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Master of Arts in Consciousness and Transformative Studies

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Embark on a Personal Journey to Greater Professional Fulfillment.

If you’ve ever caught yourself wondering what your purpose in life is, a degree in transformative studies might just set you on a path to personal discovery and professional fulfillment.

NU’s holistic curriculum integrates the wisdom and practices of six major fields of study: psychology, philosophy, religion/spirituality, the new sciences, culture, and professional development. Our interdisciplinary curriculum aims to actualize human potential in service of the greater global good.

This program is the first accredited Master’s in Consciousness Studies in the U.S. The experiential learning offered by this program, and the spiritual perspective that runs as a thread through much of the coursework, appeals to those interested in spiritual psychology and transformative studies.

If you’re ready to embark upon a journey of self-discovery, personal growth, and transformative change, our program can help you develop knowledge and skills to help you become a transformative leader in your own life and a creative agent of organizational, sociocultural, and ecological advancement.

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Course Details

Total Degree Requirements

  • 58-63 quarter units

Core Requirements

  • 14 courses; 36 quarter units

A paradigm is a model of reality, or aspects of reality, held by a community, and affirmed and enacted through communal behavior. Society today is shaped by past paradigms of consciousness as well as those which are newly emerging. This course explores the nature of paradigms, how they emerge, how they are sustained and how they are changed. We give particular attention to the evolution of various paradigms of consciousness and reality – from indigenous to modern, postmodern, holistic, and integral – and examine the potential of each to contribute to personal, social, and global transformation.

This course focuses on emotional intelligence—the capacity to recognize, understand, regulate, and creatively channel the wisdom and energy of emotional experience, as well as to empathize and relate to others’ emotions. Students learn what emotions are and how they arise physiologically, experientially, and behaviorally. A phenomenological approach enables students to connect with and describe emotions in order to enter more directly into the multi- layered, visceral experience of their emotional lives. The practice of mindfulness allows students to observe, track, and comprehend their experience with openness, curiosity, and acuity. Mindfulness also enables students to identify and work with habitual cognitive schemas and emotional reactions.

PrerequisiteCNS 5012

This course applies emotional intelligence, along with intuition, social knowledge, and cultural competence, to interpersonal contexts. Students practice techniques of effective listening and understand how emotional triggers can block interpersonal connection. The course also focuses on effective communication, the capacity to attune to another’s experience while remaining connected to one’s own. Students explore how emotional triggers through relationship and provide an opportunity for the expansion of self-awareness and integration. Topics include the principles of nonviolent communication, conflict resolution, and the process of coming into conscious relationship.

This experiential course gives students the opportunity to explore their authentic body experiences from a variety of somatic modalities, and in so doing to contact their own lived body wisdom. Students develop greater body consciousness through exercises addressing parts of the body, body systems, and their body in relationship to self, other and the natural world. A variety of movement practices promote creativity and self- expression, supporting the development of emotional intelligence and interpersonal communication. Students integrate a repertoire of body-centered skills to apply to personal challenges, spiritual growth and life enrichment.

This course imparts a meta- perspective on human development and on the evolution of human consciousness. Developmental models assist us in perceiving the growth potentials across the human lifespan, culminating in conscious leadership. The course introduces various models of human development, such as Erikson’s psychosocial development, Kohlberg and Gilligan’s moral development, Fowler’s faith development and Kegan’s adult development. The course also explores basic elements of Ken Wilber’s integral theory, including the four quadrants, the difference between states and stages, and premodern, modern, and postmodern altitudes. Topics include models of consciousness, the relationship of Self/self, and the potential of integral psychology to deepen our understanding of and engagement with personal psycho-spiritual development as well as social/global change.

PrerequisiteCNS 5025

This course explores the role, weight, and significance of life’s mythic dimension from the standpoint of depth psychology. Freud, Jung, Hillman, Campbell, Downing, and a host of theorists, practitioners and writers have claimed that mythic presences, events, and situations are not dead or extinct, but alive and addressing us continually. This course explores this claim through discussions, dream work, film, stories, and writing projects that disclose the deep myth- making layers of the psyche, demonstrating the ways mythology and mythic thinking are highly significant modes of understanding self, other, and the world.

Shamanic traditions and practices, as an expression of the human relationship with self, community and the earth, are integral to the human story, yet sorely missing in modern culture. Shamanic traditions, with their animistic worldview and emphasis on nature as the matrix for human life, are of renewed importance in our ecological age. Within each person’s ancestral lineages can be found evidence of earth- based spirituality, nurtured and supported through shamanic traditions. Course topics include shamanic world-views, shamanism as a healing modality, and the role of shamans in indigenous and Western cultures. In this class, students research shamanic practices within their ancestral lineages with the intention of integrating these practices with one’s life purpose and work.

PrerequisiteCNS 5010

Cosmology is the study of the origin, structure, evolution, and eventual fate of the universe. Perhaps the most mysterious and intriguing aspect of the universe is the fact that it has evolved to include living beings with experience and even self-consciousness. Using the principles of systems theory, we can view the evolution and development of human consciousness not as separate from the rest of the cosmos, as is usually thought, but as integral parts of the experiential expansion of the cosmos. In this view, experience is as fundamental a feature of the universe as is space, time, energy, and matter. This participatory cosmology asks us all to become aware of our subjective states as causal elements in the continuing unfolding of the cosmos.

This course introduces the history and contemporary study of the great variety of non-ordinary states of consciousness that humans experience. The neurophysiology associated with these states of consciousness is addressed. Students apply a developmental view of consciousness to their own and others’ non-ordinary experiences by learning how to integrate such experiences into their daily lives. Emphasis is placed on Stan Grof, Chris Bache, Ken Wilber, entheogens, and the comparison of mystical experiences from East and West.

Students examine recent scientific research in sleep and dreams and explore different phenomena of the dreaming mind. The course incorporates a variety of understandings and techniques for working with dreams, including Freudian, Jungian, and Gestalt psychological approaches, contemporary dream interviewing, content analysis, lucid dreams, “psi” dream phenomena and indigenous approaches to dreams. Students also explore their own dreams, using different experiential and creative explorations.

Spiral Dynamics is a model of conscious, cultural evolution that differentiates eight distinct stages of personal and cultural development and carries great explanatory power when applied to the complexities of our emerging global world. These eight stages of development are values-based, delineating core values around which the eight world-views are organized: safety; power; order; success; equality of people; process-orientation; synthesis- orientation. Understanding the underlying values and world-views held by individuals and different cultural groups, and how change emerges through the spiral of conscious cultural development, is a powerful leadership tool for facilitating personal and social change. Students apply the 8-stage model to real-world situations on a contemporary issue of strong personal interest.

PrerequisiteCNS 5013

This course explores the multiple meanings of diversity, leadership, and community and directs students in a self- inquiry process about — who am I, who am I becoming, who are we, and who do we want to be as leaders in an emerging paradigm of global citizenship, interrelationship, interconnection, and compassion? Students explore diversity, community development, leadership skills, new breakthrough ideas, and technologies for expressing their highest and deepest values as agents of transformative change in the personal lives, families, and communities.

Transpersonal psychology explores the higher and deeper dimensions of human experience and relationship, including religious visions, sacred encounters, mystical moments, synchronicities, past-life memories, near-death experiences, cosmic consciousness, ecstasy, psychic phenomena, and prophetic dreams. This course explores major transpersonal concepts, theories, practices, and research findings. Topics include transpersonal models of human consciousness and development, the relationship of Self to self, non-ordinary states of consciousness, the perennial philosophy, meditation, lucid dreaming, entheogens, shamanic journeys, parapsychology, neurophenomenology, transpersonal therapies, spiritual emergency, and spiritual bypassing. Through readings, contemplative exercises, written assignments, and in-class discussions, students deepen insight into their own and others’ psychological and spiritual experience and development.

This course introduces the basic principles of Living Systems Theory using theoretical and experiential components. Students apply these principles and practices to a selected area of interest (ecology, psychological development, community/cultural development, education, business or spiritual leadership, etc.). We also explore feedback processes, the interdependence of all life, creative emergence, individual development, family systems and the impact of systems thinking on organizational transformation and social change.

PrerequisiteCNS 5126

This course, taken at the conclusion of the program, offers students the opportunity to integrate their cumulative learnings from the Consciousness and Transformative Studies curriculum, with a focus on conceptual review and mastery of key concepts and major principles in the field of consciousness studies. The course is taught seminar style and focuses in depth on one of the Program Learning Outcomes. Additionally, students apply these concepts and principles in a personal essay exploring their own transformation of consciousness throughout the program.

Elective Requirement

  • 7 quarter units

Coming out of the theory of multiple intelligences, the concept of spiritual intelligence appeared with the new millennium, originally defined as “a dynamic wholeness of self in which the self is at one with itself and the whole creation.” A more behaviorally-focused definition, accompanied by 21 specific skills, focuses on “the ability to behave with wisdom and compassion, while maintaining inner and outer peace, regardless of the situation.” The 1- unit course will compare the various conceptualizations of spiritual intelligence. Students will complete a spiritual intelligence inventory and identify specific skills as areas for personal growth. We also consider the vital role of the body in spiritual intelligence.

This course explores the principles and dynamics of the Enneagram, an ancient personality typology system that fosters psychological and spiritual development. The 9 personality types, along with each type’s associated strength and stress types, offer a map for personal growth and understanding the differences of others. Today the Enneagram is a popular coaching and leadership tool for interpersonal and team work. The course emphasizes insights and applications for improving and deepening relationships with oneself and others.

PrerequisiteCNS 5010

This course provides a scholarly grounding in the core philosophical issues surrounding the study of consciousness. The course explores the three main “problems” in philosophy of mind: (1) the “mind-body” problem (how does consciousness relate to the physical world? (2) the “problem of other minds” (how can we know if other people, animals, plants or even rocks have consciousness?) and (3) the “problem of free will” (do we really have choice, or are we determined by genetics and environment).

PrerequisiteCNS 5010

The human brain, with its ultimate purpose for ensuring survival, organizing information, and meaning making, is also deceptive and limiting by its own nature. In order not to overload consciousness with billions of bits of seemingly irrelevant data, the brain constructs and projects a reality that we assume and believe is ultimate reality. Our default mode network operates to ensure we are focused on bits of information that serve the self, for the sake of survival and personal thriving. Yet when the brain is introduced to meditation, mindfulness practices, or psychedelics, we find consistent reported states of unity consciousness, ego dissolution, ah-ha moments, flow, increased empathy towards others, the planet, and one’s self, and greater creative problem-solving ability. Ample neuroscientific, therapeutic, and phenomenological evidence indicates that meditation, mindfulness practices, and psychedelics expand human consciousness, positively change world-views, and offer profound experiences of well- being. This course covers how meditation, mindfulness practices, and psychedelics operate on neurological and personal spheres. It also addresses how the integration of neuroscience, psychology, psychedelic sciences, and meditation practices is the cutting edge of human potential and healing.

Explores 1) how themes of consciousness, spiritual transformation, and the paranormal are portrayed in popular media — through novels, comics, film, TV, video games, and art — and 2) how our consciousness, spirituality, and transformative potentials are impacted and expanded through these popular representations. Examine themes such as: how superhero stories help us realize our higher selves, or alien encounter stories help us explore the deepest reaches of our soul, and how science fiction might help us chart the sacred, or change the world. Assignments include watching films and TV clips, and reading popular stories, with an eye towards exploring how they influence attitudes about, or help us positively transform, self, consciousness, and culture.

Ancestral stories, family traditions, and the great teaching stories from our cultures shape us and condition our perceptions of self and world. In this course, we examine the gifts, patterns and “breaking points” in our ancestral heritage—the places where our ancestors thrived with and/or suffered a loss of connection to place, community, language, ritual, traditions, and spirituality. Students become aware of and accountable for multi- generational patterns of perception, thought and behavior. Through readings, class discussion, and personal research, students learn how to access and reclaim the strengths and wisdom within one’s ancestral heritage.

This course offers a creative, transformative and healing writing practice that integrates personal narrative, voice and connection. The writing method fosters empathy, discernment, trust and confidence, and offers clear guidelines for cultivating a safe writing environment through the use of positive, non-judgmental feedback, deep listening and witnessing. Research has shown that writing about one’s deepest thoughts and feelings can improve health and well- being. The unique events of life are sacred stories that need to be shared and witnessed, and they can become a person’s greatest source of creativity. This class allows students to discover, tell and write their personal life stories.

For most of its modern history, psychological research has primarily been focused on studying maladaptive emotions and behaviors while paying little attention to happiness and optimal human functioning. For the past two decades, the relatively new field of positive psychology has been redressing this imbalance by researching the fulfilled individual, the thriving community, and other features of a flourishing life. This course explores the latest research in the psychology of happiness and well-being. Students learn powerful insights and practices that enhance a person’s quality of living by cultivating empathy, compassion, love, hope, forgiveness, gratitude, creativity, kindness, generosity, and resilience. Through lectures, discussions, videos, and hands-on exercises, students gain knowledge of how to help themselves and others live satisfying and meaningful lives that contribute to the greater good.

This course explores the links between creativity and transformation at both the individual and collective levels. Through lecture, discussion, and experiential exercises, we investigate the nature of creativity, intuition, and transformation; the characteristics of the creative personality; the stages of the creative process; and the transformative benefits of creative expression for self and society. Students learn diverse methods for understanding and overcoming creative obstacles, for optimizing creative consciousness and expression, and for harnessing creative power for transformative purposes. Students engage in creative expression as a transformative practice and explore the inner states and outer behaviors that arise from this experiential work.

For millennia, spiritual and psychological thinkers have sought to discern, understand, and follow their inner guidance and help others do so. Whether understood in spiritual or psychological terms, this guidance is invaluable to personal healing and living an independent, creative, and fulfilling life connected to others and contributing to the larger world. This 1-unit course explores transpersonal, psychological, and somatic perspectives and practices for activating, testing, and living this inner guidance and helping others do the same. Most approaches agree on the crucial need to identify, heal, release, or transform psychosocial factors that obstruct the perception and actualization of inner guidance.

This course examines Western psychological traditions of dream interpretation. The pioneering work of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, both of whom were directly inspired by their own dream experiences, is explored, along with later research on the role of dreaming in human development, creativity, and healing. Students will be encouraged to think critically about these psychological theories, to test them in connection with their own dreams, and to seek new creative integrations with the dream theories of other cultures and traditions, including indigenous approaches to dreams.

This course explores the importance, meaning, and purpose of metaphors and symbols in both mapping and catalyzing psychological and spiritual growth. Students examine symbols and metaphors of transformation experienced by mystics and spiritual practitioners across time, cultures, and religious traditions. These concepts and images—such as enlightenment, liberation, rebirth, unfoldment, journey, and metamorphosis–have enabled individuals and communities to express the inexpressible and invoke the invisible. Students also apply these principles to personal, community, and planetary transformation. The course includes experiential exercises and applications to daily life. CNS 5270 Issues in Science and Consciousness 1-3 In-depth research and analysis of specific topics in science and consciousness. Topics may include genetics, chaos, synchronicity, complexity, and biology of consciousness.

PrerequisiteCNS 5030

As Sandor Ferenczi, Hungarian psychiatrist and friend of Freud and Jung, said, “Dreams are the workshop of evolution.” This course allows participants to share and explore their own dream memories, using group projective methods, (“…in my imagined version of this dream…”), with particular attention to the underlying themes and recurring motifs embedded in these narratives. In turn, these recurrent symbolic patterns disclose the basic shape(s) of the dreamer’s previously unconscious “personal mythology” – an unconscious symbolic “story” that continually influences the dreamer’s waking life perceptions and life decisions.

What paths lie ahead for religion and spirituality in the 21st Century? How might the insights of modernity and post- modernity impact, inform, and complement humanity’s ancient wisdom traditions? How are we to enact, together, new evolutionary, integral, participatory spiritual visions and contemplative practices – independently, or within or across our respective traditions – that can respond adequately to the personal, social, and planetary challenges of our times? This experientially focused course will explore these questions through an integral, inter- spiritual, and cross-cultural selection of readings, meditations, personal and group inquiries, fieldwork assignments, and rituals.

Dreams have awakened human beings to religious experience and spiritual perception since the dawn of humanity. This course examines perennial spiritual themes that appear in our dreams, such as: the presence of the numinous or the sacred; experiences of the religious emotions; the dynamics of fragmentation and oneness, healing and balance in the psyche; the developmental and transformative role of dreams; dreams of fate, purpose and destiny; dreams of life and death; earth and nature dreams; cosmic dreams; and dreams and the subtle body. Students are expected to engage with dreams as a spiritual practice and the subjective states that arise through dreaming throughout the course

This course surveys the integral and evolutionary developmental philosophies of Ken Wilber, Steve McIntosh, Terri O’Fallon, and Otto Laske, with significant experiential emphasis on a new, developmentally oriented integral meditation practice. Through reading, discussions and experiential exercises, students will examine the integral model as a unifying, comprehensive and self-organizing framework of psychological, social and spiritual knowledge, and inquire into how this framework can be a transformative tool for personal and social transformation.

Explores the relationship between sexual experience and consciousness. Engages inquiry into the nature of our sexualities and examine the role of sexuality in expanded states of consciousness, spiritual traditions, and psychospiritual healing. Explores the role of mindfulness in enhancing sexual health and wellbeing, with space made for approaching sexual trauma with care, and exploring how healing trauma can facilitate a greater flow of sexual energy. Grounded in a holistic approach to sexuality, with an alternative perspective to the narrow, genital focused understanding of sexuality that dominates American and Western culture by putting forward a whole-bodied understanding of sexual life.

Issues in the field of Consciousness Studies are explored, with topics varying according to student interests. Credit/No Credit. May be repeated for credit with a change of topic.

PrerequisiteCNS 5030

This course examines the three broad stages of the human-nature relationship: the indigenous participatory worldview, the human-nature split of modern Western culture, and the reemerging participatory worldview. It addresses the overarching principle of balance in both indigenous and contemporary systems thinking. It experiments with consciousness-deepening dream, ritual and ceremonial practices that include aspects of the natural world. Taken from a variety of cultural traditions, such practices transform the objectification of nature into an appreciation of its presence, beauty, and powers of healing.

Professional Development Requirement

  • 9 quarter units

Students apply and integrate a range of soul encounter practices (Jungian Journaling, Entelechy Method, Guided Meditation, Cross-Species Dialogue, Soul Walks in Nature, Mirroring, and Voice Dialogue) in developing and connecting with their internal navigation to expand bringing their unique voice, gifts, and work forward into community. Throughout the course, students are expected to create and maintain a developmental practice designed to bring awareness to subjective reactions and perceptions and improve self-awareness, self-management and personal accountability. This course is an opportunity to synthesize tools students have already gathered through this program, using discernment and inquiry into embedded patterns, recognizing, revisiting, and rewriting them in creating their own evolution. This evolution ripples out into all levels of community and society. Through the support of community, students are further empowered to allow intrapersonal alignment to guide their path of purpose and professional offerings to further embody their divine blueprint.

AND choose 6 quarter units from the following

Prerequisite: CNS 5275

Recommended PreparationCNS 5275; PrerequisiteCNS 5017

This course explores principles and practices of Transformational Leadership, and application of these principles to personal and professional development. Course topics include: development of capacities such as a high level of self-awareness, deep listening personal accountability, integrity and emotional intelligence; challenging the status quo; encouraging creativity; fostering diversity, inclusion and supportive relationships; articulating a clear vision; managing conflict and motivating others to achieve their unique leadership potential; application of systems thinking/theory; creating vision and courage to implement change; embodiment of Wisdom and Compassion in Action, and strategies for actualizing and manifesting personal and professional intentions and goals. Course includes readings, experiential exercises, and application of leadership to personal and professional projects.

In this course students learn to develop classroom teaching skills and activities for university- level adult learners, including presentation and facilitation skills, as well as leading discussions and experiential activities. Students develop lesson plans, assess their personal teaching styles, and discuss philosophical principles of holistic education.

PrerequisiteCNS 5410

With the skills acquired in CNS 5410, students plan, develop, market and present workshops on topics of their choice. The result is a workshop curriculum in an area of expertise that can be offered professionally in other settings.

PrerequisiteCNS 5013

This professional development course enables students to gain comfort and facility guiding both structured exercises and also sharing what arises for each member in a less structured context. Students learn to create, grow, and sustain a group so that its unfolding process is built on safety. This involves skillfully managing the natural ongoing process of self-disclosure, being mindful of how groups develop over time, learning basic skills of Non-Violent Communication, and giving and receiving feedback in emotionally healthy ways. Students learn about group facilitation from three distinct modalities: by participating in the small group of the class as facilitated by the instructor, by the theory related to formation and development of healthy groups, and by facilitating their own small group, with guidance and oversight provided by the instructor. Attention is given to creating group cultures that are holistic: body, mind, emotion, soul, and spirit.

PrerequisiteCNS 5012

The demand for coaching is ever increasing to meet the challenges of living in today’s complex world. Discover what is needed to develop an effective and trusted coaching relationship that creates meaningful and sustainable change. Learn how to coach from an integral perspective that engages the complexity and potential of the whole person –mind, body, heart and spirit. The focus of this course will be on understanding the coaching process and developing basic coaching competencies. This course includes practical training.

Starting one’s own business affords the opportunity to infuse one’s work with consciousness principles and systems change. For those considering opening a practice as a consultant, coach, therapist or body worker, or developing any type of new startup company, this course examines the basics needed to turn a great idea into a business reality. This course honors the holistic framework within the context of starting a business and considers the mind, body and spirit as contributing equally to our work in the world. Among the topics covered are analyzing life values and priorities; determining business goals and strategies; launching and managing the business; building financial success; and marketing products and services.

This professional development course focuses on preparing, packaging and disseminating information to both general and specific audiences, with a specific eye on publishing projects and ideas that support consciousness growth and systems change. Course topics include writing book proposals and query letters; assessing markets and dealing effectively with contracts, agents, editors and publishers; self-publishing; presentation skills; self- promotion and marketing through traditional media (radio, TV, print, online magazines), personal and public relations, and interviews. Through written assignments with a practical purpose, students gain an understanding of how best to get their messages and material out. This class provides the groundwork for students towards the support of business development and creative outlets such as book publishing and media appearances. The practical knowledge and skills further students’ professional development and credibility as experts in their own topic areas.

This professional development course focuses on building an effective online business structure, selecting an audience and creating content designed to promote oneself and business via social media. Through class lectures and discussions, videos, readings, written assignments and experiential exercises, students gain an understanding of how best to get their messages and material out and promote themselves online. This class is dedicated to providing a participatory experience for students to create a strong, cohesive online presence designed to drive business and support further business development and creative outlets. The practical knowledge and skills gained further students’ professional development and credibility as experts in their own topic areas, as well as support their creativity in projects aimed at consciousness growth and systems change.

Share your vision, knowledge, and wisdom by getting published. For students who have the intent and potential to publish their work: This 2-unit course will help you refine your writing and prepare for publication. A prerequisite for this course is that you have an already-written paper—this paper must be well-written, worked through, and/or have received an A grade in a previous course. We will work together to polish your paper into a manuscript ready for publication. You will learn how to: structure your paper, find your readers, identify the value of your paper, fine-tune your text, write a pitch letter, and know when to send multiple submissions. Not just theory, by the end of this course you will submit your work for publication. Not all writers become authors without guidance; this course creates the container for you to step into authorship.

Professional Project

  • 4 courses; 9 quarter units

PrerequisiteCNS 5013

The 4-course professional project sequence is designed to support students’ attainment of right livelihood. The project serves as a creative and practical bridge to help students to translate and apply their CTS experience to their post-CTS professional life. By a process of intensive self-reflection and extensive career research, students create a transformative career plan as well as a specific work project to support the plan. They reflect on their personal and occupational histories as well as insights, practices, skills, and ways of knowing and being developed in the CTS program. In Professional Project A students conduct preliminary reflection and research to clarify their career field(s), mission(s), vision(s), and values.

PrerequisiteCNS 5126

Continuing the approach of CNS 5126, this course provides students with an in-depth exposure to participatory action research methods. Students apply one of these methods to their own participatory research project by creating a research design using Action Research, Collaborative Inquiry or Appreciative Inquiry. They also complete a literature review focused on their topic within consciousness studies and learn about ethical issues in research.

PrerequisiteCNS 5127

In this third course in the professional project sequence, students articulate their long-term, mid-term, and short-term goals, objectives, and strategies. They also identify occupational resources that they have or will need to obtain and develop contingency career plans.

PrerequisiteCNS 5610

In this fourth course in the professional project sequence, students develop, carry out, and reflect on a specific work project that supports one of their short-term objectives. Examples of projects include designing a website, developing a brochure, and creating a professional presentation.

Degree and Course Requirements

To earn NU’s MA in Consciousness and Transformative Studies, students must complete 58-63 quarter units of graduate work. A total of 13.5 quarter units of graduate credit may be granted for equivalent graduate work completed at another institution, as it applies to this degree and if the units were not used in earning another advanced degree.


The Master of Arts (MA) in Consciousness & Transformative Studies program aims to empower you with the knowledge and skills to become a responsible leader in your own life and a creative agent of organizational, sociocultural, and ecological change. The curriculum cultivates personal capacities such as wisdom, courage, compassion, and joy, while enriching your sense of meaning, passion, and purpose. Toward this transformative goal, you’ll engage in an intensive psycho-spiritual exploration of your life and selectively share your experiences with classmates. The holistic coursework integrates the wisdom and practices of six major fields (psychology, philosophy, religion/spirituality, the new sciences, culture, and professional development), combining contemporary scientific research with insights from ancient traditions.

Learn More

The Master of Arts (MA) in Consciousness & Transformative Studies program aims to empower you with the knowledge and skills to become a responsible leader in your own life, and a creative agent of organizational, sociocultural, and ecological change. The curriculum cultivates personal capacities such as wisdom, courage, compassion, and joy, while enriching your sense of meaning, passion, and purpose. Toward this transformative goal, you’ll engage in an intensive psycho-spiritual exploration of your life and selectively share your experiences with classmates. The holistic coursework integrates the wisdom and practices of six major fields (psychology, philosophy, religion/spirituality, the new sciences, culture, and professional development), combining contemporary scientific research with insights from ancient traditions.

Learn More

The Master of Arts (MA) in Consciousness & Transformative Studies program aims to empower you with the knowledge and skills to become a responsible leader in your own life, and a creative agent of organizational, sociocultural, and ecological change. The curriculum cultivates personal capacities such as wisdom, courage, compassion, and joy, while enriching your sense of meaning, passion, and purpose. Toward this transformative goal, you’ll engage in an intensive psycho-spiritual exploration of your life and selectively share your experiences with classmates. The holistic coursework integrates the wisdom and practices of six major fields (psychology, philosophy, religion/spirituality, the new sciences, culture, and professional development), combining contemporary scientific research with insights from ancient traditions.

Learn More

The Master of Arts (MA) in Consciousness & Transformative Studies program aims to empower you with the knowledge and skills to become a responsible leader in your own life and a creative agent of organizational, sociocultural, and ecological change. The curriculum cultivates personal capacities such as wisdom, courage, compassion, and joy, while enriching your sense of meaning, passion, and purpose. Toward this transformative goal, you’ll engage in an intensive psycho-spiritual exploration of your life and selectively share your experiences with classmates. The holistic coursework integrates the wisdom and practices of six major fields (psychology, philosophy, religion/spirituality, the new sciences, culture, and professional development), combining contemporary scientific research with insights from ancient traditions.

Learn More

The Master of Arts (MA) in Consciousness & Transformative Studies program aims to empower you with the knowledge and skills to become a responsible leader in your own life, and a creative agent of organizational, sociocultural, and ecological change. The curriculum cultivates personal capacities such as wisdom, courage, compassion, and joy, while enriching your sense of meaning, passion, and purpose. Toward this transformative goal, you’ll engage in an intensive psycho-spiritual exploration of your life and selectively share your experiences with classmates. The holistic coursework integrates the wisdom and practices of six major fields (psychology, philosophy, religion/spirituality, the new sciences, culture, and professional development), combining contemporary scientific research with insights from ancient traditions.

Learn More


If you’re seeking personal meaning in your personal life and professional fulfillment in your career, National University offers a trailblazing program which acknowledges that the journey of identifying and embodying our authentic purpose in life would not be complete without the practical skills necessary to make that vision a reality.

In existence since the late 1970s, this curriculum was one of the first of its kind in the country. A significant portion of the required coursework (14 units) is devoted to professional development topics such as such as coaching, teaching, writing and publishing, small group facilitation, entrepreneurship, and self-marketing. These practical skills aid students in translating their degree into a professional context. You’ll also have the opportunity to customize your knowledge and expertise by choosing from a variety of specializations: Life Coaching, Transformational Leadership, Consciousness and Healing, Engaged Spirituality, and Dream Studies.

The curriculum is designed to support you to explore and expand consciousness, actualize human potential, and foster conscious leadership in your profession, community, and the wider world. Additionally, upon entering this program, many students affirm the feeling of finding their tribe, discovering a community of shared experiences, values, and aspirations.

Graduates of the Consciousness & Transformative Studies program go on to work in a range of fields where their new knowledge, skills, and capacities allow them to effectively guide individuals, organizations, and even entire communities through transformational change.

The curriculum is structured to allow you to self-direct your own career path based upon your personal interests, values, passions, prior career background, and skill set. Graduates have pursued professional pathways such as coaching, writing and publishing, public speaking, and starting their own businesses. The knowledge and credentials you acquire can prepare you for a wide range of careers, including:

  • Transformative Organizational Leader
  • Teacher/Educator
  • Coach/Facilitator of Human Development
  • Consultant
  • Entrepreneur
  • Community Organizer
  • Social Action Advocate
  • Spiritual Director

If you’re interested in careers in which spirituality likely plays a key role, Emsi Labor Analyst data suggests graduates with this degree will be prepared for opportunities like:

  • Meditation instructor
  • Mindfulness coach
  • Spiritual counselor
  • Life coach

Because different career tracks require different knowledge and skill sets, NU offers a broad range of industry-relevant specializations for our MA in Consciousness and Transformative Studies degree. You can choose to concentrate your studies in:

  • Specialization in Coaching – In this Coach Training Program, certified by the International Coaching Federation, students learn how to pair the skill of coaching with expertise in the consciousness field, thereby enhancing their marketable professional knowledge and skills.
  • Specialization in Consciousness and Healing – The courses in this specialization allow students to explore the fascinating implications of the mind/body/spirit equation in terms of physical health, psychological well-being and personal longevity.
  • Specialization in Dream Studies – This specialization offers an interdisciplinary exploration of dreams from scientific, psychological, spiritual, indigenous, and contemporary perspectives. It is one of the few accredited interdisciplinary dream studies curricula in existence.
  • Specialization in Engaged Spirituality – This specialization, with an emphasis on spiritual psychology, explores the varieties of spiritual experience, development, practice, and service, delving into traditional and contemporary approaches to the inner life and ethically responsible ways to effect change in community, society, and the global community and ecosystems.
  • Specialization in Transformational Leadership –The Transformational Leadership specialization, embedded in transformative studies, focuses on the cultivation of professional skills and personal capacities that are widely applicable to any field and form the essence of leadership.

For details and course listings for these concentrations, please visit our catalog.

The optional Coach Training Program is certified by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), the gold standard in the coaching industry. The program is also aligned with NU’s intention to provide an education that empowers you to make a difference in your life, your family’s lives, and your community. The Coach Training Program is embedded within the Consciousness & Transformative Studies MA degree and is designed to provide a professional pathway into the coaching field.

This program cultivates knowledge and skills to help you develop effective and trusted coach-client relationships. Students will learn how to coach from an integral perspective that engages the complexity and potential of the whole person — mind, body, heart, and spirit. The focus of this program is on understanding the coaching process and developing fundamental coaching skills in accordance with the ICF Core Competencies. Learn more about the Coach Training Program here.

Program Learning Outcomes

As a graduate of National University’s Master of Arts in Consciousness and Transformative Studies program, you’ll gain knowledge, skills, and capacities in the following areas:

  • Explain and apply a developmental view of consciousness and human evolution to oneself, others, and systems.
  • Demonstrate intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence and accountability using psychological and spiritual principles and practices.
  • Explain and apply systems theory principles at the individual, community, organizational, and planetary levels.
  • Apply communication skills, diversity leadership skills, and professional development skills in service of consciousness growth and systems change.
  • Apply critical thinking, inquiry, and participatory research skills in service of consciousness growth and systems change.

Hear From Our Faculty


Enrolling in a university is a big decision. That’s why our dedicated admissions team is here to guide you through the admissions process and help you find the right program for you and your career goals.

To that end, we’ve simplified and streamlined our application process, so you can get enrolled in your program right away. Because we accept and review applications year round, you can begin class as soon as next month, depending on your program and location of choice.

Learn more about undergraduate, graduate, military, and international student admissions, plus admissions information for transfer students. You can also learn more about our tuition rates and financial aid opportunities.

To speak with our admissions team, call (855) 355-6288 or request information and an advisor will contact you shortly. If you’re ready to apply, simply start your application today.

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Our course structure is built to make earning your degree accessible and achievable, one month at a time, so you can start sooner and finish faster.

Why Choose National University

  • 190+ Degree Programs
  • Online or On-Site
  • Year-Round Enrollment
  • Military Friendly

We’re proud to be a Veteran-founded, San Diego-based nonprofit. Since 1971, our mission has been to provide accessible, achievable higher education to adult learners. Today, we educate students from across the U.S. and around the globe, with over 230,000 alumni worldwide.

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“National University has impacted my career. You can immediately apply what you learn in class to your business.”

-Francisco R., Class of 2016

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We know your life may not happen on a 9-5 schedule, so we offer courses online or on-site at locations across California.

Frequently Asked Questions

A BA or BS degree is required to be admitted to the program, along with a 6–8-page personal statement describing formative childhood experiences, work or life events that have informed or shaped your consciousness across your lifespan. You will also be required to sit for interviews with members of the NU faculty.

Drawing from psychology, philosophy, religion, and the new sciences, NU’s curriculum bridges the divide between science and spirituality to empower transformative leaders. Leading students on a journey of self-discovery, personal growth and transformative change, the MA in Consciousness and Transformative Studies program links personal transformation to professional development in service of the greater good. The program is designed not only to galvanize wisdom, courage, love, joy, and vitality, but also to enrich one’s sense of meaning, passion, and purpose.

NU’s holistic curriculum integrates the wisdom and practices of six major fields of study: psychology, philosophy, religion/spirituality, the new sciences, culture, and professional development. These diverse fields provide cross-fertilizing perspectives, combining contemporary scientific research with insights and methods from ancient wisdom traditions and contemporary spiritual psychology.

With this knowledge, you can pursue opportunities across a broad spectrum of occupations, including coaching, consulting, teaching, group facilitation, organizational leadership, and entrepreneurship.

Consciousness Studies combines spirituality, psychology, and science to help individuals, communities, and organizations develop mindfulness, cultivate enhanced perspectives, and engage creatively and compassionately with the challenges and opportunities of life and work.

This field recognizes that body, mind and spirit, self and world, are dynamic, integrated wholes that work together and therefore must be studied together. Through innovative and mindful approaches, conscious and transformative leaders assist individuals and organizations with the types of problems not typically addressed by traditional l methods.

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The Key Grant Scholarship

Do you qualify for a needs-based scholarship? Learn more about the NU Key Grant Scholarship and other scholarship opportunities to unlock the door to your dreams!

Program Disclosure

Successful completion and attainment of National University degrees do not lead to automatic or immediate licensure, employment, or certification in any state/country. The University cannot guarantee that any professional organization or business will accept a graduate’s application to sit for any certification, licensure, or related exam for the purpose of professional certification.

Program availability varies by state. Many disciplines, professions, and jobs require disclosure of an individual’s criminal history, and a variety of states require background checks to apply to, or be eligible for, certain certificates, registrations, and licenses. Existence of a criminal history may also subject an individual to denial of an initial application for a certificate, registration, or license and/or result in the revocation or suspension of an existing certificate, registration, or license. Requirements can vary by state, occupation, and/or licensing authority.

NU graduates will be subject to additional requirements on a program, certification/licensure, employment, and state-by-state basis that can include one or more of the following items: internships, practicum experience, additional coursework, exams, tests, drug testing, earning an additional degree, and/or other training/education requirements.

All prospective students are advised to review employment, certification, and/or licensure requirements in their state, and to contact the certification/licensing body of the state and/or country where they intend to obtain certification/licensure to verify that these courses/programs qualify in that state/country, prior to enrolling. Prospective students are also advised to regularly review the state’s/country’s policies and procedures relating to certification/licensure, as those policies are subject to change.

National University degrees do not guarantee employment or salary of any kind. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to review desired job positions to review degrees, education, and/or training required to apply for desired positions. Prospective students should monitor these positions as requirements, salary, and other relevant factors can change over time.