Our PhD 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.

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PhD Curriculum

36 units of coursework plus a dissertation

I. Introduction to Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness (3 units)

Not required for graduates of the MA in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness program, who should fulfill this unit requirement with an alternate.

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: Integral Ecology Practicum

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

Archetypal Process: Whitehead, Jung, and Hillman

Advanced Seminar: Hegel, Wilber, Morin

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: Hegel and Jung

Advanced Seminar: Nietzsche's Life and Work

The Planetary Era: Toward a New Wisdom Culture

III. General Electives (15 units)

Select courses from any CIIS program.

IV. Foreign Language Proficiency (noncredit)

Proficiency may be recommended depending on the disseration topic, and is demonstrated by one of the following:

A. Two years of successful college coursework

B. Satisfactory score on the ETS Foreign Language Reading Exam

C. Additional language study (depending on dissertation topic)

V. Comprehensive Exams (0 units)

VI. Dissertation (0 units)

Integral Ecology PhD

36 units of coursework plus a dissertation

I. PARP 6060 Introduction to Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness (3 units)

Not required for graduates of our MA program.

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

Select from the courses listed in the electives list above.

III. Integral Ecology Electives (9 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

Towards an Integral Ecological Consciousness

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 (6 units)

Select courses from any CIIS program.

V. Comprehensive Exam (0 units)

VI. Dissertation (0 units)

Comprehensive Examinations

The standard format for each comp exam (there are two) consists of an annotated bibliography along with a discussion paper that forms the basis for a dialogue between the student and the supervisor. At least one of the exams must be taken with a program faculty member. Ideally, all other coursework will be completed, though it is possible to do one of the examinations concurrently with a last course. Each comprehensive exam must be completed in one semester.

The first comprehensive exam is a general one, consisting of a 20– to 25–page essay drawing from the program's recommended reading list and other relevant sources, situated in the context of the first and/or second of the PhD learning goals (see below). With the recommendation of the student's faculty mentor and the program chair, a student may opt for an oral comprehensive exam as an alternative to the written exam.

The second comprehensive exam is specialized, preparing the student for framing the dissertation proposal by reviewing the literature of the student's field of interest. The exam consists of a reading list and a 20– to 25–page essay, to be followed up by a discussion with faculty.

Dissertation

Program faculty direct dissertations in two broad specializations: Integral Ecology and Cosmology, and Archetypal and Consciousness Studies. After successfully completing both comprehensive exams, the student may begin working on the dissertation proposal. The dissertation proposal must be finished in three semesters; a student may petition the mentor in writing for an extra semester, but it should not be assumed that such an extension will be granted. Once the proposal is completed and approved by a three person committee, the student may begin writing the dissertation proper. Throughout the dissertation writing process, the student registers for zero units, which are charged at a flat fee.

Learning Outcomes

Our doctoral 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.

Goal 5: Historical Knowledge: To analyze the evolution of Western thought through the ideas of major figures of Western intellectual and spiritual history in relation to the challenges of the present moment.

  • Students will be able to pass two comprehensive exams, one of which will demonstrate comprehension of principal ideas and themes in the development of Western thought as reflected in the program's "Guide to Important Texts" (available in our office or on MyCIIS).
  • Students will be able to demonstrate familiarity with the relevant developments in the history of Western thought in the formal treatment of the dissertation topic.

Goal 6: Original Contribution: To produce a work of original scholarship of publishable quality that engages ideas from a transdisciplinary perspective, including a sufficient mastery in depth of at least one subject area, with an eye to the paradigmatic assumptions and implications for the transformation of culture and society at large.

  • Students will be able to present the research and ideas that will form the basis of a dissertation in a well-organized and persuasive public lecture to our community of faculty and students.
  • Students will be able to write a dissertation that offers a substantial and original contribution to scholarship, and is certified as such by at least two of our program's faculty members. Dissertation is not to exceed 250 pages.

Admissions Requirements

Admission to the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness PhD program is increasingly selective. It is independent of admission to our MA program and requires a separate admissions application. An applicant for the PhD must have done outstanding work at the MA level. In addition, the PhD applicant must (1) identify at least one program faculty member who would be appropriate to serve as a mentor in the PhD program and a second faculty member who would be able and willing to serve on the dissertation committee; (2) show close familiarity with that faculty member's particular area of expertise; and (3) demonstrate the necessary preparation and motivation for specializing in that area (or areas), especially with respect to research leading to the dissertation. The materials required for application are an autobiography, a two– to four–page statement of goals, a writing sample, two letters of recommendation, and transcripts.

Those admitted into the doctoral program who do not have an MA from CIIS in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness may be required to complete up to an additional 18 units of coursework (minus equivalencies) from the core section of the MA curriculum.

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