Jun 15, 2024  
Academic Catalog 2022-2023 
Academic Catalog 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

About Fielding Graduate University

Katrina S. Rogers, PhD
Wendi S. Williams, PhD
Provost and Senior Vice President

California Office (Main) Washington DC Office
2020 De la Vina Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93105-3814 4200 Connecticut Ave. NW BLDG 44, STE 200A, Washington, DC 20008
1-805-898-4026 1-800-340-1099
Hours of Operation: 9am-5pm Pacific time Hours of Operation: 9am-5pm Eastern time



University Profile Institutional and Program Accreditation
History Continuing Education Approvals
Vision, Mission and Values Program Review
Learning Model Non-Discrimination Policy

University Profile

Fielding Graduate University was incorporated on March 11, 1974 as The Fielding Institute in Santa Barbara, California. It is a non-profit, private, graduate university, governed by a Board of Trustees.

Fielding was founded to serve adult students who need a nontraditional approach to graduate-level education. Today, with an enrollment of approximately 1,000 students, Fielding Graduate University offers master’s, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs through its two schools of Leadership Studies and Psychology. Fielding’s distributed learning model emulates the Oxford independent student/tutorial approach in which students attend didactic classes online. Some programs offer in-person experiences in various locations in the U.S. The programs that have an in-person component hold those sessions in contracted/rental spaces such as hotels and conference centers.

Fielding maintains an additional location in Washington D.C. that houses the Center for the Advancement of STEM Leadership which is funded through a National Science Foundation grant. There is no instruction, student services or recruiting from the D.C. location. Students do not typically visit either of the Fielding locations because all student services are online. 

The Fielding Graduate University Board of Trustees has approved each degree/credential program offered by the University.

Fielding Graduate University is a private institution approved to operate by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education. Approval to operate means the institution is compliant with the minimum standards contained in the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (as amended) and the California Code of Regulations. The California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) can be contacted at 2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, Suite 400 Sacramento CA 95833, or P.O. Box 980818, West Sacramento, CA 95798-0818, www.bppe.ca.gov, 1.916.574.8200, and toll-free phone: 1.888.370.7589 or by fax 916.263.1897.


Fielding Graduate University is the realization of the combined vision of several founders and early faculty members: Frederic Hudson, Hallock Hoffman, Renata Tesch, Marie Fielder, and Malcolm Knowles-distinguished leaders and thinkers in higher education. The founders envisioned a nationally recognized graduate school that would serve mid-career professionals desirous of an advanced degree, but whose educational and professional goals could not be met by traditional institutions of higher education. Their success was predicated on two basic, but rather advanced, notions.

First, the founders speculated that students seeking advanced degrees at Fielding would often be mid-career adults who wanted to enhance their already well-established academic and professional skills. They envisioned these students would be committed to career development and advancement, and, by the nature of their quest for doctoral education at midlife, interested in being part of a lifelong learning community dedicated to social change. Second, the founders recognized that this atypical student body would bring experiences to graduate study that were significantly different from those of young adults. Traditional methods of education were thought to be inappropriate for such learners. To accommodate and advance the learning needs of this audience, Fielding developed a rigorous, supportive learning model that continues to this day as flexible, learner-centered, self-directed, globally-oriented, and competence-based. How we implement those principles has evolved over the years, and varies among programs, but we remain committed to them. Fielding’s faculty is comprised of scholars and practitioners in the social science disciplines who are passionately dedicated to the success of their students.


Educating leaders, scholars, and practitioners for a more just and sustainable world.


We provide exemplary interdisciplinary programs for a community of scholar-practitioners within a distributed learning model grounded in student-driven inquiry and leading to enhanced knowledge. We provide exemplary interdisciplinary programs within a distributed and relational learning model grounded in student-driven inquiry and leading to enhanced knowledge. 


Academic Excellence: We commit to the highest quality scholarship, research, and practice.

Community: We support a collaborative learning environment built on inclusion and mutual respect.

Diversity: We commit to having a faculty, staff and student body that is diverse and inclusive. We embrace and celebrate the wisdom, knowledge and experiences of our diverse community.

Learner-centered Education: We create an interactive experience that responds to the interrelated personal and professional lives of our students.

Social Justice: We commit to advancing equality and justice in our University, and ­­­­in the local, national, and global communities impacted by our work.

Transformational Learning: We inspire a re-examination of one’s world view and underlying assumptions to enable a deeper understanding of self and society.

Learning Model

The Fielding learning model differentiates us from most other universities, enabling us to provide for a diverse student body in specialized fields within the social sciences. Our doctoral programs enroll over 80% of our students. These programs support students through:

  • face-to-face regional, research, and national sessions
  • independent study
  • online seminars, and
  • virtual meetings between student peers, faculty, and alumni.

The book “A Passion for Adult Learning: How the Fielding model is transforming doctoral education,” highlights five progressive principles:

  1. Learner-centered, competency-based education
  2. Mentors, not teachers
  3. A program for mid-life adults
  4. Low-residency graduate education
  5. Multi-disciplinary learning

Institutional and Program Accreditation

Fielding Graduate University is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WSCUC), an institutional accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Contact information for WSCUC is as follows: WASC Senior College and University Commission, 985 Atlantic Avenue, Ste. 100, Alameda, CA 94501. Phone: 510.748.9001. Fax: 510.748.9797. Email: wascsr@wascsenior.org.

Fielding’s School of Psychology offers the only American Psychological Association accredited clinical psychology doctoral program utilizing a distributed delivery model. Contact information for APA is as follows: APA Commission on Accreditation, 750 First St. NE, Washington, DC 20002. Phone: 202.336.5979. Website: https://www.accreditation.apa.org/ 

The Evidence Based Coaching certificate program is approved as an Accredited Coach Training Program by the International Coach Federation (ICF). For more information see: https://coachingfederation.org/coach-training/actp-accreditation or contact: International Coaching Federation, 2365 Harrodsburg Rd, Suite A325, Lexington, KY 40504. Phone: 888.423.3131 (toll-free); +1.859.219.3580

Continuing Education Approvals 

Fielding Graduate University is approved by the following to offer continuing education:

  • The American Psychological Association (CE for psychologists)

Program Review

At least every five to seven years, each academic degree program of Fielding will engage in a formal program review. The Provost’s Office is responsible for maintaining the schedule for such reviews. When possible, program reviews will be synchronized with specialized accreditation reviews. At the Provost’s discretion, a specialized accreditation review may be substituted for the internal process.

In keeping with the recommendations of the Council of Graduate Schools and the standards of the Western Association of Schools & Colleges, program reviews at Fielding will include:

  1. A self-study in which the program analyzes its curriculum, modes of delivery, faculty resources, student retention and time to completion, and learning outcomes, and where it reviews assessment studies conducted since the last review.
  2. Feedback from both internal stakeholders and external reviewers evaluating these outcomes and their assessment and providing suggestions for improvement.
  3. Plans for connecting the program review outcomes to planning and budgeting processes and actions.

It is expected that each program will negotiate the specific focus(i) of a particular program review with the Provost before beginning the formal process.

Non-Discrimination Statement

Fielding Graduate University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender, gender expression, gender identity, gender transition status, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, medical condition (cancer-related or genetic characteristics), genetic information (including family medical history), ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, or service in the uniformed services, including protected veterans, or any other characteristic protected by law, in the administration of its educational programs, activities, or program policies.

In addition, the university prohibits harassment based on the above protected characteristics of a student, applicant, alumnus, or person participating in any educational program.

The university complies with federal and state equal opportunity laws and regulations, and through its policies declares harassment to be inconsistent with the university’s mission and educational goals.

Policy Revised 10/10/2019