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    Saybrook University
  Oct 01, 2023
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]

Mind-Body Medicine, Ph.D.

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Mind-body medicine is known as one of the leading complementary approaches in healthcare. In the past five years alone, thousands of studies have documented the therapeutic benefits of mind-body therapies on physical, mental, and emotional health.

Applying the principles and evidence supporting the effectiveness of mind-body approaches for health outcomes and overall wellbeing, students enrolled in the PhD Mind-Body Medicine (MBM) program integrate the philosophy, science, and techniques of mind-body medicine in their personal and professional work. The curriculum presents a foundation of scholarship across the CIMHS departments, representing domains of integrative healthcare, mind-body science, practice, advanced research, and ethics.  To expand their knowledge and focus of study in a specific discipline, students may choose to add a specialization in applied psychophysiology, integrative and functional nutrition, integrative mental health, integrative wellness coaching, and mindful leadership in healthcare. The generalist degree or no specialization option offers the most flexible sequence for individuals pursuing multiple certifications such as integrative wellness coaching, integrative and functional nutrition, biofeedback, and clinical hypnosis.

The PhD MBM program and its specializations are best suited for individuals who are interested in enhancing their current practice or seeking a new career in integrative healthcare.  Graduates are prepared serve as educators, coaches, consultants, directors or managers, and researchers in a variety of professional settings:

  • Private practice and independent consulting
  • Integrative medicine and wellness centers
  • Medical centers, hospitals, community health, primary care
  • Medical spas
  • Yoga retreat centers
  • Sports medicine
  • Corporate wellness programs
  • Colleges and universities

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Discuss contemporary issues affecting patient-centered care across disciplines in the field of integrative medicine.
  2. Explain the influence of biopsychosocial factors on general health and wellbeing and the implications for individuals, organizations, and/or communities. 
  3. Interpret the values, ethical principles, and practice standards that are paramount for multidisciplinary practitioners and researchers. 
  4. Assess and synthesize evidence, theories, and informed practices/interventions in integrative medicine. 
  5. Apply published research and critical thinking skills in academic papers, presentations, and/or communications. 
  6. Develop reflective practices and/or model adaptive skills in integrative healthcare and wellness. 
  7. Demonstrate multicultural competencies and diversity awareness, and support health equity and social justice in healthcare systems. 
  8. Evaluate methodologies and/or conduct independent research to investigate contemporary issues in lifestyle and wellness.

Admission Requirements

Applicants for the PhD degree in Mind-Body Medicine must submit the following documents:

  • An official transcript from an accredited university demonstrating successful completion of a bachelor’s degree, with a 3.0 GPA or better;
  • Professional resume or CV;
  • Personal statement; and
  • Writing sample demonstrating graduate level writing skills (conditional acceptance with the requirement of the academic writing course may be offered to applicants who received a below average rating in this component of the evaluation.

Up to nine graduate transfer credits may be accepted to fulfill three electives or course requirement for the degree program.

These credits must be suitable for transfer as determined by the department chair and registrar. For further details regarding transfer credit policies, consult the Institutional Transfer Credit Guidelines section of the University Catalog for Course Descriptions. 

Graduates from one of the CIMHS degree programs are eligible to transfer in all equivalent course requirements.  The exact number depends on which master’s degree the student has completed, and which PhD specialization the student selects. These students must fulfill the doctoral degree requirements for a minimum total of 76 credits.

Contract the department chair to inquire about the details of transfer credits.

Degree Requirements

The requirements for the PhD MBM degree includes 76 credits within specific categories of coursework: core (16 credits), research (21 credits), mind-body science (6 credits), practice (9 credits), electives (9 credits), and specialization (15 credits).  Students who prefer to not to add a specialization will complete 15 credits of additional electives from any category or degree program.  If the academic writing course is required, another elective may be added to the degree, thus increasing the requirements to 79 credits. The category requirements are listed below and in the degree program plan templates.

Students enrolled in this degree program must attend five 5-day residential conferences (RC). They must attend any additional RC days, as required for courses in which they choose to enroll.

Electives - 9 credits

Specialization or No Specialization - 15 credits

Applied Psychophysiology


Integrative and Functional Nutrition


Integrative Mental Health


Integrative Wellness Coaching


Mindful Leadership


Generalist Electives (no specialization)


PhD MBM Degree Requirements - 76-79 credits


See individual specialization requirements in the designated sections.

PhD MBM Degree Requirements for the 2018-2019 Academic Year were approved by the CIMHS Degree Program Committee.

  • The average time to complete the 76-79 degree requirements with or without a specialization is 4.5 to 5.5 years.
  • A listing of acceptable CIMHS courses and electives is available in the university catalog and online Master Index. Students may also choose electives from other academic departments.
  • The PhD MBM degree does not qualify graduates for medical licensure.
  • Students also may choose to pursue a nationally recognized certificate in clinical hypnosis, biofeedback, or integrative wellness coaching. Refer to the departments of Applied Psychophysiology and Integrative Wellness Coaching to learn more about these certifications.

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