(903) 892-2020


The Western Institute for Social Research (WISR) is known as a premiere academic institute for social change since its inception in 1975. WISR offers individualized Master’s and Doctoral* degree programs for working adults. WISR is a private, non-profit, unaccredited educational institution that is approved by the State of California. [“Approved” means, “approval to operate” which means compliance with state standards as set forth in the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (California Education Code, Title 3,  Division 10, Part 59, Chapter 8).]*Effective June 1, 2013, WISR admits all new doctoral students to an EdD program, while previously enrolled doctoral students complete their PhDs–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.

In order to focus on our graduate programs, which have always been our main emphasis, we have discontinued our BS program in Community Leadership and Justice, as of February 2021 (all BS students enrolled in the past five years have completed their degrees!)

Areas of Study:  MS in Psychology/MFT (leading to MFT and LPCC licenses in California); MS in Education and Community Leadership; EdD in Higher Education and Social Change

The Doctoral program is especially for college professors, adult and community educators; community service professionals and activists; and self-employed consultants and therapists interested in teaching, community involvement, or writing for professional or lay audiences. Students design their learning activities with faculty assistance – pursuing readings, practical projects, action-oriented research, meaningful writing in their own voice, and building bridges to their desired (and sometimes quite distinctive) career paths.

Some WISR students study from great distances – from throughout California and as far away as Colorado, Canada, Nigeria and Chile–and confer frequently with faculty by phone between occasional visits. WISR is a multiethnic institution and we embrace and celebrate diversity among our faculty and students.

Students are encouraged to consider issues of community improvement, social change, multiculturality and organizational innovation in their studies.

For a further quick overview about WISR, go to:  Overview.

Students and Prospective Students are also expected to review the section on “Important Legally Required  Disclosures including the new State requirement that WISR and all State approved schools must continue to show strong progress toward accreditation.  

Statement Verifying the Accuracy the of the Information Contained on this Website and in our Online Catalog here.
This will certify that the statements included in this catalog, while subject to change without notice, are true and accurate as of the time of their issuance. This catalog is valid for the period beginning, June 23, 2022 and ending December 31, 2022, unless there are substantive changes that require an update before then. This information incorporates and updates the information contained in WISR’s last online catalog and the subsequent online updates to that catalog. Any substantive changes at WISR after May 26, 2022 will be updated within 30 days on this website, and in the online catalogue contained on this website.
verified and attested to by:

David Yamada, Chair
WISR Board of Trustees
John Bilorusky, President
Western Institute for Social Research                                                                                                                                         40th Anniversary logo_cropped3
2930 Shattuck Ave., Suite 300
Berkeley, CA 94705
(510)655-2830 (vm)

June 23, 2022