Fall 2020 cycle is closed. Fall 2021 cycle is opening 11/15/2020.
Please note: This program accepts applicants only in the Fall semester of each year.
The program attracts an international community of creative, self-directed learners from diverse academic and occupational backgrounds. Recent entering classes included educators, administrators, online teachers, theatrical directors, professional musicians, social workers, artists, health researchers, peace negotiators, ministers, and organizational and diversity consultants.
At the beginning of each semester, learners meet in the San Francisco Bay Area for an intensive five-day retreat combining workshops, presentations, advising, and strengthening of community bonds.
Admission to the Program
Applicants to the Transformative Studies doctoral program must submit two letters of recommendation, with at least one from an academic advisor or someone familiar with the applicant's ability to do advanced academic work.
Applicants are also asked to provide a recent example of scholarly writing, a résumé of relevant experiences, and, of particular importance, a one- to three-page statement of how the resources of this curriculum will be used to advance a chosen inquiry.
Skills and Competencies
The successful applicant will have demonstrated skills and competencies in his or her field of work, which might be in such areas as education, health care, the arts, social activism, psychology, organizational development, or corporate management.
Applicants should have a demonstrated capacity to learn and to work both independently and collaboratively. All students must have consistent access to a computer with the capacity to navigate the Internet and the web, and the ability to use the online medium for ongoing dialogue.
This transdisciplinary program combines a sophisticated understanding of ways to structure knowledge with the ability to apply that knowledge in original research. Students experience inquiry as a transformative process, exploring multiple theoretical approaches in a variety of disciplines, and skillfully matching appropriate methods to research questions. Award-winning teacher and author Allan Combs directs the Focus in Integral Studies.
Please visit Applying to CIIS for application deadlines and other important information.
Click here to view applications requirements
Online Admissions Application: Begin the application process by submitting an online graduate application and submitting the non-refundable $65 application fee payment.
Degree Requirement: A bachelor's and master's degree (or the equivalent) from a regionally accredited institution.
Minimum GPA: A GPA of 3.0 or higher in previous coursework is required. However, a GPA below 3.0 does not automatically disqualify an applicant and CIIS will consider a prospective student whose GPA is between 2.0 and 3.0. These individuals are required to submit a GPA Statement and are encouraged to contact the Office of Admissions to discuss their options.
Transcripts: Official transcripts from all accredited academic institutions attended where 7 or more credits have been earned. If transcripts are being mailed to CIIS, they must arrive in their official, sealed envelopes. Transcripts from institutions outside the US or Canada require a foreign credit evaluation through World Education Services (WES) or CIIS will also accept foreign credential evaluations that are in a comprehensive course-by-course format from the current members of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES).
Two Letters of Recommendation: Two letters of recommendation, at least one from an advisor or someone familiar with the applicant's ability to do advanced academic work. Recommenders should use standard business format and include full contact information-name, email, phone number, and mailing address.
Academic Writing Sample: A writing sample of eight-to-ten pages (typed, double-spaced) that demonstrates your capacity to think critically and reflectively and demonstrates graduate level writing abilities. A sample that uses outside sources must include proper citations. You may submit copies of previous work, such as a recent academic paper, article, or report that reflects scholarly abilities.
Goal Statement: A one-to-three page (typed, double-spaced) statement of your educational and professional objectives. Include how you will use the resources of the curriculum to advance your chosen inquiry.
Autobiographical Statement: A four-to-six page (typed, double-spaced) introspective autobiographical statement discussing your values, intellectual and professional journeys, aspirations, and life experiences that have led to your decision to apply.
Please note: International students and individuals who have studied at institutions outside the US and Canada have additional requirements. Please see the International Student page for additional details.
Foreign Credential Evaluation
For students with an international academic history, please follow these steps for your foreign credential evaluation (e.g. WES – World Education Services):
Please provide your complete and entire academic history on the application form.
For degrees earned outside of the United States or Canada, we will need a foreign credential evaluation. You, the applicant, need to initiate and request this, at your own expense, through a CIIS-approved foreign credential evaluation provider.
CIIS favors foreign credential evaluations provided by WES – World Education Services, and specifically the course-by-course-report. CIIS accepts the WES 'Basic' report, but applicants may wish to complete the 'ICAP'.
CIIS will also accept foreign credential evaluations that are in a comprehensive course-by-course format from the current members of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES).
The foreign credential evaluation is used in lieu of sending original transcripts from abroad to CIIS. Original or notarized copies of the transcripts should only be sent to the foreign credential provider, per the foreign credential provider's instructions; there is no need to send these to CIIS!
When requesting the foreign credential evaluation, choose the appropriate degrees to be evaluated for the degree that you are applying for. If applying for a PhD at CIIS, foreign degrees equivalent to a BA and MA must be evaluated. If applying for an MA at CIIS, foreign degrees equivalent to a BA must be evaluated.
If you have studied abroad as part of a degree received in the United States or Canada (i.e. transfer credits from abroad), no WES evaluation is needed - provided these units are showing on your US/Canadian degree transcript. If you wish to receive transfer units for any courses earned outside of the United States/Canada that are not showing on a US/Canadian degree transcript, we do need a foreign credential evaluation for these courses.
$5000 Diversity Scholarship for School Year 2020-2021
CIIS is a university deeply committed to diversity, inclusion, and advocating for social justice. The university, guided by these principles, is offering forty $5,000 Diversity Scholarships for the academic year 2020-2021. In line with our institutional mission of embracing traditions that enhance social and political liberation, these scholarships are intended to support the recruitment of a diverse student body, particularly students historically underrepresented in higher education. The Diversity Scholarship application for Spring 2021 is open as of September 15, 2020. The deadline to apply is November 15, 2020 by 11:59pm PT.
Click here to apply: Spring 2021 Diversity Scholarship Application
If you have any additional questions about admissions, please contact our admissions counselor: