The Master of Arts in Consciousness Studies and Transpersonal Psychology is a 36-credit degree program that explores the nature, role, and development of human consciousness and transpersonal phenomena. What makes this program unique is that we have holistically integrated different perspectives into the coursework - psychological and spiritual, western and eastern, epistemological and clinical.
Students are first introduced to the historical origins and the theoretical and methodological foundations of Transpersonal Psychology. We then examine diverse theories and concepts concerning the structures and states of consciousness and the processes that may lead to transpersonal phenomena such as awakening, enlightenment, and unity consciousness. As a hands on exercise, students themselves will engage with meditation and somatic-awareness practices aimed at re-establishing the unity of mind-body consciousness. Through these practices students will learn to access their own intuition and embodied wisdom, as well as gaining transpersonal insights. Practices of mindfulness and presence are cornerstones of the program.
This program offers the foundation for discovery and empowerment that leads to greater fulfillment, purpose, and effectiveness in students' personal and professional lives as well as in their clients’.
The Master of Arts Degree program in Consciousness Studies and Transpersonal Psychology has three major components:
First, students explore the nature of reality from scientific, philosophical, and psychological point of views, with an emphasis on the oneness of the universe and the inter-connectedness of life, creativity, synchronicity, and flow. As part of this exploration they will compare and integrate the official scientific paradigm (essentially mechanistic and reductionistic) with the emerging holistic-systemic paradigm. Coming out of this, students will also discover that on a smaller scale there are cultural and psychological equivalents of these two macroscopic paradigms which also need to be integrated.
In the second component students examine the awakening and transformation of consciousness into higher stages and states of development. This includes studying the theoretical framework of selected authors - Jung, Assagioli, Maslow, Grof, Tart, Wilber, Washburn, Loevinger and others. Students also examine the many different factors which can produce such awakening – from a serious illness to a sudden mourning, from an existential crisis to a deliberate pathway of awareness. In this respect students will learn practices that help bring forth awakening and will develop their corporeal, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual awareness. This is achieved through exercises in meditation, somatic awareness, self-observation and dialogue. They also learn how to face any negative side effects that such a transformation can produce when it happens to an unprepared individual and/or in a social world that is very skeptical and even scared by transpersonal phenomena and non ordinary states of consciousness.
Finally, the program brings these two components together to focus on how to help unaware (and thereby unhealthy and unhappy) individuals awaken from their sleeping consciousness. Students in our program are prepared to assist these individuals who are beginning to discover and develop their hidden talents and life purposes. For those students who wish to pursue the Transformative Coaching elective course, the program also enables the application of coursework into the development of an effective coaching practice specifically addressed to personal and transpersonal development. For those students who are more interested in collective issues like ecology, sustainability and social justice, the program offers an elective course in Creativity and Consciousness which focuses on the importance of art and creativity as means to awaken sleeping individuals and humanity as a whole.
The programs is addressed to:
- Women and men who are seeking a fulfilling and empowering profession in the fields of psychology, personal development, spiritual growth.
- Healthcare professionals (counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, alternative practitioners, nurses, physicians, etc.) who wish to expand the boundaries of their professional knowledge and skills to encompass such issues as altered states of consciousness, spiritual/mystic experiences, and personal/transpersonal development.
- Life coaches, business leaders, and organizational developers who wish to enhance their profession with powerful psychological and transformational theories and tools.
- Teachers and educators who have a holistic conception of education and would like to help students develop not only their knowledge but also their concept of being a whole person, full of self-awareness and life skills.
It is worth noting that Transpersonal Psychology focuses more on personal and transpersonal/spiritual development than in curing diseases, thereby applying coaching methods and tools more so than counseling or psychotherapeutic ones. For this reason, the program incorporates an elective 4 credits course in “Transformative Coaching for Personal/Transpersonal Development” accredited by the ICF (International Coach Federation). Completion of this elective course grants students eligibility to apply for the Associate Certified Coach Credential conferred by ICF. Those students who are not interested in coaching as a profession can chose an alternative elective course.
This program does not prepare students to become licensed psychology professionals. However, some students may use the program’s content in free-lance professions (e.g. coaching) focused on enhancing personal and transpersonal/spiritual development. Other students may use the program as a way to better understand themselves and manage their personal growth. Some will use the program as a first step to clarify their interest in Psychology and move toward a master’s or doctoral program in other psychological fields as social work, marriage and family therapy or counseling psychology at another institute of higher education.
Classes in the MA in Consciousness Studies and Transpersonal Psychology meet on-site four long weekends per year (Fri-Sun) for a period of 24 months, plus one full week in each of two summers. Live teleclasses occur in the months when the cohort is not meeting. In addition, students engage in a 90-hour mentorship to acquire hands-on learning and experience outside of the classroom.
The MA program utilizes an integrated curriculum, where course content is delivered holistically across each of the program’s class sessions.
Courses and Descriptions (36 credits)
CS 511 Transpersonal Psychology - 2 credits
This course illustrates the historical origins and the theoretical and methodological foundations of Transpersonal Psychology, showing how this approach emerged (together with humanistic psychology) as an alternative to the two dominant currents in psychology at the time – behaviorism and psychoanalysis – which, although different in many respects, are quite similar in neglecting the psychological relevance of human aspects such as values, affections, motivations, intentionality, consciousness, transcendence and the search for the meaning of life.
Students will also be introduced to the foundational concepts and assumptions within these branches of Psychology, extending from human potential to human needs, from motivations to self-actualization, from states of consciousness to stages of development, from transcendence to transpersonality. Particular emphasis will be given to the interrelated constructs of multiple personality and sub-personality (as espoused by authors such as C.G. Jung, R. Assagioli, H. Stone and S. Stone and others), and to adult personal and transpersonal development (as espoused by authors such as E. Erikson, J. Loevinger, S. Cook-Greuter and others).
CS 501: Stages and States of Consciousness: Catalyzing Adult Developmental Growth - 3 credits
This course provides students with a basic introduction to human consciousness and the nature of its evolutionary transformation. Models of adult development and transformation continue to evolve, and students learn the foundations and current issues of this discussion. Models include Ken Wilber's Integral AQAL model, Robert Kegan's constructive-developmental theory model, and the models of development designed and promulgated by Susanne Cook-Greuter, Bill Torbert, and Jenny Wade. Students study methods of catalyzing their own developmental growth and that of others.
CS 502: Consciousness, Beliefs and Intentions - 2 credits
The study of the nature of beliefs and how they can be empowering in manifesting a vision and life purpose is the subject of this course. Students first identify and explore paradigms of consciousness and beliefs that have influenced the development of Western civilization from the Classical (Greek) period to postmodern societies. The dialectic between the Cartesian-Kantian assumptions underlying the dualistic, dis-enchanted, flatland modern mind, and the Neoplatonic-Hegelian-Jungian depth psychological assumptions of a unitive, participatory, co-creative universe is explored and seen as a major source of societal cognitive dissonance. The nature of a participatory universe is examined from the perspective of intention and manifestation of individual and collective visions, missions, and life purposes. Important to making powerful intentions is an understanding of the principles of manifestation, which include understanding the role of emotional states. Students learn to apply these principles to bring conscious awareness to hidden beliefs and underlying assumptions while leading their clients to higher vibrational levels, thereby co-creating powerful intentions and desired manifestations.
CS 503: Epistemology of the New Paradigm: Information Fields, Extraordinary Knowing, and Organizational Change - 4 credits
Epistemological and ontological reality is explored, beginning with a philosophical inquiry into the relationship between consciousness and matter, noting the worldviews of dualism, materialism, idealism and pansychism. Panpsychism is then related to the process philosophy of A.N. Whitehead, and how it in turn relates to quantum mechanics. The course also explores the principles of self-organization, chaos, complexity and holism, and their implications on culture and society. Particular note is made of the transition from a Newtonian, deterministic, clockwork universe to a profoundly uncertain and relativistic universe. Students are also exposed to the study of new sciences through inquiry into Rupert Sheldrake’s morphic resonance theory, David Bohm’s implicate order theory, Ervin Laszlo’s quantum vacuum field and information theory, and the holographic universe theory. The phenomenon of synchronicity is of particular relevance to this study. Students explore the impact of these new sciences on leadership, organizational change, and extraordinary ways of knowing.
CS 504: Somatic Awareness and Embodied Wisdom: Mindfulness and Presence - 3 credits
This course includes the study of the interrelatedness of the physical body and consciousness. An important extended capacity is that of the ineffable quality of presence. Presence is developed through somatic awareness, centering and self-observation. Students practice somatic awareness through listening to their bodies, engaging in body scans and meditating with the body. The role of martial arts in a body-mind-heart practice provides a deep understanding of presence-based movements and interactions. Learning to listen with an integrated body-mind-heart is essential in the development of trust and intimacy when co-creating a relationship. These practices quiet the mind allowing access to one’s inner embodied wisdom, authenticity and intuition.
CS 505: Creativity and Consciousness (elective) - 4 credits
This course explores the arts for the access they provide to broad realms of consciousness. Light, rhythm, and form, as expressed in art, music and dance are considered for their value in generating meaning through intuitive, emotional, aesthetic, and somatic interactions. Students examine prominent art of both ancient and contemporary cultures as a means of analyzing the evolution of human consciousness. In addition, creativity, in all of its forms, is investigated from the perspective of overcoming obstacles to the expression of one's own authentic voice. Twyla Tharp's complex thesis of the creative habit speaks to the need for both inspiration and discipline to make creativity part of one's everyday life. Students also learn and experience Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's positive state of consciousness he named "flow," a state in which people experience deep enjoyment, creativity and a total involvement with life. Exercises that allow for the expression of the creative self in a state of flow are included.
CS 506: Psychospiritual Traditions - 4 credits
This course examines core principles of transformation within the context of psychological and psychospiritual development. Students undertake intensive research from indigenous wisdom traditions to the esoteric schools of Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Neoplatonism, and Kabbalah to the contemporary spirituality of American Buddhism, Advaita Vedanta (nonduality), and Wilber’s Integral Spirituality. States of consciousness as described in the Wilber-Combs matrix are explored, along with experiential practices to develop inner awareness and growth. Students engage in the Jungian psychospiritual practices of active imagination and shadow work with implications for their own self-development. Finally, the importance of “letting go,” and the development of the “unconditioned mind” are explored. Students continue to learn techniques for cultivating mindfulness and presence in light of these psychospiritual traditions.
CS 508: Personalized Learning and Guided Mentorship Experience - 3 credits
One of the most successful and time-honored methods of learning involves direct interaction between a master and apprentice in a specific field. The experience of mentoring occurs when a notable senior of goodwill and expertise agrees to shepherd and support a junior in the various processes that facilitate learning. Mentoring provides learners the opportunity to observe the behaviors, skills, and accomplishments of experienced professionals. In a personal learning environment, mentors and learners often develop distinctive relationships that promote understanding, enable meaningful dialogues, and enhance success and competency. In contemporary parlance, the mentoring process embraces the functions often referred to in terms of coaching, apprenticing, interning, and guiding. Mentors provide program participants a valuable training support system that enables personal and professional growth and development. They are chosen on the basis of their insight, generosity, expertise, communication skills, resources, and intellectual and cultural strength.
Through the experiential processes that constitute the mentorship experience, students develop personal resources and create dynamic pathways for fostering critical thinking, self-analysis, and innovation. The mentorship provides each student a solid foundation for learning that is built upon meaningful one-on-one interaction with a chosen thinker or practitioner. In the mentorship program, students design and engage in a unique learning experience that transforms theoretical knowing into functional applications. The process affords students the opportunity to extend their academic research and explore authentic venues for the pursuit and execution of their ideas. In so doing, the mentoring experience provides valuable resources for the research and execution of the Culminating Project.
PP 501: Introduction to Positive Psychology - 1 credit
This course provides an overview of the historical, philosophical and theoretical foundations of Positive Psychology, with particular emphasis on its humanistic roots. The course outlines the origins, purposes and characteristics of Positive Psychology, focusing on series of shifts that have occurred in the last 2-3 decades: from focusing on cure to focusing on care; from focusing on health to focusing on wellbeing; and from focusing on wellbeing to focusing on happiness. Program participants will be introduced to selected model frameworks that make up the foundation of Positive Psychology, clarifying the fundamental difference between edhonic and eudemonic conceptions of happiness. Students will also be introduced to the strengths and limitations of Positive Psychology, encompassing it in the wider framework of Integrative Psychology.
PP 502: Introduction to Holism and Holistic Psychology - 2 credits
This course is an introduction to the view that posits an open and inclusive (i.e., Holistic) vision of the world as being the most meaningful and effective framework for accessing emotional wellbeing and happiness. Course content includes a review of the current, dominant, scientific paradigm of fragmentation, materialism and reductionism, and delineates the epistemological and ethical limitations this approach engenders. Selected holistic frameworks and concepts will be applied to the field of human health, starting with the World Health Organization’s concept of health as a state of full physical, mental and social wellbeing, and moving to the holistic conception of the human being as an interconnected network of physical, emotional, mental, energetic and spiritual dimensions. Program participants will also be introduced to selected research and theories in biomedical sciences, neurosciences and psychology that demonstrate a powerful holistic relevance (i.e., from psycho-neuro-endocrine-immunology to triune brain theory and brain hemispheres research; from integrative psychology to holistic and integral psychology). Program participants will also be oriented to the contributions of alternative medicine (homeopathy, acupuncture, ayurveda etc.) whose clinical evidence is compelling and very meaningful. Lastly, the application of a holistic approach is applied to the developmental process of deep human awareness, highlighting a circular connection between scientific evolution and personal development, which implies that changing the paradigm requires changing ourselves (and vice versa).
PP 504: Models, Concepts and Tools of Positive Psychology - 2 credits
This course is grounded in Positive Psychology’s basic assumption that wellbeing and health can be obtained not only by curing diseases, but also by identifying, developing and addressing unexploited resources already present in individuals, groups and organizations. The overarching goal is to clarify the distinctions between reducing diseases and improving wellbeing, and to understand how to attain this improvement by developing metacognitive and psycho-social skills of interaction. The course introduces students to selected skills which have been proven by empirical research to be most conducive for promoting wellbeing and happiness: (i.e. Self-awareness, Resilience, Self-efficacy, Optimism, Hope, Courage, Wisdom, Inner harmony, Assertiveness). Students will also be introduced to the interrelated topics of flow experiences, expanded states of consciousness, transcendence and self-realization, and to those methods and techniques that facilitate the attainment of such states. Course content includes basic information and techniques on how to process “negative” emotions (i.e., anger, sadness, fear, guilt, shame, embarrassment etc.) as well as positive emotions such as love, joy, and gratitude. Students will also engage in mindfulness, meditation and yoga exercises addressed to develop the non-judgmental (first “witness”) capacity that is essential for creating and sustaining emotional wellbeing and happiness.
PP 506: Positive Self-Realization and Transcendence - 2 credits
Based on the humanistic psychology concept of self-actualization, and grounded in Maslow’s Theory of Needs, this course promulgates self-realization as an indispensable requirement for wellbeing and happiness in both edhonic and eudamonic models. The overarching goal of the course is to enable program participants to understand the distinctions between becoming someone and realizing oneself, i.e. from the common meaning of self-realization (i.e., socioeconomic attainment) and the humanistic psychology meaning (i.e., focused on human potential development). Students will be introduced to the concepts of false self and true self, and to the theories of selected authors who have studied the psycho-pathogenic role of personality distortions. Program participants will also be provided an overview of the personal development process, and to the related theories. Course content will include an overview of two fundamental factors for self-realization: a) self-awareness as an indispensable tool for discovering one’s own talents and potential; and b) unconditional self-acceptance as an indispensable condition for allowing oneself to develop those talents and potential. In essence, the course will orient students to effective techniques for facilitating the discovery of one’s own talents and potential, and for identifying and transforming any irrational beliefs that may limit or hinder development.
CS 510 Transformative Coaching for Personal/Transpersonal Development (elective) - 4 credits
This course integrates selected adult developmental growth theories (explored in previous courses of the program) with a robust coaching methodology. The purpose of this course is to provide the aspiring coach with theoretical and practical tools to facilitate the unfolding of the client’s own inner strengths and potential and, thus, enhance the client’s performance and attainment of his/her personal goals.
The course content is accredited by the ICF (International Coach Federation) and incorporates its Core Competencies, with special attention given to standards-based practices. In this regard students will be introduced to the four cornerstones of coaching - people are naturally creative; all parts of a client are welcome; the client sets the agenda; coaching focuses on the client not the problem. They will learn and practice how to listen, to design and ask powerful questions, and to outline a basic coaching session, including establishing the coaching agreement, establishing trust, maintaining presence, and practicing direct communication.
Students will also learn how to:
- Help the client to welcome the inner “protectors” that have reservations about change
- Connect clients to their vision
- Set a resonant goal that draws the client into their vision
- Uncover what is “getting in the way” of manifesting the vision
A core content unit of this course focuses on the concept of perspective change and its transformative power, introducing students to techniques specifically designed for helping clients explore multiple perspectives on inner and outer reality. Another relevant content unit focuses on self-acceptance and, more specifically, how can we help the client accepting himself as he is and thus giving himself permission to honor and actualize his potentials.
CS 509: Culminating Action Research Project in Consciousness Studies - 4 credits
The Culminating Project is an action-based research inquiry or meta-analysis intended to correlate with the mentorship experience. It is a student-driven initiative that is supported by educative feedback provided by the Program Coordinator. The Culminating Project constitutes the final course of the Consciousness Studies program. It represents three credits of independent research in a field or subject of personal interest that has emerged during the course of academic study.
The Culminating Project provides students the opportunity to refine and demonstrate their understanding of a particular area related to the evolutionary transformation of consciousness, to explore in detail a specific topic, and to exemplify their knowledge, ability and skills as independent researchers. Students complete a comprehensive report at the level of sophistication and efficacy of a Master’s thesis that establishes a foundation of knowledge, documents their research, presents an overview of findings, analyzes and synthesizes perspectives and interpretations, evaluates the learning process, and proposes outcomes and conclusions. The Culminating Project also serves as the basis for group dialogue, as each student formally presents his or her report to the cohort. Successful completion of the Culminating Project confirms learning throughout the Consciousness Studies program in accord with the program’s mission and goals.
Tuition and Fees
Tuition for Master of Arts Degree Programs
Total tuition for each 36-credit MA program is $15,408, at $428 per credit. A one-time, non-refundable, application fee of $60 – and a program fee of $385 – are also required. The graduation fee is $90.
After paying the application fee of $60, MA students pay a deposit of $483 upon acceptance or conditional acceptance to the program. Students then make 20 monthly payments of $770, which includes the program fee of $385 and the graduation fee of $90. The total of all tuition and fees is $15,943.
Tuition for Certificate Programs
Tuition for certificate programs is $428 per credit. A one-time, non-refundable, application fee of $60 – and a program fee of $195 – are also required. The graduation fee is $90.
After paying the $60 Application fee, Certificate students pay as follows:
12-Credit Certificate Program students pay a deposit of $521 upon acceptance or conditional acceptance to the program. Students then make 7 monthly payments of $700, which includes the program fee of $195 and the graduation fee of $90. The total of all tuition and fees is $5,481. If the student decides to matriculate to an MA program, the student will pay $1,222 in the 8th month, followed by 12 monthly payments of $770. (Certificates in Ecotherapy, Applied Storytelling, and Positive Psychology)
11-Credit Certificate Program students pay a deposit of $793 upon acceptance or conditional acceptance to the program. Students then make 6 monthly payments of $700 which includes the program fee of $195 and the graduation fee of $90. The total of all tuition and fees is $5,053. If the student decides to matriculate to an MA program, the student will pay $880 in the 7th month, followed by 13 monthly payments of $770. (Certificate in Integrative Energy and Eastern Medicine)
9-Credit Certificate Program students pay a deposit of $637 upon acceptance or conditional acceptance to the program. Students then make 5 monthly payments of $700 which includes the program fee of $195 and the graduation fee of $90. The total of all tuition and fees is $4,197. If the student decides to matriculate to an MA program, the student will pay $966 in the 6th month, followed by 14 monthly payments of $770. (Certificate in Integrative Health and Healing)
6-Credit Certificate Program students pay a deposit of $753 upon acceptance or conditional acceptance to the program. Students then make 3 monthly payments of $700 which includes the program fee of $195 and the graduation fee of $90. The total of all tuition and fees is $2,913. If the student decides to matriculate to an MA program, the student will pay $710 in the 4th month, followed by 16 monthly payments of $770. (Certificate in Consciousness, Transformation and Mindfulness)
Tuition for Coaching Program
Tuition for the Transformative Coaching program is $ 3,168 which includes three one-on-one mentor coaching sessions with Guthrie Sayen, PCC.
A one-time, non-refundable, application fee of $60 is also required.
Students pay a deposit of $918 after acceptance to the program. Students then make 3 monthly payments of $750.
In addition, Non-TGI costs associated with the acquisition of the ICF ACC coaching credential are:
||ICF membership dues paid directly to the ICF
||ICF exam fee, member rate, paid directly to the ICF
NOTE: Admission to the Transformative Coach Training program only requires a completed Application form, the application fee of $60, and Proof of Immunization.
Acceptable Forms of Payment
Payment may be made by check or money order (payable to The Graduate Institute), or online payments can be made using credit or debit cards through PayPal. Please click here for more information on making a PayPal tuition payment.
Admission: Acceptance and Conditional Acceptance
Please see Admissions section for complete information about Admission requirements.
Students are given Conditional Acceptance after they have submitted their application, paid the application fee and submitted a resume, CV, or employment and educational history.
Student Loan Opportunities
Students may apply for Connecticut state loans through the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority (CHESLA), which offers low-fixed-interest-rate loans, with no application fees. Applicants – or co-applicants, if any – must have a minimum $20,000 gross annual income, and monthly loan installment payments must amount to 40% or less of monthly gross income. Students may defer interest while in school and for a 6-month grace period (interest is capitalized annually). The CALS Graduate Institute School Code is 117777-00. Access the loan hotline at 800-935-2275 or visit www.chesla.org for more information.
Alumni Partial Tuition Waiver
An alumnus of any of The Graduate Institute's Master of Arts degree programs qualifies for a partial tuition waiver of $2,000 towards another MA degree, or $1,000 towards a Certificate program, or $300 towards the TCT coaching program.
Tuition Waiver for Six Credits for Educators
Applicants for the spring of 2017 for MA degrees who teach full time in Priority and Alliance School Districts* are eligible for a $2,568 tuition waiver.
*Ansonia, Bloomfield, Bristol, Bridgeport, Danbury, Derby, East Hartford, East Haven, East Windsor, Hamden, Hartford, Killingly, Manchester, Middletown, Naugatuck, New Britain, New Haven, New London, Norwalk, Norwich, Putnam, Stamford, Vernon, Waterbury, West Haven, Winchester, Windham, Windsor, and Windsor Locks.
Tuition Waiver for up to Six Credits for an MA Program
Master of Arts students may apply for a tuition waiver for up to six (6) credits if they show evidence (official transcript) for credits of graduate study as a non-matriculated student. Requests for this tuition waiver are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The Academic Affairs Committee renders all decisions regarding transfer of credit.
Need-based scholarships are available to eligible candidates who have financial hardship and can provide documentation (most recent tax return and asset statement) to support their need. Fill out and mail the TGI Need-Based Scholarship Form, link below, to: The Graduate Institute, 171 Amity Road, Bethany, CT 06524 Attention: Bursar
Important considerations regarding tuition waivers:
- Tuition Waivers will be credited at the end of the degree program.
- Tuition Waivers may not be combined.
- Tuition Waivers will not be applied retroactively.
- Other restrictions may apply. Policies are subject to change.