Degree Requirements: Master's degree
Completion Time: 5 - 6 years
Earned Credits: 68 - 83 **
With the goals of understanding the history, research, and practical application of creativity studies, students will examine where creativity comes from, what encourages it, and how it can be applied to practical, everyday circumstances. Guided by Saybrook faculty mentors, students will develop goals based on their personal Creativity Studies objectives. Students in this Ph.D. program will learn how to:
- Understand, critically analyze, and conduct psychological research
- Promote life-enhancing change
- Bring innovation and creativity into research, work, and personal choices
- Combine critical and empathic realization and expansion of consciousness
*Dissertation to be completed in a minimum of two semesters and a maximum of six full semesters.
**Saybrook transcript must reflect a minimum of 60 completed credits of post-master’s learning for the Ph.D.
Creativity Studies graduates are prepared to work in a variety of settings, including private practice, schools and universities, community health centers, hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, the juvenile justice system, substance abuse clinics, corporate offices, nonprofit organizations, and the government. Many have founded their own companies, and hundreds are successfully published authors.
Depending on their professional interests, students may develop applicable lifetime skills such as the ability to:
- Work within corporations and other organizations to facilitate organizational creativity
- Use professional creativity coaching, training, or consulting
- Research, write, and present work in academic and consulting environments
- Add expressive arts techniques to their clinical repertoire
The Creativity Studies Specialization is designed for students who want to learn how to accomplish in-depth research in a particular aspect of creativity and make a meaningful contribution to the field. The Ph.D. in Psychology program encourages students to examine vital contemporary questions about creativity and investigate environments that support different kinds of creativity. Students in the Creativity Studies Specialization focus their studies on areas they are passionate about in order to take the careers they have to the next level or to go in a whole new direction.
A complex and fast-changing world demands new, creative approaches to everything from corporate strategies to household chores. From schools to big business, the importance of understanding and encouraging creativity has been widely recognized. Saybrook’s rich tradition of humanistic studies includes its association with former faculty member Rollo May, who wrote the classic “The Courage to Create.” May, along with humanistic psychology pioneers such as Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, proposed that expression of creativity is a key to self-actualization.
Working with others to promote positive change, graduates from this program will be prepared to pursue employment in nonprofit, business, or governmental organizations. By understanding, conducting, and critically analyzing psychological research, graduates will be able to bring innovative approaches to their work and research. By examining challenges with a holistic perspective, Creativity Studies Specialization graduates are prepared to combine critical, empathetic, and creative thinking with self-reflection to develop self-knowledge, self-realization, and expansion of consciousness.
While creativity is increasingly recognized as a vital part of both a healthy psyche and a thriving economy, many unanswered questions still need serious research. General learning goals include understanding the history, research, and practical application of creativity studies. Students enrolled in this specialization will develop specific learning goals with a faculty member based on their interests, aspirations, and personal passion.
At the conclusion of your studies, students in this specialization will be prepared to:
- Understand, critically analyze, and conduct psychological research
- Be an expert in creativity in general and in a specific aspect of creativity in particular
- Work to engage others in efforts to promote life-enhancing change
- Bring innovation and creativity to research, work, and personal choices, moving beyond disciplinary and paradigmatic boundaries
- Combine critical, empathetic, and creative thinking with self-reflection to develop self-knowledge, self-realization, and expansion of consciousness
- Place work within a whole person perspective, including multiple contexts, and acknowledge your own biases and unchallenged assumptions
- Display an awareness of strengths and liabilities based on humanistic values, including authenticity and compassion.
Our Ph.D. in Psychology programs are intended to open opportunities for graduates to pursue nonclinical careers or expand on their existing licenses and is not designed to prepare graduates to qualify for clinical licensure or certification.
More program information can be found in our academic catalog.
Residential Orientation (RO)
All new psychology students begin their studies with our one-time, two-day Residential Orientation (RO). ROs are held two days ahead of the Residential Conference (RC) at the start of the fall and spring semesters in California. Attendance at the entire RO is an academic requirement.
At the RO, students become familiar with the Saybrook culture and academic and support services, including online resources, and the library research services and databases. The challenges of distance and peer learning are also discussed during this time. At the RO, students:
- Consult with the psychology department chair, specialization coordinators, and an academic adviser to organize their degree plan process.
- Develop a rationale for the scope and sequence of their proposed plan of study.
- Plan what consultation they will need from other faculty.
Residential Conference (RC)
All psychology students participate in two five-day-long required Saybrook Residential Conferences per year (one at the beginning of the fall semester and one at the beginning of the spring semester). Although you may complete most of your courses through distance learning, all our psychology degree programs have residential requirements. Residential requirements are academic requirements, and their completion is important for your successful academic progress as well as allowing you to meet with faculty and co-learners in a stimulating face-to-face environment. Our RCs are an important part of your learning experience as they nurture intellectual creativity, enrich the educational environment, and foster faculty and peer interactions. Courses are launched, and independent learning activities, peer learning opportunities, and other hands-on experiences intend to nurture professional development, skill building, and transformative change. All students must be on-site on the registration day and remain in residence until the last day of each conference. It is imperative that students plan accordingly. Any exceptions must be approved by the department chair prior to the conference.
No academic credit is given for attendance at the RC. Students who attend a seminar at an RC and wish to study the topic further may, with the permission of the seminar instructor and department chair, register for an independent study course (ALL 8100) following the RC and receive 1 academic credit upon completion. Each course is individually designed and negotiated with the seminar instructor. Not all RC workshops, courses, and seminars are eligible for the follow-up independent study credit. Students will need to review their program plan to confirm the 1 credit Independent Study will satisfy degree requirements.
Doctoral students attend until they have advanced to doctoral candidacy (upon satisfaction of essay orals).
Dimensions of Creativity
The many dimensions of scientific and artistic creativity are studied, as well as the way creativity relates to social-cultural influences, gender, family background, personality factors, and cognitive styles. This course examines the creative process, the creative person, the creative product, and the creative environment. Imagery and symbolization, intrapsychic experience, and aesthetic issues are explored. Recent creativity research and theories of creative development are considered. 3 credits
Ethics and Laws in Psychotherapy and Behavioral Science Research
This course is designed to introduce students to professional ethics, standards of conduct, federal and state laws, and board of psychology rules that inform, influence, and regulate teaching, clinical practice, and research in professional psychology. The primary foci of the course will be on knowledge of the content and application of professional ethics, federal and state laws, and board of psychology rules. Within the context of self-reflection and examination of personal values and beliefs, students will be introduced to the professional associations and state agencies responsible for leadership, public policy, promulgation of laws, professional practice standards and rules, jurisdictional boundaries, cooperative institutional relationships, and regulatory and administrative procedures. In addition, students will be required to become familiar with federal and state legislative statutes and rules that regulate the professional practice of psychology and conducting behavioral science and biomedical research in their jurisdictions. These include but are not limited to the education and training requirements and filing complaints for misconduct. 3 credits
Perspectives in Creativity
This course is designed to deepen the understanding of creativity and utilize newly learned insights to enhance creative process as well as stimulate the creative process of others. Students develop an awareness of factors that stimulate or inhibit their own creative process and apply what they learn in an area of vital importance to them. Tapping into creativity is increasingly important for both individuals and society.
“Our faculty are committed to meeting our students where they are at and helping them to reach their specific professional goals. They are committed to the full development of our students, not only exposing them to the necessary tools and practice, yet supporting the development of the person of the clinician.”
—Dr. Theopia Jackson, Chair, Clinical Psychology Degree Program