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.
"Perhaps a new revelatory experience is taking place, an experience wherein human consciousness awakens to the grandeur and sacred quality of the Earth process. Humanity has seldom participated in such a vision since shamanic times, but in such a renewal lies our hope for the future for ourselves and for the entire planet on which we live."
Integral Ecology Curriculum
MA in Philosophy and Religion with a concentration in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness, Integral Ecology Track (Online)--36 units
I. Residential Intensives--0 units
Student are required to participate in three intensives at CIIS in San Francisco. The first two intensives occur at the start of each Fall semester in late August; the third intensive takes place at the end of the final Spring semester in mid-May.
Intensive I (Fall)
Intensive II (Fall)
Intensive III (Spring)
II. Introductory Course--3 units
Introduction to Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness
III. Integral Ecology--15 units
1. Foundations (choose 6 units)
Philosophy and Ecology: Toward a Green Metaphysics, Phenomenology, and Epistemology
Toward an Integral Ecological Consciousness
2. Practicum (3 units, optional)
Touch the Earth
3. Applications (choose 6-9 units)
Merleau-Ponty: The Body and the Earth
Next of Kin: Perspectives on Animal Ethics and Biodiversity
Plants and People: Understanding the Plant World Through Relationship
Mind and Nature in German Idealism
Judaisms and Ecology: Visions, Voices, and Practices (1 unit)
Spirit and Nature
The Great Turning
Science, Ecology, and Contested Knowledge(s)
Christianity and Ecology
Buddhism and Ecology
Earth Law: Toward a Flourishing Earth Community (1 unit)
Earth Law in Praxis (1 unit)
Ecologies of Liberation
Integral Permaculture (1 unit)
The Earth Journey
Nature and Eros
IV. General Electives--15 units
Choose 15 units from general PCC courses or from any CIIS program offering online courses.
V. Culminating Coursework--3 units
VI. Optional Thesis--0 units
Advisor approval required.
Thesis/Dissertation Proposal Completion
What will I learn in the Integral Ecology Track?
The Integral Ecology track allows students to study the complex character of the Earth community, the factors that threaten it, and possibilities for a better way forward. Students will explore vital links between ecology and other fields including philosophy, religion, psychology, and cosmology, and learn strategies for building a regenerative and ecologically just future among a community of planetary citizens.
The gravity and complexity of the global ecological crisis calls for an integral approach to ecology, one that broadens and deepens the study of ecology through active engagement with the humanities and social sciences. An integral ecology must draw from a whole spectrum of human inquiry, from the sciences (human, social, and natural), from the world's spiritual traditions (Asian, Western, and indigenous), and from collective wisdom and the insights of individual experience. The pedagogy of this track, and of the PCC program as a whole, reflects the importance of including diverse perspectives, including the experience and expertise brought to the program by students. While the instructor guides classroom discussion, PCC faculty emphasize the horizontal distribution of knowledge production, inviting students to participate in cultivating the ecology of ideas that will shape their learning experience through seminar style group presentations.
The Integral Ecology track focuses on ecology in the context of a multi- and trans-disciplinary vision, central to which is the recognition that one of the key factors determining the health of the Earth's biosphere is the behavior of human beings, and therefore many of the most important issues in the study of a truly integral ecology lie in the areas of human thought, psychology, and culture. The search for solutions to ecological problems must include as a core concern the transformation of human conceptual, psychological, and cultural patterns that have become an imminent danger to the health of the entire Earth community, and the cultivation of new structures of human experience and action that are more harmoniously aligned with the natural world and the larger cosmic order within which we dwell. That said, part of task of transforming the human to meet the challenges of the ecological crisis will require becoming re-attuned to the needs and values of the non-human community of life on this planet. The integral ecology track therefore also enters into conversation with deep ecological perspectives that recognize the intrinsic value of every member of the Earth community and remains open to learning from non-humans about how our species might less destructively inhabit this planet.
Who will enroll in the Integral Ecology Track?
Students who choose the track in integral ecology may be established or aspiring scholar-activists and policy makers seeking a deeper understanding of the causes of the ecological crisis and viable pathways forward for addressing it. In the past, PCC alumni focusing on integral ecology have developed pathways forward including documentary films (e.g., The Call of Life and more recently The Future of Energy), undergraduate curricula, and local ecological activism (including permaculture initiatives and work with Interfaith Power and Light). The integral ecology track also includes a practicum seminar called "Touch the Earth" that invites students to work with and learn from environmental organizations in their local community (either as volunteers or paid interns).