Brittneii P.

Master of Arts in
Consciousness and
Transformative Studies,
Philosophy and Religion

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230K+ Alumni Worldwide


The Master of Arts (MA) in Consciousness & Transformative Studies program aims to empower you with the knowledge and skills to become a responsible leader in your own life and a creative agent of organizational, sociocultural, and ecological change. The curriculum cultivates personal capacities such as wisdom, courage, compassion, and joy, while enriching your sense of meaning, passion, and purpose. Toward this transformative goal, you’ll engage in an intensive psycho-spiritual exploration of your life and selectively share your experiences with classmates. The holistic coursework integrates the wisdom and practices of six major fields (psychology, philosophy, religion/spirituality, the new sciences, culture, and professional development), combining contemporary scientific research with insights from ancient traditions.

For millennia, philosophers have questioned the nature of being and consciousness. In our increasingly fragmented and polarized global society, the world’s philosophic and spiritual perspectives play a crucial role in big-picture thinking and values exploration. This Philosophy and Religion specialization allows you to focus on fundamental philosophical questions, perennial wisdom, and nature-based spirituality while broadening your perceptions of self and the global community.

Admission Requirements

In addition to completing an application, the MA in Consciousness and Transformative Studies program requires you to submit:

  • One set of official transcripts of your conferred BA or BS degree and any post-bachelor credits or degrees.
  • A personal statement of 6 to 8 double-spaced, typewritten pages describing any personal or professional growth, work, or life events that have informed and shaped your consciousness. Also include any prior influential reading in the field, and your professional and personal goals.
  • Letters of recommendation are welcomed, but not required. Letters should be from professional associates, teachers, supervisors, friends, or others who can comment on emotional, spiritual, intellectual and practical development, personal character, and capacity for graduate studies in the degree area.
  • An admission interview with one or two faculty members is required. Upon receipt of a completed application, an admissions interview with the program chair will be scheduled. The interview can be conducted in person, by phone, or via online video conferencing. A second interview may be requested.

Professional Mentor

Given that the curriculum will engage you in deep processes of inquiry and transformation, the program recommends that you obtain a professional mentor in your locale to accompany you throughout the program and lend support through challenging periods. The mentor can be a therapist, counselor, spiritual director, spiritual teacher, dream worker, coach, clergy, or other professional skilled in facilitating conscious transformation and development. In the case of a student undergoing intense upheaval, faculty may require a professional mentor in order to continue in the program.

Course Details

Foundation Courses

For the MA in Consciousness and Transformative Studies with a specialization in Philosophy and Religion, you must complete nineteen foundation courses, nine quarter units of professional development, and seven quarter units of specialization electives.

Course Name

A paradigm is a model of reality, or aspects of reality, held by a community and affirmed and enacted through communal behavior. Society today is shaped by past paradigms of consciousness as well as those currently emerging. This course explores the nature of paradigms, how they emerge, how they’re sustained, and how they’re changed. Instruction gives particular attention to the evolution of various paradigms of consciousness and reality (indigenous, modern, postmodern, holistic, and integral), and examines the potential of each to contribute to personal, social, and global transformation.

This course focuses on emotional intelligence—the capacity to recognize, understand, regulate, and channel the wisdom and energy of emotional experience, as well as to empathize with the emotions of others. In this course, you’ll learn what emotions are and how they arise physiologically, experientially, and behaviorally. A phenomenological approach enables you to connect with and describe emotions in order to enter more directly into the multi-layered, visceral experience of an emotional life. The practice of mindfulness allows you to observe, track, and comprehend your experience with openness, curiosity, and acuity while enabling you to identify and work with habitual cognitive schemas and emotional reactions.

This course applies emotional intelligence, intuition, social knowledge, and cultural competence to interpersonal contexts. You’ll practice techniques for effective listening and learn how emotional triggers can block interpersonal connection. The course also emphasizes effective communication and the capacity to attune to another’s experience while remaining connected to one’s own. Other topics of focus include principles of nonviolent communication, conflict resolution, and the process of coming into conscious relationship.

This experiential course provides the opportunity to explore your authentic body experiences from a variety of somatic modalities and to contact your own lived body wisdom. Coursework helps you develop greater body consciousness through exercises addressing parts of the body, body systems, and the relationship of your body with a sense of self, others, and the natural world. A variety of movement practices work to promote creativity and self-expression, supporting emotional intelligence and interpersonal communication. Throughout the course, you’ll integrate a repertoire of body-centered skills to apply to personal challenges, spiritual growth, and life enrichment.

This course examines recent scientific research in sleep and dreams while exploring different phenomena of the dreaming mind. Instruction incorporates a variety of understandings and techniques for working with dreams, including Freudian, Jungian, and Gestalt psychological approaches, contemporary dream interviewing, content analysis, lucid dreams, “psi” dream phenomena, and indigenous approaches. You’ll also explore your own dreams using various experiential and creative explorations.

This course imparts a meta perspective on human development and on the evolution of human consciousness. You’ll use developmental models to assist in perceiving growth potential across the human lifespan, culminating in conscious leadership. Coursework introduces various models of human development, including Erikson’s psychosocial development, Kohlberg and Gilligan’s moral development, Fowler’s faith development, and Kegan’s adult development. The course also explores basic elements of Ken Wilber’s integral theory, including the four quadrants, the difference between states and stages, and premodern, modern, and postmodern altitudes. Further topics of focus comprise models of consciousness, the relationship of Self/self, and the potential of integral psychology to deepen our understanding of personal psycho-spiritual development and social change.

An introduction to the principles of living systems theory using theoretical and experiential components. You’ll apply these principles and practices to a selected area of interest (ecology, psychological development, community/cultural development, education, business, or spiritual leadership, etc.). Coursework will also explore feedback processes, the interdependence of all life, creative emergence, individual development, family systems, and the impact of systems thinking on organizational transformation and social change.

An exploration of the higher and deeper dimensions of human experience and relationship. Topics of study include: religious visions, sacred encounters, mystical moments, synchronicities, past-life memories, near-death experiences, cosmic consciousness, ecstasy, psychic phenomena, and prophetic dreams. You’ll examine major transpersonal concepts, theories, practices, and research findings, including transpersonal models of human consciousness and development, the relationship of Self to self, non-ordinary states of consciousness, the perennial philosophy, meditation, lucid dreaming, entheogens, shamanic journeys, parapsychology, neurophenomenology, transpersonal therapies, spiritual emergency, and spiritual bypassing. This course uses readings, contemplative exercises, written assignments, and in-class discussions to deepen insight into your own and others’ psychological and spiritual experience and development.

A study of shamanic traditions and practices as an expression of the human relationship with self, community, and the earth. Shamanic traditions, with their animistic worldview and emphasis on nature as the matrix for human life, are of renewed importance in our modern, ecological age, and an integral part of the human story. Within our ancestral lineages can be found evidence of earth-based spirituality, nurtured and supported through shamanic traditions. This course will explore shamanic world-views, shamanism as a healing modality, and the role of shamans in indigenous and Western cultures. You’ll research shamanic practices within your ancestral lineages with the potential of integrating these practices with your life purpose and work.

This course explores the role, weight, and significance of life’s mythic dimension from the perspective of depth psychology. Freud, Jung, Hillman, Campbell, Downing, and a host of theorists, practitioners, and writers have claimed that mythic presences and events are not dead or extinct, but alive and addressing us continuously. This course examines this claim through discussions, dream work, film, stories, and writing projects. You’ll expose the deep, myth-making layers of the psyche, demonstrating the ways mythology and mythic thinking are significant modes for understanding the self, others, and the world.

Cosmology is the study of the origin, structure, evolution, and eventual fate of the universe. Perhaps the most mysterious and intriguing aspect of the universe is the fact that it has evolved to include living beings with experience and self-consciousness. Using the principles of systems theory, this course studies the evolution and development of human consciousness not as separate from the rest of the cosmos, but as integral parts of its experiential expansion. You’ll look at experience as just as fundamental a feature of the universe as space, time, energy, and matter. This participatory cosmology asks us all to be aware of our subjective states as causal elements in the continuing unfolding of the cosmos.

An exploration of the multiple meanings of diversity, leadership, and community. This course directs you through a self-inquiry process that asks questions concerning who you are, who you’re becoming, who we are, and who we want to be as leaders in an emerging paradigm of global citizenship, interconnection, and compassion. You’ll explore diversity, community development, leadership skills, new breakthrough ideas, and technologies for expressing your highest and deepest values as an agent of transformative change in your personal life, family, and community.

Spiral Dynamics is a model of conscious, cultural evolution that differentiates eight distinct stages of personal and cultural development. These eight stages of development are values-based, delineating core values around which the eight world-views are organized. Understanding the underlying values and world-views held by individuals and different cultural groups—and how change emerges through the spiral of conscious cultural development—is a powerful leadership tool for facilitating personal and social change. In this course, you’ll apply the eight-stage model to a contemporary issue of strong personal interest.

This four-course professional project sequence is designed to support your attainment of right livelihood. The project serves as a creative and practical bridge to help translate and apply your CTS experience to your post-CTS professional life. By a process of intensive self-reflection and extensive career research, you’ll create a transformative career plan as well as a specific work project to support it. You’ll reflect on personal and occupational histories as well as insights, practices, skills, and ways of knowing and developing in the CTS program. In this first project course, you’ll conduct preliminary reflection and research to clarify your career field(s), mission(s), vision(s), and values.

In this second course in the professional project sequence, you’ll conduct a self-assessment and analyze the forces and trends impacting your career fields. Coursework will help you identify strengths, areas of improvement, opportunities, and challenges. You’ll also conduct market and competitive analyses while considering the occupational impact of larger, socioeconomic factors.

In this third course in the professional project sequence, you’ll articulate your long-term, mid-term, and short-term goals and strategies. You’ll also identify occupational resources for obtaining and developing contingency career plans.

In this fourth course in the professional project sequence, you’ll develop, carry out, and reflect on a specific project that supports one of your short-term objectives. Examples of potential projects include designing a website, developing a brochure, or creating a professional presentation.

Taken at the conclusion of the Consciousness and Transformative Studies program, this course offers you the opportunity to integrate your cumulative learnings from the program curriculum. The course is taught seminar style, emphasizing conceptual review, mastery of key concepts and principles, and an in-depth focus on one of the program learning outcomes. Additionally, you’ll apply these concepts and principles in a personal essay exploring your own transformation of consciousness throughout the program.

Professional Development  Courses Listing

Course Name

Using multiple soul-encounter technologies (Jungian journaling, entelechy methods, guided meditation, cross-species dialogue, 20-years process, and voice dialogue) you’ll explore different aspects of your soul’s calling in relation to work. Part of your exploration will include the eight dimensions of purpose: vision, values, powers, essence, give-away, mission, message, and delivery system. Emerging from these multiple soul-encounters, you’ll uncover a picture of your optimum work life: your unique gifts, how and where to deliver them, and who they’re meant for. Arriving at these will help you formulate a strong business plan that allows for success in both the survival dance of making a living and the sacred dance of embracing one’s true purpose.

An exploration of transformational leadership principles and their application to personal and professional development. This course helps you development capacities for high self-awareness, personal accountability, integrity and emotional intelligence, challenging the status quo, encouraging creativity, fostering diversity and inclusion, articulating a clear vision, managing conflict and motivating others to achieve their unique potential, application of systems thinking/theory, creating vision and courage to implement change, embodying wisdom and compassion in action, and strategies for actualizing and manifesting personal and professional intentions and goals. Coursework will include readings, experiential exercises, and applications of leadership to personal and professional projects.

Choose Six Quarter Units From the Following Courses:

In this course, you’ll learn to develop classroom teaching skills and activities for university-level adult learners. Instruction and coursework include presentation and facilitation skills, leading discussions, and experiential activities. You’ll develop lesson plans, assess your personal teaching style, and discuss philosophical principles of holistic education.

With the skills acquired in CNS 5410, this course has you plan, develop, market, and present workshops on topics of your choice. The result will be a workshop curriculum in an area of expertise that can be offered professionally in other settings.

This course builds your comfort and facility in guiding structured exercises and sharing what arises for each member in a less structured context. You’ll learn to create, grow, and sustain a group so that its unfolding process is built on safety. This involves skillfully managing the natural process of self-disclosure, being mindful of how groups develop over time, learning basic skills of non-violent communication, and giving and receiving feedback in emotionally healthy ways. Coursework will teach group facilitation through three distinct modalities: by participating in the small class group as facilitated by the instructor, by the theory of healthy group formation and development, and by facilitating your own small group with instructor guidance and oversight. Special attention is given to creating holistic group cultures that enlist body, mind, emotion, soul, and spirit.

As the challenges of living in today’s complex world continue to grow, there’s an increasing demand for effective coaching. This course explores the fundamentals of developing a trusted coaching relationship that creates meaningful and sustainable change. You’ll learn to coach from an integral perspective that engages the complexity and potential of the whole person: mind, body, heart, and spirit. The focus is on understanding the coaching process, developing basic competencies, and engaging in practical training.

This course will continue to build and deepen your coaching competencies through practice and review, including those identified by the International Coaching Federation. In addition, you’ll focus on key topics such as coaching agreements, use of intake questionnaires, self-care for coaches, and considerations for setting up a coaching practice.

This course offers observation and detailed feedback of your coaching skills from a coaching mentor. Written and practical examinations are administered as the final step in obtaining the Life Coaching Certificate (depending on your program) and conforming to the requirements of the International Coach Federation and other credentialing organizations.

A study of what motivates people to make sustainable changes in their lives. Change theories covered include the Bridges Transition model, the transtheoretical model, self-determination theory, and the Immunity to Change model. The transformative learning theory, Kolb’s experiential learning cycle, and Paulo Freire’s concepts of praxis and critical consciousness will also be examined as key models for working with adults. Throughout these studies, you’ll explore how to employ these theories and models to help clients realize their goals and achieve lasting change.

Starting one’s own business affords the opportunity to infuse one’s work with consciousness principles and systems change. For those considering opening a consultant, coach, or therapy practice, or developing any type of new startup company, this course examines the basics needed to turn a great idea into a business reality. Instruction honors the holistic framework within the context of starting a business, and considers the mind, body, and spirit as contributing equally to our work in the world. Among the topics covered will be: analyzing life values and priorities, determining business goals and strategies, launching and managing the business, building financial success, and marketing products and services.

This course focuses on preparing, packaging, and disseminating consciousness-growth and systems-change information to both general and specific audiences. Course topics include writing book proposals and query letters; assessing markets: dealing effectively with contracts, agents, editors and publishers; self-publishing; presentation skills; self-promotion; and marketing through traditional media, personal and public relations, and interviews. You’ll use practical, written assignments to gain an understanding of how to get your message and material out, learning the groundwork of business and professional development while building your credibility as an expert.

This course focuses on building an effective online business structure, selecting an audience, and creating content designed to promote yourself and business via social media. Through lectures and discussions, videos, readings, written assignments and experiential exercises, you’ll gain an understanding of how best to get your message and material out online. Instruction provides a participatory experience for you to create a strong, cohesive, online presence designed to drive and support business. The practical knowledge and skills learned will further your professional development, your credibility as an expert, and your creative projects aimed at consciousness growth and systems change.

This course provides the guidance to help you evolve from a writer to an author. Instruction will assist you in refining and polishing your writing, and preparing a final manuscript for publication. An integral prerequisite for the course is an existing, well-written paper from a previous course for which you received an A grade. Coursework will focus on: structuring the paper, identifying your audience, identifying the value of your paper, fine-tuning the text, writing a pitch letter, and determining where to send submissions. Finally, you’ll identify a suitable journal and submit your work for publication.

Specialization Courses

Select seven quarter units from the following courses:

Course Name

Coming out of the theory of multiple intelligences, the concept of spiritual intelligence was originally defined as “a dynamic wholeness of self in which the self is at one with itself and the whole creation.” A more behaviorally-focused definition, accompanied by 21 specific skills, focuses on “the ability to behave with wisdom and compassion while maintaining inner and outer peace, regardless of the situation.” This course compares the various conceptualizations of spiritual intelligence. You’ll complete a spiritual intelligence inventory, identify specific skills as areas for personal growth, and consider the vital role of the body in spiritual intelligence.

This course provides a scholarly grounding in the core philosophical issues surrounding the study of consciousness. Instruction will explore the three main “problems” in philosophy of mind: (1) “Mind-body”, or how does consciousness relate to the physical world?, (2) “Other minds”, or how can we know if other people, animals, plants or even rocks have consciousness?, and (3) “Free will”, or do we really have choice, or are we determined by genetics and environment?

With its ultimate purpose of ensuring survival, organizing information, and meaning-making, the human brain is also deceptive and limiting by its own nature. For the sake of survival and personal thriving, our default mode network operates to ensure we’re focused on bits of information that serve the self. Yet, when the brain is introduced to meditation, mindfulness practices, or psychedelics, we find consistent reported states of unity consciousness, ego dissolution, ah-ha moments, flow, increased empathy, and greater creative problem-solving ability. Ample neuroscientific, therapeutic, and phenomenological evidence indicates that meditation, mindfulness practices, and psychedelics expand human consciousness, change world-views, and offer profound experiences of well-being. This course explores how meditation, mindfulness practices, and psychedelics operate on neurological and personal spheres. In addition, it addresses how the integration of neuroscience, psychology, psychedelic sciences, and meditation practices forms the cutting edge of human potential and healing.

For millennia, spiritual and psychological thinkers have sought to perceive, understand, and follow their inner guidance. Whether understood in spiritual or psychological terms, this guidance is invaluable to personal healing and living an independent, creative, and fulfilling life that’s connected to others and contributes to the larger world. This course explores transpersonal, psychological, and somatic perspectives and practices for activating and living this inner guidance and helping others do the same. As part of these techniques, you’ll learn to identify, heal, release, or transform the psychosocial factors that obstruct the perception and actualization of inner guidance.

This course explores the meaning and purpose of metaphors and symbols in both mapping and catalyzing psychological and spiritual growth. You’ll examine symbols and metaphors of transformation experienced by mystics and spiritual practitioners across time, cultures, and religious traditions. These concepts and images—such as enlightenment, liberation, rebirth, unfoldment, journey, and metamorphosis—have enabled individuals and communities to express the inexpressible and invoke the invisible. You’ll also apply these principles to personal, community, and planetary transformation. The course includes experiential exercises and applications to daily life.

Dreams have awakened human beings to religious experience and spiritual perception since the dawn of humanity. This course examines the perennial spiritual themes that can appear in our dreams. Study themes will include: the numinous or sacred, experiences of religious emotions, the dynamics of the psyche, purpose and destiny, life and death, earth and nature, the cosmos, and the subtle body. Throughout the course, you’ll engage with dreams as a spiritual practice and examine the subjective states they give rise to.

Dreams have awakened human beings to religious experience and spiritual perception since the dawn of humanity. This course examines the perennial spiritual themes that can appear in our dreams. Study themes will include: the numinous or sacred, experiences of religious emotions, the dynamics of the psyche, purpose and destiny, life and death, earth and nature, the cosmos, and the subtle body. Throughout the course, you’ll engage with dreams as a spiritual practice and examine the subjective states they give rise to.

A survey of the integral and evolutionary developmental philosophies of Ken Wilber, Steve McIntosh, Terri O’Fallon, and Otto Laske. Through reading, discussions, and experiential exercises, you’ll examine the integral model as a unifying, comprehensive, and self-organizing framework of psychological, social, and spiritual knowledge. This course examines how this framework can be a transformative tool for personal and social transformation.

The complex challenges of our time demand that we give the best of ourselves to the world, yet we’re often left with little time for self-care or self-cultivation. An integral life practice, which draws on ancient and modern insights and the principles of cross-training, offers a streamlined approach to transformative practice and thriving. In this course, you’ll learn self-assessment exercises to help you design and implement integrative practices that promote physical health, emotional balance, mental clarity, and spiritual awakening.

An examination of the three broad stages of the human-nature relationship: the indigenous participatory worldview, the human-nature split of modern Western culture, and the reemerging participatory view. This course addresses the overarching principle of balance in both indigenous and contemporary systems philosophy. It experiments with consciousness-deepening dream, ritual, and ceremonial practices that include aspects of the natural world. Taken from a variety of cultural traditions, such practices transform the objectification of nature into an appreciation of its presence, beauty, and powers of healing.

Learning Outcomes

Students earning the MA in Consciousness and Transformative Studies with a Coaching specialization will learn to:

  • Explain and apply a developmental view of consciousness and human evolution to oneself, others, and systems.
  • Demonstrate intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence, wisdom, and accountability, using psychological and spiritual principles and practices.
  • Explain and apply systems theory principles at the individual, community, organizational, and planetary levels.
  • Apply communication skills, diversity leadership skills, information literacy, and professional development skills in service of consciousness growth and systems change.
  • Apply critical, creative, multiperspective, and meaning-making skills in service of consciousness growth and systems change.
Program Disclosure

Successful completion and attainment of National University degrees do not lead to automatic or immediate licensure, employment, or certification in any state/country. The University cannot guarantee that any professional organization or business will accept a graduate’s application to sit for any certification, licensure, or related exam for the purpose of professional certification.

Program availability varies by state. Many disciplines, professions, and jobs require disclosure of an individual’s criminal history, and a variety of states require background checks to apply to, or be eligible for, certain certificates, registrations, and licenses. Existence of a criminal history may also subject an individual to denial of an initial application for a certificate, registration, or license and/or result in the revocation or suspension of an existing certificate, registration, or license. Requirements can vary by state, occupation, and/or licensing authority.

NU graduates will be subject to additional requirements on a program, certification/licensure, employment, and state-by-state basis that can include one or more of the following items: internships, practicum experience, additional coursework, exams, tests, drug testing, earning an additional degree, and/or other training/education requirements.

All prospective students are advised to review employment, certification, and/or licensure requirements in their state, and to contact the certification/licensing body of the state and/or country where they intend to obtain certification/licensure to verify that these courses/programs qualify in that state/country, prior to enrolling. Prospective students are also advised to regularly review the state’s/country’s policies and procedures relating to certification/licensure, as those policies are subject to change.

National University degrees do not guarantee employment or salary of any kind. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to review desired job positions to review degrees, education, and/or training required to apply for desired positions. Prospective students should monitor these positions as requirements, salary, and other relevant factors can change over time.