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Graduate Programs 

in Comparative Religions & Philosophy

 A unique exploration in Spiritual Education

The programs in Comparative Religion and Philosophy at CIHS provide an educational opportunity for graduate students to investigate the ramifications of a personal commitment to spirituality and spiritual practices in the East and in the West.

Integrating meditation practices, theories, and philosophical speculations, this course of study also entails philosophical inquiries into mainstream, materialistic views of the nature of reality and human existence.

The M.A. curriculum is designed to provide scholarly training in the comparative and historical study of religion, in-depth examination of particular religions that have had major influences on human history, as well as providing expert guidance and instruction in spiritual practices and inquiry. The M.A. program is a stand-alone program, yet at the same time it provides  the foundation courses in religion, integral spirituality, and philosophy which will prepare students for the Ph.D. in Comparative Religion and Philosophy.

The Ph.D. program in Comparative Religion and Philosophy provides a whole range of opportunities for spiritual practices. Students research into- and compare Eastern and Western worldviews, philosophies, and religions, including mainstream and indigenous spiritual practices. 

The Ph.D. Program in Comparative Religion and Philosophy is aimed at: Providing scholarly instruction in Eastern and Western religions and philosophies; Fostering scholarly research in the fields of spirituality and philosophy; Offering opportunities for elective course credits that could be taken at other educational institutions and/or in other CIHS graduate departments; Enhancing students’ personal experience of integral spirituality; Sensitizing students to different views of reality and human existence; and Encouraging personal spiritual experiences.


Fifty-six (56) graduate quarter units are required to complete the M.A. degree program in Comparative Religion and Philosophy. The curriculum consists of 8 required core courses. Students with strong backgrounds in one or more equivalent courses may select alternative courses from other programs, at the discretion of the program director.

  • CRP 500 Academic Writing Within the Human Sciences  (4 units)

  • CRP 501 Foundations in Integral Studies  (4 units)

  • CRP 502 Consciousness Studies (4 units)

  • CRP 503 Counseling & Communication Skills   (4 units)

  • CRP 504 Spiritual Education (4 units)

  • CRP 613 Introduction to Quantitative and Qualitative Research  (4 units)

  • CRP 615 Study of Eastern and Western Religions: Philosophy and Ethics (4 units)

  • CRP 618 Study of Eastern and Western Religions: Metaphysics and Healing (4 units)

  • * CRP 745    Integral Spiritual Coaching may be taken in place of CRP 503, upon the approval of the Program Director.

** Additional units may be taken as electives

  • CRP 620 Shamanism and Indigenous Religions  (4 units)

  • CRP 623 Buddhism (4 units)

  • CRP 624 Christian Mysticism  (4 units)

  • CRP 625 Islam   (4 units)

  • CRP 626 Judaism  (4 units)

  • CRP 627 Hinduism (4 units)

  • CRP 628 Taoism  (4 units)

  • CRP 680 Topics of Special Interest  (4-8 units)

  • CRP 690 Thesis (4 units)

  • CRP 699 Independent Study  (2-12 units)

Master of Arts in Comparative Religions & Philosophy, 
Yoga Studies Specialization

The Yoga Studies Specialization within the Comparative Religion & Philosophy Master's is designed to provide scholarly training in the study of philosophy and religion with a focus on yoga philosophy, the anatomy of relevant physiological systems and subtle channels and expert guidance and instruction in yoga practices.


Master of Arts in Comparative Religions & Philosophy, 
Yoga Studies Specialization, Teacher Training Practicum

Within this sub-specialization of the CRP program, in addition to scholarly understanding, students gain rich experiential insight into the discipline of yoga. Students may cross-register for up to 12 units of yoga teacher training classes through The Soul of Yoga, a premier yoga studio located in Encinitas.  These 12 units are evaluated by CIHS as Independent Study practicums, supervised by the CRP Director.  Students who opt to complete the full curriculum of the Soul of Yoga’s 500- hour Advanced Teacher Training program will receive Yoga Alliance teacher certification.

The Yoga specialization within the CRP Master's degree provides students with a skill set designed to support insight into human existence as a multi-dimensional phenomenon that includes body, mind, and spirit aspects.  This can be directly applied through the mastery of yoga asana as a mindfulness practice. 

Electives – Yoga Program Track
  • CRP 523 Traditional Chinese Medicine and Subtle Energy Systems (4 units)

  • CRP 670 Human Musculoskeletal System in Yoga  (4 units)

  • CRP 671 Yoga and Nutrition  (4 units)

  • CRP 672 Introduction to Ayurveda   (4 units)

  • CRP 673 Introduction to Yoga Philosophy   (4 units)

  • CRP 674 Theories of the Chakras  (4 units)

  • CRP 675 Toward a Superconsciousness: Foundations of Spiritual Evolution   (4 units)

  • CRP 676 Meridian Exercise    (2-4 units)

  • CRP 677 Hatha Yoga  (2-4 units)

  • CRP 678 Yin Yoga    (2-4 units)

  • CRP 679 Meditation Practices  (2-4 units)

  • CRP 700 Independent Study/ Yoga Practicum (2-12 units)


The Doctor of Philosophy in Comparative Religion and Philosophy requires ninety-four (94) graduate quarter units, 72 units of course work including seven core courses (36 units), and 22 units of Dissertation sequence.  Core course units completed at the Masters level do not have to be repeated, and they may be applied toward the Doctoral course requirements to a maximum of 16 quarter units, except the Spiritual Education requirement is to be fulfilled at both Masters and Doctoral level.  Elective course units, beyond the core courses, may be completed by drawing upon the Comparative Religion and Philosophy electives and from the Institute’s other programs.


Advancement to Candidacy is a formal step in the Ph.D. program. Eligibility for the Advancement to Candidacy examination consists of successful completion of all coursework (68 units) except CRP 896, CRP 897, and two research based papers prior (or concurrent to) enrollment in the first of the Dissertation sequence.

  • CRP 700* Academic Writing Within the Human Sciences

  • CRP 701 Foundations in Integral Studies

  • CRP 702 Consciousness Studies

  • CRP 703** Counseling & Communication Skills

  • CRP 704*** Spiritual Education

  • CRP 713 Advanced Qualitative Research Methods

  • CRP 715 Study of Eastern and Western Religions: Philosophy and Ethics

  • CRP 718 Study of Eastern and Western Religions: Metaphysics and Healing

  • CRP 730 Religion, Spirituality, and the Global Society: Foundations and Methods

  • CRP 896 Dissertation Topic Research

  • CRP 897 Dissertation Methodology Review

  • CRP 898A   Dissertation I

  • CRP 898B   Dissertation II


*If taken at the MA level, this course does not need to be repeated.

**If Counseling and Communication Skills was taken at the MA level, then Integral Spiritual Coaching needs to be taken at the PhD level or vice versa.

*** Additional units may be taken as electives

  • CRP 720 Shamanism and Indigenous Religions

  • CRP 723 Buddhism

  • CRP 724 Christian Mysticism

  • CRP 725 Islam

  • CRP 726 Judaism

  • CRP 727 Hinduism

  • CRP 728 Taoism

  • CRP 729 Mysticism

  • CRP 731 Karma & Reincarnation and Survival of Consciousness

  • CRP 745 Integral Spiritual Coaching

  • CRP 764 Spiritual & Transpersonal Psychology

  • CRP 790 Topics of Special Interest

  • CRP 799 Independent Study

  • CRP 714 Traditional Chinese Medicine and the Subtle Energy System

  • CRP 770 Human Musculoskeletal System in Yoga

  • CRP 771 Yoga and Nutrition

  • CRP 772 Introduction to Ayurveda

  • CRP 773 Introduction to Yoga Philosophy

  • CRP 774 Theories of the Chakras

  • CRP 775 Toward a Superconsciousness: Foundations of Spiritual Evolution

  • CRP 776 Meridian Exercise

  • CRP 777 Hatha Yoga

  • CRP 778 Yin Yoga

  • CRP 779 Meditation


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