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    Saybrook University
  Jun 20, 2024
2018-2019 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Spring Addendum 
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2018-2019 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Spring Addendum [Archived Catalog]

Applied Consciousness Studies Certificate

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Certificate Lead: Ruth Richards, M.D., Ph.D. 

Sponsored by: Consciousness, Spirituality, & Integrative Health Specialization (CSIH)


The scope of consciousness studies and its methods is vast, involving the scientific study of behavior, experience, and intentionality. We approach these in terms of theory, research, and applications. Our field is multidisciplinary and expanding, catalyzed by developments in the cognitive sciences, neurosciences, studies of altered states of consciousness including neuroscientific and experiential studies of sleep and dreaming, or of stages and states in human creativity. Biofeedback technology has opened not only new doorways to understanding inner states but to their self-regulation. Work on meditation, hypnosis, sensory deprivation, mind-altering drugs, and parapsychology have offered added perspectives. We draw as well on anthropology, comparative religion, philosophy, ethnopsychology, transpersonal studies, and Asian and indigenous spiritual traditions. Above all, we assume there is more we do not know. Welcome to this adventure and, indeed, this privilege, of exploring human possibility.

Potential applications involve both areas of knowledge and process (such as transpersonal research methods, ways to use mind-body technologies, approaches to spiritual inquiry). Applications are grounded in special interests of Certificate faculty. Some examples are a focus on ethnoautobiography, mind/technology interface, non-human consciousness, transpersonal research methods, empathy and relational psychology, chaos theory and human experience, traditional healing in modern medicine, and understanding PTSD. We also encourage students to take initiative in developing their own Certificate focus with relevant faculty members.

Learning Outcomes: Upon completion of the Certificate, students will be able to…

  1. Articulate and defend her/his own definitions of mind, brain, and consciousness, comparing at least two other perspectives.
  2. Define and compare a theory, an epistemology, and a model.
  3. Describe conceptual frameworks of historical and contemporary approaches to consciousness studies, both in general and in one’s own special area of interest.
  4. Critically identify, analyze, and compare theoretical models, research literature, and implications in the field from neuroscientific, philosophical, psychological, and cross-cultural perspectives.
  5. Explain how contemporary and combined research methods, including neuroscientific, heuristic, introspective, neurophenomenological, and other qualitative and quantitative methods of disciplined inquiry can be integrated to examine questions in humanistic and transpersonal psychology or parapsychology.
  6. Demonstrate how quantitative and qualitative methods have previously been applied individually or together to a topic of the student’s interest.
  7. Articulate one’s own model of consciousness, and apply it to an area of particular interest.
  8. Articulate how knowledge in key areas such as phenomenological or neuroscientific investigations have the potential for changing major outlooks or even worldviews in such areas as exceptional human experiences, spiritual development, therapies and psychological growth, and new paradigms informing humanistic, transpersonal, and existential perspectives, including those in special areas of student interest.


College of Social Sciences Certificate Programs

Saybrook University’s College of Social Sciences offers a number of exciting certificate programs intended for non-matriculating students (e.g., professionals, activists, community leaders/organizers, etc.) who want to expand or deepen their knowledge and skills pertaining to specific foci.  Our certificate programs offer a variety of topics relevant in today’s world. From existential psychology to integrative healthcare, the College of Social Sciences certificates offer students the humanistic and interdisciplinary education students desire in a convenient certificate program.

Delivery Model

All entering students will begin their program in consultation with the Certificate Lead Faculty in order to clarify requirements and ensure that their interests are integrating within their learning experience. Students can change their study plan later, but need to make an initial plan at the outset, including a tentative plan for a one-year enrollment for those individuals not enrolled in a Saybrook degree program. Typically, certificate requirements can be completed within one to two years (see Certificate Lead Faculty for more details). Students progress through certificate requirements through a combination of on-line cohort courses and either face-to-face experientials during a Saybrook Residential Conference and/or at-a-distance platforms such as video-conference or conference calls. Additionally, students participate in online Graduate Colloquia shells, which are virtual classrooms utilized to foster community among all enrolled in specializations that sponsor the certificates; deepening the learning environment and broadening the application of theory and practice.

These certificates are available to degree and non-degree students alike. Non-degree students who subsequently pursue a degree at Saybrook may be able to transfer credits toward degree requirements.  Students formally enrolled in one of Saybrook’s degree programs may be able to integrate the certificate into their program as the certificate course requirement may satisfy either specialization requirements and/or degree electives.  In the event that a doctoral student wishes to complete more than one Certificate program, only one course (3 credits) may be counted toward a second Certificate. No course overlap may occur for fulfillment of a third (or more) Certificate. In addition, fulfillment of each Certificate requires completion of a unique practicum (CSIH/CS/EHTP/TSC 8151: 3 credits) as well as a unique final paper (CSIH/CS/EHTP/TSC 8950: 1 credit). No overlap of required Certificate coursework will be permitted for M.A. students who wish to declare more than one Certificate.

Core Components

Though each certificate is specific to the area of focus, there are general Core Components or expectations.

  • Required course(s) (3 credits each)
  • Choice of Electives (3 credits each) to be determined in consultation with the Certificate Lead Faculty
  • Practicum/Project (3 credits) which is individually designed by the student in consultation with Practicum Instructor based on his or her interests and goals. This may involve related theory, research, and/or practical application. Several Certificates require the presentation of the Practicum/Project during a Saybrook Residential Conference and/or at-a-distance presentation through video conference platforms such as Go To Meeting or Skype (see Certificate Lead Faculty for more details).
  • Integrative Paper/Seminar (1 credit) which can be a capstone paper, professional poster presentation, or mini-project designed to allow reflection, assessment of progress, integration of experience and academic learning, and forward projection into how one will use these learnings and skills. It also invites a look into other competencies one might still wish to add. (Not all certificates require an integrative paper).


  • Applied Consciousness Studies
  • Arts and Self-Expression for Health and Wellbeing
  • Building A Sustainable World
  • Community Health & Development
  • Complex Trauma & The Health Process
  • Creativity Studies
  • Death, Loss, and Meaning
  • Dream Studies
  • Foundations in Existential-Humanistic Practice
  • Multiculturalism and Social Justice
  • Organizational Leadership & Transformation
  • Peace & Conflict Resolution
  • Professional Studies in Psychophysiology
  • Socially Engaged Spirituality
  • Stress Management Education
  • Transpersonal Psychology

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