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    Saybrook University
  May 08, 2021
2017-2018 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Summer Addendum 
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2017-2018 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Summer Addendum [Archived Catalog]

Admissions Process

Applying to Saybrook

Saybrook University is proud of its history of more than 40 years applying humanistic principles to the world’s problems. That means that we believe the human experience, and human potential, are the most important parts of education and engagement with the world. Whether you’re studying psychology, counseling, leadership and management, mind-body medicine, or nutrition at Saybrook the emphasis is on creating experiences and systems that bring out the best in people and encourage human potential.

That’s something we’re passionate about, and we bring that passion to the world: from providing treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder to civilians in war zones to developing new programs for companies that want to become socially responsible, our faculty, students, and alumni are actively engaged in creating a more just, humane, and sustainable world through both scholarship and activism. If that’s something you’re passionate about, you have a community here.

We encourage applicants from all disciplines, backgrounds and interests to apply. We hope you will explore our graduate degree programs and participate in our faculty and staff-led admission events to discover which program of humanistic education is best suited for your interests. By doing so, you will get a feel of what it is like to thrive in our community, collaborate with our excellent faculty, and study in our graduate-level academic environment.

Rolling Admissions

Under our rolling admissions plan, Saybrook accepts applications year-round for multiple upcoming terms. You do not need to wait until a fixed date to hear about acceptance: we will notify you a few weeks after we receive all the materials required to complete your application.

The process is simple:

  • Select your program from the list on our Areas of Study. You can apply for only one program at a time.
  • Complete the online application form.
  • Send in your application fee.
  • Upload the necessary application materials (transcripts, references, writing sample, personal statement, resume, etc.) through your student portal.
  • We recommend completing your FAFSA application for Financial Aid at the same time you complete your Saybrook application.
  • You will then be asked to participate in a telephone or in-person interview.

Admission Requirements

Ability-to-benefit students are ineligible for admission to Saybrook because they do not have the required bachelor’s degree.

At a minimum, you must have received, or anticipate receiving prior to the start of the semester you are applying into, a bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited college or university before applying for a master’s degree at Saybrook.

Application for a PhD also requires a master’s degree from Saybrook or another regionally-accredited college. An exception is made for students who are applying to the PhD Clinical Psychology program, who must have completed a BA/BS in Psychology, Counseling, or Social Work, or 12 semester credits/20 quarter credits of Psychology coursework completed at a regionally accredited college or university.

The minimum expected grade point average (GPA) requirement is 3.0 from the last degree-granting institution, though exceptions may be made.

Admissions Criteria

Saybrook University is committed to identifying students who will be a “good fit” for the Saybrook experience. Rather than grade-point averages or standardized test scores, we emphasize:

  1. Academic history and professional experience
  2. Compatible background and interests with the offerings at Saybrook
  3. Ability to work well in a distance-education format
  4. Demonstrated critical thinking and writing skills
  5. Personal motivation and readiness for graduate level work
  6. Potential for scholarly research and/or ability to work actively in the field

Summary of Admissions Requirements for New, Degree-Seeking Students

For students who are seeking one of our masters or doctoral degrees, one of our certificate programs or non-degree coursework, please refer to the admissions requirements page  of our website.

Enrollment Agreement Requirement

As part of the admissions process, each new student must sign an Enrollment Agreement. The Enrollment Agreement is a contract between the student and the school intended to protect the student and provide specific disclosure information, such as the total cost of the program, refund information (in the event of withdrawal from the school), and estimated length of the program of study. The student should retain a copy of the signed Enrollment Agreement for personal use. In the event that a student withdraws then re-enrolls or changes programs, a new Enrollment Agreement will be issued.

Enrollment Agreements must be signed no later than the last day of the semester in which they are issued. Failure to sign the agreement will result in deregistration from all future courses and a registration hold being placed onto the student’s account.

Qualifying Degree Conferral Requirement

All new students are required to submit documentation of the qualifying degree for the program they are admitted to by the end of their first semester of enrollment. Students will remain ineligible for financial aid until acceptable documentation of the qualifying degree has been received. Furthermore, submission of acceptable documentation does not reinstate financial aid eligibility for previous semesters.

For entrance into a master’s degree program, the qualifying degree is a bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited college or university.

For entrance into a doctoral degree program, the qualifying degree is a master’s degree from Saybrook or another regionally-accredited college or university. An exception is made for students who are applying to the PhD Clinical Psychology program, who must have completed a BA/BS in Psychology, Counseling, or Social Work, or 12 semester credits/20 quarter credits of Psychology coursework completed at a regionally accredited college or university

Acceptable forms of documentation to satisfy the Qualifying Degree Conferral requirement are:

  • Official transcript showing qualifying degree conferral (Preferred)
  • Unofficial transcript showing qualifying degree conferral
  • A letter from the qualifying degree granting institution’s Office of the Registrar on school letterhead that includes the specific conferral date, degree level, and name of degree conferred
  • An official or unofficial transcript evaluation of an international transcript from a NACES approved evaluation service showing degree completion with date conferred and degree earned, along with US equivalency (International Students Only)

Certificates & Workshop Programs

Saybrook offers a variety of alternatives to a full-degree MA/MS or PhD program of study: certificate programs, workshops and continuing education courses.

Certificate Programs

The certificates are designed to meet the needs of professionals, activists, community leaders/organizations and others, as well as those who are simply life learners.  These programs offer:

  • An opportunity to explore a particular field or topic
  • A chance to improve job qualifications by obtaining certification in a field that complements your original training
  • A cost-effective way to start acquiring knowledge when a longer MA or PhD degree program is too much of a commitment
  • A means of supplementing your degree studies at Saybrook with detailed learning in a specific topic area.

While some certificate programs are a subset of standard online course offerings; others are independent.

Seattle Workshop - InterAct: Skills for Adaptive Leadership

InterAct is an experiential three-day workshop designed to increase participants’ skills in adaptive leadership, especially in times of high stress. Based on the Skills Group methodology, participants are introduced to the concepts and skills of emotional intelligence. They are given multiple opportunities to practice these skills, real time, with other participants. By the end of the workshop participants will be able to describe and apply these communication skills, essential to collaboration in times of intensity. 

While this training is applicable for anyone wishing to improve their self-awareness and social skills, it is particularly suited for those engaged in the complex process of addressing adaptive challenges, a process that requires an evolution in values, roles and norms.


Students withdrawn from Saybrook for 365 days or more must formally apply for readmission.  Students after having been withdrawn for less than 365 days may contact the Office of the Registrar directly for re-entry to the University. Students withdrawn not in good standing (see Satisfactory Academic Progress policy) can only be considered for readmission after all financial obligations have been met and/or an acceptable plan for remedying any academic deficiencies has been considered and approved by Saybrook. Saybrook reserves the right to determine if any terms stated at the time of administrative withdrawal have been satisfied in full.

Readmission is not guaranteed. The faculty review committee makes all readmission decisions based on the student’s academic record at Saybrook and any other factors deemed relevant.  Applicants for readmission must meet the admission requirements in effect at the time of readmission.

Readmission requirements mirror all standard admission specifications. Students on Academic & Financial Aid Warning or Probation at the time of withdrawal may be readmitted if approved, but remain subject to Warning, Probation and other guidelines in effect at the withdrawal date. These students will be readmitted on the same SAP status they had upon withdrawal.

Students returning less than 365 days from their last date of attendance return under the academic requirements that were in effect at the time of withdrawal.  Students withdrawn over 365 days from their last date of attendance are subject to the academic requirements and catalog in effect at the time of readmission.  More specifically, they may be required to attend the Residential Orientation.

Readmitted students who have been out more than three years will be subject to the degree requirements in effect at the time of their readmission AND will be required to attend another Residential Orientation.

International Applicants

The Global Enrollment Management department conducts international student recruitment and admissions on behalf of Saybrook University. The GEM department will follow these policies and procedures, informed by institutional knowledge and best practices in international admission. Saybrook defines an international student as a student who does not currently hold U.S. citizenship nor U.S. permanent residence.

Instruction at Saybrook is conducted in the English language.  International applicants that indicate English is not their primary language must demonstrate English language proficiency as outlined in the International Degree Requirements. Saybrook does not offer English language services or instruction such as ESL.

Visa Options for Study

Saybrook University is not approved by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVIS) for the programs in which it is currently recruiting and is unable to issue certificates of eligibility (I-20) for eligible students interested in applying for an F-1 non-immigrant student visa after program admission.

Our goal is to be an active part of your Saybrook experience, and to support you in many ways. Our Global Enrollment Specialists are available to you to discuss important visa matters and details on how to manage your immigration status. Additionally, if you are considering study in another visa status other than F-1, our Global Enrollment Specialists in International Admissions are available to assist you in your navigation of your visa’s eligibility for study in the U.S.

Students who do not require sponsorship for an F-1 student visa and are eligible for study in the United States are welcome to apply to all programs offered by Saybrook.

Please note that U.S. immigration regulations stipulate that individuals in the United States on a “B” non-immigrant (both B-1 visitors for business and B-2 visitors for pleasure) are prohibited from enrolling in a degree program.

International Degree Requirements

In addition to meeting all general and program-specific admission requirements, all international applicants are also subject to the following requirements:

  1. Official scores from either the TOEFL or IELTS exam is required of all international applicants who indicate on their application that English is not their primary language
  2. Minimum scores required are:
    1. 79 iBT TOEFL/550 PBT TOEFL
    2. 6.5 IELTS

English Language Exam may be waived:

  1. If the applicant has completed a prior degree or at least 60 transfer credits from a college/university in the United States or from a college/university where coursework is taught entirely in English (example: American University of Cairo)
  2. If the applicant has successfully completed the required level at an ESL institute with which Saybrook has a Memorandum of Understanding

English Language Exam may be made a contingency of acceptance:

  1. If the applicant is currently completing a degree in the United States or is currently completing a degree at an international institution where coursework is taught entirely in English. The contingency will be fulfilled upon receipt of a final transcript from the aforementioned institution showing degree earned and date conferred or upon receipt of a passing TOEFL/IELTS score.
  2. If the applicant is planning to enroll or is currently enrolled at an ESL institute with which Saybrook has a Memorandum of Understanding. The contingency will be fulfilled upon receipt of a final transcript or letter from the aforementioned institution showing the required level was successfully completed or upon receipt of a passing TOEFL/IELTS score.

Final decisions regarding exceptions to this policy will be made by the Vice President of Enrollment Management in collaboration with the Director of Global Enrollment Management.

Accepted international applicants may matriculate once they have earned the U.S. equivalent of their program’s prerequisite degree (or equivalent required course credit hours for B.A.-completion) from either a regionally accredited U.S. school or the equivalent as determined by a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services)-approved transcript evaluation agency.

  • Regarding 3-year Bachelor’s degrees: 3-year degrees will be recognized providing a NACES-approved evaluation agency equates the degree to the U.S. equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university. Other 3-year degrees will require additional post-graduate coursework commonly completed by those interested in applying to U.S. graduate schools (as determined by a NACES-approved evaluation agency).
  • Regarding Bologna Degrees: Bologna Accord degrees are recognized by NACES-approved evaluation agencies (see World Education Services example) and will be recognized by Saybrook provided the credential evaluator equates the degree to the U.S. equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university. 
  • Regarding Professional Degrees: Final decisions regarding professional degrees earned overseas (ex: Bachelor-level Medical degrees) will be made by the Vice President of Enrollment Management in consultation with the Director of Global Enrollment Management after reviewing a NACES-approved transcript evaluation.
  • Regarding applicants with 3-year Bachelor’s degrees completing additional study in the United States: As transcript evaluation agencies will not combine international coursework with domestic coursework when performing an evaluation, this uncommon situation will be evaluated by the faculty admissions committee. Guidelines for decision will include the completion of an overseas Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum of 120 undergraduate credit hours earned (when summing total international credits earned and U.S. credits earned).

International Transcript Evaluation Policy

An international applicant must have non-U.S. transcripts evaluated by a NACES-approved ( evaluation agency.  The evaluation must include a “course-by-course” transcript evaluation of academic records from the foreign institution where the pre-requisite degree was earned is required for consideration for admission. The transcript evaluation must also include a general evaluation showing U.S. degree equivalency and grade point average (GPA).

Transcript evaluations are not required from American universities operating overseas, provided the institution is regionally accredited by a recognized U.S. regional accrediting body (Example: The American University of Cairo).

International Degree Conferral Admission Requirements

A graduate student must submit documentation proving conferral of the qualifying degree for their academic program by the start of the second semester of enrollment. The qualifying degree conferral date must be a date prior to the term/semester of entry. Any individual who fails to meet this requirement by the designated due date will not be eligible for course registration in subsequent semester, which will have an impact on students on international student visas to maintain status.

International Institution Conferral

While a student may submit documentation listed in letters (a) through (d) below to meet the designated due date, submission of the official transcript evaluation is required for all students who attended an institution outside of the United States A Saybrook student who fails to provide an official transcript evaluation showing degree conferred by the start of the second semester of enrollment will be withdrawn from the institution on the Add/Drop deadline of the second semester.

  1. Official transcript showing qualifying degree conferral. An official transcript is printed on official transcript paper and bears the embossed or raised college seal, date, and the Registrar’s signature. An official transcript is delivered in a sealed envelope with the Registrar’s signature stamped across the seal. An official transcript can also be sent electronically directly from a transcript vendor.
  2. Unofficial transcript showing qualifying degree conferral. An unofficial transcript is printed on plain paper and does not bear a college seal or registrar’s signature or is an opened transcript submitted by a student, marked as a student copy or stamped unofficial. An unofficial transcript must document: student name, institution name, courses completed with grades earned, specific degree conferred and the conferral date.
  3. An official letter on school letterhead from the qualifying degree granting institution’s Office of the Registrar that includes the specific conferral date, degree level, and name of degree conferred.
  4. An official or unofficial transcript evaluation of an international transcript from a National Association of Credential Evaluations Services (NACES)-approved evaluation service that includes the specific conferral date, degree level, and name of degree conferred, along with US equivalency.

Transcripts and Testing


Saybrook requires that transcripts submitted to the Admissions Office be “official.” If you open a sealed transcript envelope, you will invalidate the transcript as an official document. We encourage you to visit your previous institutions’ websites to request that official transcripts be sent directly to the Saybrook University Admissions Office at the address below. On other websites, look for Registrar’s Office, Transcript Office, or Transcript Request Form.

All applicants must provide official, sealed transcripts from all previously-attended, degree-granting, post-secondary institutions. You may submit transcripts from non-degree granting, post-secondary institutions (e.g., from a certificate program) if you feel it would strengthen your application, or if the transcripts contain graduate coursework that may qualify for transfer credit.  An official review of transfer credits cannot occur until official transcripts are received.  Official transcripts must be received by the end of your first semester in the program. Failure to submit all final official documents, including proof of required degree conferral will result in a registration hold being placed on your account.

Mail official transcripts to:

Admissions Operations
c/o Saybrook University
350 N. Orleans Street, Suite 1050
Chicago, IL 60654-1822

Standardized Testing

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is not required for admission to Saybrook University.  If you wish to supplement your application with optional test scores, please request that the scores be sent directly to the Admissions Office at the address above.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

Saybrook Institutional Code: 4211
Phone: 800.473.2255

Miller Analogies Test (MAT by the Psychological Corporation)

Saybrook Institutional Code: 1950
Phone: 800.872.1726


International applicants are required to submit a TOEFL score directly to the Admissions Office. Saybrook Institutional Code: 9007
Phone: 1-877.863.3546 (US)
Website: http://www.ets.orgtoefl

Institutional Transfer Credit Guidelines

Transfer credits based on equivalent graduate courses taken at another regionally accredited institution in the same or similar discipline where the student received a grade of B or better may be transferred and will reduce the number of course credits required to be completed at Saybrook. Allowable transfer credits must be suitable for transfer to the intended degree as determined by the Registrar and the degree Department Chair. Transfer course credits do not affect the minimum number of credits required for the degree.

Transfer credits from an institution that uses the quarter system will be converted to semester credits. Transfer credits appear on the Saybrook transcript as a single block of credits, not as specific course titles. While matriculated at Saybrook University, students may not receive academic credit or credits for coursework to apply to their Saybrook degree in process from another institution.

Students should be sure to review their Transfer Credit Evaluation once it has been sent to them by the Registrar’s Office and should contact the Registrar if they have questions. Students have the option to request removal of any transferred credits prior to the end of their second semester at Saybrook University.  We recommend that students check with their Department Chair prior to requesting credit be removed. Once removed, the update is permanent and transfer credits may not be reinstated.

Per external guidelines, master’s students cannot transfer more than 20% of their total program credits towards their Saybrook master’s degree.  Doctoral students cannot transfer more than 15 graduate semester credits towards their Saybrook doctoral degree.  Students are encouraged to review the information on their specific degree program in order to determine the maximum number of transfer credits that can be awarded.  These guidelines are applicable to all Saybrook programs and modalities, and additional restrictions may exist as noted in specific programs of study.
Saybrook does not accept credit for prior experiential learning. 

Articulation Agreements

Saybrook University has partnered with educational enterprises, academic institutions and community partners to create pathways to select programs. An external articulation agreement identifies specific coursework completed at a collaborating institution that may be recognized as equivalent to Saybrook coursework. 

All transfer credit will be based on an individual evaluation of a student’s official transcripts and syllabi. Courses may vary depending upon the degree programs and how credits are applied toward degree completion. A student who enters a degree program via an articulation agreement will be held to the requirements stated in the agreement.

Prema Yoga. Prema Yoga, LLC (PY) provides education in integrative yoga practices to yoga teachers, yoga therapists, social workers, psychologists, nurses, and other health care professionals. Courses may be used for CEUs, an advanced yoga teaching certificate, or a two-year yoga therapy certificate. PY’s comprehensive approach offers evidence-based yoga techniques taught in a classical manner honoring yoga’s history of yoga chikista - “yoga therapy.” The unique mind/body approach of yoga and meditation allows health care professionals to address self-care with their clients in a deeply holistic manner, empowering the individual in her health process.

The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) The IIN provides holistic training in the field of nutrition. IIN’s Health Coach Training Program includes coursework in nutrition, health and wellness, coaching techniques, business skills, and personal development. The articulation agreement with Saybrook University allows graduates of the IIN training programs to authorize six credits of graduate credit toward CIMHS masters and doctoral programs.

 The Flourishing Center (TFC) The Flourishing Center provides a 6-month long Certificate in Applied Positive Psychology program, which includes 240 hours of education and training through residential on-site locations, online and distance learning platforms, webinars, and videoconference participation. This agreement provides recognition of up to six credits from TFC’s Certification in Applied Positive Psychology (CAPP) Program to Saybrook’s master’s and doctoral programs in College of Integrative Medicine and Health Sciences.

The International Nurse Coach Association (INCA) The INCCP educates nurses in an integrative coaching practice, preparing them to integrate coaching into the mainstream of their nursing practice, in hospital, home care, and independent practice. This articulation agreement between Saybrook and INCA allows for up to six units of transfer credit from the INCA INCCP program to CIMHS master’s and doctoral degree programs.

The University of Santa Monica (USM) The University of Santa Monica has three master’s degree programs: The Master’s Degree in Spiritual Psychology, The Master’s Degree in Consciousness, Health, and Healing, and The Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology. The articulation agreement allows for graduates of USM master’s degrees to receive up to 18 credits in transfer credit for CIMHS PhD programs.

StraighterLine StraighterLine has developed, implemented, offered, and administered online, self-paced, college-level courses, academic programs and curricula (collectively, the “Courses”) that meet the standards and requirements of Saybrook University for certain general education courses under the trademark “StraighterLine.”