How long is the Ph.D. course of study?
The time it takes to complete the Ph.D. varies greatly depending on whether you enroll part-time or full-time and the time it takes you to conceptualize and develop an original dissertation project. The average time that our Ph.D. students take is between five and eight years.
What kind of careers do graduates have?
See below for a short list of some of our esteemed graduates and their professional titles:
Cecillia Naomi Lipp, Executive Director, International Action Network for Gender Equity & Law
Lorin Jackson, Public Services Librarian, Scholar and Activist, AIDS Library
Anna Joyce, Psychotherapist
Marisa Manriquez, Healer, Yoga Instructor, Artist, Life Coach, Soul Witness
Nadirah Adeye, Faculty Relations Manager, Shift Network
Leilani Birely, Priestess and Founder, Daughters of the Goddess
Chandra Alexandre, Founder and Executive Director, SHARANYA: A Devi Mandir Goddess Temple
Cristina Rose Smith, Professor, Gender and Ethnic Studies, California State University, Dominquez Hills, CA
Eahr Joan, Reference Librarian, CIIS
Marcelle Williams, Co-Chair, The Women's Caucus at the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature
Deborah Santana, Author and CEO Founder, Do A Little Foundation
Tricia Grame, Visual Artist
Sandy Miranda Radio Producer, KPFA
How can I fund my degree?
Our program is committed to helping students attain and maintain access to their studies. With our diverse student body in mind, we've curated a number of resources for scholarships, awards, and funding in order to best support you in your studies at CIIS. View our Scholarship and Funding Resource Guide to learn more.
Many of the resources listed under "General Scholarships" are geared toward women, while some are for people of all genders. Several resources are for people who are low-income, people working on social justice scholarship, or people who have unique life circumstances. We've also developed a list of scholarships geared toward under-represented groups in academia.
This guide is best viewed on a computer. The title of each scholarship listed is a link to the direct website where you can find more information and scholarship applications. Please check the scholarship websites for application deadlines. For further questions about financial aid, including grants, further scholarships, loans, default prevention and counseling, financial planning, work-study, financial aid appeals, and more, please contact our financial aid office.
Are GREs required?
You are not required to take the GREs for admission into the program.
Can you tell me about your accreditation?
CIIS is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges-Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). Read more about CIIS’ accreditation.
What kind of work does the program prepare me for?
Our graduates fill a number of roles and leadership positions in various fields—academia, research, policy making, education, social entrepreneurship, nonprofits, creative arts, restorative justice, and many more. Our program has a strong emphasis on social justice and seeks to make an impact on the world at large by providing students with the tools to think deeply and critically about local and transnational issues, and to affect change through an integrative approach to education that values the spiritual dimensions of our human experience.
We recognize that there is no clearly paved career trajectory for someone with a degree in women's spirituality; much depends on a student's objective, self-motivation, and entrepreneurship. Students tailor their studies to their specific areas of interest, and our graduates have diverse careers. Our curriculum includes a course on vocation design to give students tools for career creation. Learn more about Graduate Outcomes.
What kinds of dissertations are acceptable in the program?
The Women's Spirituality program is interdisciplinary, so dissertations may cover a wide range of topics.
Is the Women's Spirituality program on social media?
What are graduates saying about the program?
"I realize that I am capable because of the program. This power helps me set my priorities and goals in a way that puts me first in my professional life. Too often our needs are neglected as women, and more specifically as women of color. I had practice in the program to respectfully disagree and assert my personal values in an academic way that helps me continue to shape my professional identity and energy." —Lorin Jackson
"This degree resulted in enormous changes in the way I felt about my work. Through spending time with the curanderas, the way I worked began to evolve as well.... The fact that all life and growth take place within a spiritual journey was more prominent in my assessment of and solutions to client challenges. I began to view my work as a true healing art." —Anna Joyce
"All I have learned from the classes, my teachers and ancestor spur me forth to share the forgotten and lost knowledge that is so powerful and that can become a vehicle for womyn to move together in sisterhood. Our foremothers left legacies for us to inherit. It is our right and blessing to join together to reclaim, preserve and perpetuate the traditions and ceremonies of our ancestors." —Leilani Birely
"My five years in the program deepened my engagement with caring and abundant epistemologies and ontologies. With mentors and teachers at and connected to CIIS, I was nurtured and encouraged to seek out the gifts of my motherline-women of color who survived and thrived because of their intuitive strength. The ‘mothering' I received at CIIS helped to develop my goals in my own classrooms. I see myself as part of the lineage of women who have come through the program and I am now passing on my own intuitive strength to my students, most of whom are women of color. The knowledge and wisdom of matriarchal and indigenous and POC perspectives is what I share, and it is my responsibility and honor." —Cristina Rose Smith
"I had always had a passion for seeking out the unheard voice and the program gave me the tools and structure to continue the last segment of my graduate career on a path that was not only familiar, but was lacking in my higher ed career. The PhD has supported my exploration of women's voices, but it has also given me the ability to network and find a group of women who support women's words and voices within the academy through the Women's Caucus at AAR/SBL." —Marcelle Williams
"My life has always been about spirituality and social justice. I returned to CIIS to earn my MA to better understand the disparities in the world for women and to be able to articulate women's voices and leadership in my work, which I call spiritual activism." —Deborah Santana
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 reach out to the Admissions Office.