Frequently Asked Questions: Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology, Ecopsychology Specialization
Frequently Asked Questions
We asked our faculty to respond to some of the questions that prospective students are asking us. You will hear the faculty's different voices in the responses below. We understand these responses as starting points only, and look forward to the answers you will forge through your studies.
Do I need to move to Santa Barbara to attend this program?
Most of our students do not live in Santa Barbara. They travel from a wide variety of states and countries to attend nine 3-day sessions (October-July) each year. Pacifica has this unusual design to allow people to carry on their work , community, and family commitments in their home locations.
Pacifica is approved by the U.S. Department of Education for participation in the Direct Stafford and Graduate Plus Loan Programs. Qualified students for the Stafford Loan may borrow up to $20,500 per year and in the Grad-Plus Loan up to the Cost of Attendance minus other financial aid. Repayment on both loans may be deferred while enrolled at least half-time (3 units). Both the Stafford Loan and the Plus Loan programs offer a six-month post-enrollment grace period before repayment begins.
Available Scholarships for Studying Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology, and Ecopsychology:
Pacifica Scholarship: To make education at Pacifica more accessible to students who show high financial need and academic merit, a number of Pacifica scholarships are offered each year. Scholarship applications are available by request and on the website beginning March 1st. All new students must be accepted to a program of study, complete the 2012-2013 FAFSA form and submit the scholarship application/essay by August 1st to qualify. International students do not need to complete the FAFSA form, instead, complete the International Student Addendum included with the scholarship application by August 1st.
Applications are accepted through the year as long as funds remain.
All students who wish to apply for the federal Direct Loan Programs are required by the Department of Education to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form each year of enrollment. The FAFSA form is available on the web at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Students need to include Pacifica's school code (G31268) to ensure the results are forwarded to the school.
The M.A./Ph.D. program is a doctoral program which awards the M.A. after the successful completion of 50 quarter units, 60 hours of depth transformative practice, and a comprehensive written exam. All courses are doctoral level. A student may choose not to continue with a third year of study and be eligible to receive the M.A. degree. Students are eligible to apply for transfer credit before they begin the program (see below).
Students with a variety of educational backgrounds are accepted to the program. Previous background or readings in the fields of anthropology, psychology, cultural studies, environmental science and design, political science, sociology, and literature provide particularly appropriate preparation for our interdisciplinary program. Our new students over the years work in a wide variety of endeavors: community organizers, nonprofit agency professionals, healthcare professionals, educators, environmental educators, artist, youth workers, cultural workers, architects, animal rights activism, land conservationists, justice system reformers, and many others.
Work in nonprofits, foundations, community groups, environmental initiatives; formal and informal education (high schools, community colleges, liberal arts colleges, universities, retreat centers, prisons, alternative learning centers, youth programs, medical and nursing education, workshop leaders, adult education, organizational training); writing and publication; diversity training; prison reform and restorative justice initiatives; arts-based community building; trauma healing; advocacy and grassroots coalitions; social justice; documentary filmmaking; organizational development, evaluation, and consulting; peacebuilding and community dialogue; health services (including hospice); spiritual direction; NGO's (nongovernmental organizations); planning, visioning, and evaluation; urban planning; land preservation; peak oil planning and sustainability issues; local food initiatives, community gardens, permaculture; intentional communities; philanthropy; microlending and economic alternatives. We welcome other areas that would be served by studying depth psychology with an emphasis in community psychology, liberation psychology, and ecopsychology!
An applicant's acceptance to the program may not be deferred. An acceptance to Pacifica is applicable for one year only.
Students attend classes for three years. Each year classes are held for nine 3-day sessions (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday) on campus, and community and ecological fieldwork is conducted in a location that makes sense for an individual student's area of interest. Classes are held mornings, afternoons, and some evenings. As indicated above, the M.A. is awarded after two full year's of coursework, while the Ph.D. is granted after three years of coursework and the successful defense of a dissertation. Dissertation work is ordinarily accomplished in the 4th and 5th years and does not require on campus presence, except for the oral defense.
Most courses are a combination of lecture, discussion formats, and experiential activities. Some include a partial seminar format in which students make short presentations on topics they are researching for the course. Students can expect to encounter a variety of pedagogical styles during the course of their enrollment in the program.
Class assignments consist of readings, papers, and/or projects. As a general rule, for every hour in class there is approximately three hours of work outside of class. However, the amount of time a given student invests in his or her course work can vary a good deal and depends upon a variety of factors such as learning style and study habits. Students are advised to select topics for term papers early in the course. Doing so helps students be more focused and organized in their reading. Most course papers can be specialized to help students develop knowledge in an area of the course that is related to their particular set of interests.
The faculty hold office hours during every campus session. These hours are announced on posted sign-up sheets for appointments are posted. In addition, instructors can be contacted by email if you would like to set up an additional appointment.
A maximum of eight (8) units of external transfer credit can be accepted. Enrolled students who wish to have previous course work evaluated may petition the program chair to have relevant (graduate level) course work reviewed following acceptance to the program through the Admissions Office. A syllabus is required for the course completed at another institution. There needs to be approximately 75% overlap with the Pacifica course for transfer credit to be granted. Some students who graduate from institutions with an articulation agreement with Pacifica may have a higher number of units transferred.
The Student Handbook states that a student may miss five class meetings per year and no more than one-third of any given course. Beyond this amount, the student must petition the Education Council for an exemption to this policy.
Classes begin at 9:00 am on Monday and continue until 4:00 pm on Wednesday, once a month (9 months a year).
Classes are over at 4:00 pm on Wednesday. Given the importance of class time, instructors expect students to be in attendance for the duration of each class.
Students who attend Pacifica and who do not reside in Santa Barbara or Ventura County are provided with room and board during their educational sessions. We feel that this arrangement provides the best context for building community and encouraging dialogue among students and faculty.
Primary accommodations for students enrolled at the Ladera Lane campus are provided by Pacifica in the Residence Hall. The Residence Hall is a dormitory style building providing single occupancy. In addition, students can drive directly to the Ladera campus, as student parking is provided.
Any requests for cancellation should be submitted in writing to the Housing and Guest Services Coordinator at least five (5) days prior to arrival.
Yes, early arrivals and late stay reservations can be arranged through the Housing and Guest Services Coordinator for one extra night before and one extra night after your session. Additional nights may be made if communicated in a timely manner.
Students with special dietary needs submit a request form outlining their needs. If the request is approved, the student speaks with the Housing and Guest Services Coordinator prior to the beginning of the year to discuss how their needs might best be accommodated. Pacifica honors vegetarian, vegan, and medically restricted diets.
It is unnecessary to have a car. Students arriving at Los Angeles International Airport can utilize the Santa Barbara AirBus Service. Santa Barbara AirBus makes a station stop at the IHOP restaurant in Carpinteria. Students may ask the driver to drop them off at the Best Western, but this is not always possible. One would have to taxi from the IHOP to the Best Western. From the Best Western, Pacifica provides transportation directly to either campus, as noted above. Students arriving at the Santa Barbara Airport can utilize a taxi service, which will deliver students directly from the Santa Barbara Airport to either campus.