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Subject area:    Doctor of Clinical Spiritual Counselling  (D.C.S.C.) / Doctor of Spiritual Counselling (D.S.C.)


U.S. spellings: Doctor of Clinical Spiritual Counseling/ Doctor of Spiritual Counseling (UK or US spellings may be used on the final diploma depending on the student's location and preference).


Awarding body:            Calamus International University.  For further details of CIU please see the about page.


Status of course:          The degrees are non-UK qualifications. For status of CIU please see the status page.  CIU is accredited by the International Association for Distance Learning.  


Entry requirements for the doctorate:  A Bachelor's degree (and preferably a Master's) plus professional and/or ministerial qualifications are normally required.


Method of study:            Distance learning (taught course units are textbook-based) Textbooks are not included in tuition fees. 


Start date:                        Any time of year (subject to availability)


Duration:                         The standard period of registration for a Doctorate is a maximum of 18 months, after which registration lapses unless continuing registration fees are paid.  This plan ensures that students can (a) complete as soon as academic requirements are fulfilled and (b) do not have to pay for long compulsory registration periods of several years before the final requirements can be met.  In some cases, where the student needs to meet additional requirements, the agreed initial registration period will be up to 24 months.




This brochure should be read together with the Calamus general prospectus (catalogue) and Course Unit List.  Calamus International University degrees are not UK degrees and do not have government accreditation.  


Doctor of Clinical Spiritual Counselling (D.C.S.C.) / Doctor of Spiritual Counselling (D.S.C.)

These degree titles are for people who are already educated to at least bachelor's level, and preferably master's, in any field, plus having experience and/or training in some form of spiritual counselling (counseling). The degree is ideal for those working in an alternative spiritual/pastoral role in a region which does not need formal licensing as a counsellor, or for those who have ordained minister status and who are allowed to practise counselling as a minister without being licensed.

For candidates without a Bachelor's degree, direct entry to a combined MA/Doctoral programme may be possible.

This degree is a viable alternative to the many "New Age". "Esoteric" and "Metaphysical" doctorates available which may require very little academic work in order to gain the title "Doctor".  The CIU degree is more rigorous and intellectually satisfying and successful graduates can be proud that they have studied their chosen field in breadth and depth, and that they do not simply have a "quick" doctorate which does not do justice to their vocation. The exact syllabus will be negotiated with the student but will involve a similar structure to a Master's degree. It may be completed entirely by taught units, or you may decide to include an optional dissertation.

This degree also affords some of the learning benefits of a counselling psychology degree without using the major "counselling psychology", as the latter could be unsuitable for unlicensed practitioners in some areas. Previous study of psychology is not necessary.

Topics you can study for this award include:

  • Counselling psychology / counselling skills / psychotherapy studies
  • General psychology
  • Contemporary Spirituality
  • Hypnotherapy (specifically its spiritual applications)
  • Transpersonal psychology
  • Parapsychology
  • Metaphysics/ Esoteric Studies
  • Shamanistic Studies
  • Religious Studies
  • Regression and Reincarnation Studies
  • Coaching (especially spiritually-oriented coaching)
  • Personal development (many relevant topics available)
  • Management (e.g. spirituality in the workplace; values and ethics in business)
  • New Age Studies
  • Jungian studies/ Depth Psychology
  • Healing Studies and Energy therapies
  • Wellness and Complementary Medicine Studies

In this way you will be able to combine sound counselling knowledge with spiritual studies.

Most course units will require textbooks which you will need to purchase.

Please note that Calamus International University is not affiliated with or owned by any religious organisation, and is not a Christian institution. The CIU tutors and adjunct faculty members may follow a variety of paths or be primarily concerned with scholarly exploration of the phenomena of spirituality.  If you are seeking a Bible-based Christian degree we suggest that you contact one of the many Christian distance learning schools in the USA, which will be able to cater for your needs more specifically.

There is no fixed syllabus as an individualized syllabus is negotiated with the student depending on his/her interests, which will be catered for as far as possible.

Certain fields are under-represented in our course unit lists but we are able to provide units for them on request.  In particular, we are able to offer units in the following fields for those with a special interest in them:

  • Jewish Studies (especially cultural and historical studies and reform/liberal approaches)
  • Spiritualist Studies (including the history of Spiritualism in the USA)
  • New Religious Movements
  • Possession and Entity Release

There is also the possibility of a certain amount of independent study of topics that you research on your own and on which you write an approved “challenge essay” (normally 3,500 words).

If you are a member of a particular spiritual or religious church, sect or movement, or you follow a particular spiritual leader, and wish to concentrate on study relevant to that approach, it is essential to ask our advice, giving as much information as possible. A certain amount of independent study may be possible. We will need to ensure that your degree contains a variety of perspectives and that you are able to take a broad-minded, comparative and analytical view of the material you are studying.  This must include material outside the point of view of your own spiritual affiliation.  This degree is for people who wish to approach spirituality with an open mind, and is not for those who are convinced that their path is the only right or true one.  Essays and projects should not “preach”, and should not consist of arguments for converting the reader.

We do not discriminate against any path: however we must ensure that the student is academically suitable, taking into account learning skills, English language skills, previous education, and willingness to engage in critical and analytical study as well as to appreciate a wide variety of experiences and approaches to spirituality. This might involve the study of texts and viewpoints which are critical of one’s own path. Also, CIU may not be able to offer suitable taught units relating to some faiths and in those cases we suggest that the student finds an appropriate college within their own faith. Courses taken at such a college might be eligible for transfer to a CIU degree depending on satisfactory transcripts and syllabuses being available in English.

Other Doctoral studies

The following alternative choices of doctoral programmes are available:

Ph.D. in Contemporary Spirituality including research and dissertation (or by manuscript in lieu of dissertation)

D.R.S. (Doctor of Religious Studies) which works in the same way as an M.A. degree

Met.D. (Doctor of Metaphysics) if your interests are mainly metaphysical (structure similar to a Master's degree)

D.E.S. (Doctor of Esoteric Studies) (structure similar to a Master's degree)

Please note: Ordinations and Ministerial Qualifications Are Not Available Through Calamus

Calamus International University (Vanuatu) and Calamus Extension College (UK) do not offer any form of ordination: we are aware that some US universities do, but Calamus International University is not a US university or a church, and unconventional ordinations are uncommon outside the USA.  If you are seeking ordination you will need to enquire elsewhere, but it is possible that we could suggest a suitable religious organisation that may offer a path to interfaith or alternative ordination via distance learning. If you are currently studying towards such ordination, or are already ordained as a minister (of any path except “instant” Internet or mail-order ordinations) we may be able to give credit for your ministerial studies.

You are welcome to contact us to discuss your study possibilities in more detail.

Please email if you have any queries.


Credit requirements


Doctorate (taught or research) - minimum 60 credits including any transfer credits if the degree includes a dissertation, or 70 credits without a dissertation. 


One credit is nominally equivalent to one semester hour as in the typical American degree programme. The average course unit taken with CIU has a value of 3 credits or 3 semester hours.




Further advice


This brochure cannot cover everything, and further advice is available on enquiry. For best advice, please send us a copy of your curriculum vitae or resume with details of all relevant trainings you have done.

To see our prospectus and course unit list, and also to download an application form, please go to our downloads page

To see our tuition fees on-line please go to our tuition fees page

Calamus International University which awards the degrees is not a UK or US university - for status details click here.

If you have any queries please contact us, preferably by email on

Page updated 23 March 2013

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