Program Requirements

The Transformative Studies Ph.D. consists of a minimum of 36.4 semester units (two years of full-time coursework and participation in four intensives) plus a dissertation.

Throughout the two years of online coursework, all students meet for virtual intensives twice per year, at the beginning of fall and spring semesters. Participation in all intensives is mandatory.

The program includes 18 units of foundational courses and 12 units of electives, which may be taken from elective courses offered at the University. 

Coursework concludes with two comprehensive exams in essay form. One is the literature review for the student’s dissertation topic, the other addresses the chosen research methodology for the student's dissertation.

Course of Study

Semester 1 | Fall 
TSD 6001 Online Intensive I (.1 unit)
TSD 8005 Introduction to Transformative Studies (3 units)
TSD 8125 Creative Inquiry: Scholarship for the 21st Century (3 units)
TSD 8210 Self, Society, and Transformation (3 units)

Semester 2 | Spring
TSD 6002 Online Intensive II (.1 unit)
TSD 8130 Transdisciplinarity: Complex Thought and the Pattern That Connects (3 units)
TSD 8215 Varieties of Scholarly Experience (3 units)

Semester 3 | Fall 
TSD 6003 Online Intensive III (.1 unit)
TSD 6526 The Ecology of Ideas (3 units)

Semester 4 | Spring 
TSD 6004 Online Intensive IV (.1 unit)

Comprehensive Exams - (6 units)
TSD 9610 Essay - Dissertation Literature Review (3 units)
TSD 9611 Essay - Dissertation Research Methodology (3 units)

Electives - 12 Units

Total units for the degree coursework - 36.4

Dissertation Proposal 
TSD 6900 Dissertation Proposal Completion (.1 unit per semester and up to 4 semesters to complete)

Dissertation 
TSD 7900 Dissertation Writing (.1 unit per semester and up to 8 semesters to complete)

Curriculum Highlights

TSD 8125 Creative Inquiry: Scholarship for the 21st Century (3 units) 
This course provides an introduction to research as a creative and transformative process. It will address issues such as the relationship between the academic and the transformative; what it means to be a scholar in the 21st century; how to get in touch with one’s research passion and integrate it into one’s coursework; how to think about research in a way that integrates personal reflection and personal growth with solid, grounded scholarship in an academic context; what the role of the literature review is and how to approach it; and how to develop one’s academic voice. The knowledge base is drawn from the philosophy of social science, educational and developmental psychology, creativity research, complexity, and inter- and transdisciplinarity theories and research.

TSD 8210 Self, Society, and Transformation (3 units)  
This course examines the relationship between self and society in a planetary context. It addresses the nature of interconnectedness, examines new ways of understanding our planetary predicament, and introduces interpretive frameworks from the sociology of knowledge, the sociology of social change, and the comparative study of cultures. Throughout the course, students are invited to look at their own research inquiry through these particular lenses.

TSD 6526 The Ecology of Ideas (3 units) 
All inquiry is situated in an “ecology of ideas,” which is to say the literature for a dissertation, including scholarly articles, books, essays, and /or cultural artifacts. This course supports students as they identify, evaluate, and orient themselves within all this dissertation literature. The course explores the nature and role of theory in any inquiry. Finally, it prepares students to develop and articulate their own stance and theoretical orientation for any type of dissertation, whether it be qualitative, theoretical, or arts-based.

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 .

Stay Connected to CIIS