Earned Credits: 60 - 75
Saybrook University’s Ph.D. in Transformative Social Change program focuses on preparing graduates to possess the skills to become successful policy advocates and leaders in nonprofit organizations—focusing on human rights, community building, peace, the environment, and social justice. Guided by faculty with years of research and advocacy experience, transformative social change students will learn how to:
- Design environments and processes that support participation and democratic collaboration
- Design strategies that will lead to social transformation
- Articulate global, multicultural, multi-generational, social, and environmental viewpoints
- Appraise models of compassion and connectedness with the larger community
As reflective scholar-practitioners, Transformative Social Change graduates will have the opportunity to apply humanistic values to help create transformative change in society. The online Ph.D. in Transformative Social Change degree is considered a research degree, one in which students can become experts in developing their own research to make new contributions to the field and to society.
In addition, graduates of Saybrook’s Ph.D. in Transformative Social Change program will be prepared to work in organizations in a variety of roles, including program development, policy advocacy, public relations, program director, outreach, fieldwork, and faculty. Potential employers could include such organizations as Amnesty International USA, Sierra Club, Greenpeace Mediterranean, and the United Nations, as well as community-based organizations focused on similar goals.
More program information can be found in our academic catalog.
All new students in the M.A. and Ph.D. Transformative Social Change degree programs begin their studies with our one-time, two-day Residential Orientation (RO). ROs are held two days ahead of the Residential Conference at the start of the fall and spring semesters in California. Attendance at the entire RO is an academic requirement.
All students are also required to attend a five-day Residential Conference (RC) held off campus at the beginning of each semester. These RCs offer didactic/topical, research, and practice-oriented seminars, in-person sessions introducing each core course in the program, and group meetings of the program as a whole. The RCs also involve informal exchanges with other students and program faculty for mentoring and socialization to the field.
Residential Conference Requirement
M.A. students are required to attend the RC until formally enrolled in a master’s thesis or project. Doctoral students are required to attend until they have advanced to doctoral candidacy (upon satisfaction of essay orals).
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 register, with the permission of the seminar instructor and the department chair, for a 1-credit independent study course (ALL 8100) following the RC. 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.
Theory and Practice of Nonviolence
This course examines the history and basic principles of a variety of nonviolent approaches, including those of seminal figures such as Buddha, Jesus, Gandhi, and King, as well as the views of contemporary social activists and theorists, both secular and spiritual. The applications of philosophies of nonviolence to various social and political domains are critically considered. A range of methods and strategies for nonviolent social change are explored, utilizing study of historical and recent cases. 3 credit(s)
Peace and Justice Studies
This course reviews theory and data from psychology and other human sciences in the study of peace, conflict, and violence. It covers both positive (harmonious and constructive ways of living) and negative (absence of war or violent conflict) conceptualizations of peace at the interpersonal, group, national and international levels. 3 credit(s)
Refugee Trauma and Resiliency
This course covers the breath of topics (i.e., mental health, human resiliency, human rights, humanitarian aid) related to working with displaced people (refugees, asylum seekers, exiled individuals and internally displaced people). It is designed as a survey course for students interested in understanding the landscape with regards to research and practice for the protection and assistance of refugees. This course is useful for the more experienced student who desires to develop an independent project or dissertation work based on one of the areas of concern presented in the course. 3 credit(s)