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    Saybrook University
  Jan 28, 2023
2021-2022 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook 
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2021-2022 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook [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, contemplative end-of-life care, 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, neurofeedback, stress management 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, dietitians, 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. Explain the influence of biopsychosocial factors on general health and wellbeing and the implications for individuals, organizations, and/or communities.
  2. Describe and apply the foundational values, ethical principles, and best practices of the field to oneself and others.
  3. Apply cultural humility, diversity awareness, and inclusion to support health equity and social justice in healthcare systems.
  4. Articulate the application of self-reflection and self-care skills. 
  5. Assess and synthesize evidence, theories, and established practices in integrative healthcare.
  6. Critically evaluate research methods, apply published research, and conduct independent research in the field.
  7. Compose original, grammatically correct, coherent, concise, and well-articulated written work in APA style.

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.

Provisional Acceptance

Applicants who fail to meet the identified program standards for academic integrity, academic writing, GPA, and/or professional communications may be admitted provisionally for a specified period [e.g., one semester, two semesters, or one year] and/or specified credits. Applicants who are provisionally admitted must meet the identified standards noted in their letter of acceptance by the deadline. Failure to achieve the identified standards/expectations [e.g., acceptable academic integrity, adequate academic writing, a minimum GPA of 3.0, pass all courses with a B or above, or appropriate professional communications] within the identified time period [e.g., one semester, two semesters, or one year] and/or specified credits will result in dismissal. Students admitted provisionally cannot appeal dismissal from Saybrook University as a result of a failure to meet the conditions identified in their acceptance letter. 

Degree Requirements

The requirements for the PhD MBM degree include 75 credits within specific categories of coursework: core (12 credits), research (21 credits), mind-body science (6 credits), practice (9 credits), electives (12 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 complete the CIMHS virtual orientation and attend any residential conferences (RC) day as required for courses in which they choose to enroll. 

Electives - 12 credits

Specialization or No Specialization - 15 credits

Applied Psychophysiology - 15 credits

Integrative Mental Health - 15 credits

Integrative Wellness Coaching - 15 credits

Mindful Leadership - 15 credits

Generalist Electives (no specialization) - 15 credits

PhD MBM Degree Requirements - 75-78 credits


See individual specialization requirements in the designated sections.

  • 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.

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