Last Updated on July 31, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina
California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) is a private, non-profit university founded in 1968 and based in San Francisco, California. As of 2020, it operates in two locations; the main campus near the confluence of the Civic Center, SoMa, and Mission districts, and another campus for the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the Potrero Hill neighborhood. As of 2020, CIIS has a total of 1,510 students and 80 core faculty members.
CIIS consists of four schools: the School of Professional Psychology & Health, the School of Consciousness and Transformation (mainly humanities subjects), the School of Undergraduate Studies, and the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM). ACTCM became the fourth school after merging with CIIS on July 1, 2015.
The institute offers interdisciplinary and cross-cultural graduate studies in psychology, counseling, philosophy, religion, cultural anthropology, transformative studies and leadership, integrative health, women’s spirituality, and community mental health. Many courses combine mainstream academic curriculum with a spiritual orientation, including influences from a broad spectrum of mystical or esoteric traditions. Although the Institute has no official spiritual path, some of its historical roots lie among followers of the Bengali sage Sri Aurobindo.
American Academy of Asian Studies (1951-1968)
California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) grew out of the earlier American Academy of Asian Studies, founded by Louis Gainsborough in 1951. Other early contributors to the founding of the academy includes Frederic Spiegelberg. The academy was an independent educational institution set up to study Eastern culture and philosophy  and improve the dialogue between east and west. Soon after the founding of the institution Gainsborough was joined by Alan Watts and Haridas Chaudhuri; two persons that played a crucial role in the development of the academy’s academic profile.
Both Watts and Chaudhuri were oriented towards eastern religions and philosophy and integrated this into their teaching and colloquium. Watts, a teacher of eastern mysticism, established the academy as a meeting place for counter-cultural movements, also known as the San Francisco Renaissance. Chaudhuri, a scholar of Aurobindo, developed the field of Integral counseling psychology, an integration of eastern philosophy with the growing field of counseling psychology. According to sources “Chaudhuri’s vision of integral education, like that of Alan Watts, was based on connecting the cultural traditions of the East and the West”.
California Institute of Asian Studies (1968-1980)
In 1968, Chaudhuri was instrumental in the founding and development of a new institution called the California Institute of Asian Studies. The new institution grew out of the former American Academy of Asian Studies, which was winding down. In this period several developments took place. Paul Herman continued the work of Chaudhuri and also designed the Institutes first graduate degree in Integral Psychology, the Integral Counseling Psychology (ICP) degree, which was established in 1973.
Frederic Spiegelberg, who helped found the predecessor American Academy of Asian Studies, served as the institutes second president, from 1976 to 1978.
California Institute of Integral Studies (1980-present)
In 1980 the institute underwent a change of name, now emerging as California Institute of Integral Studies.
In 1981, the institute was granted regional accreditation and became member of the national community of colleges and universities. By the mid-eighties several academic programs were available, including the Clinical Psychology program, the Counseling Psychology program, and the East/West Psychology program. Several new programs were also launched in the 1985-86 academic year, including the Organizational Development and Transformation certificate program, and the External Studies program. Other services, available to students at this time, included an extensive library, as well as the Integral Counseling Center, a community-based service facility that supported the training needs of clinical and counseling students.
In 2008, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that psychology students at the New College of California were transferring to California Institute of Integral Studies, due to the closing down of the former institution.
In 2012, CIIS, with support from the Aetna foundation, announced that it was introducing its new onsite health and wellness coaching program to San Francisco’s Mid-Market District. The program was to be of benefit to children and families living at 10th & Mission Family Housing, a supportive housing project run by Mercy Housing California. In 2013 Jordan published a case report that summarized the experiences from the integrative wellness coaching (IWC) project among homeless and low-income individuals in San Francisco. The IWC model was, at this time, included in the master of arts program in Integrative Health Studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies.
Central to the early history of the Institute is a model of so-called integral education. Originally set up to study Eastern culture and philosophy in the beginning of the 1950s, the institute developed further in this direction with the arrival of Haridas Chadhauri. Chaudhuri introduced the integral philosophy of Sri Aurobindo as a navigating principle for education and established a perspective that sought a holistic view of the human being; an integration of material and spiritual values; as well as an integration of eastern and western philosophies and worldviews. By the mid-eighties this model of education was firmly established. In 1985 Voigt reported on the graduate programs at CIIS and elaborated on the experience of integral education at the institute. In the late 1990s, the CIIS was one of several institutions in the USA associated with the study of Holism and Consciousness.
There is also a connection between the roots of CIIS and the Human Potential Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Among the students who attended the colloquia at the American Academy of Asian Studies in the 1950s was Michael Murphy and Dick Price, founders of the Esalen Institute at Big Sur. According to Gleig and Floress, “one can trace a direct line from Integral Yoga through [the Cultural Integration Fellowship] to two of the major centers of the Human Potential movement and the transpersonal psychology field it birthed: Esalen and California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS).”
Gleig and Flores further explain that:
CIIS’s distinctive signature is the development of an integral education that combines academic scholarship with spiritual transformation and through its student body, faculty publications, and popular public program it has significantly shaped contemporary East-West spiritualities. As with the other main creative lineage centers – Esalen and CIF – CIIS is committed to a pluralistic spiritual vision and its Aurobindo roots are somewhat hidden.
According to Jim Ryan, CIIS, as developed by the founder (Chaudhuri), “had a very wide academic reach, far beyond its basic East-West philosophy concentration. Theses and dissertations were done over many years on the politics, economics, anthropology, sociology, and area studies of many nations of the world.”: 52
Accreditation and exam pass rates
CIIS is an accredited member of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). In addition, degrees offered through ACTCM are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM).
In 2018, The Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS), California’s state regulatory agency responsible for licensing, examination, and enforcement of Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs), released statistics for its January 1, 2018 through June 30, 2018 exam cycle.
CIIS examinees’ pass rate was 82% (Standard exam), compared with a 77% pass rate for all schools in California.
83% of CIIS first-time Standard exam-takers passed, compared with an 80% pass rate for California schools overall.
The Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) program in Clinical Psychology is not accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). The program received APA accreditation in 2003, but accreditation was revoked in 2011, and CIIS’s appeal of the revocation denied in 2012 on the basis that it was “not fully consistent with the Guidelines and Principles for Accreditation of Programs in Professional Psychology”, notably “several requirements in the following areas: Domain B: Program Philosophy, Objectives, and Curriculum Plan; Domain C: Program Resources; Domain E: Student-Faculty Relations; Domain F: Program Self-Assessment and Quality Enhancement.” CIIS applied for APA accreditation in June 2016, but voluntarily withdrew its application in June 2017.
california institute of integral studies tuition
|Undergraduate Division Students (SUS)|
|Package Price (12–18 units)||$10,250 (Package price does not include units taken in audit status.)|
|Master’s Division Students (SPPH and SCT)|
|MCP 7603: Pre/Post Practicum||$65|
|Thesis Proposal Writing or Completion||$2,762|
|Dissertation Seminar/Research||$2, 762|
|Doctoral Division Students (SPPH and SCT)|
|Clinical Psychology Dissertation Continuance||$3,784|
|Clinical Psychology Full-Time Internship||$888|
|Clinical Psychology Half-Time Internship||$455|
|Clinical Psychology Practicum||$455|
|Dissertation Proposal Writing or Completion||$3,784|
|Transformative Inquiry Dissertation Completion Support||$340|
|Transformative Inquiry Learning Community||$340|
|Transformative Inquiry Proposal Support||$340|
|Special Students (nonmatriculated)|
|Per Unit||Based on division rates|
|Auditors (SUS, SPPH, and SCT)|
|Students (per unit)||$340|
|Special Students (per unit)||$340|
|Special Students Who Are Alumni (per unit)||$172|
|Public Program Classes|
|For Academic Credit||Based on division rates|
|Not for Academic Credit||Rate advertised to public|
Tuition and fees are subject to change each semester.
Fees—All Fees Are Nonrefundable
|Graduate Enrollment Deposit (applied to tuition charges)||$300|
|Undergraduate Enrollment Deposit (applied to tuition charges)||$75|
|Graduation Application Fees|
|Graduation Application Fee||$115|
|Thesis/Dissertation Publication Fee—Traditional||$200|
|Thesis/Dissertation Publication Fee—Open Access||$300|
|Deferred Tuition Payment Plan||$50|
|Late Deferred Payment Installment Fee||$50|
|Late Tuition Payment Fee||$120|
|Late Registration Fee||$150|
|Student Wellness Fee||$55|
|UndergraduateMaster’s or Doctoral (except ACTCM)||$150$450|
|Course Fees or Retreat Accommodations Fees (subject to change)|
|EWP 6046: Jung, Nonduality, and EcopsychologyEWP 6112: Wilderness Rites of Passage||$440$510|
|Integral Counseling Psychology Weekend Program Retreat (Double Occupancy)Single occupancy available for a $250 supplement.Day use only available for a $413 credit.||$1,087|
|MCPI 5604: Group Dynamics (Double Occupancy)Single occupancy available for a $94 supplement.||$504|
|SOM Retreat (online event)SOM Retreat 2 (online event)||$0$0|
|PARP 6748: Nature and Eros||$485|
|PDT 7700: Integrative Seminar (varies per student; contact program for information.)||$150–$360|
|IHL IntensiveException of Intro to Academic Research and Writing (6992-01)||TBD|
|ITP/ITPS Residential Intensive 7001–7006 (double occupancy)Single occupancy available for a $350 supplement.||$1,650|
ACTCM at CIIS Tuition
|MSTCM/DACM/DACMt/DACMCP Tuition||$515 per unit|
|DAOM Tuition||$4,950 per term|
|ACTCM Student Audit||$160 per unit|
|ACTCM Alumni Audit||$130 per unit|
|ACTCM Herbal Sample Fee||$210 (onetime fee)|
|ACTCM Malpractice Insurance Fee||$70|
|ACTCM Capstone Completion Fee (DAOM program only)||$675|
|ACTCM Clinical Externship Completion Fee (DAOM only)||$465|
|DAOM Capstone Printing||$30|