Program Overview

The mission of our Transformative Studies Ph.D. program is to develop transdisciplinary scholars committed to exploring leading-edge issues in innovative ways that combine scholarship, creativity, and self-inquiry.

The program stresses the role of the knower in the process of knowing. The psychology of knowledge, which addresses such issues as perception, assumptions, projection, creativity, habits of mind, error and illusion, and imagination, is considered central to the process of inquiry, as is the sociology of knowledge, which contextualizes inquiry in its social, cultural, and political milieu. Students are encouraged to understand the biases, assumptions, aspirations, and emotional investment that they bring to the process of inquiry.

We invite students to take a systems view of a topic of interest, interrogating its context and complexity. From there, students will design a dissertation drawing on a wide range of qualitative and theoretical research approaches. We emphasize breaking free from the limitations of disciplinary boundaries and allowing your creativity to blossom in the research process. Students learn to connect and contextualize in order to integrate different, even divergent, perspectives in a coherent way.

Using the supportive context of the program’s cohort-based learning community, we provide students the space to engage in academic inquiry as a creative, spiritual, and transformative process of personal and social transformation. Through dialogue with faculty and participation in scholarly discourse through publication, you will be encouraged to articulate the research topics you are passionate about.

Doctor of Philosophy in Transformative Studies

Length of Coursework
2
Years
Number of Units
36.4
Format
Online classes icon
Online

Consciousness Studies Focus

Students in the Transformative Studies Ph.D. program at CIIS have the opportunity to specialize their degree by electing for the Consciousness Studies Focus.

The Consciousness Studies Focus, directed by award-winning author and professor, Allan Combs, allows students to explore many aspects of human consciousness, including its evolution through time; its growth and transformation in each individual; and its expressions in art and society.

A minimum of two electives in consciousness studies are required as well as a consciousness-related dissertation.

Career Paths

As a Ph.D. program, all of our Transformative Studies students already hold a master’s degree, and many are already situated in a career that is reflected in their dissertation topics. Our graduates go on to contribute to the development of better research and scholarship in their professional areas of work, such as:

  • Teaching, writing, and other academic contributions
  • Consulting, think tanks, non-profits, corporate 
  • Other fields related to personal and social transformation

Questions? Contact us.

We are here to help! If you have any questions about applying to a program or registering for an Info Session, please contact the Admissions Office at 415-575-6154 or .

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