Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy that seeks to understand the purpose of the universe and the cosmos. It is influenced by and grounded in mathematics, spirituality, sociology, psychology and the natural sciences. Classes in metaphysics are taught in many universities or schools with a philosophy degree program or a psychology degree program.
While the scientific and psychological disciplines of metaphysics have been called pseudoscience, the classes are still part of many degree programs even if their inclusion is only to foster critical thinking and scientific methodology in students. Many schools, while unaccredited, may offer degrees in metaphysics or other spiritual subjects -- these schools exist as religious schools and typically do not need accreditation to offer degrees.
However, there are reputable schools that offer degrees in metaphysics, mythical cosmology, parapsychology and somatic psychology but these degrees are traditionally offered as focuses of larger, accredited degree programs in philosophy, religious studies or psychology.
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As of the date of this publication, there are no comprehensive rankings available for the top metaphysics schools. However, U.S. News & World Report publishes annual rankings of colleges and universities, and in 2012, released its rankings of the world's best schools for psychology -- many of which may have metaphysics as a singular focus or specialty within the psychology degree program. Here are some of the top psychology programs in the U.S., according to U.S. News & World Review:
- Harvard University
- University of California, Berkeley
- Princeton University
- University of Chicago
- New York University
- Yale University
- Stanford University
- Columbia University
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- University of Michigan
Below are some of the available programs focused on metaphysics
Based on the idea that movement and emotion are directly connected, somatic psychology attempts to work with an individual’s pre-knowledge, or knowledge that cannot be described using speech or communication, to understand the consciousness, the mind and the body. As pre-knowledge, or tacit knowledge, is often acquired before an individual understands verbalized communication, somatic psychology may be used when psychologists are trying to unlock pre-birth or past-life memories.
As somatic psychology relies upon the traditional teachings of psychology taught at an undergraduate level, some somatic psychology programs are offered only in the form of a master’s or doctoral degree. According to the Center for Somatic Studies, classes in somatic psychology may be beneficial for students with previous experience in therapy and psychology as well as yoga, dance and bio-energetics.
In order to practice as a somatic psychologist, as with all forms of psychology, an individual must be licensed in the state they wish to practice in. Information on the licensing requirements is provided by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards.
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not list any statistics or information related to somatic psychology, it does list information on clinical, counseling and school psychologists, and somatic psychology is one of many forms of psychological therapy. According to the BLS, clinical, counseling and school psychologists earned a national median salary of $67,880 in 2011, with the top 10 percent earning up to $110,410 nationally and the bottom 10 percent earning up to $39,060 nationally in 2011 (BLS.gov, 2012).
Employment of clinical, counseling and school psychologists is expected to increase by up to 22 percent from 2010 to 2020 in the U.S., notes the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012).
Parapsychology is the study of various paranormal phenomena including near-death experiences, precognition, reincarnation and telepathy. While described as a pseudoscience by some psychological professionals, parapsychological research is conducted in countries across the world and some universities, such as the University of Edinburgh, encourage parapsychological research on their campuses. Many parapsychologists are employed by schools or universities where they are able to conduct tests and experiments and the Parapsychological Association has been an affiliated organization of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) since 1969.
Practitioners of parapsychology often earn a traditional psychology degree and focus their parapsychological emphasis on their psychological experiments or clinical trials. There are no accredited universities in the country that currently award a degree in any form for parapsychology and only one person is known to have ever earned a doctoral degree in parapsychology: Jeffrey Mishlove, PhD, author and president of the Intuition Network. Mishlove earned his degree from the University of California Berkeley in 1980.
As there are no reputable degree programs in parapsychology, there are no classes in parapsychology specifically; interested students should earn a degree in psychology first and then can choose to practice parapsychology later.
For individuals who wish to contribute to the field of parapsychology, the Parapsychology Foundation offers the Eileen J. Garrett scholarship to students pursuing a degree in psychology from an accredited institution and who can show a history of parapsychology interest.
As most parapsychologists are employed as psychology instructors at post-secondary schools and universities, the BLS data for post-secondary instructors may be helpful for determining a parapsychologists’ job outlook. The BLS reports (BLS.gov, 2012) that post-secondary instructors focusing in psychology are typically required to have a doctoral or professional degree. The national median salary for post-secondary instructors was $68,150 per year in May of 2011 (BLS.gov, 2012), with the lowest 10 percent earning $35,740 per year during the same period. Employment is expected to grow by 17 percent between 2010 and 2020 as a result of the increasing number of students attending post-secondary institutions (BLS.gov, 2012).
Mythical cosmology, not to be confused with physical cosmology, is a branch of philosophy and, in some schools, a branch of religious studies concerned with understanding the history and evolution of the cosmos through religious mythology and philosophical principles. It is a central subset of the larger philosophical focus of metaphysics, which is concerned with answering the questions of existence.
Mythical cosmology classes are taught in many major universities such as John F. Kennedy University, Stanford University and Yale University. Individuals looking for a degree in cosmology or metaphysics should get a degree in philosophy from a reputable institution that allows for a focus on cosmology or metaphysics. Some schools offer specific degrees in religious or mythical cosmology as an emphasis of philosophy or religious studies. There are also some schools which are not accredited and offer a degree in cosmology as well, just be careful to do the research before choosing a program.
Philosophy classes focusing on cosmology may deal with logic, causation, location, epistemology, modality, ontology, time and topology, while religious classes focusing in cosmology may provide far-reaching classes on Buddhism, Hinduism, the Judeo-Christian religions and Islam.
While the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) does not provide information on philosophers, many post-secondary instructors of philosophy have focuses in cosmology and metaphysics and the related data for post-secondary instructors focusing in philosophy may be useful for constructing salary data and job outlook for mythical cosmology. The BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) reports a post-secondary teacher focusing on philosophy or religion earned a national median salary of $65,100 per year in May of 2011, with the lowest 10 percent earning $35,030 during the same period. Employment is expected to grow by up to 17 percent from 2010 to 2020 with growth projected to result from the increase in the number of students attending post-secondary institutions (BLS.gov, 2012).
Individuals with degrees in mythical cosmology in the form of a religious study degree are often employed as pastors, clergy or other religious leaders. The BLS (BLS.gov, 2012) reports the mean national wage of religious leaders to be $44,140 per year in May of 2011, and O*NET Online projects job growth of from 10 to 19 percent between 2010 and 2020 for clergy members.
Learn more about metaphysics programs from schools and colleges through SchoolsGalore.com
There are no metaphysical schools that are accredited by an agency approved by the Distance Education and Training Council or by any other national or regional accrediting body approved by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Schools that offer degrees in metaphysics offer degrees in philosophy with a focus in metaphysical principles. Additionally, many metaphysical subjects are branches of other, more established disciplines, such as psychology, and students may decide to attend a school offering a broader degree and focus their work towards metaphysical subjects.
When researching colleges and universities, make sure to verify that your choice of school is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council or by another accrediting agency that is approved by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, or both. DETC and CHEA both provide a searchable list of approved schools.
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