California Institute of Integral Studies: Distance Learning Programs In-Depth

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California Institute of Integral Studies

Online Degree Programs

San Francisco, California


The master's degree program in transformative leadership attracts those who want to bring deep change to their communities, organizations, or businesses. This program helps learners develop capacities to engage the increasing complexity that faces formal and informal leaders in human systems. In this program, learners grow their awareness of self, other, and organization, and they cultivate effective facilitation processes through reflection, practice, and scholarship. Throughout the program, learners develop their own transformative change projects that they implement and assess as their culminating work.

The doctorate in humanities, with an emphasis on transformative learning and change, is for those who wish to do inquiry about dimensions of transformative learning and its effect on deep change. Though a research degree, the program fosters an experiential pedagogy that engages the would-be researchers in the practice of transformative learning. In addition, learners approach experience and theory through an integral epistemology that involves mind, body, and spirit. Through this program, learners are engaged in fostering capacities to develop original, rigorous, and insightful scholarship.


The online curricula are offered in two formats: distance online and weekend residential. In both formats, students form learning communities and use the online, Web-based virtual campus, in which students and faculty and staff members interact.

In both formats, students also participate in weeklong intensives in a San Francisco Bay Area retreat setting. Intensives are held at the beginning of each semester. Distance online students otherwise take all their courses exclusively on the virtual campus. In contrast, weekend residential students meet face-to-face one weekend a month and may meet in face-to-face study groups and also take some courses via the virtual campus.


In the M.A. in transformative leadership program, learners are engaged with the field of leadership and organizational development in the context of transformative learning and change. Three courses on leadership allow learners to study the leadership field, inquire about self and transformative leadership, and, through a capstone project, apply their capacity to evoke change. Other courses develop proficiencies in action and inquiry, collaborative participation, and issues of diversity and difference. Learners are also organized to engage with peers, thus becoming their own human system, one that supports individual leadership projects. Electives allow learners to focus attention on topics appropriate to their development as transformative leaders and significant to their particular work context.

The Ph.D. program, with its emphasis on transformative learning, theory building, and research, engages learners in an array of literatures that illuminate the complexity of learning and change. Studies in transformative learning, paradigms of inquiry, systems, and participatory research methods are foundational to the program. In addition, the program's pedagogical commitment to learning in community allows learners to critically assess deep assumptions of the self and other while developing capacities to engage and research complexity, difference, and conflict.


Current information about the program and courses is available on the CIIS Web site, by telephone, or in person at CIIS in San Francisco.

California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco is a fully accredited university offering an online M.A. in transformative leadership and a Ph.D. in transformative learning and change in a unique learning community, in addition to residential Ph.D., Psy.D., M.A., and bachelor's completion degrees in psychology and the humanities. The Institute's commitment to the study and practice of multiple cultural and spiritual traditions and to their expression throughout the activities of the community promotes a stimulating learning environment with rigorous scholarship and supportive community—including the online programs.


CIIS programs attract scholars who wish to act from a spiritual foundation while helping to improve the effectiveness and well-being of individuals, communities, and organizations. The online degree faculty members bring practical experience and hold doctoral degrees relevant to transformation and change as well as online learning.


Applicants must meet the general admissions requirements of the Institute. In addition, applicants must submit two letters of recommendation—one from someone familiar with the applicant's ability to do advanced academic work and one from a supervisor in a recent professional or volunteer setting. Applicants are also asked to provide a critical writing essay and an autobiography. The autobiographical statement should describe major steps in the applicant's life that have led to the decision to pursue admission to this program. A resume of relevant experiences and a general statement of the proposed area of interest are also required.


As of the fall semester 2004, full-time tuition for an M.A. program for a 9-unit semester is $6255 per semester ($12,510 per year). For a Ph.D. program, 9-unit semester, tuition is $7515 per semester ($15,030 per year). For a 10- to 12-unit semester for an M.A. program, tuition is $7155 per semester ($14,310 per year). For a Ph.D. program, 10- to 12-unit semester, tuition is $8585 per semester ($17,170 per year). For less than 11 or more than 12 units per semester, the tuition rate per unit is $695 for an M.A. program and $835 for a Ph.D. program. Rates are subject to change.


Financial assistance in scholarships, loans, and grants is awarded on the basis of merit and/or need. A serious attempt is made to extend a personalized concerned approach to student financial needs while complying with governmental and donor regulations. General financial aid programs include Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), Institute scholarships, diversity scholarships, international scholarships, Veterans Administration Educational Benefits, Federal Family Education Loan Programs (FFELP), Federal Stafford Student Loans, and other loan and scholarship opportunities based on merit or need.


Individuals who wish to deepen their understanding and effectiveness as transformative change agents are welcome to apply. Typically, candidates have professional experience and are seeking to enhance their abilities through study, action, reflection, and scholarship.

Both master's and doctoral programs are also attractive to mature adults who wish to make a career transition or who are looking to approach change differently in their current site of practice. The ideal candidate also is seeking a program that uses an integral pedagogy, one that honors body, mind, and spirit. And finally, those who require a program that caters to the working professionals find the virtual campus a convenient venue.


Admissions Counselor
California Institute of Integral Studies
1453 Mission Street
San Francisco, California 94103
Telephone: 415-575-6150
Fax: 415-575-1264
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:

Complete admission information and applications are available through the CIIS Web site or through the Admissions Office.

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California Institute of Integral Studies: Distance Learning Programs In-Depth

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California Institute of Integral Studies: Distance Learning Programs In-Depth