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Consciousness Studies

Consciousness Studies provides the basis for dissolving the imaginary dualities between the spiritual and physical world. Students experience the interconnectedness of all life and its underlying unity. They explore the meaning of the human condition: the nature of self and reality; the new possibilities for personal, social and global transformation. By heightening awareness, students evolve to a more authentic way of being, both to themselves and others.


Graduates of the Consciousness Studies program embark on both traditional and nontraditional careers. By being responsive to the spiritual, as well as the physical and mental dimensions, they are in a unique position to address many of our contemporary problems. This enables them to become more evolved human beings, parents, spouses, artists, therapists, athletes, educators, healers, and workshop leaders.

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Masters Program:  45 Credits
(30 Credits in Required Courses, 15 Credits in Electives)​

Doctorate Program:  90 Credits
(50 Credits in Required Courses, 40 Credits in Electives)


Combined Masters/Doctorate Program:  120 Credits
(50 Credits in Required Courses, 70 Credits in Electives)

Course credits toward your degree may be earned in the following ways:

Many students earn course credits by having their mentor assign books to read on the course topic, and writing papers or completing projects that demonstrate their understanding of the assigned material. Credits can also be obtained by attending conferences, workshops, retreats, or online courses from established academic institutions. Students may request and submit for IUPS approval (through their mentors), permission to earn credits through external programs. Students also have the opportunity to assist in designing their own electives, allowing for education customization.


A key criteria for earning credits is for students to demonstrate how learning this subject matter impacts their lives personally and professionally. Integration of course material is of paramount importance at IUPS. 

Course #     Credits    Required Core Courses for Masters
CNS 501           4         Spiritual Systems(Sufism, Taoism, Christian, Buddhism, Shamanism, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism)
CNS 502           3         Science and the Nature of Reality
CNS 510           4         A Study of Contemporary Consciousness Teachings
CNS 520           2         Theories and Practice of Meditation
CNS 521           2         Models of Consciousness
CNS 580           3         Practicum: Integrating Awareness Practice into Daily Life
CNS 585           2         Exploration of Consciousness Research
CNS 590         10         Thesis Research Project

Course#     Credits    Required Core Courses for Doctorates

CNS 601          5         Spiritual Systems (Sufism, Taoism, Christian, Buddhism, Shamanism, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism)
CNS 602          5         Science and the Nature of Reality
CNS 610          5         A Study of Contemporary Consciousness Teachings
CNS 620          5         Theories and Practice of Meditation
CNS 621          5         Models of Consciousness
CNS 680          5         Practicum: Integrating Awareness Practice into Daily Life
CNS 685          5         Exploration of Consciousness Research
CNS 690        15         Dissertation Research Project 


Below are examples of electives that one may consider taking as part of this degree program in Consciousness Studies. Students, in concert with their mentors, shall determine which electives are most relevant to their educational aspirations.

Course #    Credits     Courses

CNS 640        1 - 5      Art and Spirituality
CNS 641        1 - 5      Consciousness of Indigenous People
CNS 642        1 - 5      Eco-Psychology
CNS 643        1 - 5      Holotropic Breathing
CNS 644        1 - 5      Human Relations and Communication
CNS 645        1 - 5      Meditation/Consciousness Retreats
CNS 646        1 - 5      Metaphors and Symbols of Transformation
CNS 647        1 - 5      Mind/Body Healing
CNS 648        1 - 5      Myths and Symbols
CNS 649        1 - 5      Parapsychology and the Unconscious
CNS 650        1 - 5      Psychology of Dreams and Sleep
CNS 651        1 - 5      Rebirthing Processes
CNS 652        1 - 5      Spiritual Activism
CNS 653        1 - 5      Student Developed Courses
CNS 654        1 - 5      Transpersonal Psychology
CNS 655        1 - 5      Women's Spirituality Studies
CNS 656        1 - 5      Stephan Bodian's School for Awakening

Consciousness Studies Course Descriptions


(Please note: All Doctoral coursework (600 courses) involve more advanced research and in-depth study.) 

CNS 501/601 Spiritual Systems (Sufism, Taoism, Christianity, Buddhism, Shamanism, Judaism, Hinduism)
The history and development of spiritual systems of Eastern and Western traditions will be explored. This course is designed to study in-depth the diverse spiritual approaches, including the differences and commonalities that exist.

CNS 502/602 Science and the Nature of Reality
The role of modern science in the explanation of consciousness and reality will be addressed. A critical evaluation of the paradigm will enable the student to study the nature of phenomena, including such enigmatic experiences as: precognition, near-death experiences, deja-vu, and altered states of consciousness. We will deal with the implications of the materialistic approach, which often defines consciousness as a product of, and limited to, processes in the brain.

CNS 510/610 A Study of Contemporary Consciousness Teachings
This course will examine the many ways in which the concept of consciousness has been used in the contemporary spiritual, professional, and popular literature. It will explore the most widely celebrated theories and problems concerning the nature of consciousness and will include such contemporary teachers as Eckart Tolle, Adyashanti, and others.


CNS 520/620 Theories and Practice of Meditation
Theories of Eastern and Western meditation will be studied. Research will be presented that demonstrates empirically and scientifically how meditation practice can result in greater clarity of mind, inner balance and integration, and other benefits in terms of energy, creativity, and many health benefits including longevity.  The practice of meditation will be applied with the approach toward experiencing pure consciousness. The meditative state can result in an experience of going beyond the conditioned mind toward the unified state of consciousness that mystics of all ages pointed to.


CNS 521/621 Models of Consciousness
Students will study the meaning and scientific underpinnings of consciousness with the investigation of theories, research, publications, and scientific debates and conferences. The hidden as well as explicit assumptions held by consciousness scholars about the nature of consciousness will be investigated. The student will explore the field from diverse approaches: neuroscience, cross-cultural studies, cognitive approaches, existential – phenomenological methodologies, quantum physics, and other related disciplines. Non-duality, mindfulness, and the state of silence will be explored since they are the essential aspects of the subjective experience of consciousness.


CNS 580/680 Practicum: Integrating Awareness Practice into Daily Life
Practicum experience can be attained in numerous ways, including residential retreats, conferences, workshops, as well as self-directed meditative and spiritually-oriented everyday experiences. Working in a business, non-profit organization, volunteer programs can be experienced as a practicum experience, particularly when the student communicates regularly with their mentor during the experience. Students have been creative and innovative in finding settings that allow them to integrate awareness practice into daily life.


CNS 585/685 Exploration of Consciousness Research
This course will include the investigation aimed at the rigorous and leading edge approaches in consciousness research that include neuroscience, quantum physics, technology, contemplative approaches, meditation, the spiritual bypass, and altered states such as hypnosis. 


CNS 590/690 Dissertation Research Project
A dissertation is required and a proposal must be submitted to the mentor and department chair. Upon approval, students will work with their mentors to gain direction for research, formatting, and editing. The dissertation will be a substantial and original contribution to the literature in the field of Consciousness Studies.    

For further course descriptions, please contact the University

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