Classes on Parapsychology

Zener (aka ESP) Cards created by Karl Zener, professor at Duke University and colleague of J.B. Rhine
Zener (aka ESP) Cards created by Karl Zener, professor at Duke University and colleague of J.B. Rhine | Source

Have you ever wanted to take a class on parapsychology but either found no such thing at an accredited university or just found the ghost of a course, one that used to be offered but isn't anymore? It's true that college classes dedicated to parapsychology are hard to find but they are out there if you dig deep enough. When I was in high school and started thinking about college majors I looked into what sort of education there was in parapsychology. I came to understand that there wasn't a direct path to learning this rather controversial subject and that even singular classes on it were hard to come by. Through all my Googling and research elsewhere, I did discover schools that offer classes and which do research (unfortunately not simultaneously typically). I'm not going to say that this list is perfect; it's not. There are probably schools and programs that I haven't come across and so a few names may be absent. But I hope that what I do have makes you spend less time looking for classes on parapsychology than what I've spent and maybe even introduces you to a class in which you can enroll.

*This is a listing only of accredited institutes in the U.S.

At the Undergraduate Level


Franklin Pierce University (Rindge, New Hampshire) - This small private university has until 2010 not only offered multiple courses in parapsychology but also specialized study in the subject for psychology majors. I can only guess that the parapsychology courses fell victim to budget cuts but here's to hoping they will eventually make a comeback.

Website: http://www.franklinpierce.edu/academics/ugrad/programs_of_study/behsci/psychology/index.htm

The University of West Georgia (Carrollton, Georgia) - The University of West Georgia offers an introductory course in parapsychology. More information under the graduate level listing.

Website: http://www.westga.edu/psydept/

At the Graduate Level


Sofia University (formerly known as the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology) (Palo Alto, California) - Dr. Charles Tart, a parapsychologist who is known for his "layman" books on parapsychology, offers an introductory course at the university. Students at Sofia may pursue dissertation research that involves parapsychology. Sofia offers online and residential programs.

Website: http://www.sofia.edu

The University of West Georgia (Carrollton, Georgia) - Along with its undergraduate parapsychology class, UWG also offers a graduate level course. This university is also one of two public universities in the U.S. to offer a psychology program with a humanistic and transpersonal focus. Because of transpersonal psychology's interest in consciousness, UWG also offers a great deal of courses that cross over into topics studied in parapsychology such as altered states of consciousness.

Website: http://www.westga.edu/psydept/

Atlantic University (Virginia Beach, Virginia) - Atlantic University is unique in that it's founder was "the American prophet" Edgar Cayce. The university offers an introductory parapsychology class and is distance-learning. AU also hosts an annual "Parapsychology and Consciousness Conference."

Website: http://atlanticuniv.edu/

Saybrook University (San Francisco, California) - Saybrook University is a distance-learning graduate school that allows its psychology students to design their own program of study with an emphasis on parapsychology.

Website: http://www.saybrook.edu

University Research Labs


The University of Virginia (Charlottesville, Virginia) - UVA is home to the Division of Perceptual Studies (DOPS). Since its founding in 1967, DOPS has investigated and continues to investigate a wide variety of paranormal experiences but its primary focus is on near-death experiences, possible survival after death, and children who claim to remember previous lives.

Website: http://www.medicine.virginia.edu/clinical/departments/psychiatry/sections/cspp/dops/home-page

The University of Arizona (Tucson, Arizona) - The Laboratory for Advances in Consciousness and Health (LACH) at the University of Arizona researches eight specific consciousness research areas. These include the survival of consciousness after death, the evolution of consciousness, and the role of consciousness in health and healing.

Website: http://lach.web.arizona.edu

Honorable Mentions


The Rhine Research Center (Durham, North Carolina) - The Rhine Research Center is, in my opinion, a must-know for those pursuing parapsychological research. Its first incarnation as the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory was founded in 1935 by Dr. Joseph B. Rhine. Two years later Rhine founded the Journal of Parapsychology and in 1957, he initiated the formation of the Parapsychological Association. For 70 years now the center has delved into various aspects of consciousness and along with its research, has made education one if its primary goals. The Rhine Research Center hosts conferences, workshops, lectures, study groups and other events online and at the center itself.

Website: http://www.rhine.org

The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Lab (1979 - 2007)

The University of California Los Angeles, Parapsychology Lab (Early 70s -70s? No one seems to know for sure)

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Comments 4 comments

lone77star profile image

lone77star 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

A fascinating subject and an intriguing list. Thanks for doing all the legwork on this.

Parapsychology and similar subjects have been of intense interest to me for most of my 61 years. And I've made a few discoveries of my own along the way.

Equally interesting and yet somewhat awkward is the fact that this overlaps spirituality. Every paranormal event reaches beyond the laws of physical reality (the purview of science). There is nothing wrong with science studying such a field, except that science is using an imperfect tool -- skepticism. Why imperfect?

Skepticism works well for most fields of study, especially when one applies the more benign version which looks like humble restraint. But all too frequently, scientists slide into the "dark side" of skepticism where "unsupported dismissiveness" and "self-indulgent ridicule" reside. Science needs a new paradigm -- one without the bias of doubt, which is built into every form of skepticism.

Scientific method cautions against bias, but skepticism is built on a bias. Humble restraint would work so much better for all fields, but especially those fields where ego gets in the way with preconceived notions. And let's face it; scientists have egos.

But let's look at the problem from another angle -- from the spiritual.

Studies in the paranormal fail to the degree that the observer is skeptical, because we are all children of God. Now before anyone reading this gets whiplash from their eyes rolling back, think about this: if you're studying fire, you don't go spraying water all over the laboratory. But that's exactly what scientists do when they study the paranormal with skepticism. Doubt is the water that douses the fire of creation. And every paranormal act is one of creation.

When the CIA tried to get remote viewing to work several years ago, their scientists failed for this very same reason. Doubt is the thumb of the scientists unknowingly on the scales they are using to measure the phenomenon. And I met someone in the 70's who had remote viewing down solid. He could read books in that remote room. Still gives me goosebumps.

I've created a few "miracles." One was a real doozy -- broad daylight on one of the busiest streets in Los Angeles. Nearly 2000 cars and their drivers were involved and were witnesses and participants. One day, someone reading my hub on the subject may remember being there. If they can remember what kind of car I was driving that day, they receive a special prize.

I've long wondered what kind of course I would teach on the subject.


eapratte profile image

eapratte 5 years ago from Virginia Author

Thanks for the comment lone77star. I really like and appreciate: "if you're studying fire, you don't go spraying water all over the laboratory. But that's exactly what scientists do when they study the paranormal with skepticism. Doubt is the water that douses the fire of creation. And every paranormal act is one of creation."

I think that trying for a controlled environment can be the "water" too. Paranormal experiences, for most people, are not on demand and they really have no idea how or why they experienced what they did. Paranormal experiences by most people cannot be reproduced typically. Therefore there is no constant variable to rely on. How can we expect research to be viable this way?

Psychics who can use their gifts on demand are more consistent of course, but I think there is even a disconnect in this method too. I'm not sure where, but it has something to do with the opinion that psychic abilities are pretty innately related to emotional stimuli. You can only get so much emotional stimuli in a lab, and so I think it's blatantly obvious why most lab research on psi don't procure more evidence in favor of psi being real.


lone77star profile image

lone77star 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Good point about "controlled environment." That's the way a hospital feels and no wonder people would rather go home. Clinical, sterile, impersonal. Highly distracting.


THERESA 3 years ago

I ATTENDED CLASSES ON PARAPSYCHOLOGY IN THE 1970'S & LOVED THE INFORMATION & GUIDANCE I RECEIVED. AS A RESULT, I HAD THE ABILITY TO SEE AURAS, MOVE FLAMES FROM CANDLES, ONE WHICH HOVERED OVER MY HEAD WHICH IMPARTED A FEELING OF PEACE, TRANQUILITY & SERENITY. I AGREE ABOUT THE SCIENTISTS & THEIR BELIEFS THAT EVERYTHING MUST BE BLACK OR WHITE & HAVE A PHYSICAL CAUSE. NOT SO IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLD. HOWEVER, THIS ATTITUDE IS COMMON WITH ANYONE WHO HAS NOT A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH THE PARANORMAL. THEY'RE MISSING OUT ON SO MUCH AS FAR AS EXPANDING THEIR KNOWLEDGE BECAUSE THEY REFUSE TO BE RECEPTIVE & HAVE OPEN MINDS. I'M CONTENT & GRATEFUL FOR THE KNOWLEDGE I NOW HAVE SINCE I AM WILLING TO LISTEN & LEARN THAT THERE IS SO MUCH MORE THAN EXISTS IN THE PHYSICAL REALM. GOD BLESS ALL PERSONS WHO ARE NOT SO SKEPTICAL THAT THEY REFUSE TO ACKNOWLEDGE OR RESPECT ANOTHER'S EXPERIENCES & VIEWS.

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