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M.A. in Integrated Studies

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota’s unique Master of Arts in Integrated Studies program allows you to design a customized course structure that best matches your interests and career goals.

Choose Classes That Match Your Goals

By creating a curriculum that includes independent studies, program electives that fit their focus, and classes offered in other degree program, graduate students are given the opportunity to explore as broadly or as in-depth as they’d like.

Students can choose to:

  • Study a narrow topic not available elsewhere
  • Combine two or more topics or disciplines
  • Learn a unique topic at an individual pace
  • Combine an academic interest with specific career goals

In order to graduate, 39 credits are needed, but only nine credits are required. The other 30 credits are selected by the student.

The breadth of courses is substantial. Throughout the M.A. in Integrated Studies, a rigorous learning experience places an emphasis on applying critical thinking and evaluation skills to better understand diverse topics. Graduates of the Saint Mary’s M.A. in Integrated Studies program (formerly the M.A. in Human Development) have gone on to have successful careers as educators, counselors, advocates for social justice, leadership coaches, wellness coaches, and more.

Program Options

Because the M.A. in Integrated Studies program is so flexible, there are lots of options to choose from.

There's almost no limit to what can be studied in this program.

Current students are studying:

  • Leadership
  • Holistic Health and Wellness
  • Adult Education
  • Human Resources Training and Consulting
  • Career Coaching
  • Legislative Action for Human Trafficking
  • Environmental Renewal
  • Spirituality in Counseling
  • Social Justice
  • Writing
  • Career Counseling and the Psychology of the Unemployed
  • Philanthropy
  • Addiction and Mental Health
  • Leadership Skills Needed in Non-management Fields
  • Youth Development
  • Higher Education
  • Gerontology
  • Ethics in the Workplace
  • Creative Arts in Trauma Recovery
  • Online Teaching Methodology
  • Mythology in Art

From Start to Finish

You can earn your M.A. in Integrated Studies degree in a little more than two years.

  • Cohorts begin each spring and fall.

Apply Now

Applicants must submit the following:

  1. Completed application form with the nonrefundable application fee (fee not required for alumni or students seeking readmission or veterans and active military personnel), and
  2. An official transcript issued to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota from the institution posting the applicant’s completed bachelor degree and other relevant transcripts documenting program prerequisites and potential transfer credits. (An official transcript is one that is sent to the university by the credit-granting institution. Transcripts from countries other than the U.S. must be evaluated by a university accepted evaluation source, such as World Education Services, Educational Credential Evaluators, Educational Perspectives, or One Earth International Credential Evaluators and be deemed equivalent to accredited U.S. university standards).
  3. A reflective essay which answers the following:
    1. Write an autobiography which includes an account of those formal and informal learning experiences which have made the most impact on your life. What are your short-term goals?
    2. What do you intend to accomplish during the course of your graduate study? Set forth an interdisciplinary program, based upon your own needs, strengths, and weaknesses which would provide a balance between practical and theoretical work.
    3. In what areas of your intended plan of study, as described in question #2, would you need close supervision or advising?
    4. Ethics is translated into the Human Development program as social responsibility. The ethic of social responsibility invites students to make a commitment to a greater connectedness and sharing of talents with the community at large. Tell us how you have served your community in the past and what contributions you will make to the community at large in future years.
    5. The graduate program which we offer provides a vehicle around which self-directed learners can structure a set of experiences of quality and substance. Please describe a project, writing, curriculum, or patent that you created and developed.
  4. Two letters of recommendation that verify professional and/or volunteer experience and academic ability; and
  5. A current résumé listing educational background and work experience.
  6. Applicants with international transcripts may require an English language proficiency exam (TOEFL, IELTS, PTE or MELAB accepted.)

Please Note: Application materials should be sent to the attention of the Office of Admission on the Twin Cities campus.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
Office of Admission
2500 Park Avenue
Minneapolis, MN  55404


Classes can be taken online. Location may vary for independent study.

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements

Required Integrated Studies Courses 9 cr.
Student Selected Courses 30 cr.
Total 39 cr.

Required Integrated Studies Courses: 9 cr.

GM623 Academic Research and Writing (3 cr.)

This course focuses on graduate academic writing skills, including voice and style, writing that incorporate source material, ethical use of source material, APA writing guidelines, and the revision process.  Students learn to locate and evaluate resources relevant to the research and writing process.

Upon completion of this course students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Develop a research question delineating the complexity of an issue.
  2. Use information from a variety of sources relevant to a question.
  3. Evaluate information for relevance and credibility.
  4. Analyze and synthesize content of scholarly sources.
  5. Present writing in an unbiased manner, representing diverse points of view on the topics.
  6. Incorporate source material into academic writing, including correct use of summary, paraphrase, and quotation, along with proper citation.
  7. Write clearly and concisely.
  8. Develop skills in rewriting, editing, and proofreading.

MAIS600 Introduction to Integrated Studies (3 cr.)

This course introduces students to the philosophy of integrated study. Students design an individualized program of study by identifying a focus and the relevant disciplines, locating key information and resources, and outlining graduate-level learning objectives and activities. A discussion of ethical responsibilities related to integrated studies is included.

 Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Articulate a problem, issue, or topic best addressed by an interdisciplinary approach.
  2. Synthesize related and historical background information on the identified topic.
  3. Explore the nature and power of principles of ethical responsibility and moral philosophy related to integrated studies.
  4. Develop an academic plan that includes personal program outcomes.

MAIS698 Integrated Studies Capstone (3 cr.)

This culminating course is designed for students to synthesize and present the concepts, knowledge, and ethical considerations learned from completion of their integrated studies. Students complete a summative paper/project and give a colloquium presentation.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Apply all knowledge gained throughout the program to complete a summative paper/project that demonstrates mastery of the student's chosen topic.
  2. Synthesize scholarly literature into a final paper.
  3. Apply an ethical perspective in exploring issues related to the final summative work.
  4. Integrate and reflect on personal and professional growth throughout the program.
  5. Effectively communicates findings of capstone paper in colloquium.

Student Selected Courses: 30 cr.

Students can take any MAIS electives below, or any other SGPP courses with approval, or create independent studies that fit with their Integrated Studies Plan.

MAIS511 Authentic and Courageous Leadership (3 cr.)

In this course, students learn leadership development strategies that guide them to become more authentic and courageous leaders.  Students synthesize a cohesive body of knowledge so they can lead from the future as it emerges.  The leadership development concepts taught in this class allow students to more effectively lead, transform, engage, and influence organizations, communities, and the world around them.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Analyze and reflect on how they have been formed as leaders, and develop increased self-awareness and their personal directions for leadership.
  2. Synthesize theory and research to make better use of emotions, the wisdom of our intuition, and the power to connect and influence at a fundamental level.
  3. Synthesize their own personal strengths and motivations as related to leadership.
  4. Create unique leadership development principles and practices that guide them to authentic, bold, and visionary leadership for the future.

MAIS513 Confronting Personal Mortality (3 cr.)

This course explores the reality of one's finite existence in the physical dimension, focusing on reconciling participants to the inevitability of their own death, and instilling a personal plan for living lives of purpose, meaning, vibrancy, and fulfillment.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Identify beliefs, fears, experiences, and attitudes that influence the equanimity and anxiety surrounding their own mortality. 
  2. Synthesize selected cultural, historical, and religious perspectives and practices surrounding death.
  3. Conceptualize their ideal death with a greater sense of control, input, and appreciation.
  4. Implement a plan to ultimately assure congruency with their unique vision of a life well lived.
  5. Explore the impact of one's lifetime relative to legacy and contribution.

MAIS514 Emotional Intelligence: A Reflective Experience in Self Awareness (3 cr.)

This class is an in-depth exploration into self-awareness and self-management.  Using emotional intelligence students learn how to become more self-aware and learn how to regulate themselves.  These capabilities promote effective decision making, impulse management, health and well-being, and happiness.  Self-awareness is also linked to creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration, and life balance.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Articulate their thoughts and feelings, and how they impact daily life.
  2. Identify trigger events based on the EQ assessment and develop an action plan for development which will connect EQ to one's well-being.
  3. Apply EQ to regulate self and build healthy relations with others.
  4. Develop the skills of communication, influence, relationship building, and coaching.
  5. Evaluate how to manage stress and use it to achieve goals.
  6. Generate a long-term strategy for self-development and overcoming barriers to change.

MAIS515 Storytelling and Myth (3 cr.)

By examining myth and its symbolization process, this course explores the significance of stories—spanning from the ancient Greek stories to modern epics. Anthropological and psychological theories on the function of stories and the origins of mythology are emphasized. The course utilizes cross-cultural as well as comparative examples from contemporary fine arts and popular culture.

Upon completion of the course, all students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Analyze story and myth and their roles in shaping human culture.
  2. Utilize ethnographic techniques like observation, description, analysis, and participation in studying human cultures.
  3. Critically engage with various modes of myth transmission and ritual practice such as storytelling, performance, text, viewing, and reflection.
  4. Analyze the use of story in contemporary expressions of identity and in uses such as organizational cohesion, healing, and education.

MAIS517 Purpose, Meaning, and Uncertainty (3 cr.)

This course discusses the constructs of purpose and meaning in life, from a psychological perspective. Readings and discussions explore what meaning in life is, and how people who have meaning are different from those whose meaning architecture is weak or fragile. The course emphasizes the building of meaning resiliency, especially in times of uncertainty and transition.

Upon completion of the course, all students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Identify strategies to help find meaning in life.
  2. Apply theoretical frameworks in order to help others find meaning.
  3. Construct meaning architecture based on the current psychological models.
  4. Reflect on how past meaning violations may affect thinking.
  5. Explore the research on tolerance of ambiguity, and how it affects the maintenance of meaning systems.

MAIS573 Creative Leadership Development (3 cr.)

This course addresses the role of human development, the arts, and the creative process for enhancing leadership in intrapersonal, community, and organizational contexts. The course draws upon brain-compatible learning research. This course explores students' internal development and creative leadership competencies such as attention, presence, and collaborative inquiry, and applies these competencies to complex challenges.

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Identify six creative leadership competencies as defined by researchers and faculty at the Center for Creative Leadership.
  2. Assess their own individual creative leadership strengths and human development needs well enough to design an individual vision statement.
  3. Explain how creative processes and arts-based learning can be used to develop essential qualities of personal leadership such as comfort with ambiguity, flexible thinking, risk taking, and presence.
  4. Apply creative leadership principles and competencies to complex challenges.
  5. Synthesize their understanding into a creative presentation.

MAIS596 Creating Optimal Healing Environments (3 cr.)

This course focuses on those factors that facilitate the healing process within the individual. It explores the states of individual consciousness that contribute to or detract from the healing experience and the approaches that create these states. It examines relationship patterns that support healing and the qualities in the environment that contribute to health, balance, and well-being.

Upon completion of this course, the student is expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Identify the components of an optimal healing environment and assess various types of environments in terms of how effective they are in creating healing and change.
  2. Analyze important states of consciousness that contribute to personal change and healing.
  3. Relate personal experiences to states of consciousness.
  4. Identify the components of relational connections that facilitate healing and personal change.
  5. Create an example of an optimal healing environment for themselves, their families, or co-workers.

MAIS633 Many Faces of Art: A Psychological Perspective (3 cr.)

This course focuses on psychological aspects of the visual arts. Topics include the normative development of artistic ability, the impact of developmental and environmental challenges, mental illness, and health-related issues on the production of visual art. Relevant theory and artistic production are examined.

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Understand the systematic nature of normative artistic development in all human beings.
  2. Understand the developmental art tasks which the individual must master at each stage of his or her life span.
  3. Explain the effects of developmental challenges (e.g., disabilities), environmental insults (e.g., abuse, exposure to violence, family stressors), mental illness, and health-related issues on the individual production of art.
  4. Understand theoretical input in these areas of art and psychology.
  5. Evaluate visual art as an informal means of psychological assessment.

MAIS635 Getting Published (3 cr.)

This course explains the basics of getting published and helps participants define possible projects, identify publications and publishers, and prepare a draft of a proposal that might be submitted to a publisher.

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Identify the most common publishing markets and standards for author submissions.
  2. Describe the steps for getting published.
  3. Identify the elements of a query letter and a book proposal.
  4. Evaluate and select appropriate markets for written works.
  5. Develop a submission or query package for a written piece.

MAIS671 Women's Self-Esteem and Spirituality (3 cr.)

This course focuses on the effects of the religious traditions and contemporary culture on women's self-esteem and spirituality. Issues surrounding women's development of adequate self-esteem and spiritual maturity are addressed. Alternative visions for women's self-affirmation, full human development, and spirituality are investigated in theoretical and practical ways.

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Evaluate the relationships between women's self-esteem and women's life experiences.
  2. Understand the forces (psychological, political, economic, and religious) of the American culture that impact women's self-esteem.
  3. Develop a model or alternative for positive cultural change.
  4. Understand how one's spirituality has been influenced by culture.
  5. Evaluate the relationship between one's spirituality and one's self-esteem.

MAIS681 Creativity and Holistic Health (3 cr.)

This course explores the relationship between creativity, holistic health, and artistic expression. Elements of the creative process are articulated and compared to that of an holistic lifestyle. Impediments to creative expression are identified along with methods that free creativity for expression in one's personal and professional life.

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Define creativity, art, healing, health, self-realization, and human development.
  2. Practice several simple forms of creative expression and reflect on the experiences.
  3. Understand the history of how healing and art are connected.
  4. Differentiate between creative expression used to promote holistic health and art therapy.
  5. Identify what may block creativity and what may support a free flow of creativity.
  6. Analyze and describe ways in which the course content might be integrated with their professional lives.

MAIS693 Psychological Transformation and the Spiritual Journey (3 cr.)

The tradition of depth psychology describes a pattern of individual interior evolution that is reflected in changes in our external life. This course explores the interior process of making significant changes in one's life, direction, career, or relationships and resonance between our exterior lives and interior development.

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Understand the process of change.
  2. Write a spiritual autobiography.
  3. Explain special issues which arise in times of change and spiritual growth.

MAIS695 Children of Addiction (3 cr.)

This course explores issues related to counseling the child of addiction. It offers a preliminary overview of some of the current effects experienced by many adults who have been raised in such a setting. It also considers strategies for fostering a path of recovery for those who find themselves suffering the lingering effects of an addiction-based childhood.

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Describe what it can mean to be a child of an addictive family.
  2. Identify the complexities of dynamics in a family with addictions.
  3. Describe the impact of addictions on the developmental stages of children's maturation into adulthood.
  4. Identify the adverse effects of addiction on all family members, individually and collectively.

MAIS706 The Spiritual Life of Family (3 cr.)

This course focuses on the theoretical and personal aspects of spiritual development through examining primary relationships within the family unit. Through use of poetry, autobiography, and small group discussion students explore these earliest sacred connections.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Discern spiritual expressions between family relationships through themes such as gratitude, wisdom, compassion, grace, and connection.
  2. Analyze how family rituals, traditions and sense of belonging affect one's spirituality.
  3. Explore and synthesis spiritual development stages from early childhood through adulthood within a theoretical and personal context.
  4. Synthesize life cycle events such as birth and death within the role of family.
  5. Create a personal practice of attending to the family's soul.

MAIS709 The Art and Science of Problem Solving (3 cr.)

This course explores the process of making effective decisions at both the personal and organizational level. Students apply models of problem solving, examining the interrelationship among intuition, collaboration, innovation, and emotion. The normal, and sometimes counterintuitive, processes of decision making are investigated.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Analyze decision-making styles and processes.
  2. Evaluate constructs in the discipline of decision making.
  3. Build capacity to see unintended consequences of decisions and solutions.
  4. Evaluate the power of cues and patterns in the decision-making processes.
  5. Explore the processes that lead to failure or success in problem solving.

MAIS725 Transpersonal Bodywork (3 cr.)

This course introduces the student to transpersonal bodywork, a holistic approach which integrates physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual processes. The course includes such concepts as the holistic paradigm of health and healing, models of transformation, the new science, and the body as an energy system. Students are introduced to techniques including therapeutic touch, imagery, and the expressive therapies as related to transpersonal bodywork. The experiential component of the course gives students an opportunity for personal exploration in relation to course topics.

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Discuss a theoretical basis for transpersonal bodywork.
  2. Describe how the following techniques may be used in transpersonal bodywork: therapeutic touch, imagery, body dialogue, intuitive process, and expressive therapies.
  3. Use therapeutic touch for self-care.
  4. Compare and contrast major forms of bodywork with transpersonal body work.
  5. Describe the use of transpersonal bodywork in the professional community.
  6. Identify resources for further study in this area.

Connect With Us

Nicole Coppersmith, M.A.

SGPP Admission - Senior Enrollment and Transfer Counselor

Oakdale Center, OC

Campus Box: # 28

(612) 238-4561

Nicole Coppersmith M.A.
Carlie Derouin

SGPP Admission - Enrollment Counselor, Graduate School of Business and Technology

LaSalle Hall-TC Campus, LSH112

Campus Box: # 28

(612) 728-5198

Carlie Derouin
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