Master of Arts in Holistic Health Studies - MA

Program Description

The Master of Arts in Holistic Health Studies (MAHS) is an innovative graduate program that invites individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences to study the philosophy, science and art of the holistic model of health and healing.

The program views the philosophy and practice of holistic health in the context of the multiple lenses of culture, spirituality and an environmental/global perspective. It is rooted in respect for the cross-cultural wisdom of numerous healing traditions and seeks to embrace many cultural perspectives and meanings that shape and influence health. Within the program, there is a deep commitment to the development of a new model of integrative healthcare that brings together the best of scientific medicine with the wisdom of the elders.

Individuals enter this multidisciplinary program with a baccalaureate degree from a broad range of fields and professions in order to pursue a professional career path or to use their studies for personal growth and enrichment. Upon completion of the program, graduates are prepared to create unique work opportunities based on a holistic model and serve as ethical leaders in this rapidly expanding field.

Graduates develop their distinct voice and perspective as leaders and the capacity to move forward with creative applications of their graduate degree in a variety of settings. Increasing career opportunities exist in healthcare, social work, human services, exercise sciences, chemical dependency counseling, private practice, education, and business.

The MAHS curriculum is based on more than 30 years of educational experience in holistic health studies at St. Catherine. The curriculum is organized around holistic core courses and elective options including energy healing, herbology and meditation. Core course work helps students make the radical shift from thinking in parts to thinking in wholes — from viewing disease as a process to be "cured" to an understanding of illness as a complex interaction between human beings and their environment.

Throughout the curriculum, students learn holistic approaches to individual health, as well as develop the valuable skills of self-empowerment/self-care, ethical leadership and organizing for social change. Within the context of a community-based experience of social activism, the curriculum goes beyond looking at an individual response to health issues by examining social conditions that contribute to disease.

In the classroom, students experience holistic teaching/learning methods as the faculty use meditation, Tai Chi, relaxation, imagery, and creative art exercises as a regular part of the learning process. Other outstanding dimensions of the curriculum include community-based learning, extensive networking and an integrating practicum course in the final semester.

Graduate Outcomes

After completing coursework in the MAHS program, students will be able to:

  • integrate holistic health studies within their professional field
  • appreciate how personal transformation ultimately changes their professional work
  • develop as a reflective professional capable of supporting and upholding values, standards and ethics
  • integrate the most effective aspects of the holistic health and biomedical paradigms
  • develop research competence by valuing research, reviewing research literature and being prepared to participate in research studies as a team member
  • develop a set of skill-based healing strategies to be used with clients
  • apply critical-thinking skills to holistic health content
  • value the importance of culture, community and spirituality as it contributes to the wholeness and health of the individual
  • be a change agent and leader whose work promotes a healthier world and social justice
  • articulate the historical role of women as healers and realize their place in the healing community
  • develop their unique voice and perspective as a healing professional
  • connect with their sources of inspiration and move forward with creative application of holistic health studies
  • value the interconnection between human health, the environment and planet Earth

Degree Requirements

The Master of Arts in Holistic Health Studies (MAHS) is conferred upon candidates who have met the following requirements:

  • completion of required courses
  • attainment of minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • completion of 39 semester hours of graduate credit

Dual Degree Program: Master of Arts in Holistic Health Studies/Master of Social Work

The Master of Arts in Holistic Health Studies and Master of Social Work programs have developed a collaborative dual degree program in holistic health studies and social work. Expected outcomes and competencies for the MAHS/MSW Dual Degree program are consistent with the outcomes and competencies required for all students who complete the MAHS and the MSW programs. Dual degree students must meet the current requirements and be separately admitted into each of the two programs.

Once accepted, students will receive advising from the program directors of each program in a collaborative process to ensure proper sequencing of courses and management of appropriate course load. Upon completion of the MAHS/MSW Dual Degree, students will have two degrees.  

The dual degree program requires that students meet the disciplinary requirement for both the MAHS and MSW programs.

The dual degree credit requirements for each program are streamlined in a single program of study and listed below:

Advanced Standing: 63 credits total (MAHS: 28-29 credits and MSW: 34-35 credits)

Regular Standing: 78 credits total (MAHS: 28 credits and MSW: 50 credits)

See MSW/MAHS dual degree information in this catalog

Incomplete Grades

No more than six credits of "Incomplete" grades may be carried at one time. Students must finish all incomplete course work before moving forward in the program.

Years to Complete the Program

The program is designed for full- and part-time students. Students may complete the program in two-and-a-half years or work at their own pace to complete the program in up to seven years.

Special Classes and Transfer Credits

A total of nine relevant credits of transfer and special classes can be applied toward the MAHS degree with the approval of the program director. Credits can be transferred to the MAHS program from a regionally accredited academic institution.

Progression Policy

Students remain in good academic standing in the MAHS Program by:

  • earning a grade of B or higher in each graduate course
  • maintaining an overall 3.0 grade point average
  • successfully completing all required course requirements

Conditions for Probation

Students are placed on academic probation if:

  • a grade of B– or less or a U has been earned in a course or
  • the overall GPA is less than 3.0

Students are notified in writing by the program director that they have been placed on academic probation. Students may be required to take a reduced credit load during the probationary semester. This determination will be made by the program director in consultation with the student's advisor.

If students receive an unacceptable grade, they may repeat the course once. The original grade will remain on the transcript, but only the replacement grade will be calculated in the GPA. The program director maintains the right to deny registration to any student who is not progressing satisfactorily.

Removal from Probation

Students are removed from academic probation by:

  • earning a grade of B or better in two or more courses in the following semester
  • achieving a grade point of 3.0
  • completing all required course assignments. Students will be notified by letter from the program director that they have been removed from academic probation.

Students may be offered a second semester of extended probation if substantial progress is made towards improving grades but conditions have not been fully met. The program director approves extended probation in consultation with the faculty and faculty advisor.

Conditions for Program Dismissal

If conditions for removal from probation or extended probation have not been met, the student will be dismissed from the program. The program director will notify the student in writing. In addition to academic reasons, students may be dismissed from the program for:

  • violation of the Institution's policy on academic integrity
  • violation of the Institution's policy on student conduct

Readmission to the Program

Readmission to the program is based on appeal to and approval from the program director in consultation with the faculty. Students may be readmitted to the program on a provisional acceptance basis after one semester if they have a clear plan and have satisfactorily corrected all the terms of the dismissal. The decision to re-admit students to a full admission status will be made in collaboration between their advisor and the program director.

Program for St. Catherine Undergraduate Seniors Taking MAHS Courses

Qualified students enrolled at St. Catherine University have the opportunity to take up to 9 credits in the MAHS program while completing their undergraduate degree. These graduate credits count as electives toward the bachelor’s degree, or (with approval) as course replacements within the student’s major in the undergraduate program. Additionally, the credits apply toward the graduate degree if the student is admitted into the MAHS program after completing the bachelor’s degree.

Undergraduate students must meet the following conditions to be eligible for the program:

  • Current enrollment in a St. Catherine University bachelor’s degree program

  • Completion of at least 90 semester credits by the first day of the graduate class

  • Completion of at least 16 credits in residence in the St. Catherine University bachelor’s program

  • An institutional cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher

  • In need of elective credits (or approved course replacement within the major) to complete their bachelor’s degree requirements

  • Approval from the Academic Advising Office

Interested students must meet with Academic Advising to confirm eligibility and to obtain guidance in completing the following application requirements for MAHS consideration:

  • Personal statement indicating professional background and personal goals (one page)

  • Current résumé demonstrating two or more years of professional work experience

  • One recommendation completed by a St. Kate’s faculty member, attesting to the student’s readiness for graduate academic rigor

Students who are eligible for the Program will submit the above required documents to their academic advisor, who will forward the material (along with a copy of the student’s current St. Catherine University transcript) to the MAHS Program Director for review. Please note that eligibility for the program (based on the above criteria) does not guarantee approval to enroll in an MAHS course. If the Program Director approves the request for graduate-level enrollment, the director and student will discuss course options for the upcoming semester(s). The student then works with their academic advisor to register for the graduate course(s) during the upcoming registration period.

Both the Academic Advising Office and the MAHS program reserve the right to limit the number of undergraduate students in graduate courses. Students who receive approval for graduate enrollment will be registered for specific graduate courses on a first-come, first-served basis. Undergraduate students must complete all of the course work and meet the same academic expectations required of the graduate students in their MAHS classes.

Acceptance to the Program and enrollment in a graduate-level course does not guarantee admission into the full MAHS degree program (or other St. Catherine University graduate programs) if the student applies for graduate admission in the future.


Holistic Health Studies Curriculum

HHS 6700Foundations of Holistic Health and Wellness2
HHS 6720Complementary/Alternative Approaches to Healthcare2
HHS 6730Culture as a Resource in Health and Healing2
HHS 6740Spiritual Wellness2
HHS 6760Ecology and Health2
HHS 6820Movement, Relaxation and Health2
HHS 7500Core Concepts in Mind/Body Interactions2
HHS 7520Women and Holistic Health2
HHS 7620Organizing for Social Change2
HHS 7710Alternative Approaches to Nutrition2
HHS 8900Quantitative and Qualitative Research: Mindful Inquiry3
HHS 8920Practicum and Integrative Seminar2
HHS 8940Research Methods and Statistics3
HHS 8980Research Seminar2
Select nine credits from the following courses to create a plan of focused study:9
Mindfulness Based Meditation
Perspectives of Health and Healing in India
Energy Healing I
and Energy Healing II
HHS 6982
Independent Study (3–9 cr.)
Total Credits39