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ACADEMICS Comparative Religion & Philoso
ACADEMICS Comparative Religion & Philoso
ACADEMICS Comparative Religion & Philoso
ACADEMICS Comparative Religion & Philoso



The M.A. curriculum is designed to provide scholarly training in the exploration of noetic sciences; the historical study of consciousness, philosophy of mind, contemplative and esoteric traditions, and subtle energy anatomy; an in-depth examination of our current historical moment and how noetic science can contribute to a better world; as well as providing expert guidance and instruction in contemplative practices and philosophical inquiry (e.g., INS 504/704 Spiritual Education). The M.A. program is a stand-alone program, yet at the same time, it provides invaluable educational preparation for the Institute’s Ph.D. program in Integral Noetic Sciences.

Integral Noetic Science Masters PLOs.  Graduates of CIHS INS Masters program will be able to:

  • PLO 1: Explain multiple religious, contemplative, and esoteric traditions and cultures in their specific historical, philosophical, psychological, ethical, scientific, and cultural contexts. Sources may include texts, practices, beliefs and material culture.

  • PLO 2: Apply equitable practices of dialogue, learning, and research that respect the sacred wisdom of each religion, spiritual expression and indigenous tradition. Within this process, it is expected that students engage in critical self-reflection about one’s own culture-bound perceptions, assumptions, and experiences, including the effects of privilege and oppression.

  • PLO 3: Apply mixed methods research methods appropriate to the fields of comparative religion, esoteric traditions, paranormal and consciousness studies in order to pioneer post-materialist views of reality.

  • PLO 4: Understand the correlations between spirituality and both mental and physical wellness, and the way that spirituality intersects with integral health and psychology to create existential coherence and the development of subtle modes of perception.

  • PLO 5: Understand “religion”, “spirituality”, “philosophy”, and “consciousness” in the context of our existence within an expanding galactic context and contemporary global society, consider the challenges posed in developing a global ethic and a pluralistic society, and describe potential resolutions of these challenges through compassionate social engagement. 

  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution, in a related field. 

Degree Requirements

Fifty-six (56) graduate quarter units are required to complete the M.A. degree program in Integral Noetic Sciences. The curriculum consists of 9 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.

Core courses                                       36 units

Electives                                               20 units

TOTAL                                                  56 units

Core Curriculum


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

  • INS 501 Foundations in Integral Studies (4 units)

  • INS 502 Consciousness Studies (4 units)

  • INS 503 Counseling & Communication Skills (4 units)

  • INS 504 Spiritual Education Spiritual Education (several options available) (4 units)

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

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

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

  • INS 680 Thesis
        Prerequisite: Completion of all course work (core and elective courses)

Sample Elective Courses

  • INS 620 Shamanism and Indigenous Religions (4 units)

  • INS 623 Buddhism (4 units)

  • INS 624 Christian Mysticism (4 units)

  • INS 625 Islam (4 units)

  • INS 626 Judaism (4 units)

  • INS 627 Hinduism (4 units)

  • INS 628 Taoism (4 units)

  • INS 680 Topic of Special Interest (2-4 units)

  • INS 699 Independent Study (4 units)

*Additional courses in the areas of the science of consciousness, anomalous phenomena, and the design of wisdom systems are being developed as part of the new concentrations.

Concentrations within a Degree Program


Individually Designed Concentrations:

The Individually Designed Concentration (IDC) areas option has been designed to meet the needs of students who wish to design a course of studies within a degree program.  IDCs may be proposed within any of the degree programs within the Schools of Integral Health, Integral Noetic Studies, and Psychology.  Students with IDC concentrations complete the same course courses and core course units for the degree program and design the IDC within the electives course units.


The student identifies and secures a faculty advisor, often the Program Director, who agrees to oversee the IDC.  All continuing CIHS faculty members, including Program Directors, may serve as the academic advisor for an IDC.  The faculty member’s area(s) of expertise will align with the student’s proposed area of study.  The faculty member or Program Director is responsible for reviewing and approving the coursework (including electives and, if necessary, independent studies) and for providing the IDC student with advising including annual advising during the spring quarter.  The faculty advisor completes the student’s pre-graduation audit associated with the IDC requirements.  The faculty advisor usually is the Dissertation Committee Chair for PhD students or the Thesis Advisor for MA students.


Students who want to pursue an IDC should schedule a meeting with the Program Director to review administrative details.


Program Designed Concentrations (PDCs):


Degree Program Directors may design concentration areas to meet the needs of a group of students.  Requirements for a PDC are the same as IDCs except that PDCs may be subject to an enrollment group minimum, and the Program Director and not the student will design the set of elective courses and independent studies that compose the concentration.  Students pursuing a PDC should schedule a meeting with the Program Director for instructions regarding admittance requirements and administrative details.  PDCs are subject to change and/or revision to meet the needs of students.  The following PDCs are currently available:


School of Integral Noetic Sciences MA and PHD Degrees, Concentration in Anomalous Studies: designed to prepare graduate students to research the transformative potential of people’s extraordinary anomalous experiences (e.g., paranormal, psi, multidimensional, galactic, esoteric, cryptological, transpersonal, UFO/ET encounters, and psychedelic); scientifically investigate, through mixed methods research, anomalous realities and their relationship to consciousness and subtle energies; and explore the resulting philosophical and ontological implications of anomalous phenomena on the nature of reality. 


School of Integral Noetic Sciences MA and PhD Degrees, Concentration in Wisdom Design: designed to prepare graduate students to design “wisdom systems” that serve the whole person within complex systems by applying principles of wellbeing economics, multicapital social impact, and wellness design to businesses and organizations as well as to social innovation and large-scale design projects.

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