Ph.D. in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness

General

Program Description

The Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness program is dedicated to re-imagining the human species as a mutually enhancing member of the Earth community.

Our program attracts intellectually engaged individuals who are in varying degrees dismayed by what they see happening in modern societies and who are striving to find meaningful ways to develop their gifts to serve the future of the world.

The program supports those called to meet the earth community's unprecedented evolutionary challenge by offering a rigorous and supportive learning community in which students find their voice and vision as leaders.

Learning Outcomes

Our doctoral program supports students in the cultivation of both intellectual rigor and sympathetic imaginative capacities which will better enable them to enter fruitfully into a plurality of worldviews, historical eras, and cultural sensibilities. By understanding transformative historical and contemporary ideas, students will develop the ability to discern creative possibilities for bringing about life-enhancing futures.

Goal 1: Agents of Change: To generate creative and effective thinking and action in response to the unprecedented evolutionary challenge of the ecological, cultural, and spiritual crises that are currently facing the human and nonhuman members of the Earth community.

  • Students will be able to articulate sophisticated critiques of the causes and consequences of the current planetary crises.
  • In response to the dominant worldview, students will be able to generate alternatives that promote a socially and ecologically just future for the entire Earth community.

Goal 2: Sophisticated Evaluation: To develop and apply appreciative and critical evaluations of major transitions in worldviews including those that have contributed to the current planetary situation.

  • Students will be able to speak and write cogently about the nature of worldviews for a variety of scholarly and popular audiences.
  • Students will be able to engage confidently as public intellectuals in conversation regarding the history of and interaction between Western, Asian, and indigenous perspectives, remaining sensitive to the dangers of appropriation while also developing an appreciation for the potential of newly emerging hybridizations of these perspectives.

Goal 3: Transdisciplinarity: To critique, evaluate, and apply for a transdisciplinary scholarship.

  • Students will demonstrate competence in transdisciplinary thinking by integrating content and frameworks from a variety of disciplines to create scholarly products.
  • Students will be able to engage critically and constructively with a diverse array of research topics (e.g., religious, spiritual, and esoteric traditions, historical and scientific paradigms, and other, marginalized perspectives and ways of knowing).

Goal 4: Inner and Outer Evolution: To clarify and expand the relevance of ideas studied to one's personal life and aspirations, with an eye to their implications for the transformation of culture and society at large.

  • Students will be able to build connections between their studies, their personal lives, and the larger communities in which they are embedded.
  • Students will be able to tap into and express individual creativity through personal and/or scholarly communication.

Goal 5: Historical Knowledge: To analyze the evolution of Western thought through the ideas of major figures of Western intellectual and spiritual history in relation to the challenges of the present moment.

  • Students will be able to pass two comprehensive exams, one of which will demonstrate comprehension of principal ideas and themes in the development of Western thought as reflected in the program's "Guide to Important Texts" (available in our office or on MyCIIS).
  • Students will be able to demonstrate familiarity with the relevant developments in the history of Western thought in the formal treatment of the dissertation topic.

Goal 6: Original Contribution: To produce a work of original scholarship of publishable quality that engages ideas from a transdisciplinary perspective, including a sufficient mastery in-depth of at least one subject area, with an eye to the paradigmatic assumptions and implications for the transformation of culture and society at large.

  • Students will be able to present the research and ideas that will form the basis of a dissertation in a well-organized and persuasive public lecture to our community of faculty and students.
  • Students will be able to write a dissertation that offers a substantial and original contribution to scholarship and is certified as such by at least two of our program's faculty members. The dissertation is not to exceed 250 pages.

space, continuum, cosmology

About the Program

Our Ph.D. program has been designed to help shape the intellectual, moral, and spiritual leadership necessary for meeting historic global challenges. Drawing upon some of the most powerful ideas and impulses of our philosophical, scientific, and religious traditions, our faculty has constructed an intensive multidisciplinary course of study to help accelerate students' journeys into their leadership roles.

Course of Study

36 units of coursework plus a dissertation

I. Introduction to Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness (3 units)

(Not required for graduates of the MA in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness program, who should fulfill this unit requirement with an alternate.)

II. Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness Electives (18 units)

Select from the following courses (course options may vary):

  • Cosmological Powers
  • Cosmology of Literature
  • Synchronicity and Its Implications
  • Asian Spiritual Masters
  • Plato and Platonism
  • Christian Contemplative Traditions: History, Theology, Practice, and Theory
  • Merleau-Ponty: The Body and the Earth
  • Epic of the Universe
  • The Alchemy of Permaculture
  • Spirit and Nature
  • Karma and Biography
  • Becoming Intimate with Nature
  • A Brief History of Western Thought
  • The Great Turning
  • Science, Ecology, and Contested Knowledge(s)
  • Environmental Ethics
  • Perspectives on Integral Ecology
  • Touch the Earth: Integral Ecology Practicum
  • Krishna, Buddha, and Christ
  • Buddhism and Ecology
  • Integral Gaia
  • Hill of the Hawk I and II
  • The Earth Journey
  • Nature and Eros
  • Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy
  • Integral T'ai Chi
  • Archetypal Process: Whitehead, Jung, and Hillman
  • Advanced Seminar: Hegel, Wilber, Morin
  • Psyche and Cosmos I: Transpersonal Psychology and Archetypal Astrology
  • Psyche and Cosmos II: Transits in Depth (Practicum)
  • American Philosophy
  • James Hillman and Archetypal Psychology: An Introduction
  • Teilhard and Steiner
  • Archetypes, Art, and Culture
  • Advanced Seminar: C. G. Jung
  • Psyche and Spirit: From the Psychology of Religion to Transpersonal Theory
  • Advanced Seminar: Hegel and Jung
  • Advanced Seminar: Nietzsche's Life and Work
  • The Planetary Era: Toward a New Wisdom Culture

III. General Electives (15 units)

Select courses from any CIIS program.

IV. Foreign Language Proficiency (noncredit)

Proficiency may be recommended depending on the dissertation topic, and is demonstrated by one of the following:

  • Two years of successful college coursework
  • Satisfactory score on the ETS Foreign Language Reading Exam
  • Additional language study (depending on the dissertation topic)

V. Comprehensive Exams (0 units)

VI. Dissertation (0 units)

Integral Ecology Track

36 units of coursework plus a dissertation

I. Introduction to Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness (3 units)

Not required for graduates of our MA program.

II. Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness Electives (18 units)

Select from the courses listed in the electives list above.

III. Integral Ecology Electives (9 units)

Select from the following (course options may vary):

  • Cosmological Powers
  • Cosmology of Literature
  • Epic of the Universe
  • The Alchemy of Permaculture
  • Spirit and Nature
  • Becoming Intimate with Nature
  • The Great Turning
  • Science, Ecology, and Contested Knowledge(s)
  • Environmental Ethics
  • Towards an Integral Ecological Consciousness
  • Touch the Earth: Integral Ecology Practicum
  • Buddhism and Ecology
  • Hill of the Hawk I and II
  • The Earth Journey
  • Nature and Eros
  • Advanced Seminar: Hegel, Wilber, Morin
  • The Planetary Era: Toward a New Wisdom Culture

IV. General Electives (6 units)

Select courses from any CIIS program.

V. Comprehensive Exam (0 units)

VI. Dissertation (0 units)

Dissertation

Program faculty direct dissertations in two broad specializations: Integral Ecology and Cosmology, and Archetypal and Consciousness Studies. After successfully completing both comprehensive exams, the student may begin working on the dissertation proposal. The dissertation proposal must be finished in three semesters; a student may petition the mentor in writing for an extra semester, but it should not be assumed that such an extension will be granted. Once the proposal is completed and approved by a three-person committee, the student may begin writing the dissertation proper. Throughout the dissertation writing process, the student registers for zero units, which are charged at a flat fee.

Admission Requirements

Our uniquely transdisciplinary curriculum, taught by renowned faculty, stimulates both analysis and imagination. Studying the historical intersections of ideas in philosophy, science, and religion, doctoral scholars prepare to teach, publish, and take on activist roles in such areas as advocacy, sustainability, counseling, and politics.

Our program fosters visionary thinking and passionate debate, beginning with our annual retreat at the renowned Esalen Institute. Throughout the year, forums, symposia, and conferences complement PCC Podiums, where doctoral students who have finalized their dissertations make presentations. The PCC faculty directs dissertations in two broad areas: Integral Ecology and Cosmology, and Archetypal and Consciousness Studies. Admission to the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness Ph.D. program is increasingly selective.

Ph.D. admission is independent of admission to the MA program; it requires a separate application. An applicant for the Ph.D. must have done outstanding work at the MA level. In addition, the Ph.D. applicant must do the following:

Given your anticipated area or areas of specialization, identify at least one PCC core faculty member who would be appropriate to serve as a mentor in the Ph.D. program.

Show close familiarity with that faculty member's particular area of expertise.

Demonstrate the necessary preparation and motivation for specializing in that area (or areas), especially with respect to research leading to the dissertation.

Students admitted into the doctoral concentration who do not have an MA from CIIS in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness may be required to complete up to an additional 18 units of coursework (minus equivalencies) from the core section of the MA curriculum.

Application 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).
  • Autobiographical Statement
    A four-to-six page (typed, double-spaced) introspective autobiographical statement discussing your values, emotional and spiritual insights, aspirations, and life experiences that have led to your decision to apply. The autobiographical statement should describe some themes or significant life events that have a direct bearing on your decision to apply to this program.
  • Goal Statement
    A two-to-four page statement of your educational and professional objectives and demonstrating familiarity and alignment with at least one core faculty member's area of expertise. Explain your motivation for specialization in this area. The goal statement should articulate what you hope to gain from your time in PCC and, if appropriate, how your time in PCC relates to your long-term personal and professional aspirations.
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
    Recommenders should use standard business format and include full contact information-name, email, phone number, and mailing address.
  • Research Proposal
    In 300-900 words please propose the research project you hope to work on in your doctoral studies. (We understand that your research project might change as you pursue your degree with us.)
  • 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.

International Students

Please note: International students and individuals who have studied at institutions outside the US and Canada have additional requirements.

Last updated Nov 2020

About the School

California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) is an innovative, forward-thinking university based in San Francisco, California.

California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) is an innovative, forward-thinking university based in San Francisco, California. Read less
San Francisco