Admission Policies

California Institute of Integral Studies actively seeks a culturally and socially diverse student population. Decisions regarding admission are based on consideration of (1) potential for success in the chosen field of study based upon past academic or professional achievement, maturity, and motivation for educational and personal development; and (2) the congruence of the applicant's interests with the philosophy and purpose of the program and Institute.

Please review our complete set of admissions policies in our academic catalog.

Prospective students and applicants based within the United States but outside of California, please read the policies published on this page: CIIS State Authorization & Professional Licensure Policies & Procedures

Quick Link Menu:

Academic Requirements: Graduate Programs
Academic Requirements: Undergraduate Programs
International Students
Personal Interviews
Offer of Admissions and no Deferment Policy
Enrollment Deposit (Non-refundable)
Reapplication: Previously Accepted Applicants
Provisional Admission
Rejected Application
Change of Program
Unit Applicability Between Changed Programs
Reapply: Previously Accepted Applicant
Transfer Credit
Right to Rescind Admission
Special Students (i.e. Non-Degree Seeking Students)

Application Requirements

A complete application varies by program. Please see your program's apply page for specific application requirements. Complete applications may include the following items:

  • Online Application
  • Nonrefundable $65 application fee.
  • A written statement (length and content prompts dependent on program). Most programs (but not all) require an autobiography and goal statement. Some require an essay instead. Many programs also require a writing sample.
  • Official transcripts from all postsecondary institutions attended, in sealed official envelopes from the institution, and/or foreign credential evaluation for degrees completed outside of the United States.
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • See the requirements for specific programs listed in the academic programs section.

Academic Requirements

Graduate Programs

    Applicants to MA programs must have a BA or BS from a regionally accredited institution. Program - or discipline - specific accreditation cannot be substituted for regional accreditation.
  1. Applicants to the MSTCM or DACM programs, must have 90 semester units or 135 college units.
  2. Those applying to PhD programs must have both a MA/MS and a BA/BS (or their equivalents) from a regionally accredited institution in an appropriate discipline. Program - or discipline - specific accreditation cannot be substituted for regional accreditation.
  3. Students with an MA in an unrelated field may be admitted to a PhD program with additional coursework requirements.
  4. Applicants to the Clinical Psychology doctoral program must have earned a BA or BS for regular standing, and an MA, an MS, or a minimum of 40 semester units in psychology or counseling for advanced standing (see the academic programs section for details).
  5. A grade point average of 3.0 or higher from previous academic institutions is required by all programs, with the exception of the Doctor of Psychology program, which requires a 3.0 average for regular standing and a 3.5 average for advanced standing. See the individual program descriptions for additional requirements.

Undergraduate Program

  1. Applicants to the undergraduate BA/BS programs must have earned a minimum of 54 semester units of transferable credit from an accredited college. Up to 30 of these units may have been earned through satisfactory test results from the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), Excelsior College Examination (ECE), and Advanced Placement Exams. The maximum number of total units a student can transfer is 84, with 75 being the maximum for lower-division units. Coursework marked by a grade of C-, D, D-, or F, or coursework falling under the rubric "physical education" is not transferable. Coursework taken twice for credit will be counted only once. Developmental or remedial coursework that cannot be applied toward a Bachelor's degree will also not be accepted.
  2. If you have earned more than 54 units, but less than 60 units, we will also require a copy of your high school diploma, transcript, or GED certificate.
  3. Applicants must demonstrate a readiness to explore and develop their life direction or vocation, a commitment to learning that incorporates significant personal growth, a willingness to work within a group setting, and college-level communication skills.

International Students

An international student is a student who plans to study at CIIS on a non-immigrant visa. All international students at CIIS must be in an eligible visa classification to pursue studies. CIIS assists international students admitted to degree programs with the F-1 student visa application only.

In addition to meeting the general requirements for admission, international applicants who have earned their degree(s) outside the U.S./Canada must have a foreign credential evaluation service evaluate the degrees conferred.

Please visit the International Students page for credential evaluation services and links to the online applications.

Any applicant whose native language is not English is required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and achieve a minimum score of 80 on the Internet-based test. It is the applicant's responsibility to make arrangements to take this test.

Aside from meeting the admissions requirements, international applicants for the F-1 student visa must also demonstrate that they have the financial resources necessary to cover one year's costs, including tuition, room and board, and other related items upon acceptance to a degree program. This amount varies by degree and is likely to change from year to year. The costs associated with study at CIIS are reflected on the Certificate of Funding, which must be submitted by the applicant along with corroborating financial documents upon admission. Please visit the International Students page for details.

A Certificate of Eligibility Form I-20 for use in obtaining an F-1 student visa will be issued after the student has been admitted to a program of study and has submitted proof of financial support for one year of study. Students who enter the United States on an F-1 student visa must maintain full-time student status in fall and spring semesters. International students at ACTCM must maintain full-time status in the fall, spring and summer semesters.

Personal Interviews

Interviews are required by the BA Completion program, most MA programs, the PsyD program, all ACTCM and PhD programs. After all the documents have been received, qualified applicants will be contacted to arrange an interview. Most interviews will be conducted during the months of February and March. The interview structure and format vary according to program.

Offer of Admissions and no Deferment Policy

If an offer of admission is made, it is valid for one semester only - the semester stated in the offer letter. Offers of admission cannot be deferred; CIIS does not grant deferments. Applicants who accept the offer of admission accept the offer for the semester to which their application was submitted and the semester for which they were offered admission. Applicants who were admitted and signed the enrollment agreement but who do not to enroll in that semester after all will have their application and offer withdrawn; their enrollment deposit will not be refunded. Applicants can work with counselors towards re-application in future rounds (see paragraphs below). If offered admission for one particular application semester, it is not an indication or guarantee for admissions in future cycles.

Enrollment Deposit (Non-refundable)

Upon notification of acceptance into a degree program and to secure a place in the program, students are required to submit a nonrefundable $300 enrollment deposit within a certain timeframe from when the admissions offer was made. During the early part of the admisions cycle, applicants have 20 days to make their decision, but as we near the semester start, the decision timeline moves up to 10 days or fewer, if the semester start date is very close. The deposit is credited to the student’s account and is applied toward tuition for the intended start semester. Admitted students who do not pay a deposit within stated timeframe will not be guaranteed enrollment in their respective program and may forfeit their offer of admissions for the program. Students who submit an enrollment deposit forfeit it if they do not enroll in the intended term.

Reapplication: Previously Accepted Applicants

The admissions acceptance offer is valid for one semester only and cannot be deferred. Students not accepting the offer of admission may reapply to be considered in another admissions cycle. There is no guarantee that a student will be admitted again and students may be accepted or denied admissions in a future cycle, based on the competitiveness of that cycle. Applicants will be required to submit a new admissions application. Transcript will be kept on file for one year and can be rolled over from a previous application but other application materials will need to be submitted anew by the applicant. The Admissions Office may also require a one-page statement describing the reasons for not enrolling previously and addressing any circumstances that have changed and will now permit them to enroll. If a student has since studied at more institutions, the official transcripts from these institutions will also need to be submitted.

Provisional Admission

Provisional admission may be granted for the following reasons: (1) the degree or credit from the institution the student is currently attending has not yet been awarded or (2) the applicant is missing minor requirements required by the program. Full admission will be granted upon receipt of transcripts of the most recent degrees or receipt of missing materials. Students who are on provisionally admitted status are not eligible to receive financial aid. Students may hold provisional status for a maximum of one semester and must be fully admitted in order to register for a subsequent semester.

Rejected Application

An applicant denied admission by a program may contact the appropriate Admissions Counselor to discuss the steps needed to bolster the application and reapply in the future. However, please keep in mind that the Admissions Office cannot answer questions concerning the specific reasons an application was rejected. All admissions decisions are final.

Change of Program

Students wishing to transfer to another program must first speak with the new program to see if they would be a good fit. Students will then submit a change of program application along with the $100 change of program application fee to the Admissions office by the regular admissions deadlines. Please note that the $100 fee is nonrefundable, even if your application to change programs is denied. The Change of Program process is only available to fully admitted and enrolled students; those who are currently provisionally admitted can start the process but will not be accepted until they are a full admit.

The Admissions office will route your application file to the new program and will notify you of any modified application materials the program will require (in addition to the regular application materials). Once your application is completed, the program can make an admissions decision of accepted or declined. If a student is accepted to the new program, but declines acceptance, they can apply for a change of program to another program in that same semester, but the decision must be made before Admissions application deadline and the $100 fee will apply. The same rule applies to a student who is rejected by the new program.

Unit Applicability Between Changed Programs

A student changing from one CIIS program to another may be eligible to have CIIS units already earned apply toward the degree requirements of the new program. The number of these units is not subject to the one-sixth rule that applies to credit transferred from a degree program from which a student has graduated. The chair of the program to which the student is requesting to be changed determines which units, if any, are accepted in transfer. The program is responsible for notifying the student and the Registrar's Office of this information, of which requirements the student must fulfill, and of any other conditions the student must meet. If any units from the original program are to be used in another program, such units cannot be used again in the original program if the student completes the second program and returns to the original program.


An application for readmission must be submitted if a student has not maintained active students status (see Registration and Grading Policies). Applicants for readmission are required to meet current admissions requirements. Readmission applicants must submit the readmission application and a nonrefundable $65 application fee online and all supporting materials required by the program by the regular application deadlines. In addition, they must submit a one-page statement describing the reasons for not succeeding in their previous studies at CIIS and name any circumstances that have since changed and will now permit them to succeed. Transcripts submitted with the students original application to CIIS may be transferred from the original application file if available. Any missing or additional transcripts must be sent directly from the previous institution to CIIS Admissions. (We prefer that official transcripts are sent digitially to

Students who have become inactive and who wish to reenroll in a program that is no longer being offered at CIIS will be required to apply to another program. In such cases, the student will follow the same procedures for readmission as stated above. Once the application is complete, the Program Chair will determine how many units will be transferred from the previous program. This amount is not subject to the one-sixth rule that applies to transferring credits (see Transfer of Credit from Another Institution below).

Reapply: Previously Accepted Applicant

The offer of admissions is valid only for the semester to which the applicant applied. Applicants not accepting our offer of admissions for the requisite semester may reapply to the same program within one year. Applicants will be required to submit a new admissions application and a one-page statement describing the reasons for not enrolling previously and addressing any circumstances that have changed and will now permit them to enroll. Transcripts previously submitted within the last year will be rolled over to the new application. (If the student has since attended another institution since originally applying to CIIS will still need to be submitted.)

This policy will NOT guarantee admission; students will be re-interviewed by the program.

Transfer Credit

CIIS has established criteria to evaluate work submitted for consideration for transfer credit, and the applicant or student must demonstrate that the learning experience meets these criteria.

The following policies pertain to transfer credit for both undergraduate and graduate programs:

  • Transfer credit is not evaluated for students whose academic status is inactive.
  • Credits, not grades, transfer
  • Credit will only be granted if the subject matter is applicable to the individual's degree objective
  • Credits are not accepted for transfer to CIIS certificate programs.
  • Credit must be college level - developmental or college-preparatory courses are not accepted for transfer.
  • Continuing Education Units (CEU) are not accepted for transfer.
  • Unites taken in audit status are not accepted for transfer.
  • The same transfer credit will not be applied toward more than one CIIS program; this holds true even if the credit was graduate-level and applied toward a CIIS undergraduate program - it will not later be applied to a CIIS graduate program.
  • Credit from non-U.S. institutions may be accepted for transfer provided that acceptable documentation demonstrates that these institutions are their courses are equivalent to CIIS requirements; this documentation can be obtained by submitting non- U.S. transcripts for a course-by-course evaluation to World Education Services.

Undergraduate Transfer Credit

The School of Undergraduate Studies (SUS) accepts up to 84 units of transfer credit and must be able to accept up to 60 for an applicant to be fully admitted. These units may be earned through any combination of the following:

  • A maximum of 75 units from an accredited community or junior colleges; credit is accepted in accordance with the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) in which all California community and junior colleges particiapte, indicating IGETC-approved courses in their catalogs; the responsiblity for the selection of the proper courses for transfer credit, however, rests with the student
  • A maximum of 84 units from an accredited four-year institutions, with a maximum of 75 in the lower division and 40 in one one subject area (potentially more than 40 for interdisciplicany studies)
  • A maximum of 12 units from an accredited university extension programs for professional development, evaluated on a case-by-case basis
  • A maximum of 30 units in any combination of Advanced Placement (AP) examination credit (minimum score of 3), College Level Examination Program (CLEP) credit, or Excelsior College Examination (ECE) credit (grades no lower than C); such credit is not awarded after the start of the semester
  • A limited maximum, evaluated on a case-by-case basis, of Professional Military Education (PME) credit evaluated by the American Council on Education (ACE)

The following are further policies pertaining to undergraduate transfer credit:

  • Courses must be completed with a grade of C or better to be accepted for transfer.
  • Transfer credit will not be accepted more than once for identical or significantly similar courses of study. For instance, if the individual has taken two introductory biology courses, CIIS will not accept only one transfer credit. CIIS may require course descriptions to determine course content overlap.
  • Graduate-level courses may be accepted in transfer for undergraduate credit.
  • Courses taken in correspondence are acceptable for transfer.

The following credits will not be accepted for transfer:

  • Life experience credit (i.e., learning portfolio) granted by other institutions.
  • Physical education units except in these specifically defined areas: dance, yoga, some forms of martial arts.

Graduate Transfer Credit

The School of Professional Psychology & Health and the School of Consciousness and Transformation both accept graduate-level transfer credit. These units must:

  • Be no more than one-sixth of the total units required for the student's program;
  • Have been completed at an accredited institution;
  • Have been earned at the graduate level with a grade of B or better;
  • Not have been used to satisfy requirements for a previously earned academic degree;
  • Be approved for transfer by the candidate's academic advisor after being evaluated for content and quality.

The Master of Art programs in Counseling Psychology require that one year of practicum training be taken at CIIS. Practicum training units will not be accepted in transfer.

The following further policy pertains to graduate transfer credit:

  • Professional Military Education (PME) or training courses evaluated by the American Council on Education (ACE) may qualify for transfer credit. In considering the ACE recommendation, CIIS assesses the level and determines the amount of credit.

This policy also pertains to credit transferred from a CIIS degree program from which a student has graduated.

Right to Rescind Admission

CIIS reserves the right to rescind admission or enrollment in exceptional circumstances, whether occurring prior to the time of application, during the time of application review, or after the admission decision has been made, if the university finds that:

  1. Academic performance has declined since application.
  2. An applicant misrepresented or falsified any information in their application, for any reason.
  3. Behavioral issues or disciplinary incidents put in question the suitability of the applicant for the program.
  4. Conditions of acceptance outlined in the conditional acceptance letter were not met, or not met by the deadline.
  5. State authorization policies have changed.

Special Students (i.e. Non-Degree Seeking Students)

Individuals who wish to take courses for credit without being enrolled in a CIIS program may apply for Special Student status through the Registrar's Office. See the Special Student policies on the Registration and Grading Policies page. There, you can also find the Special Student Application, which you will need to fill out, collect signatures for from the Program Chair and faculty teaching the course, and submit to the Registrar's Office.

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