Ph.D. in Transformative Studies (Online Program) California Institute of Integral Studies
Our Transformative Studies Ph.D. is CIIS' most well-established online program-one that's innovative and transdisciplinary with a focus on creative scholarship for personal and social transformation.
The focus of the online doctoral program in Transformative Studies is to develop thought-leaders who are committed to exploring leading-edge issues in innovative ways that combine scholarship, creativity, and self-inquiry.
The program encourages students to articulate research topics they are passionate about and supports participation in the scholarly discourse through publication. It views academic inquiry as an opportunity for personal and social transformation, grounding transformative processes in academic depth, rigor, and imagination.
The program focuses on the development of the following capacities:
- Making an original transdisciplinary research contribution in a chosen area of inquiry
- Engaging in inquiry as a creative and collaborative process in the context of a community of learners
- Applying one's research to real-world problems, articulating and embodying one's values, and skillfully putting theory into practice
- Engaging inquiry as an integral, spiritual, and transformative process of personal and social transformation
About the Program
The course of study is transdisciplinary. It is inquiry-driven rather than driven exclusively by the purview of a single discipline. Students develop a solid grounding in research in transformative studies, in the complexities of transdisciplinary research, and in the knowledge base of their topic.
The research draws on a plurality of relevant disciplines as students select and focus on a topic they are passionate about.
The program is also meta-paradigmatic: Students are exposed to a plurality of perspectives and disciplines and learn how to excavate the underlying assumptions and paradigms informing them.
Students learn ways of inquiry that connect and contextualize in order to integrate different, even divergent, perspectives in a coherent way.
The program stresses the role of the knower in the process of knowing. The psychology of knowledge, which addresses such issues as perception, assumptions, projection, creativity, habits of mind, error and illusion, and imagination, is considered central to the process of inquiry, as is the sociology of knowledge, which contextualizes inquiry in its social, cultural, and political milieu.
Every academic inquiry is viewed as an opportunity for an exploration of the roots and matrices of knowledge in self and society.
All inquiry is viewed as an opportunity for self-inquiry. Self-inquiry, in turn, is supported by and informs increasing academic depth and sophistication. Students are encouraged to understand the biases, assumptions, aspirations, and emotional investment that they bring to the process of inquiry.
An academic inquiry is framed as an opportunity for personal and social transformation, as a spiritual practice, and as an opportunity to cultivate creativity.
The program stresses the interrelationship between theory and practice. As thought-leaders and action-leaders, students develop skills that allow them to participate in scholarly discourse, to write for publication, and, if they choose, to conduct action-oriented research and interventions in applicable contexts.
Graduates of the program have the opportunity to teach in a discipline related to their area of interest and to conduct action-oriented research and interventions in human systems at the individual, group, and organizational levels.
Alternative Multi paper Dissertation Format
In addition to the standard format for doctoral dissertations, Transformative Studies allows for the use of an alternative format that consists of three peer-reviewed papers as the main basis for the dissertation.
Consciousness Studies Focus
The Consciousness Studies Focus allows the student to explore many aspects of human consciousness, including its evolution through time; its growth and transformation in each individual; and its expressions in art and society.
The online doctoral program in Transformative Studies consists of a minimum of 36-semester units (two years of full-time coursework) plus a dissertation. During the two years of coursework, students meet in person twice per year in the Bay Area for a six-day residential Intensive. Because Intensives are an essential aspect of the learning experience, participation in the Intensives is mandatory.
The program includes 21 units of foundations courses and 9 units of electives, which may be taken from both Transformative Leadership and Transformative Studies programs. Students will also work together in a Learning Community, a not-for-credit required course designed to provide an opportunity for community building, personal exchange, and reflection on the learning process.
Coursework concludes with two comprehensive exams in essay form: One addresses the knowledge base of the student's area of inquiry; the other addresses the chosen research methodology for the student's dissertation.
Required Courses - 21 Units
|1st semester (fall)||2nd semester (spring)||3rd semester (fall)||4th semester (spring)|
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Comprehensive Exams - 6 Units
- TSD 9610 Essay--Dissertation Literature Review
- TSD 9611 Essay--Dissertation Research Methodology
Electives - 9 Units