Consciousness Studies Concentration focuses on developing an integrated understanding of the origin, evolution, and expansion of human consciousness. The emphasis at Goddard is on developing an interdisciplinary approach to the study of consciousness that is open to a range of perspectives from the scientific to the transpersonal. As an exciting and emerging area of study various disciplines are drawn upon including the neurosciences, philosophy of mind, anthropology of consciousness, Jungian psychology, religious studies, transpersonal psychology, as well as the arts and humanities.

Core Concepts

To acquire a broad understanding of the theory and practice of consciousness studies a number of disciplines and perspectives are necessary. These can be brought together into the following core areas to offer a way of classifying different approaches to the expression and study of consciousness. They also provide a basic contextual and interdisciplinary framework within which students pursue their individualized studies.

  • The Scientific and Philosophical Study of Consciousness: The scientific and philosophical approach to the study of consciousness can be highly technical and intellectually demanding, drawing on disciplines from the neurosciences to the philosophy of mind. As part of the field of Consciousness Studies, it is important to have an overview of the ongoing work being done in these areas.
  • The Social Scientific Study of Consciousness: Various social scientific disciplines have provided material and additional perspectives on the study and exploration of consciousness, especially in terms of the personal, social and cultural contexts. Chiefly, these have been psychology, sociology, and anthropology.
  • The Transpersonal Study of Consciousness: The term “transpersonal” covers a range of meaning that is evident in the prefix ”trans” and refers not only to “beyond,” but also “across,” “through,” “pervading,” “directed towards change or transformation.” The transpersonal approach involves many fields such as religious studies, transpersonal and Jungian psychology, as well as deep ecology.
  • The Arts and Humanities: Both the Arts and Humanities provide content and a perspective that has shaped the way humans give expression to various forms of consciousness. In particular, the visual arts and literature provide additional sources for the study and exploration of consciousness from the symbolic and imaginary to the aesthetic.

Criteria for Graduation

Those working in Consciousness Studies Concentration are required to fulfill the degree requirements of the MA in Individualized Studies Program. You will accomplish this when you have met these specific Consciousness Studies degree criteria:

  1. Demonstrated an understanding of the wide range of concerns, issues and questions central to Consciousness Studies, as identified under Core Learning Areas and in the Core Reading Resource list, and their relevance for your work. Part of doing this requires you to demonstrate an ability to articulate and have discourse with positions that are a challenge to your own perspective and practice.
  2. Demonstrated mastery that represents a unique intersection of the more defined focus of study that you have identified and agreed upon with your faculty advisors and the ability to situate it in the context of Consciousness Studies as a whole.
  3. Documented an engaged practice and reflected upon its relevance to self, to community, and to your specific areas of study.
  4. Completed an identity statement articulating your personal reflections on “consciousness.”