Javascript is currently not supported, or is disabled by this browser. Please enable Javascript for full functionality.

Skip to Main Content
    Saybrook University
  Apr 01, 2020
2019-2020 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook 
2019-2020 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook [Archived Catalog]

Mind-Body Medicine, Ph.D.

Return to College of Integrative Medicine and Health Sciences Return to: College of Integrative Medicine and Health Sciences

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 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 certificates such as integrative wellness coaching, integrative and functional nutrition, biofeedback, and clinical hypnosis.

The PhD MBM program attracts students from a broad range of education and career backgrounds in health, wellness, education, and non-healthcare fields.  Nurses, therapists, coaches, yoga instructors, dieticians, nutritionists, educators, business consultants, and recent graduates from other degree programs, represent the student body. This degree does not qualify graduates for medical licensure. 

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 Master’s degree, with a 3.0 GPA or better;
  • Professional resume or CV;
  • Personal statement; and
  • A sample of graduate level academic writing skills. Students with challenges in academic writing may be accepted, but will be required to take an academic writing class.

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 75 credits.

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

Degree Requirements

The requirements for the PhD MBM degree include 75 credits within specific categories of coursework: core (15 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 78 credits. The category requirements are listed below and in the degree program plan templates. Pre-requisites must be met to register for certain courses.

Students enrolled in this degree program must attend five 5-day residential conferences (RC). They must also 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 Mental Health


Integrative Wellness Coaching


Mindful Leadership


Generalist Electives (no specialization)


PhD MBM Degree Requirements - 75-78 credits


See individual specialization requirements in the designated sections.

PhD MBM Degree Requirements for the 2019-2020 Academic Year were approved by the CIMHS Degree Program Committee.

  • The average time to complete the 75-78 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.
  • Courses marked with an asterisk require prerequisites.

Return to College of Integrative Medicine and Health Sciences Return to: College of Integrative Medicine and Health Sciences