must be able to be adequately treated within the proper thesis length of 60-80 pages.

MA Learning Outcomes

Our program supports students in the cultivation of both intellectual rigor and sympathetic imaginative capacities which will better enable them to enter fruitfully into a plurality of worldviews, historical eras, and cultural sensibilities. By understanding transformative historical and contemporary ideas, students will develop the ability to discern creative possibilities for bringing about life-enhancing futures.

Goal 1: Agents of Change: To generate creative and effective thinking and action in response to the unprecedented evolutionary challenge of the ecological, cultural, and spiritual crises that are currently facing the human and nonhuman members of the Earth community.

  • Students will be able to articulate sophisticated critiques of the causes and consequences of the current planetary crises.
  • In response to the dominant worldview, students will be able to generate alternatives that promote a socially and ecologically just future for the entire Earth community.

Goal 2: Sophisticated Evaluation: To develop and apply appreciative and critical evaluations of major transitions in worldviews including those that have contributed to the current planetary situation.

  • Students will be able to speak and write cogently about the nature of worldviews for a variety of scholarly and popular audiences.
  • Students will be able to engage confidently as public intellectuals in conversation regarding the history of and interaction between Western, Asian, and indigenous perspectives, remaining sensitive to the dangers of appropriation while also developing an appreciation for the potential of newly emerging hybridizations of these perspectives.

Goal 3: Transdisciplinarity: To critique, evaluate, and apply transdisciplinary scholarship.

  • Students will demonstrate competence in transdisciplinary thinking by integrating content and frameworks from a variety of disciplines to create scholarly products.
  • Students will be able to engage critically and constructively with a diverse array of research topics (e.g., religious, spiritual, and esoteric traditions, historical and scientific paradigms, and other marginalized perspectives and ways of knowing).

Goal 4: Inner and Outer Evolution: To clarify and expand the relevance of ideas studied to one's personal life and aspirations, with an eye to their implications for the transformation of culture and society at large.

  • Students will be able to build connections between their studies, their personal lives, and the larger communities in which they are embedded.
  • Students will be able to tap into and express individual creativity through personal and/or scholarly communication.

MA Admissions Requirements

Applicants must meet the general admissions requirements of the university. For Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness, applicants from a variety of academic backgrounds will be considered. The materials required are an autobiography, a statement of goals (ideally several pages), a writing sample, and transcripts. Applicants should be familiar with the program curriculum and the published writings of at least one program faculty member.

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