Can You Earn a Degree in Paranormal Studies?

Joy Borthwick

There are thousands of available degrees in paranormal studies, but only a few are from traditional schools. There are a large number of alternate universities and schools that offer programs; however, their degrees are not recognized. If you've decided to pursue this field of study, choose your school carefully.

Accredited Schools

Of the accredited schools, most offer classes in parapsychology and consciousness in the psychology department. Masters and doctorates must be applied for and approved, but parapsychology is a valid topic for these programs.

Saybrook University, California

Saybrook does not offer undergraduate degrees in parapsychology. It does offer the ability for the student to design their own degree in psychology, and a degree can be designed with an emphasis on parapsychology. The degree is actually in psychology and would have a broader job market than a non-accredited degree.

  • Masters and PhD programs designed by student
  • Supervised research in parapsychology available
  • Course information available on request, costs depend on the program designed

University of West Georgia

The University of West Georgia offers both undergraduate and masters degrees in parapsychology. This area of study is under the Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology degree. The degrees would allow a broad career choice in the field of psychology.

  • Offers both undergraduate and masters degrees in humanistic and transpersonal psychology, which include parapsychology
  • Has a long history in this topic
  • Information and costs available on request
  • Two campuses in Carrollton, Georgia and Newnan, Georgia

Other U.S. Colleges

Other colleges in the US offering degrees or classes in parapsychology are:

The degrees offered at these institutions will include a broader field of career choices in the field of psychology rather than the limited field of parapsychology.

University of Edinburgh

This is the top school for degrees in parapsychology. The Koestler Parapsychology Unit is the research and education area for study of the paranormal.

  • BSc four-year psychology degree includes parapsychology
  • MSc in research with a focus on parapsychology is a one-year program
  • PhD in parapsychology is a three to six-year program
  • Tuition varies depending on where you normally live. Tuition fees will change yearly.

Online, the Koestler Parapsychology Unit of the University of Edinburgh has a three month course available. Although there is no formal qualification, participation on a regular basis results in a certificate. This course is taught by some of the biggest names in the field of parapsychology today. The cost is 250 pounds.

Goldsmith's College London

Goldsmith's has a parapsychology research unit. The undergraduate degree is in psychology. The degrees in psychology will allow for a broader career path than parapsychology alone.

  • One module in its BSc program on anomalistic studies
  • Postgraduate degrees in anomalistic psychology
  • Tuition varies depending on where you normally live and will change yearly.

University of Calgary, Calgary Alberta

The University of Calgary offers undergraduate degrees in parapsychology. Masters and Doctorates would be at the university's discretion.

  • Sensation and Perception Module examines the physiological and psychological bases of sensory perceptions
  • Part of BA or BSc degree four-year program
  • Tuition varies depending on where you normally live. Tuition fees will change yearly.

Degrees from traditional or accredited schools are mainly in the realm of psychology. They require the amount of work and commitment that any degree would require.

Non-Accredited Schools

Non-accredited schools are not recognized by a valid accreditation agency. Degrees are not recognized and are generally not transferrable. Accreditation agencies can be a peer-reviewed agency or government agency. The requirement is different for each country.

Duke University Rhine Education Center, Durham North Carolina

Duke University's Rhine Education Center is not an accredited academic organization. It does provide certificates for the program and requires experience in research for parapsychology. The certificate may be transferrable to an academic institution with permission from that institution. This certificate comes from a research center affiliated with an accredited university. The coursework would be much more rigorous and since it may be transferrable, it is definitely worthwhile. The academic standards of an accredited school would be required. There are a couple of options.

There's a lighter adult education class, which can be applied to an academic certificate program:

  • Eight-week certification course
  • Tuition is around $200
  • Explores a different scientific aspect of parapsychology each week

The center also offers academic classes in parapsychology, including one that allows you to earn an academic parapsychology certificate, which requires:

  • 14 classes from academic parapsychology list
  • Three electives from additional academic course listing

The other certificate program is the advanced academic parapsychology certificate, which entails:

  • 24 classes from the academic parapsychology course list and the additional academic course listing
  • Completion of a parapsychological research study

Both of these certificate programs include courses, such as Introduction to Parapsychology and Dreams and Altered States of Consciousness. The complete listing can be found at the Rhine website. Costs depend on courses taken.

University of Sedona/University of Metaphysics Sedona Arizona

University of Sedona logo
University of Sedona

The University of Sedona offers degrees in metaphysics. The degrees are religious in nature. Degrees here may allow you to become an ordained minister. Each state and country have their own requirements as to whether your degree would enable this career choice.

  • Degrees are religious in nature through the International Metaphysical Ministry (IMM)
  • The website admits up front there is no accreditation for the degrees earned there
  • Started in 1959
  • Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate degrees
  • Ministerial degrees
  • Doctoral program tuition is just under $4000
  • Has scholarship program available to decrease the tuition fees
  • A+ BBB rating
  • Program has a PhD in Metaphysical Parapsychology option

IMHS Metaphysics Institute Online

IMHS Metaphysics Institute
IMHS Metaphysics Institute

This school allows you to earn all three degrees in less time than a normal undergraduate degree. You may want to question the qualifications you would receive.

Beloved Community Seminary, Oregon

At this school, you can become an ordained minister. You may be able to transfer your certification to their affiliated university. The coursework required is similar to that of an accredited school.

  • You will become an ordained minister
  • The program takes 12 to 18 months
  • Ability to transfer to their affiliated university for Masters of Divinity through the University for Integrative Learning
  • Degrees are religious in nature
  • Not BBB accredited
  • Tuition $2,600 USD

Real World Experience of Similarities and Differences

Gina Dianne-Harding
Gina-Dianne Harding, MHP, M Div.

LTK reached out to Gina-Dianne Harding MHP (Masters of Public Health University of Washington), M.Div (Beloved Community Seminary). Gina-Dianne has degrees from both a traditional school and a non-traditional school. She was asked to give her impressions about the similarities and differences between a traditional school and a non-traditional school.

Primary Differences

Gina-Dianne, who plans to pursue a doctorate at an alternative university at some point, notes that the primary differences between the two types of schools include:

  • Traditional university is science and business administration focused, while the theological degree was less focused on science.
  • The traditional university published a thesis project, the theological institution did not.
  • The traditional university degree was instantly recognizable and credible, while the theological degree was not instantly recognizable and necessitated proving oneself in the field, and the credentials are regularly questioned.

Similarities

According to Gina-Dianne, some similarities existed between the two programs, including:

  • Both required submission of homework projects
  • Both were distance learning programs with a requirement to attend in person several times
  • Both required advisor approval of the thesis topic

Paranormal Careers

Although it is a niche market, some careers in paranormal research do exist. The schools mentioned earlier have occasional positions.

  • Rhine Research Center occasionally may have career opportunities.
  • The Koestler Parapsychology Unit of the University of Edinburgh may have occasional vacancies.
  • Goldsmith's College Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit may occasionally have openings for researchers.

In addition to these schools, there are other research facilities that occasionally have positions available.

  • The Institute of Noetic Science - The institute was started by astronaut Edgar Mitchell. They do scientific studies in paranormal phenomena and psi related topics. As with the research institutes affiliated with traditional schools, positions do come available occasionally.
  • Pear Labs (Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Lab) - This is a research unit of Princeton University. They study human consciousness and its interaction with sensitive physical devices. Occasionally, they may have openings for non-engineers.

The non-accredited schools allow you to earn a degree and sometimes have career info available.

Other Career Paths

The career paths available for the traditional schools are much broader than for the religious and metaphysical degrees. With a metaphysical or religious degree, the job opportunities sound better than they actually are. Some choices are:

  • Energy healer - someone who works with energy fields to help bring about healing
  • Psychic medium - a person who communicates with spirits of the deceased psychically and provides readings for people
  • Life coach - a person who uses metaphysics to help others along their life's path
  • Crystal worker - someone who works with crystals to help bring about healing
  • Ordained minister - a person who leads a church and provides counseling and other clerical services

All of these careers mean:

  • You would have to set up a business for yourself.
  • There are a limited number of locations where you can practice.
  • The competition in the healer, psychic medium, and life coach areas is fierce.
  • There is no need for any education in any of these areas, and you will compete with people that have no training.
  • There are some businesses established that have a client base, but it can take years to gain a reputation in any of these fields.

Crystal workers have less competition, for now, but the number of people calling themselves crystal workers that have nothing more than an interest in crystals is growing.

Ordained ministers must follow the rules of whatever area they are in. For example, in British Columbia, you must be affiliated with a church or start your own in order to perform weddings or funerals or other ceremonies.

Another option for a career would be as a paranormal investigator. Paranormal investigators have become fairly well known thanks to the reality show craze. You will need to go online to find paranormal investigation groups near you. These groups are mainly volunteer and rarely paid. They also require a lot of capital to buy equipment.

Which Way to Go

Ultimately, the choice is up to you. If you are passionate about parapsychology and the paranormal, you may want to put the time and money into a formal education. With this education, you can look into all career options. If you are studying metaphysics for interest, there are some interesting schools available. If you are hoping to have a career in metaphysics, there are very few paid jobs in the field.

Can You Earn a Degree in Paranormal Studies?