PhD + MSc programmes

MSc in Consciousness, Spirituality and Transpersonal Psychology

Enrol on our world leading online course.

Liverpool John Moores University logo

MSc programme validated (accredited) by Liverpool John Moores University

Join us for the next MSc open house

on Thursday, April 20 at 6pm London time
where you can speak to MSc alumni and staff.
Register in advance for this meeting.
You are invited to join our next MSc Open House
 with faculty and alumni on Tuesday, July 18, 2023 6pm-7pm BST 
to join and receive a recording if you are unable to attend live

Start date: September 18, 2024. Length of study:  3 years
Curriculum / FAQ / Tuition, admissions and registration

Alef Trust - Les Lancaster - Director

Professor B. Les Lancaster

Alef Trust Founder

A message from our Academic Dean

Our online distance-learning MSc in ‘Consciousness, Spirituality & Transpersonal Psychology’ provides you an intellectually-stimulating programme of study which focuses on diverse topics around the nature of consciousness, the dynamics between psyche and soma, the psychology of self and higher states of being, and the psychological basis of spiritual and mystical practices.

Our MSc programme is distinctive in valuing experiential approaches to learning and in encouraging our students to incorporate insights from the programme into their own life journeys. In addition to a rigorous academic curriculum, modules exploring integral life practice, transpersonal approaches to research, and a research dissertation focus on the practical application of learning.

The MSc programme consists of 180-course credits and most students complete the programme over three years, studying part-time. The programme is run entirely online, and it is validated by Liverpool John Moores University.

Alef Trust learning community

Community is at the heart of the Alef Trust. Students all have their own personal and unique experience on this course, yet are also part of something greater. Our ethos at the Alef Trust is to co-create a healthy microcosm to inform the macrocosm. By joining the Master’s programme, you will be welcomed into our wider community, which also includes students on our Certificate courses, Open Learners and a growing body of alumni.

Follow these links to find out more about the Alef student experience, and our Conscious Community Project.

Accordion Content

The degree operates through our partnership with Liverpool John Moores University, UK.
Students wishing to gain a Postgraduate Certificate can enrol on the MSc route and complete their
studies after gaining 60 credits in year 1.

Equally, students wishing to gain a Postgraduate Diploma can enrol on the MSc route and complete their studies after gaining 120 credits by the end of year 2.

LJMU Programme Specification (text) that opens a new tab with this URL:

The MSc is further enhanced by a partnership of the Alef Trust with the Scientific and Medical Network (SMN), UK, a worldwide professional community for open-minded, rigorous and evidence-based enquiry into themes bridging science, spirituality and consciousness.

Students become members of the network for the duration of their studies and have access to the network’s newsletter and its unique audio-visual lecture archive featuring many inspiring presentations by new paradigm scientists and scholars. Students also receive discounts to some of the SMN’s live events held annually in the UK.

Would you like to find out more?


Year one

Year one

Core modules | 20 credits each

Accordion Content

Offers you a broad introduction to consciousness studies, cognitive neuroscience of consciousness, consciousness and spiritual traditions.

Find our more: Approaches to consciousness

An 8-month experiential immersion in a personal programme of integrative practice, with the aim to foster whole-person development.

Individual needs and aspirations are considered in the development of the practice plan, and critical engagement with the practices is encouraged through regular webinars and reflective sessions.

Find out more: Learning Through Integrative Practice

Module leader: Dr Ellis Linders

This module explores the changing meaning of spirituality in contemporary secular culture. Moreover, it identifies and examines the relationship between psychology and spirituality as a change in psycho-spiritual paradigm. The module is titled ‘spiritual psychology’ to reflect this relationship. Although there are many correspondences, spiritual psychology differs from transpersonal psychology in that it specifically draws on spiritual traditions and new or ‘neo’ spiritual expressions. 

As a student, you will choose two specialist topics to explore which each reflect an expression of contemporary spiritual engagement. They also exemplify approaches in which spiritual traditions and their practices are viewed through the lens of contemporary psychology. The psychological lens allows issues of definition, measurement, and frameworks concerning spiritual experience to be critically evaluated according to scientific principles.

Specialist options | select two

Accordion Content

Tutor: Dr Tamara Russell

The migration of mindfulness from monastic to mainstream settings has exposed both pitfalls and opportunities. Informed by neuroscience, cognitive psychology and martial arts perspectives, this module option encourages students to drill down to the core of mindfulness to support the wise implementation of this ancient practice in our complex modern environments.

Find out more: Contemporary Mindfulness

Tutor: Dr David Luke

Taking a cross-disciplinary and multi-cultural approach, this module option explores transpersonal and transformative qualities of the psychedelic experience, illuminating its meanings and implications for individuals and communities.

Find out more: Entheogens and Psychedelics

Tutor: Dr Steven Schmitz

Shamanism is the oldest spiritual tradition known to humankind and continues to be relevant in our contemporary world. For tens of thousands of years shamans have developed and used their technologies (knowledge, tools, skills) for shifting consciousness and for accessing the spirit realms for guidance, healing, and transformation.

Find out more: Shamanistic Psychology

Tutor: Dr Lila Moore

This module option explores the imaginal as an evolving phenomenon that has shaped the human spiritual experience: from Paleolithic cave art, altered states, and mythic rituals to the intersection of modern esoteric and spiritual movements, the creative arts and healing arts.

Find out more: Spirituality and the Imaginal

Tutor Dr. Tadas Stumbrys

In this module option, we study transpersonal dimensions of dreaming, drawing on scientific research and historical/spiritual traditions. We will explore the world of lucid dreaming and its potentials for growth and transformation.

Find out more: Transpersonal Dreaming

Year two

Year two

Core modules | 20 credits each

Accordion Content

Transpersonal psychology (TP) studies phenomena beyond the ego and their transformative and healing potential. Adopting the perspective that the human being is intimately interconnected to the cosmos in many ways, TP acknowledges the relevance and value of spiritual, mystical, and other exceptional human experiences.

The course covers the major theoretical orientations within TP, and the models they propose to understand these experiences and situate them in the larger context of human transformation and spiritual development.

The course also covers other complementary topics which reflect the growing edges of TP as a vibrant and multifaceted field.

Find out more: Transpersonal Psychology

Our Research Design module provides a grounding in qualitative research methods.

Students venture into transpersonal approaches to research, offering you an introduction to methods which embrace embodied, intuitive and creative ways of expanding the human knowledge base.

Research Design allows students to work with these methods in a research project, tackling the philosophical and ethical issues surrounding transpersonal psychology methods.

Such as:

  • The centrality of transformation for both researcher and participants
  • Issues that arise when participants’ most meaningful experiences may be scrutinised
  • Issues where practices may be evaluated for efficacy, and ideas concerning changing paradigms in psychological science

Find out more: Research Design

Module leader: Dr Jessica Bockler

Applied transformative psychology focuses on the ways in which transpersonal, integrative, and spiritual perspectives can be applied in practice, considering personal and professional pathways and ethics of transformation. The concept of inner development is examined in the context of evolving ideas and theories exploring personal and systemic/collective change; and questions of ethical engagement in contemporary contexts are considered in the light of the evolving meta-crises of our times. 

Students are encouraged to explore their own professional practice in relation to two of the following specialist topics:

  • Creativity and transformation
  • Integrative medicine
  • Multidimensional trauma and transformation
  • Transpersonal coaching psychology
  • Transpersonal ecopsychology
  • Transpersonal psychotherapy and counselling

Specialist options | select two

Tutor: Dr Jessica Bockler

In this option we explore the nature of creativity and its relationship to human development and growth, as well as its relevance for social change. The evolving crises of our time call for inner and outer changes in our ways of being and doing. In Together, we consider how we can draw on our creativity to enable and support generative change processes in ourselves and in those we work with.

Find out more: Creativity and Transformation

Tutor: Dr Hennie Geldenhuys

This option explores the mind-body-spirit paradigm and its implications for an integrative and holistic approach to wellness and healthcare. Health, disease, healing and the psychosomatic are viewed through a transpersonal but pragmatic lens.

Find out more: Integrative Medicine

Tutor: Dr Regina U. Hess

We will explore multidimensional applications for the transformation of individual, transgenerational, and ecological trauma drawing on clinical, transpersonal, indigenous, and psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy approaches and research. The goal is to support the person’s innate capacity to restore the mind-body-spirit-balance and eventually wholeness, including such dimensions as interpersonal relationships and relationships with nature, the cosmos, culture, and the community.

Find out more: Multidimensional Trauma & Transformation

Tutor: Jevon Dängeli

Transpersonal Coaching Psychology (TCP) can be described as the theory and practice of coaching that takes a holistic and integrative approach to support client growth and transformation. In this option we explore the basis and value of a transpersonal approach to coaching.

Find out more: Transpersonal Coaching Psychology

Tutor: Paul Maiteny

We are living in extremely destabilised times. We humans are undermining life-support ecosystems essential to life itself, ecological, social and personal. It is a tragic irony that we have been doing so with the aim of making our lives better. We have now reached the threshold point where the destructive results of our priorities and action is confronting us full-on. Yet, we are continuing to seek technological ‘solutions and fixes’ using the same motivations and types of thinking as have caused the devastation in the first place. 

Transpersonal Ecopsychology provides a new way of thinking about and understanding human meaning and purpose as embedded participants in the ecosystem, rather than in the binary way of thinking of ourselves as ‘other’ to ‘nature’ and ‘the environment’. 

Find our more: Transpersonal Ecopsychology: Knowing your role in a conscious Earth

Tutor: Dr Gabriel Fernandez Borsot

Transpersonal approaches to psychotherapy situate the process of psychological healing and maturation in the wider context of spiritual development. This option explores the main features of these approaches, and their associated techniques and models.

Find out more: Transpersonal Counselling and Psychotherapy

Year three

Year three

Research dissertation | 60 credits each

Students conduct a research project under supervision, exploring their own area of interest in depth.

We focus on a view of the person that emphasizes the interrelationships between the physiological, psychological, social and spiritual levels of explanation.

Our philosophical orientation holds that the pursuit of psychological knowledge is advanced by experiential and introspective approaches as well as by the more traditional scientific approaches.

In presenting a scholarly and multi-perspectival approach to the investigation of consciousness and the transpersonal, we adopt an open, non-ideological, and appropriately critical approach that acknowledges and respects individual differences of view, experience and belief.

Students are encouraged to complete the MSc Programme over three years. 

Would you like to find out more?

Your frequently asked questions about the Alef Trust MSc

Accordion Content

It is an MSc programme because it is grounded in contemporary scientific empirical approaches and research methodologies, as well as embracing embodied approaches.

The literature across the programme draws on scientific approaches to the topics studied.

In addition, the research dissertation in your final year requires you to collect data using an appropriate methodology; your research cannot be purely abstract or theoretical – i.e. non-empirical – as it would be in the case of an MA.

The MSc is a part-time programme normally studied over three years, and you can plan to spend at least 13-18 hours on your studies each week. If you opt for the two-year programme (for which you must have a BA/BSc in psychology), you would commit at least 19-25 hours per week.

We are on a semester system so there is a:

Three-week winter break in Dec/Jan
Two-week spring break in March/April
Summer break from mid-June to late September

A limited number of partial scholarships is available for students who have submitted a full application and have been offered a place on the course prior to June 30. Scholarships are available only to those who can demonstrate real financial need.

Competition for the scholarships is intense, and acceptance on the programme is not a guarantee of securing a scholarship

At the time of writing, student loans are available to eligible students through Student Finance England and Wales. Details about your eligibility for a student loan can be found on the Student Finance website. Students resident in Scotland may be eligible—see the Student Awards Agency for Scotland.

Regarding funding, this is a conversation to have with your employer.

We have had students in the past, coming from private and public sector organisations in the UK like the NHS and the police, whose managers have agreed to cover fees, since the programme was viewed as appropriate staff development.

  • A high-speed internet connection
  • Access to a computer with relevant programmes such as PDF reader, Office software, or similar
  • Headset with a microphone for live webinar participation

In addition, you will need to be proficient in using modern IT systems.

Learning activities on the CSTP programme include

  • Live teaching webinars
  • Sessions involving spiritual or other embodied practices
  • Reflective group meetings
  • Forums
  • Peer work
  • Student presentations
  • 1-1 supervision
  • Personal practice and projects
  • Study of course materials

Our students enjoy a rich and interactive learning experience.

The programme requires participation at pre-announced times throughout the year.


Course assessments are mainly written essays and reports. A number of modules include asynchronous forum participation. Some modules require live presentations and attendance at presentations by peers.

Your schedule will require some flexibility to accommodate these in all three years of the programme.

In the final year, you conduct your own research under supervision. Assessment of this final-year module involves a research dissertation, online presentation, and a blog-style post.

Assignments are generally 3,000-4,500 words, and the final dissertation is 10,000-12,000 words.

Yes, as a collaborative LJMU student you have access to a range of LJMU’s electronic library resources.

This includes an extensive selection of relevant books and journals, as well as academic learning resources oriented towards the ongoing development of skills such as scholarly writing.

Whilst the CSTP programme is not primarily vocational, there is growing recognition in a broad range of careers that the topics we teach, as well as the kinds of embodied and spiritual practices to which you are introduced, have considerable relevance and applicability.

It is for this reason, for example, that many of our students in careers such as health, the police, and human resources have been sponsored by their employers.

The majority of our students are already on career paths, and we encourage you to explore how your learning, and the opportunities our programme offers, can impact on your work.

Thus, for example, the range of practices you select for the Learning Through Integrative Practice module could reflect the niche you occupy in your work.

In the module Applied Transformative Psychology where you plan a potential case study you can consider how to apply your learning directly in your field of work.

Lastly, the Research Dissertation module offers you the opportunity to research an area of your choice, and many students choose a facet of their working environment to be the focus.

In these ways, you can enhance your status, knowledge, and opportunities in your career.

For those not yet embarked on a career, or perhaps looking to change their direction, you can similarly make choices during the programme to emphasise the relevant skills you will bring to your unfolding career orientation.

In our experience, it is crucial that you take the initiative. We will always support you during the time that you study with us in maximising the applicability of your learning. But it is very much down to you to demonstrate – e.g. on applications, in interviews – the value of this qualification in CSTP in the given situation.

Employers are increasingly looking for those who bring holistic skills and knowledge of the leading edge of cultural change.

These are very much aspects to the fore in this programme; but you must be confident in demonstrating them and the ways in which they will impact positively in the given career situation.

The MSc in CSTP has not been designed as a vocational programme, but rather fills an increasingly recognised need of focusing on the research that informs the leading edge of the topics in the curriculum.

Students choose our MSc because they have specific academic and professional interests in the topics on which we specialise.

Those already registered as counsellors or psychotherapists have found their learning on this programme to have greatly enriched their professional practice.

Those not yet trained in these areas have found their learning with us has helped them in formulating their paths into counselling and psychotherapy.

Upon successful completion of the MSc programme, Liverpool John Moores University will issue
your award.

Alef Trust hosts an annual graduation ceremony for MSc and PhD students. This graduation takes
place in mid-December and is held online to enable all students from around the world to attend.

MSc student story

Alef Trust - Dagmar Suissa

“This was a truly transformational journey. The course has given me a lot of knowledge, particularly in the domain of individual and collective transformation, which is one of my key interests.

However, my most cherished gain is my own transformed self.

I have a more expanded understanding of myself, I feel more authentic, more compassionate and more connected to others.

I now apply what I have learned through the courses I teach at university as well as through transformational work in organisations.

Yet it is not just the knowledge that I apply, I also apply myself.

My own transformative experience serves as a catalyst and has a transformative impact on others.”

| Dagmar Suissa, MSc Alumna – Class of 2018

MSc Programme Registration

Accordion Content

The minimum requirement is normally an undergraduate degree at class 2.2 honours in the case of UK awards or an equivalent level if a non-UK degree. Examples of equivalents include USA Grade Point Average of at least 3.0 or a Graduate Record Examination score of at least 550. Degrees in subjects other than Psychology may be accepted provided the candidate can show a suitable level and relevance of background knowledge and competence. In particular, applicants for the MSc programmes require a sufficient educational background and experience in order to successfully complete graduate-level research methods and a dissertation.

Candidates without an undergraduate or graduate degree may be considered, subject to their demonstration of professional qualifications and/or experience to a level and relevance which is deemed appropriate for admission to the programme. Such applicants may also be asked to submit a 1500 word essay, the title of which will be negotiated with the Programme Director. Candidates will also be required to have basic technology skills, equipment and the capacity for self-directed learning  to ensure successful participation in the online programmes.

English Proficiency: For students whose first language is not English, proficiency in English is required up to the following tested standards:

TOEFL: PBT 580, CBT 233, IBT 90-91

There are two components to the fees payable: the application fee and the tuition fee.

1: The application fee of £100 must accompany your application which covers the costs associated with processing your application. The application fee is non-refundable so it is important that you check any specific entry requirements for the MSc programme. Applications submitted without a payment will be considered ‘incomplete’ and will not be processed further until a payment has been made. Applications remaining incomplete will be notified with a time frame to complete their application. Failure to complete the application within this time frame will result in the application being withdrawn.

2: The tuition fee covers all aspects of teaching and supervision, and obviously varies according to the amount you study.

All fees are given in GBP – Great Britain Pounds. 

Application fee: £100

Tuition fee: £4,100 per year – 3 years, payable in half-yearly instalments.

TOTAL: £12,300

All tuition fees are payable to Alef Trust.
Payment Plans are available to all students.

Apply For a Master’s Loan – UK/EU Nationals

A small number of partial scholarships are available for students wishing to join the Master’s programme.

The scholarships are available only to those applying for and offered a placement in the Master’s programme. The scholarships are not available for the Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma.

Payment of the scholarship in the second year will be dependent on satisfactory performance in the first year of studies. Full details are available upon request through the contact form below.

The Alef Trust MSc in Consciousness, Spirituality and Transpersonal Psychology is validated by Liverpool John Moores University in two programme formats. Students normally take the three-year part-time programme, although a two-year part-time programme is also available. Obviously, the primary difference between these programmes concerns the duration of study. However, there are additional considerations that applicants must take into account when deciding on their preferred programme of study:

  • Your qualifications: In order to be considered for the two-year programme, you must have a degree in psychology or a cognate science discipline, with a minimum grade of 2:1 (UK university system) or equivalent (non-UK universities).
  • Time availability: In order to be considered for the two-year programme, you must clearly demonstrate that you are able to commit to studying for approximately 22-25 hours per week.
  • Maturity: Our MSc is not simply an exercise in academic learning. The ethos underpinning the programme – confirmed by reflections from graduates – is one of students embarking on a developmental journey that entails deep maturation of their aspirations, relationships, and inner quests. In the experience of both staff and graduates this journey is most effective when taken over three years. In evaluating applications for the two-year programme, the admissions team will explore with the applicant their readiness to achieve the programme goals in only two years.
  • Shared experience: The journey is one in which forming bonds with those in your cohort can be highly beneficial. A student on the two-year pathway will straddle two cohorts, which may make this aspect of the experience more difficult. Again, the applicant’s resilience in this regard will be considered by the admissions team.
    Structurally, the arrangement of modules is broadly similar across the two pathways in years 1 and 2. The critical difference for those on the two-year pathway is that the Research Design module comes in year 1, and the Research Dissertation in Year 2.
  • Readiness to undertake research: The deeply reflective experiential, whole-person, learning which is at the core of this programme takes time to gestate during the first two years for most students, and culminates with the research dissertation in the third year. Applicants for the two-year programme will be expected to demonstrate to the admissions team that they have a preliminary plan about their potential research.

If you wish to be considered for the two-year pathway, please indicate this in the application form. Our admissions team will contact you to arrange an interview to discuss whether this could be an appropriate option for you.

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