Skip to content

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)

Our Ph.D. Degree is the most rigorous degree we offer, requiring completion of 48 semester credits and a formal defense of the dissertation in an Oral Examination at the conclusion of the dissertation process.

The Ph.D. degree is generally considered a research degree, and is typically sought by those who aspire to reach the highest level of scholarly research in a particular area of interest. It requires an extensive literature review and the dissertation must be an original contribution to the field of inquiry. At the Wisdom School of Graduate Studies, we also emphasize the need for both head and heart in equal measure in all of our degrees, including the Ph.D. This is an important point because the head-heart continuum is a central aspect in our approach to learning and is incorporated in all of our programs. All of our Intensives, like all of our degree programs, challenge the student to balance head, heart, body and soul. The Ph.D. is not an exception to this, but its chief exemplification.

Admissions Requirements

  1. Students must have a Masters degree or its equivalency. An equivalency consists of documented training beyond a bachelor’s degree that is equivalent in hours and requirements to a Masters Degree.
  2. A completed Ubiquity University Admissions Application must be filed with the Office of Admissions.
  3. Students are encouraged to belong to an academic research library in the area in which they live.

Degree Requirements

Ph.D. candidates must complete:

  1. 48 semester credits;
  2. A dissertation; and
  3. An oral examination.

Half of the course credits must be in-person learning experiences (Intensives or Pilgrimages) and the other 50% may be taken as Virtual Retreats. Ph.D. candidates must complete 48 semester credits.

The Ph.D. Program should be completed within a period of seven years from initiation of study.

In addition to 48 credits, 14 credits are awarded for the preparation of the dissertation and the oral examination, for a total of 62 credits required for the Ph.D. degree. Extensions for a variety of personal, family and professional reasons are allowed. Because students have numerous obligations and responsibilities, we are prepared to work with each student individually to ensure there is ample time to complete the Ph.D. A Petition for Continuation Form must be submitted to the Registrar when more than seven years is required to complete the Ph.D. program.

Required Intensives

The following four seminars are required for the Ph.D. program:

  1. Wisdom and Civilization, taught annually
  2. Doctoral Writing and Research Methods, taught annually
  3. Any course designated as pertaining to Earth Wisdom and the Primordial Mind
  4. Any course designated as pertaining to one of the Mystics or Specific Wisdom Traditions

The remaining credits may be selected from any of the university's course offerings, including online courses and Virtual Retreats. Students should select courses that in some way contribute to their dissertation topic or specific area of interest.

Dr. Judith Yost, Dean of Students, will offer general advice and assist all Ph.D. students in selecting the appropriate Major Advisor.

Dr. Gyorgyi Szabo, Dean of Doctoral Studies, will offer advice and support related to the dissertation process. Once a student has completed at least three (3) Wisdom University courses, has decided on an area of study and a focus of inquiry, and has completed an Advising Agreement with a Major Advisor, the Dean of Doctoral Studies will convene a Candidate Review, acceptance or not of their Dissertation Proposal, and organize the Oral Examination.

Candidate Review

Once a student has completed at least three (3) Wisdom University courses, has decided upon a focus of inquiry, and has completed an Advising Agreement with a Major Advisor, the Dean of Doctoral Studies will convene a Candidate Review. This meeting will include the student, the Dean, the Major Advisor, and a selected faculty member appropriate to the topic of the dissertation and may be either in person or by phone, depending on geographic proximity between the people involved.

The purpose of the Candidate Review is for the Dean and the student to assess together the student’s readiness to embark on a research study. In addition, questions from the student and the Advisor will be addressed. The student should demonstrate a basic understanding of the research process and be able to identify the major authors that will provide the foundation of the literature review. If a student needs additional advice or support in preparation for the Candidate Review, he/she should contact the Dean of Doctoral Studies.

Acceptance of Dissertation Proposal

After the Candidate Review is successfully completed, the student, working with his or her Major Advisor, prepares a formal proposal for their dissertation that must contain an Abstract, main themes to be covered, and the method of inquiry and/or research. This will be reviewed by the Doctoral Committee under the direction of the Dean of Doctoral Studies, which can draw upon the advice of relevant faculty members or members of the Doctoral Committee. Once the Committee and the Dean of Doctoral Studies provides their approval, then the student can begin their dissertation writing.

Selecting a Major Advisor

Each student is responsible for preparing their own dissertation. Because of the rigorous nature of doctoral dissertations, Advisors are essential to guide students both in obtaining comprehensive knowledge of the chosen field of study and in refining the ideas and research that goes into a dissertation. Each student must select a Major Advisor, either from the list of Wisdom University faculty or from outside the university, who would be appropriate after consultation with the Dean of Students, Judith Yost. The choice of the Major Advisor is in many ways second only to that of the dissertation topic itself because it is the Major Advisor who will guide the student over a multi-year process of exploration, preparation, and finalization of their scholarly work.

Areas of Ph.D. Concentration

There are a range of areas of concentration in which students can earn a Ph.D. degree as long as it is in the general domain of “Wisdom Studies.” In the end, the choice is intensely personal and may be a topic that one has wondered about for some time or is an area of burning interest for further exploration. Successful dissertations can range from pure research to creative artistic projects and/or sacred activism. For example, one can research a particular mystic, historical event, or area of spiritual concern. One can develop an artistic project such as a piece of music or art and write it up. One can engage in a particular act of sacred activism such as going to India to work with disadvantaged children and write it up. This is a decision you must make because, in the end, the dissertation is your work and needs to reflect who you are and what you deem important for your academic and spiritual growth.

As you think about areas of focus, please know that there are a number of Wisdom University faculty with significant expertise in a wide range of focus areas could serve as Major Advisors.

It may be that your area of research lies outside the domain of any Wisdom University faculty. In that case, we will work with you to find the right person to mentor you. The key is to be in contact with the Dean of Students as soon as you enroll so that you can obtain guidance as to what you might want to explore for your dissertation topic and whom you might want as a Major Advisor.

Selecting a Topic and Criteria for Writing a Ph.D. Dissertation

There are three principle criteria for successful Ph.D. dissertations:

  1. Each dissertation must demonstrate both knowledge of the field in question and be an original contribution to that field. The dissertation must show both a comprehensive knowledge of the philosophy and history of the domain being considered, as well as demonstrate that the student has added something original to that field. An extensive literature review is required. Original contributions can cover a wide range of topics and media. Dissertation studies may be focused on research, a creative project, teaching project, or other projects that clearly demonstrate the student's creative capacities.
  2. All dissertations without exception must follow the APA (American Psychological Association) style of writing. This format allows for uniformity in university dissertations and provides a common standard to which all students must adhere in preparing their dissertations. If the APA style is not followed, the dissertation will not be admitted. Please consult with the Dissertation Manual in this regard.
  3. Demonstration of Subject/Object Synthesis. At most universities, the requirement for papers is exclusively for objective, dispassionate analysis and research. At the Wisdom School, we turn this on its head and require both a rigorous demonstration that the student understands the content of the course or thesis project, and can use footnotes, bibliographies, proper formatting, etc. as well as demonstrate an equally rigorous insight into his or her interior journey as a result of learning the content at hand. In our view, it is the capacity to combine an objective grasp of the material under consideration and also engage in the introspective work of discerning how the material is actually affecting one's inner life and soul growth that is a mark of wisdom.

Getting Started with your Dissertation

The procedure for writing a Ph.D. dissertation is very straightforward. Early on in their doctoral studies, students are encouraged to contact the Dean of Students, Judith Yost, who will guide them in thinking through some of the courses they might consider. When they are ready to begin the actual dissertation writing process, the Dean of Doctoral Studies, Dr. Gyorgyi Szabo, will be in touch to conduct the Candidate Review.

It is normal in the process of selecting and writing a Ph.D. dissertation to have ideas, pursue them, then to change one's mind and have to start all over again. Students are encouraged to take their time, experiment with different leads, and allow a certain “gestation” to take place. A Ph.D. dissertation is a major project, and it should not be rushed or contrived. The best dissertations are those that emanate out of a certain passion of the heart to explore a domain that has deep personal relevance. The dissertation should be on a subject of personal and scholarly significance, and it should be something that is also practicable and doable.

Intensive on Doctoral Writing and Research Methods

The Intensive on Doctoral Writing and Research Methods is particularly important in relation to writing the dissertation. During this five day Intensive, students will familiarize themselves with the writing and research methods specific to a wisdom school—which combines objective analysis of data with subjective response—as students grapple with the material they are studying. The Wisdom School is as much interested in the student's interior journey as it is in how well they objectively comprehend the material they are studying. There will be a thorough discussion of the distinctions between a Ph.D. and a DMin degree. Also during this Intensive, students will familiarize themselves with the APA style of writing, which is the format the Wisdom School requires for its dissertations and encourages for all its pre and post papers.

During the class, students will have ample opportunity to discuss and share their ideas and plans for their dissertations, as well as generate ideas for research and study, both with the professor and with their student peers. Students are encouraged to attend this Intensive early in their doctoral studies, and then repeat it as many times as they feel the need in order to discuss their progress with faculty and peers in a group setting. Full tuition payment is required the first time the class is taken. Thereafter, a small administrative fee of $300 will be applied to repeat the course.

Selecting a Major Advisor

Due to the rigorous nature of doctoral dissertations, advisors are essential to guide the student both in obtaining comprehensive knowledge of the chosen field of study and also in refining the ideas and research that goes into a dissertation. Each student must select a Major Advisor, drawn either from the list Ubiquity University faculty or from outside the university, who would be appropriate after consultation with the Dean of Students, Judith Yost, and/or Dean of Doctoral Studies, Gyorgyi Szabo. The choice of the Major Advisor is in many ways second only to that of the dissertation topic itself because it is the Major Advisor who will guide the student over a multi-year process of exploration, preparation, and finalization of their scholarly work.

Each student is responsible for preparing his or her own dissertation. This cannot be overstated. The university deans and major advisors, as well as outside experts, can all be consulted, but, in the end, the responsibility rests with the student alone. Major Advisors are important but the ultimate responsibility for the dissertation both in terms of its quality and in terms of following the timelines etc. rests with the student.

Oral Examination

Once the dissertation has been approved by the Major Advisor and the Dean of Doctoral Studies, an Oral Exam will be scheduled. The student must defend his or her dissertation before a committee of examiners including the Dean of Doctoral Studies (or another Ubiquity University faculty member), the Major Advisor, and an External Examiner who is a specialist in the field in which the dissertation has been written.

The Oral Examination can lead to approval or a recommendation to the student that further work is needed. Once the Oral Examination Committee has given approval, the dissertation is sent to Dr. Will Taegel, Vice President for Academic Affairs, for final approval.

Graduation Requirements for a Ph.D. Degree

  1. Students must have their Dissertation approved by their Major Advisor and submitted to the Dean of Doctoral Studies by January 5th of the graduating year. The submission should include the cover page with the Major Advisor‘s signature.
  2. Student‘s fees and all financial obligations to Ubiquity University must be fully paid, and completion of all requirements for the degree must be met, by the third week of February of the graduating year.
  3. A completed bound dissertation, required for the Ubiquity University library, must be submitted to Wisdom University by May 1 of the graduating year.

Students who complete requirements for Graduation after the June Commencement date can request transcripts as evidence of graduation and that they, in fact, hold the title of Doctor of Philosophy. The Degree and Stole will be given at Commencement the following June, or mailed to the student if they do not plan to attend the graduation ceremony.

Tuition and Fees for the Ph.D. Program

The following fees apply:

Application Fee: $75 - Paid when submitting Admissions Application.

Enrollment Fee: $750 - Paid when admitted as a student to Ubiquity University.

Tuition: $1760 per Intensive - Paid per Intensive or Pilgrimage at the time of registration. Tuition for online courses and Virtual retreats may vary. All fees are to be paid at the time of registration for the class.

Dissertation Credit and Advising Fee: $4760 - Can be paid over time in installments, or in one sum for a $200 discount, once student begins working with Dissertation Advisor.

Dissertation Submission, Candidate Review, Oral Exam and Graduation Fee: $1500 - Paid when the Dissertation is submitted to Wisdom University.

Additional Fees That May Apply

Continuation Fee: A $150 fee will be applied to each 6-month term in the program after the years provided.

Re-Admission Fee: A $400 fee will be applied for re-admission after withdrawal.

International Off-site Fee: A $250 fee will be applied to all courses held internationally.

Paper Extension Fee: A $25 - $100 (a graduated fee, depending on lateness of the paper) fee will be applied to all Paper Extension requests.

Official Transcript Fee: A $10 Fee will be applied for all official transcript requests.

Degree Change Fee: $275 (non-refundable) - Applied when changing from one degree program to another after having been accepted to Wisdom University.

The Ph.D. tuition and fees structure.
Back to top