Doctor of Philosophy in Transpersonal Psychology

Quick Facts

3 years

Average Time To Complete


Total Number of Units


Per Unit Cost


Estimated Total Cost

Next Start

Spring - April 5, 2021

Program Overview

  • Online
  • Low-Residency

Sofia University has been at the forefront of scholarly research in the field of transpersonal psychology since the establishment as the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in 1975.

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Transpersonal Psychology builds on your master’s degree through exploration and consideration of both classic and modern studies of transpersonal psychology. You will strengthen your research and analytic skills while simultaneously carving out a deep understanding of the multiple dimensions of our human experience.

Our PhD program is facilitated primarily online, and includes four residential seminars during the three-year program. These seminars are offered twice a year, either in person (*safety permitting) or through virtual teleconferencing, for 5 consecutive days each. You’ll experience an academic seminar that combines community building, mind-body practices, and deep reflection on key topics in the field.

Through the PhD program, we invite you to develop holistic, research-based applications to the challenges and opportunities that humans alone and in groups experience.  You may select one of several program  concentrations – whole systems approaches to health and well-being, consciousness and creativity, neuroscience, among others – to focus your studies. The program applies transpersonal principles to help foster transformation individually, socially, and professionally.

To complete the doctorate in three years, you will engage in 9 units per quarter, moving through core courses and then through concentration courses. You will complete your dissertation “Mini Proposal” by the middle of your second year, setting into motion your work on this major contribution to the scholarly literature. Throughout the dissertation process, you will register for a sequence of courses that support you through each research and writing phase, and that keep you in regular contact with your faculty committee.

The PhD journey takes 3 years to complete as a full-time member; part-time study can also be arranged.

Our PhD graduates have completed dissertations with such diverse titles as the following:

  • The Night Gives a Horizon: An Intrinsic Case Study of the Lived Posttraumatic Growth Experience for Three Black Women Sexual Abuse Victim/Survivors
  • Elementary Students as Transpersonal Researchers: Guided Cognitive Imagery on Science Test Scores Using a Mixed-Methods Approach
  • The Relationship Between Sanctification of Marriage and Commitment in the Context of Monogamous Heterosexual Marriage Relationships
  • How Compassion Affects Lives: A Qualitative Study on the Experience of Compassion and the Long-Term Outcomes after Compassion Training in a Sample of Women
  • The Relationship between Mind-Body-Spirit Integration and Spontaneous Remission of Cancer: A Multiple-Case Study
  • An Action Research Inquiry into Three Community Gardens: Toward a Greater Understanding of Ecological Resilience
  • Exploring Self-Transformation Within the Lives of Yoga Teachers in the United States
  • Investigating the Efficacy of Equine Assisted Therapy for Military Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Symptomology
  • The Effects of Gratitude on the Integration of Self-Transcendent Experiences: A Qualitative Study
  • Couple-Actualization: An Abductive Study of Self-Actualization in the Context of Couples Relationships
  • Jewish Exile Into Dominant Culture: A Decolonial Perinatal Psychology of Westernized Jewry’s Identification With the Aggressor as Historical Trauma Response
  • Religion and Spirituality in Parenting Children Within the Autism Spectrum as a Single Parent Alternate title: Religión y Espiritualidad en la Crianza de Los Niños dentro del Espectro del Autismo como Padre Soltero

Program Highlights

  • Intensive inquiry in transpersonal philosophy, theory, and research
  • A research methods sequence that prepares students for dissertation work
  • Integrative and transformational educational experiences of community-building and applied learning
  • Twice yearly off-campus seminars in Northern California
  • An optional community praxis sequence


  • Applied Transpersonal Psychology in Business and Organizations
  • Whole Systems Approach to Health and Wellbeing
  • Consciousness and Creativity Studies
  • Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Analyze and explain human behavior in a variety of contexts and situations using theoretical models, empirically-supported methods, and research in the field of transpersonal psychology and the wider field of psychology.
  • Employ best practices in social science and humanistic research methodology in the design and conduct of original psychological research.
  • Integrate knowledge about and sensitivity to the experiences and perspectives of diverse populations, including but not limited to race, culture, socioeconomics, age, gender, sexual relation orientation, and disability, in research and applications of transpersonal psychology.
  • Communicate effectively using a variety of media and genres to meet the needs of the circumstances and intended audience across a range of personal and professional purposes and settings.
  • Reflect upon their own whole-person development, including growth in mind, body, spirit, creativity, and community, and identify opportunities for continuing development.
  • Integrate relevant moral and ethical frameworks with key concepts and practices drawn from transpersonal psychology in the development of solutions to professional and community problems.

State Authorizations for Distance Education

Sofia University is licensed, registered, authorized, certified, or formally exempt in the following states and territories as indicated on our State Authorizations page. 

My time at Sofia University–the course work, the opportunity to collaborate so closely with the faculty, and the commitment to whole-person education– allowed me to refine my vision for the Inner Explorer program, develop and pilot it in various iterations and finally to rigorously study the effects. These have all proven critical steps in my ability to co-found this nonprofit company, launch several programs, and most importantly, help children succeed in school and ultimately in life.

- Laura BakoshAlumna, Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology, Class of 2013
Start your Sofia Journey

By submitting this form, I agree to the terms & conditions.*

Doctorate in Transpersonal Psychology, Doctorate in Psychology Degrees and Graduate Programs in Palo Alto and Costa Mesa CA