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Degree Programs

All of WISR’s California State-licensed degree programs aim to prepare our students for successful and productive professional careers, community leadership and/or civic engagement in a multicultural world, and for personally meaningful lifelong learning. More specifically, WISR provides personalized, learner-centered education for meaningful, transformative learning, and in building bridges to the most important things that the student wants to accomplish next in his or her professional career and/or in the community. All WISR degree programs aim to promote student development, and achieving learning goals and objectives in the following core areas of learning, competency, and accomplishments: 

  • Developing skills as a self-directed learner, including becoming a conscious, intentional and improvisational learner
  • Gaining expertise in methods of participatory action-research
  • Developing a multicultural, inclusive perspective
  • Making connections with the bigger picture and inquiring into ways of creating change for social justices, greater equality and environmental sustainability
  • Learning to communicate clearly with one’s audiences, in one’s own voice, and on topics that matter to oneself, and learning to collaborate with others
  • Developing the capability of pursuing employment opportunities and/or community involvements, appropriate to one’s capabilities, experience and interest
  • Becoming knowledgeable in one’s major field of study and in one’s particular area(s) of specialization.
A WISR Graduation Ceremony

A WISR Graduation Ceremony

BS in Completion Program in Community Leadership and Justice

This degree program prepares students for jobs, careers, and/or paid or volunteer community involvements in entry level positions of community leadership in non-profit agencies, small businesses, grassroots organizations, and as self-employed activists and consultants. This program requires 120 semester units of study in a combination of general education, electives and major field of study. More

MS in Education and Community Leadership

This program prepares students for jobs, careers, and/or paid or volunteer community involvements in positions of community leadership and innovation in non-profit agencies, small businesses, grassroots organizations, and as self-employed activists and consultants. This program may also meet the needs of innovatively-minded people who want to be prepared for jobs, careers, and/or paid or volunteer community involvements in improving one or more aspects of education—from pre-school through high school to higher education, and also including adult and community education.  This program is especially suited to students who are interested in promoting the development of learner-centered forms of education and/or in the role of education in working toward social changes for justice, sustainability and multiculturalism, either inside and outside of established schools and other educational institutions.  The program is not designed for those seeking careers and jobs that require teachers’ credentials or school administration credentials or that require an accredited graduate degree. Graduates of this program may aim to seek employment in non-profits, some alternative private schools, nongovernmental organizations, or to start their own organizations or become self-employed. Graduates of this program may also aim to bring about changes and reform in communities and organizations, and to start their own programs and initiatives–in working toward social changes for justice, sustainability and multiculturalism through community and organizational leadership. This program requires 36 semester units of graduate study, including required course work and individualized study, most of which is in the interdisciplinary field of community leadership and justice. This program includes much of the content and objectives from WISR’s now discontinued Master’s in Education and Master’s in Human Services and Community Development.  More

MS in Psychology, Marriage and Family Therapy

This program is specifically designed by WISR, and approved by the State of California’s Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) to prepare students to obtain the State’s Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) License and the State’s Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) License. Upon the completion of this degree program (including as an option, some extra, required coursework for the LPCC), students must obtain the necessary number of hours of supervised internship experience and pass the State-required licensing exams, in order to obtain the MFT license, and if they choose as an added option, the LPCC license. This program prepares students for successful private counseling practice as an MFT and/or LPCC, and for professional practice in non-profit community agencies as well as in some public agencies, educational institutions and health organizations. This program requires 60+ semester units of study in areas designated by the State of California for these licenses, and incorporates both State-mandated content and individualized studies.  More

EdD in Higher Education and Social Change

This is an exceptionally innovative and extremely distinctive program of advanced, interdisciplinary and personalized studies, and it aims to prepare students for positions, careers,  and/or significant volunteer work involving leadership and creative change through adult and higher education—for example, in the advanced education of professionals, adult continuing education, parent education, lay and community education, life coaching and relationship coaching, adult literacy, foreign language instruction, and global and international education; as instructors and faculty in colleges and universities, in working on curriculum development and reform in adult and higher education, the education of special populations with special needs, and the use of the internet, multimedia and mass media for education. This program is especially suited to students who are interested in the role of education in working toward social changes for justice, sustainability and multiculturalism, both inside and outside of established institutions of higher and adult learning. Graduates of this program may aim to seek employment in non-profits, schools, businesses, colleges, professional associations and educational groups, nongovernmental organizations, or to start their own organizations or become self-employed.  This program requires 45 semester units of doctoral level, pre-dissertation study, with a combination of required coursework and personalized studies, followed by a dissertation (15 semester units).  This innovative, emerging field of professional study is individualized and interdisciplinary in nature, with each student carving out one or more specializations related to education, psychology, social sciences, community services and development, social and intellectual activism, or related fields of study. The student’s pursuit of these specializations is mindful of the ways in which student learning and accomplishments can contribute to the education of others (professionals, scholars, and/or lay people) and to broader social change, as well.  More

WISR Collage

Discontinued, Previously Offered Degree Programs and Status of Students in Those Programs

Students enrolled prior to February 1, 2015 have been grandparented into the requirements and learning methods at the time of their admissions, unless they have withdrawn for more than a year. Those students must re-enroll by September 1, 2015, in order to complete their studies under the previous requirements and guidelines. Those re-enrolling after that time will be able to use their previously earned credit at WISR, and must then do the remainder of their credits within the guidelines of WISR’s new requirements and/or degree programs.

PhD in Higher Education and Social Change: Since June 1, 2013, WISR has admitted all new doctoral students to this EdD program, while previously enrolled doctoral students complete their PhDs in Higher Education and Social Change.  We made the decision to switch the PhD program to an EdD program to enable us to explore the possibility of seeking national accreditation with an agency approved to accredit professional doctoral degrees. For PhD students enrolled prior to June 2013, the predissertation requirement is 42 semester units, followed by a 12 semester unit dissertation. Previously enrolled PhD students must re-enroll by September 1, 2015, in order to earn a PhD, and to do so under the previous requirements.

MA in Psychology (MFT, LPCC).  This program has been changed to an MS in Psychology, still leading toward the MFT and LPCC licenses.  Other changes are modest changes in the course syllabi.  Continuing students will be strongly encouraged, but not required, to follow the new course syllabi.  Students re-enrolling in this program after a period on leave will be required to follow the new syllabi.

MA in Psychology (non-MFT).  The MA program in Psychology for 32 semester units (then more recently for 36 semester units), not leading toward the MFT license, has been discontinued.  Previously enrolled students may complete this program by re-enrolling by September 1, 2015, or depending on the content of their thus far completed studies, they may receive transfer credit toward the most appropriate one of WISR’s currently offered MS degree programs.

MA in Social Sciences.  The MA program in Social Sciences for 32 semester units (then more recently for 36 semester units) has been discontinued.  Previously enrolled students may complete this program by re-enrolling by September 1, 2015, or depending on the content of their thus far completed studies, they may receive transfer credit toward the most appropriate one of WISR’s currently offered MS degree programs, most likely the MS in Community Leadership and Justice.

MA in Education.  The MA program in Education for 32 (then more recently for 36 semester units) has been discontinued. Previously enrolled students will be automatically enrolled in the MS in Education program, and those re-enrolling after September 1, 2015 will be subject to the new requirements for this MS in Education.

BA in Psychology, BA in Social Sciences and BA in Human Services and Community Development.  Students previously enrolled in these programs may complete these degrees, so long as they re-enroll by September 1, 2015. Currently and previously enrolled students may, if they wish, choose to complete the reminder of their requirements for the Bachelor’s as outlined for the new BS in Community Leadership and Justice, and then receive that degree.  Those re-enrolling after September 1, 2015 will have to complete their requirements for the BS in Community Leadership and Justice.  Previously completed work at WISR will be treated as transfer credit.

 For the information of students enrolled in discontinued degree programs, you may wish to consult the WISR CATALOGUE as of May, 2014.

WISR offers enrollment to new students in the following California State licensed degree programs*: 

  • BS degree in Community Leadership and Justice;
  • MS degree in Education and Community Leadership, with two program tracks:  1) Education and 2) Community Leadership and Justice;
  • MS degree in Psychology that meets that State of California’s academic requirements for the Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) license and the Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) license.
  • EdD in Higher Education and Social Change–45 semester units of pre-dissertation study, followed by a dissertation (15 semester units)– individualized and interdisciplinary studies in an innovative, emerging field, pioneered by WISR over the past 40 years, with each student carving out one or more specializations related to education, psychology, social sciences, community services and development, social and intellectual activism, or related fields of study.  The student’s pursuit of these specializations is mindful of the ways in which student learning and accomplishments can contribute to the education of others  (professionals, scholars, and/or lay people) and potentially to broader social change, as well.

 

More details  can be found on our website regarding:  Grading and Awarding Credit at WISR

40th Anniversary w-out 2015

*STATE REGULATIONS REQUIRING ALL APPROVED SCHOOLS, LIKE WISR. TO OBTAIN ACCREDITATION BY JULY 2020
§71775.5. Pre-enrollment Disclosure; Notice to Prospective Degree Program Students; Institutions with Existing Approvals to Operate.

(a), An approved unaccredited institution enrolling a student in a degree program shall, prior to execution of an enrollment agreement, provide the student with the following notice, which shall be in at least 12-point type in the same font as the enrollment agreement:
Notice to Prospective Degree Program Students

This institution is approved by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education to offer degree programs. To continue to offer degree programs, this institution must meet the following requirements:
• Become institutionally accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education, with the scope of the accreditation covering at least one degree program.
• Achieve accreditation candidacy or pre-accreditation, as defined in regulations, by July 1, 2017, and full accreditation by July 1, 2020.
If this institution stops pursuing accreditation, the following will happen:
• The institution must stop all enrollment in its degree programs, and
• Provide a teach-out to finish the educational program or provide a refund.
An institution that fails to comply with accreditation requirements by the required dates shall have its approval to offer degree programs automatically suspended.
Institutional Representative Initials: __________ Student Initials: __________13
Date: ___________ Date: ___________”
(b) The student and an institutional representative shall initial and date the notice prior to executing an enrollment agreement. An initialed copy of the notice shall be given to the student and the original shall be retained in the enrolled student’s records.
(c) The notice shall also be posted immediately adjacent to wherever an institution’s degree granting programs are described and shall include, at a minimum, the following locations:
(1) The institution’s catalog.
(2) The institution’s website.
(3) The institution’s degree program brochures.
(d) This section shall remain in effect until July 1, 2021, and as of that date is repealed.
NOTE: Authority cited: Sections 94803, 94877, 94885 and 94885.1, Education Code. Reference:
Sections 94885, 94885.1, 94897, 94900, 94900.5, 94909, 94927.5 and 94932 Education Code.

What does this mean for WISR and for WISR students?

Prior to this new law and regulation, WISR had already decided to pursue national accreditation.

With all accreditation efforts, there can never be a guarantee that an institution will be successful.  The information here is to provide updates on the concerted efforts and steps that we at WISR are taking to achieve national accreditation by 2020, and hopefully a bit before then. For legal and ethical reasons we cannot promise that we will obtain accreditation, but we will be transparent in disclosing our progress—to the State of California as required by law, and to students, prospective students and interested members of the general public, as well, because such disclosures to the State must be made public.

WISR Board, faculty, alumni and students are strongly committed to obtaining accreditation, and will keep students, prospective students and the State informed of our progress. If WISR does not obtain accreditation by July 2020, WISR will apply for a two-year extension from the State (as allowed for be an amendment to the original law), and if for any reason, WISR fails to get accreditation on a timetable acceptable to the State (July 2020 or later if there is an extension), WISR faculty will do a teach out with all WISR students, and those students will be able to receive an academic degree that is fully approved by the State of California.

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