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    Saybrook University
  Nov 28, 2023
2022-2023 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Spring Addendum 
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2022-2023 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Spring Addendum [Archived Catalog]

College of Social Sciences

Department of Counseling

Department of Humanistic Psychology

Department of Business Administration & Leadership

Department of Transformative Social Change

The College of Social Sciences (CSS) offers MA, DBA and PhD hybrid, online and campus-based programs that provide students with hands-on experience and mentoring from faculty who are active and experienced in their respective disciplines.  Recognized as one of the world’s leading institutions for humanistic scholarship and education, the College of Social Sciences is focused on helping students develop the insight, presence, and expertise that are necessary to serve both local and global communities. 

Based upon Saybrook’s mission, the College of Social Sciences relentlessly pursues a socially just, sustainable world by educating humanistic leaders who transform their fields and communities. Students and faculty, across degree programs and specializations, engage in critical dialogue, self-reflection, discovery, research and practice in pursuit of co-creating communities based in relationship.

The College of Social Sciences (CSS) is comprised of five departments. Although distinct and independent, the intellectual boundaries of the departments allow various opportunities for cross-disciplinary inquiry.

  • Department of Business Administration & Leadership
  • Department of Counseling  
  • Department of Humanistic Psychology 
  • Department of Transformative Social Change

Department of Counseling

The Department of Counseling has two degree program options- the CACREP accredited MA Counseling, specialization Clinical Mental Health Counseling, as well as a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision. The following section will discuss both programs.

MA Counseling: Specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling- A career-focused, clinical mental health counseling program with practicum/internship training, this program prepares students for licensing as a mental health professional and empowers students to shape and craft their professional development and practice orientation. This is a hybrid program that blends residential conference attendance (each semester of the program), with online course instruction.

PhD Counselor Education and Supervision - This program is intended to prepare students to work as counselor educators, supervisors, and advanced practitioners in academic and clinical settings. Graduates are prepared to contribute to the knowledge base in field of counseling, through leadership and research skills. The PhD program will hold to the broader mission of preparing advocates and leaders in Humanistic social transformation that is at the core of the mission of Saybrook University.

Department of Humanistic Psychology

The Humanistic Psychology (HP) department is home to Saybrook’s flagship programs, which include the M.A. in Psychology and Ph.D. in Psychology degree programs. The Departments of Humanistic Psychology and Humanistic Clinical Psychology are among Saybrook’s legacy programs.  They both offer students a foundation of scholarship and practice based in the tradition of existential, humanistic, and transpersonal psychology. Learning encompasses a course of study that takes the student beyond traditional field-specific boundaries to focus on such subjects as consciousness, spirituality, and integrative health; creativity studies; and existential and humanistic psychology.

Discovery that is informed by a variety of disciplines and modes of inquiry can enliven each student’s primary field of study and enrich the learning process. It is with this in mind that these legacy degree programs have expanded the definition of the field to include not only human processes that occur at an intrapsychic level, but also those that occur within groups, communities, societies, and at the global level.

Our research and practice encourage the best in human qualities and activities while also adhering to rigorous scholastic standards. By producing humanistic scholars, researchers, and practitioners, the Psychology and Clinical Psychology degree programs offer interdisciplinary graduate education that crosses and merges many disciplines within the diverse field of Psychology. Through such an approach, exploration of what it means to be human in the 21st century is expanded beyond traditional definitions of the fields of psychology and clinical practice.

The uniqueness of Saybrook’s Psychology and Clinical Psychology degree programs lies in our heritage of humanistic, existential, transpersonal, and phenomenological inquiry. Key founders and early contributors to this tradition include such innovative thinkers as Carl Rogers, Rollo May, Abraham Maslow, James Bugental, Henry Murray, Viktor Frankl, Charlotte Bühler, and Virginia Satir. These and other leaders in existential, humanistic, and transpersonal psychology came together in the 1960s to challenge the dominant behaviorist and psychoanalytic theories and other models of inquiry into human experience. Today Saybrook faculty, alumni, and students continue to question, critique, and offer alternatives to many of the axioms of mainstream academic psychology and professional practice, including those of the now predominant bio-medical model. Through creativity, spiritual commitment, sound research, scholarly writing, and integrative professional practice, members of the Saybrook community keep alive the spirit of innovative and creative approaches to the increasingly complex issues of our times.

Our work offers a vital, viable, and emancipatory alternative to individuals, families, groups, and societies as they effectively respond to human needs in an increasingly complex world. The emphasis of the course of study is on disciplined inquiry that includes various ways of knowing, scholarly research and writing, and the conceptualization of issues in psychology within the framework of their philosophical, scientific, social, and political contexts, as well as practical “real world” implications. Both the Department of Humanistic Psychology and Department of Humanistic Clinical Psychology are leading humanistic educational programs committed to the study of human experience from multiple frameworks informed by this historical and evolving humanistic, existential, and transpersonal perspectives. While the Psychology degree programs do not prepare students for clinical practice or eligibility for clinical licensure, the Clinical Psychology degree program does.  However, many Psychology degree program students are already licensed clinicians and find the coursework offered through Psychology curricula complements and enhances their prior or concurrent study of clinical issues.

Curricula Learning Goals

The curricula learning goals express the Department’s mission and vision as overarching tenets that inform the learning outcomes of degree programs, Specializations, and courses. They guide and support students in aligning their own aspirations and program goals and learning outcomes with Saybrook’s mission. Student learning outcomes for each of the degrees are based on these goals. These learning goals support students to become:

  • Leaders for life-honoring and life-enhancing social change
  • Self-reflective, contemplative, and intentional scholar-practitioners
  • Extraordinary thinkers who move beyond traditional disciplinary and paradigmatic boundaries
  • Professionals who place their work within an expanded geopolitical, temporal, and socio-environmental context
  • Persons who experience and cultivate intra- and interpersonal authenticity, integrity, and compassion

Psychology Degree Program Contacts

Israel Espinosa, Psy.D.
Department Chair, Psychology Degree Program

Clinical Psychology Degree Program Contacts

Theopia Jackson, Ph.D., LP
Department Chair 

Vanessa Brown, PsyD, LP
Department Associate Chair

Department of Business Administration & Leadership

Business Administration

Note:  The DBA and MBA Programs are not currently enrolling students.

The Department of Business Administration prepares leaders for thoughtful and generative engagement in for-profit, not-for-profit and co-ops.  The department offers students an MBA and a DBA coupled with applied learning at key junctures. 

The MBA may be completed in 12 or 18 months and requires successful completion of 30 credits delivered in as 8 week courses.  A Residential Conference (RC) is not required.

The DBA may be completed in 3.5 years and requires successful completion of 54 credits delivered over 15 weeks per semester.  The Residential Conference (RC) is required until the student begins the dissertation process. 

Leadership Overview

The Challenge

Contemporary organizations are comprised of diverse people who creatively self-organize into global social networks that have dynamic cultures and are mediated by innovative technology to achieve a common purpose. Organizational leaders face many challenges. Among them are how to courageously lead with integrity and have an inclusive global vision. Then there is how to manage in an engaging manner that draws upon diverse talent and creative ideas, so all organizational members meaningfully contribute to the organization’s success and society’s well-being.

Saybrook University’s Department of Leadership aids professionals to take up this challenge and be leaders who foster the emergence of vital new organizational systems, global economic perspectives, distributed workplace environments, and business philosophies which give rise to an equitable and sustainable future where all can flourish.


Saybrook University’s Department of Leadership is a vibrant interdisciplinary innovation hub-a systems-based think tank and consortium for practical application in all sectors-that strives to develop organizational leadership and management that collaboratively envision and build sustainable solutions that couple organizational success with social innovation in a wide range of organizations and institutions, including for-profit, non-profit, and governmental agencies.


The Department of Leadership strives to unleash professionals’ potential to:

  • Be tomorrow’s courageous innovative leaders today,
  • Envision and design the future of their organization and its operating systems,
  • Collaboratively manage and engage the workforce with a global perspective,
  • Systemically solve complex problems and build sustainable solutions, and
  • Accomplish organizational goals while serving the greater global society and its future.

Concretely, to accomplish its mission the Department of Leadership offers a dynamic portfolio of leading-edge master and doctoral programs for professionals who want to be visionary contributing leaders in the field of business, healthcare, education, and the not-for-profit sector, or who want to be consultants to organizations and civic communities. Degrees are rooted in current scholarship and professional practice to educate professionals as innovative leaders and managers of interdependent organizational systems who can:  

  • Analyze complex organizational situations through a systems lens,
  • Anticipate nonlinear cause-effect relationships and plan accordingly,
  • Respond to challenges proactively and collaboratively with stakeholders,
  • Plan and execute wise strategies and processes that avoid unintended consequences,
  • Implement systems, networks, and partnerships that sustain organizations and priorities,
  • Think critically and operate ethically under pressure.

The Department of Leadership’s graduate programs are learner-driven. Each program emphasizes opportunities for students to prioritize and pursue their professional goals and interests.  Each program combines distance learning with the stimulation of unique learning afforded by periodic residential conferences.  In this way, learning is approached as a fundamentally connected activity: student interests are connected with faculty and fellow students, and connected with real-world issues in the workplace or elsewhere.

Degree Programs

The Department of Leadership’s degree offerings are designed to meet the needs of 21st Century organizations. Whether the organization is in the public, private or nonprofit sector, the program offers research-based learning that has practical applications. The programs are built on foundations in three primary skill areas: management, leadership, and innovative collaborative design. These ensure students develop the mastery and expertise needed to accomplish their professional goals. They are holistic in nature, placing academic and professional development in an interdependent, interactive context. This context fosters the consideration of professional, organizational, and global social environments. 

The Department offers a PhD in Managing Organizational Systems. 

Learning Models

To accomplish its mission, the Department designed the Ph.D. program with a combination of features known to support professionals’ success in graduate school. The learning experiences are characterized by the following.    

Crossing Disciplinary Perspectives: Programs draw upon faculty who have diverse academic expertise and a variety of professional backgrounds in order to engage students in interdisciplinary inquiry and a critical examination of perspectives and practices.

Interactive Design: Each course is taught in a multi-modality, interactive fashion that builds a dynamic collaborative learning environment. Students and instructors continuously engage with one another’s diverse experience and perspectives, forming a “virtual learning place.’ Course learning interacts with the workplace and career as it is continuously applied by students in timely ways.  

Global Coursework: Both the graduate and doctoral programs enable students to develop their global perspective and cross-cultural skills by participating in courses which have an international immersion component.

Cohorts: Students form cohort-based learning communities for holistic work together as teams, as peer professionals who support and challenge one another to reach their academic and professional goals, and to increase each one’s development as multiple perspectives are sought, valued, and engaged. 

Virtual Course Learning Forum: Each course has a virtual online site that contains the core materials (e.g., course description, syllabus, required reading, videos, weekly instructions) and is the hub of weekly instructor-student, student-student interactive dialogues and teamwork, and knowledge-sharing social networks. 

Webinars and Coaching Sessions: Real-time interactions in periodic course webinars and one-on-one coaching sessions with students complement the online course work for the best of both worlds. Through these interactions, real-world applications of learning can get real-time exploration. 

Residential Conferences: Cohorts and instructors from the degree programs convene as an entire learning community at conferences twice per year until the student begins the dissertation engagement.

Department of Transformative Social Change

Department Overview

We live in a time of transformative social change. All over the world, people are working for a more sustainable environment, seeking social justice and democratic reform, and creating new economic models that work for the many and not just the few.  Many of these changes are powered by new communication technologies that are making a powerful impact, from spreading innovation to toppling repressive regimes.

But we also confront crises of environmental devastation, economic displacement, social injustice, war, terrorism, and personal stress that threaten the well-being of life on earth, and arguably our survival. Many of these crises are interrelated and can best be addressed by those with a deep understanding of the connections among such issues as social inequity, drawdown of our planet’s resources, toxification of our bodies and environments, and centralization of media in the hands of powerful interests.

This program subsumes a range of fields under a relatively new disciplinary area, Transformative Social Change. There is a growing acceptance and development of this field of research, academic study, and social action, from sources including the United Nations, major foundations, and other universities. The new degree program in Transformative Social Change will prepare students to respond to current social, cultural, and political challenges of our time in a unique way, as reflective scholar-practitioners, able to create transformative changes in society, guided by humanistic values. 

Distinctive Features

The TSC degree program is purposefully differentiated from a standard comprehensive nonprofit management training program orientation.  Specifically, the TSC program focuses on preparing graduates to possess the skills and capacities needed for particular types of nonprofit organizations, those with a program focus in advocacy for, human rights, community building, peace, democracy, the environment and social justice.  To enable graduates to be successful participants and leaders in those types of NGOs, we emphasize development of the skills and capacities for employment positions in the program, policy and outreach areas.

Program Learning Outcomes         

  1. Develop participatory, democratic, collaborative leadership skills.
  2. Develop capacity for connectedness and compassion for all life, and the ability to balance needs of self with those of the larger community.  
  3. Develop global, multi-generational social and environmental conscience; capacity for genuine dialogue with other socio-­‐cultural viewpoints.                  
  4. Be able to understand and analyze embedded social systems; master a specific social change content area; and able to design social system transformation strategies.        
  5. Achieve reflective grounding in one’s own values and worldviews; develop congruence between ethics/values and actions/research.