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Our PhD degree in Philosophy and Religion with a Concentration in Women's Spirituality is designed for students who seek to deepen their knowledge in the emergent academic field of Women's Spirituality, especially as it relates to philosophy and religion, women's studies, and ethnic studies. Students develop advanced skills in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary women's spirituality research and writing and are prepared to make an original contribution to the field.

Our flexible degree format offers the opportunity for students all over the Untied States and the world to study with us.

Areas of Scholarship

The Women's Spirituality, Philosophy and Religion doctoral program focuses on three broad and deepening areas of emphasis:

  • Women and World Religions
  • Feminist and Ecofeminist Philosophies and Activism
  • Women's Mysteries, Sacred Arts, and Healing

The multiple epistemological frameworks emphasized by our faculty and students include women's spiritual ways of knowing; philosophical worldviews; religious belief systems; theology/thealogy; and womanist, feminist, mujerista, sisterist, indigenous, and decolonial lenses.

Learn more about the PhD curriculum here.

Dissertation

The doctoral dissertation includes the student's voice within an original contribution to the growing body of knowledge of Women's Spirituality in relationship with Women's Studies, Philosophy, Religion, Ethnic Studies, and/or the Humanities. It envisions personal and social transformation, and it is grounded in the literature and standpoint of Women's Spirituality and at least one other academic field. Our doctoral students engage an original and substantive research question for the dissertation that aims to advance the field of Women's Spirituality.

To view dissertations from our program alums, please visit our dissertations page here.

Accelerated PhD Program

The Women's Spirituality program offers an accelerated PhD program for those who want to continue on with their studies from our Masters program. Those who want to pursue this option must first apply and be admitted into our MA program, then apply for the PhD program during their second year of master's study. A graduate of our master's program may apply for this track within two years after receiving the MA. Depending on the nature of the proposed doctoral study, some students may not be eligible for this accelerated program.

PhD Program Learning Outcomes

Please click on the goals below to view our PhD Program Learning Outcomes

Goal One: Make an Original and Substantial Contribution to the Discipline of Women’s Spirituality

Through their doctoral work, students will engage an original and substantive research question for the dissertation that advances the field of Women's Spirituality. Students will also produce rigorous and critical scholarship that maintains currency with the themes and issues in the field. Additionally, students will demonstrate both independent and collaborative modalities of intellectual and practical work while developing capacities to work with diverse ways of knowing and multiple theoretical frameworks and methodologies, including those that contest dominant paradigms and theories: e.g., feminist, womanist, postcolonial, indigenous, queer, critical, etc. 

Goal Two: Demonstrate Advanced Research Skills

As a priority, our program prepars students to situate the trans-disciplinary scholarship of Women's Spirituality in relationship to: at least one other academic discipline, such as Women's Studies/Gender Studies, Religion, Philosophy, and/or Ethnic Studies, by engaging the knowledge of primary and secondary texts, voices, themes, and debates in the literature(s); local and global social, spiritual, and political discourses and movements. 

Through coursework and dissertation work, students will integrate traditional research/methodological approaches with feminist, embodied, critical, reflective, transpersonal, and/or collaborative community-based approaches. To complement the above goals,  students will integrate research from multiple spiritual/wisdom traditions, sacred knowledge, scripture, myth, ritual, and praxis while critically analyzing and evaluating one's own standpoint, framework/worldview, and findings; and those of others. To prepare students to continue their contributions after their dissertation completion, our program emphasizes the importance of demonstrating an ability to communicate one's findings in both scholarly and public arenas, using complex and nuanced language appropriate to the venue.

Goal Three: Demonstrate a Commitment to Socially-Relevant Scholarship

It is a  top priority within our programs that students are able to synthesize and evaluate multiple and diverse philosophies, theologies/thealogies, and theoretical frameworks in the field of Women's Spirituality  Inside and outside the classroom, students are expected to keep abreast of current advances within the field of Women's Spirituality and related areas. Through coursework, students will demonstrate an ability to connect one's academic inquiry with real-world concerns of communities outside academia.

Goal Four: Demonstrate Transformation of Self and Society

Students will be prepared to articulate, orally and in writing, personal reflections that exhibit growth in self-awareness (including one's socio-political standpoint), emotional intelligence, and spiritual/philosophical/religious development.  As is important in any field, students will also be prepared and supported to articulate, orally and in writing, growth in cultural sensitivity/humility and awareness of one's relationship to other humans and to the rest of the natural world. This will also include demonstrating a complex and critical understanding of diversity and pluralism, including but not limited to diversity of a) gender, gender identity, sexual orientation; b) race, ethnicity, nationality, and culture; and c) ecological, spiritual, and religious identities. Lastly, students will be supported in their ability to critically evaluate multiple perspectives, including interconnected systems of oppression as well as practices of social transformation 

To complement students' work in an Area of Emphasis within the program, students will be expected to (upon completing the program) understand and apply one or more modalities of healing, creative production, and/or spiritual practice, as well as consciously cultivate a career path toward employment and public praxis for an "inspired vocation" or calling 

Goal Five: Demonstrate Professional Skill

The Women's Spirituality Program makes it a priority to help students develop teaching skills grounded in womanist/feminist and integral pedagogies, to be demonstrated through public presentations of scholarly papers or art work at professional or academic organizations, art exhibits, and other public venues; and in a style appropriate to the field or discipline and setting. To make sure that students are prepared to continue contributing to the field of Women's Spirtituality post-dissertation completion, students will develop strong ability to articulate ideas in clear academic writing, to be communicated through through research projects and/or publishing; and connect academic studies to grassroots activism, the non-profit sector, and/or other academic venues, through community service, internships, workshops, art exhibits, public lectures, and similar events.

Students will be supported in demonstrating leadership and facilitation skills in mediating "difficult conversations" that emerge through eco-socio-political diversities and/or facilitation of public rituals, workshops, and other special events; developing proficiency in digital research skills as well as visual literacy, to be used for the presentation of one's work; cultivating good listening skills (online and in the classroom) and the ability to give and receive constructive feedback on academic work. Lastly, students will responsibly embody the ethical standards of one's profession.

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