Transpersonal psychology,
spirituality + consciousness studies

Master’s FAQs – applications

Your frequently asked questions about the Alef Trust MSc

Accordion Content
  • Supporting essay
  • CV
  • Copies of your qualification certificates
  • Valid photo ID – passport or driver’s license
  • Copy of your English language qualification, if English is not your first language
  • Application fee, £100 GBP

Applicants are required to contact two referees, who must send their references directly by email to [email protected].

Further details of these requirements can be found in the Guidance Notes for Applicants when completing the online application.

This is a postgraduate programme, open to students from different backgrounds. We welcome candidates with levels of academic qualifications and experience that are appropriate for postgraduate study.

All applicants should be familiar with principles of research and scholarship, and understand what is required for writing to be academic in style.

In general, applicants who have studied to undergraduate degree level – BA or BSc – will meet these criteria.

Applicants without an undergraduate degree – BA or BSc – may be considered for entry to the programme depending on their experience and other qualifications.

In such cases, the admissions team may require the applicant to submit an essay to demonstrate their academic potential.

Full instructions will be given following the processing of the application.

Proficiency in English is required up to the following tested standards: IELTS 6.5; or TOEFL: PBT 580, CBT 233, IBT 90-91. The IELTS qualification can now be taken online.

Check to see scheduled times for these tests. Please note that test results must be submitted with your full application.

We strongly recommend a three-year pathway, as the MSc requires a fairly substantial time commitment which most people balance with other demands in their lives.

One of the core foundation elements of the MSc programme is for the student to experience a shared learning journey with their cohort.

Deeply reflective experiential, whole-person learning takes time! Students wishing to be considered for the two-year pathway must have a degree in psychology or a cognate science discipline, and be able to commit to 20-27 hours per week to the programme.

Whilst we are as responsive as possible to students who encounter unexpected circumstances whilst on the programme, if you already anticipate that you cannot complete it in three years we would suggest that you consider applying at a time when you can envisage this being possible.

We have students in 40 countries around the globe, so our scheduling always endeavours to take into account the time-zones of enrolled students. We vary the days and times of webinars with a view to facilitating all students attending live on at least some occasions.

Nevertheless, sometimes you may need to accommodate a live session slot at an unusual time of day for you. Most webinars are recorded, so if you’re unable to attend (or want to watch a session again) it can be viewed later. Enrolled students will receive an academic calendar at the beginning of each module.

YEAR 1

Module 7501 – Approaches to Consciousness

  • Runs from October to February each year.
  • Live webinar series, recorded, can be viewed at your convenience.
  • Several asynchronous forums, mandatory, post by a given deadline.
  • Group presentation task: Work with a peer group to create a presentation, live presentation required at a prearranged time in November.
  • Weekly reading of a range of papers and target articles – extensive library of articles provided.
  • Assessment: Group presentation and individual essay (3,000 words).

Module 7503 – Learning through Integrative Practice

  • Runs from October to May each year.
  • Live webinar series, recorded, can be viewed at your convenience.
  • Reflective meetings, held monthly, organised in smaller groups during UK mornings, UK afternoons or UK evenings.  Note: these sessions require mandatory live attendance.
  • 100 hours of experiential work in ‘integrative practice’.
  • Reading (books and papers) to support practice.
  • Assessment: Process report (2,000 words & creative work) and reflective essay (3,000 words).

Module 7502 – Spiritual Psychology

  • Runs from February to June each year.
  • Live webinar series, recorded, can be viewed at your convenience.
  • Several asynchronous forums, mandatory, post in your own time by a given deadline.
  • You choose two specialist options as part of this module. Some of these options feature experiential practice components.
  • Reading (books and papers).
  • Assessment: Essay (4,500 words).

YEAR 2

Module 7504 – Transpersonal Psychology

  • Runs from October to February each year.
  • Live webinar series, recorded, can be viewed at your convenience.
  • Several asynchronous forums, mandatory, post in your own time by a given deadline.
  • Group presentation task: Work with a peer group to create a presentation, live presentation required at a prearranged time in November.
  • Reading (books and papers).
  • Assessment: Group presentation and individual essay (3,000 words).

Module 7506 – Research Design

  • Runs from October to May each year.
  • Live webinar series, recorded, not mandatory, can be viewed at your convenience.
  • Several asynchronous forums, mandatory, post in your own time by a given deadline.
  • Group research project: work in a small peer group to research a topic, including interviewing, data transcription and data analysis.
  • Reading (books and papers).
  • Assessment: Paper critique (1,000 words), visual poster, and group project report (3,000 words).

Module 7505 Applied Transformative Psychology

  • Runs from February to June each year.
  • Live webinar series, recorded, attendance not mandatory, can be viewed at your convenience.
  • Several asynchronous forums, mandatory, post in your own time by a given deadline.
  • You choose two specialist options as part of this module. Some of these options feature experiential practice components.
  • Reading (books and papers).
  • Assessment: Case study (1,500 words), reflective essay (3,000 words).

YEAR 3

Module 7500 – Research Dissertation

  • Runs from October to June each year.
  • Live webinar series, recorded, can be viewed at your convenience.
  • Dissertation research project: Conduct a research project, including proposal and planning, literature review, participant recruitment, data collection, and analysis.
  • One-to-one supervision, arranged with your availability in mind.
  • Peer research group meetings, self-organised, not mandatory.
  • Reading (books and papers) to support your research project.
  • Assessment: Research seminar (30-minute presentation), blog article (1,000 words), dissertation (10,000 words).

The MSc programme leads up to the research dissertation in the final year of study, in which you will draw on either quantitative, qualitative, or transpersonal research methods to investigate a topic of your choice within the broad areas of psychology studied in the programme as a whole.

In most cases, you will have the opportunity to propose a research project aligned with your interests and formulated in consultation with an academic supervisor. Most students conduct research that involves interviews or other non-equipment-based ways of exploring the research topic.

Alef Trust operates fully online and as such does not have access to lab facilities. We would work with you in exploring possibilities for equipment-based research if that were your interest, but cannot offer any guarantee that you would be able to conduct lab-based research.

The topic or subject of the research study should be an issue that is of relevance in the broadest sense to consciousness studies, spirituality and/or transpersonal psychology.

This gives a wide remit, but there may be issues that stretch the boundaries of this context. Student proposals are discussed at the outset with their supervisor. You can see examples of dissertation research topics and methodologies in our scholarly journal Consciousness, Spirituality & Transpersonal Psychology.

Our participatory pedagogy has a strong focus on interactive learning.

Some live webinars are discussion based; others focus on taught material with the opportunity for dialogue and questions at the end.

Some modules involve group work, and many modules have forums that facilitate extensive dialogue with students and tutors.

We provide a rich extra-curricular support programme to enable you to make the most of your learning journey with us. Attendance of this programme is optional.

  • Academic learning webinars with Alef Trust’s Academic Learning Officer: organised to support academic skill development, recorded, can be viewed at your convenience.
  • Learning group meetings with Personal Tutors: bi-monthly check-in sessions attending to arising questions and topics brought by those who join the meetings, not recorded.
  • Wellbeing webinars with Alef Trust’s Wellbeing Officer: bi-monthly sessions for pastoral support helping all to make the most of their studies, recorded, can be viewed at your convenience.

This is an academic programme that is almost entirely assessed through written assignments, and we would recommend that you consider carefully whether you will be able to manage these requirements before deciding to apply to the programme.

We endeavour to facilitate those with special needs as far as this is possible within the resources available to us. You must understand that Alef Trust does not have the resources of a university or other large-scale institution.

In the past, we have helped those whose dyslexia is certified by allowing extra time for essays and allowing the dyslexic student to submit their work to an editor prior to submission. However, we would be unable to cover the cost of the editor.

The programme commences with a one-week orientation period, designed and coordinated by the Community Manager, supported by the IT Infrastructure Manager, the Personal Tutors, the Wellbeing Officer and the Programme Leader. A sequence of tasks will ensure that you:

  • Have the opportunity to ‘meet’ each other and members of the programme team
  • Become familiar with the online collaborative learning environment we use
  • Become familiar with the programme structure and how the modules will operate online
  • Are introduced to the relevant support systems and facilities
  • Begin to find out how to access relevant resources online – including journals etc.
  • Learn about the various avenues for student representation at the Alef Trust and elect student representatives.

Our graduates have moved into many professional areas (for example, counselling and therapy / other health professional areas / management and consultancy / human resources / research and teaching), although the programme does not target a specific set of vocational skills.

Spirituality and the transpersonal perspective are increasingly recognised as enhancing professionalism in many areas, and our programme is viewed as innovative and relevant.

But the responsibility lies largely with individual graduates to bring the fruits of studying on the programme to the professional area in which they operate. Our MSc programme is delivered in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University, which is a major UK university, and as such its awards are recognised worldwide.

The MSc attests that you have a sound knowledge of the topics studied and that you are a proficient researcher. The question for you to consider is how this will serve your specific professional and personal development, based on your aspirations in both areas.

We suggest that you inform yourself of the local requirement for practitioners in your country or state.

In most jurisdictions, obtaining a license as a psychotherapist requires in-person training and supervision as well as a board exam.

This could be something you go on to do after the MSc course, or you could enrol directly in a vocationally-oriented course that offers practitioner certification.

It is up to you to follow the pathway that most resonates with your aspirations for personal and professional development, and serves your goals in both areas.

Transpersonal psychology

  • An excellent reference book is: Friedman, H. L., & Hartelius, G. (Eds.). (2015). The Wiley-Blackwell handbook of transpersonal psychology. John Wiley & Sons. This includes many chapters that will be useful during the programme, and gives a real feel for the breadth of Transpersonal Psychology. It is available online through the LJMU library to enrolled students.
  • You might wish to explore any articles on specific topics that are of interest to you in the open access International Journal of Transpersonal Studies.
  • You can also read essays by Alef Trust MSc students in our ebook Transpersonal Perspectives.

Transpersonal research

  • A recommended book is: Anderson, R., & Braud, W. (2011). Transforming self and others through research: Transpersonal research methods and skills for the human sciences and humanities. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. This will give you a sense of the research component of the programme.
  •  The Alef Trust scholarly journal, Consciousness, Spirituality & Transpersonal Psychology, presents articles based on dissertation research by MSc students, and gives insights into the range of topics and methodologies used.
  • Another useful resource for transpersonal research is the Sacred Science Circle.
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