Ph.D. in Psychology: Consciousness and Society
The Ph.D. program in Psychology is focused on the study of Consciousness and Society. It is grounded in the program's approach to psychology as a distinctively human science. It will educate future scholars and practitioners at the highest level of the discipline to make original contributions to theory and knowledge. Our graduates will serve as researchers, consultants, leaders, and teachers who can creatively facilitate transformations in a global society. The program reflects three theoretical approaches to analyze the intersection of consciousness and society: Humanistic, Critical, & Transpersonal. These approaches serve as reflexive and reflective anchors to the scholarly trajectory of our students in developing their own research interests. All of the theoretic perspectives that inform the curriculum indicate a fundamental value of the program, to privilege the question of one's subjective accounting of an event, either in experiential or discursive terms. Whether in terms of reflexivity or awareness, this value links each of these traditions to more qualitative approaches to which the program's teaching is also committed. In all of our classes and projects, the Psychology program offers a more integrative and nuanced approach toward consciousness and society, including an awareness of the less explored spiritual dimensions that inform individual and community life. This promise is made good in our foundation in transpersonal psychologies with their articulation of the wisdom traditions. Our broad based sense of the place of community life for the individual translates into our support of social justice and ecological and integrative thinking. It dovetails with our effort to continually creatively address the relationship between theory and praxis through more ethically informed and engaged modalities of research.
View our Psychology program website
For more information, please see the Academic Catalog.
Beyond traditional classes in psychological theory and research, students are exposed to a variety of experiences that foster rigorous and creative scholarship alongside social engagement and transformation. The program's strong humanistic, cultural/critical, and transpersonal foundations mean that scholarship is linked to social engagement. Faculty encourage and guide PhD students to submit articles to national and peer reviewed journals as well as a variety of national publications for professional development. Each semester students receive opportunities to present papers and posters at regional and national conferences that represent their areas of interest and further advance the goals of evolving perspectives in psychology, human science, discursive psychology and qualitative research.
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Method of Delivery
Courses are 100% face-to-face.
The University of West Georgia is accredited by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Credit and transfer
Total semester hours required: 64
Maximum Hours Transferable into program: 9
A transfer credit evaluation will be completed by the UWG Transfer Team (firstname.lastname@example.org). Course application to a program is subject to review by the department.
This program may be earned entirely face-to-face. However, depending on the courses chosen, a student may choose to take some partially or fully online courses.
UWG is often ranked as one of the most affordable accredited universities of its kind, regardless of the method of delivery chosen.
- Total tuition costs and fees may vary, depending on the instructional method of the courses in which the student chooses to enroll.
- The more courses a student takes in a single term, the more they will typically save in fees and total cost.
- Face-to-face or partially online courses are charged at the general tuition rate and all mandatory campus fees, based on the student's residency (non-residents are charged at a higher rate).
- Fully or entirely online course tuition rates and fees my vary depending on the program. Students enrolled in exclusively online courses do not pay non-Resident rates.
- Together this means that GA residents pay about the same if they take all face-to-face or partially online courses as they do if they take only fully online courses exclusively; while non-residents save money by taking fully online courses.
- One word of caution: If a student takes a combination of face-to-face and online courses in a single term, he/she will pay both all mandatory campus fees and the higher eTuition rate.
- For cost information, as well as payment deadlines, see the Student Accounts and Billing Services website
There are a variety of financial assistance options for students, including scholarships and work study programs. Visit the Office of Financial Aid's website for more information.
The curriculum includes a variety of course formats: lectures, seminars, tutorials, independent projects, and practica. Lecture courses are larger in size (10-15 students each), and present foundational overviews. Seminars are smaller (6-10 students), more specialized discussion oriented courses focusing on advanced topics. Tutorials are composed of 3-5 students who gather for advanced study in an area with a faculty mentor, following the tradition of associated with the Oxford model. Independent projects are individualized research projects designed by the student in collaboration with a supervising professor. These are available only to those students who have qualified for more in-depth work in a particular area. The practicum is a field placement.
This study of current approaches to consciousness, especially in light of one's own inner life and with particular attention to the emergence of consciousness, its nature, development, differentiations, and potential deformations and to its role in grounding, shaping, constituting, and orientating human experience.
An examination of the dialectical nature of the relationship between subjectivity and culture including recent development in linguistics, textual analysis and research on intersubjectivity.
Basic issues in mind/body psychology, such as the phenomenology of embodied consciousness, psychoneuroimmunology, neuroscience, holistic health and contemplative disciplines.
An examination of the practice and application of research methodologies such as qualitative, phenomenological, hermeneutic, ethnographic, and discourse analysis.
Advanced applications and design of qualitative methods and their fields of application, including health psychology, education, community, program evaluation and other fields.
This course represents one of the program's fundamental approaches to the study of consciousness and society. This course provides a historical and current day perspectives on the seminal philosophical, theoretical and empirical perspectives in the discipline of critical psychology. Within this course we develop an understanding of consciousness as situated at the intersection of systems of power, be it at the individual, group or societal level.
This course represents one of the program's fundamental approaches to the study of consciousness and society. The course examines the paradigm of psychology as a specifically humanistic discipline. Its focus is on the historical origins and philosophical foundations of this approach.
This course represents one of the program's fundamental approaches to the study of consciousness and society. It provides a theoretical and experiential foundation in transpersonal psychology. Western psychology often focuses on the individual person as a single, separate, extrinsically existing entity in relation to others. Transpersonal psychology challenges this assumption, effectively returning to psychology's original meaning as the study (or revealing) of soul or spirit.
Philosophy of inquiry is the foundational course for the research sequence. The course focuses on problems and concepts with direct relevance to psychological inquiry. Including a survey of historical views of science and scientific method, and competing views of what grounds the authority of science.
An examination of wisdom traditions and approaches to psychospiritual personality integration and how they apply to modern human problems.
An examination of the individual and social psychological significance of living in an increasingly technological world, including implications for such issues as identity, agency, cultural change, and adaptation.
Special series of seminars meant to explore subjects in human development which are of particular interest to students & faculty.
An exploration of the intersection of epistemology and ethics as it relates to human meaning-making.
Topics in depth psychological theories of the unconscious.
Examination of the evolution of human consciousness through a focus on key historical epochs in civilization and the transformations wrought in each.
Identification of the interplay of social, individual, and other factors at work in given community issues and problems.
Practice in the cultivation of methods of conscious awareness, such as meditation, yoga, and other forms of mental discipline.
Advanced studies in program evaluation; applied settings are emphasized.
Independent research in a particular topic, under the supervision of a professor.
These seminars will offer advanced study in special topics; Child & Youth Care, Organizational Transformation, Community Building & Generativity, Disaster Mental Health, Cultural Diversity and Community.
This post-master's-level seminar introduces students to advanced study in psychology by critical examination of key issues in contemporary psychology. Particular topics will vary. May be repeated for credit.
Post-master's-level supervised practicum in an applied setting. May be repeated fro credit.
The doctoral qualifying course serves two purposes. Firstly it prepares a student for comprehensives, which will be presented within the context of the class. Secondly, it allows one to discuss and develop a frame for a dissertation proposal and leads to a proposal draft. May be repeated once for credit. Student should have completed all required classes and required hours to enroll
Development of expertise as a teacher in both academic and psycho-educational settings.
A focused immersion into a specific psycho-social intervention, in the course of which the student is to develop a systemic understanding of the issue(s) addressed, as well as a concept of what constitutes a change in consciousness awareness or systemic transformative intervention around those issues.
Internship is defined as intensive and independent fieldwork experience that occurs concurrently with dissertation research. It typically follows proposal defense and comprehensives. The internship should bear a clear and articulated relationship to student's interests and doctoral program aims and teachings. It is at least one semester long. Site, hours and supervisory contract will be negotiated by the student, the internship instructor and appropriate personnel site supervisors.
Guidelines for Admittance
- All graduate applicants must complete the online Graduate Application. A one-time application fee of $40 is required.
- Applicants should also review the Graduate Studies Website for individual program specific requirements and tasks that must be completed prior to admission. See Graduate Studies Application Process.
- International applicants are subject to additional requirements and application deadlines. See Procedures for International Students.
- Official transcripts from all schools that have conferred degrees (Bachelor's, Master's, etc.) are required and should be sent directly to the UWG Graduate Admissions Office.
Program Specific Admittance Guidelines
- Submit official transcripts from all degree-granting institutions.
- Three letters of recommendation. Academic letters are preferred although other professional letters will be accepted.
- Official GRE General Test Scores. There is no minimum but GRE scores will be considered in the applicant’s profile and must be submitted. The program will not accept scores more than 5 years old. For more information about the GRE, please visit the web site at www.gre.org/gentest/. GRE scores should be sent directly to the Graduate Admissions Office using school code: 5900.
- A current curriculum vitae listing contact information (including email address), educational background, employment history, awards and recognitions, presentations, etc.
- A reflective essay describing why you are drawn to this particular program and how you understand the relation of consciousness and society. The essay should include a statement of how you imagine the program will contribute to your future plans.
- A description of a potential research project following this template: Research Proposal Template [pdf, 156 kb]
- A writing sample: an academic paper is highly preferred but other formats are acceptable. The word limit is 8,000 words, all inclusive (including references,etc).
Note: Applicants with a Bachelor’s degree will be considered, although applicants with graduate degrees, e.g. a Master’s degree are preferred. Those with degrees outside of psychology are welcome as well as those with degrees in the field of psychology. Additional courses in the Psychology program at the University of West Georgia may be required due to disciplinary background or level of educational attainment. After your complete application has been received by the Graduate Admissions Office, it will be sent to the Director of the Ph.D. Program.
We only accept applications for the fall semester each year. The application deadline date is January 10th, which includes the Application, app fee, and all supplemental items/documents. For more information on deadline dates, please refer to the link below:
Admission Process Checklist
One exception: If you will not be traveling to a UWG campus or site, you may apply for an Immunization Exemption. Contact the Immunization Clerk with your request.
This program admits during Fall Semester only.
Fall Admission Only: The deadline date is always January 10th.
Specific dates for Admissions (Undergraduate Only), Financial Aid, Fee Payment, Registration, Start/End of Term Dates, Final Exams, etc. are available in THE SCOOP.
Specific Graduate Admissions Deadlines are available via the Graduate School
Students will demonstrate achievement of the program objectives as they:
- Cultivate the ability to conduct human science research;
- Work toward becoming thoughtful and masterful educators;
- Make progress in their oral and written communications;
- Develop a broad mastery of literature relevant to sociality and consciousness;
- Pursue expertise in relation to specialized research interests;
- Enhance their ability to think critically and engage in flexible problem solving;
- Listen attentively, communicate effectively, and work collaboratively; and
- Creatively facilitate transformations in a global society.