Diploma Program Description

What is the Diploma program?

At the Taos Institute, we support and mentor creative practitioners to form the future through relationships, collaboration, and ethical action. The International Diploma in Social Construction and Professional Practice exposes you to multiple disciplines, all focused on collaborative and relational approaches to generating meaning, value, and practices of significance. 

The online Diploma program is not a fixed curriculum, with required lectures, readings, and graded assignments. Rather, it is an innovative, informal and tailored process of growth for adults looking for an independent study option. The Diploma program lets you embark on a project of personal interest with professional guidance and support of a Taos advisor. 

Your advisor is hand-picked based on your proposed project. We will match you with one of the Taos Institute’s 650 Associates, all accomplished PhD scholar-practitioners located in more than 40 countries around the world. Together, you design a learning plan to meet your goals, with feedback and guidance tailored to your unique situation and project. During your journey, you deepen your knowledge through online classes, workshops, or conferences. You gain mastery of cutting edge ideas in social construction, relational practice, and other forms of collaborative/appreciative practices, and learn practical tools for sparking innovation and solving problems in new ways. You will also receive support and inspiration from a global, multi-disciplinary community of experienced and recognized conversation partners. 

A primary outcome of the two years of learning is a capstone project of your choosing: a book manuscript, a paper (or series of small papers), a video, a journal article, web-work, new course design, or other tangible project agreeable to you and your advisor. Particular program focus may include education, mental health, organizational development, healthcare, community and peace building, and others. The capstone project will show systematic reflection in your area of inquiry. The awarding of the Diploma will follow a successful discussion with the Diploma Committee of the Taos Institute.

This adult distance learning opportunity lets you take ownership for work that matters, exposing you to new ways of thinking while engaging in dialogue with a global community of like-minded individuals.

What are the benefits of participating in this program?

The International Diploma in Social Construction and Professional Practice is a unique learning opportunity where you…

  • Develop a deep relationship with an advisor in support of your project
  • Design your own learning goals
  • Work virtually with scholars and practitioners around the world
  • Join a cohort of learners that support each other
  • Let your idea mature at your own pace and create your own deadlines
  • Enjoy the learning process without worrying about grades
  • Benefit from a higher education experience without the bureaucracy
  • Work from the comfort of your home or office while being part of a global community

What credential will I earn?

The awarding of the Diploma is not a university degree but a professional credential. A Diploma in Social Construction and Professional Practice identifies you as an advanced practitioner in your profession or area of interest. The Diploma attests to your ability to integrate theory and practice relevant to your professional context. You will specify an area of study to be included on your Diploma. For example, a teacher could earn an International Diploma in Social Construction and Professional Practice in Appreciative Inquiry and Pedagogical Practice; a genetic counselor could receive an International Diploma in Social Construction and Professional Practice in Ethical Decision-making for Genetic Pathologies; a psychologist could receive a Diploma in Social Construction and Professional Practice in Relational Approaches to Therapeutic Change.

Is the Diploma program right for me?

The  International Diploma in Social Construction and Professional Practice is right for you if:

  • You are not looking for a university degree, but rather an opportunity to explore an area of interest and complete an engaging project
  • You have a vision of what you wish to create 
  • You are looking for a mentor, coach, and conversation partner to support, inspire, and challenge you to reach your goals
  • You are looking for a global community that shares your views, ideas, and values around collaboration, appreciation and relational capacity
  • You work well in a virtual learning environment with self-motivation and self-driven learning objectives  

What are the admission criteria?

There are no educational or professional prerequisites to apply for the Diploma program. Typically, students have a minimum of a bachelor degree. Applicants should have at least a rudimentary familiarity with the social constructionist tradition and its emphasis on dialogue, collaboration, relational process, inquiry, and action research. Numerous resources are available on the Taos Institute website (www.taosinstitute.net).

Most importantly, applicants will be evaluated on:

  • The fit of the proposed project with the Taos Institute’s ideas, values, and practices
  • The applicant’s ability to articulate a focus of study and capstone project that critically integrates social construction with their professional practices or personal interests, willingness and ability to engage in critical, scholarly engagement.
  • The applicant’s readiness for a graduate-level, writing and research-intensive, self-directed program of study

Are there opportunities to work in groups?

If you have a partner or a team of people from your organization, school, or community interested in working on a project together, let us know. We will consider group partnerships where each participant earns a Diploma and offer a customized tuition rate. 

What languages are available?

The Diploma program is available in 8 languages in addition to English! We will, whenever possible, pair students with advisors whose native language is the same. See the faculty page for available languages. If you don’t see your language of choice represented, let us know and we will do our best to accommodate your needs.

What is the length and schedule?

The Diploma program consists of four semesters of six months each. The learning engagement is for the duration of the year with no official breaks. However, students and advisors design a learning schedule that works for everyone based on their individual needs. 

Semester dates are as follows:

  • Spring semester: March 1 – August 31
  • Fall semester: – September 1 – February 28

What are the tuition and fees?

The program fee per six-month semester is US$3,000. There is an application fee of US$50. If you wish to participate in the Diploma program as a group, we offer a group tuition rate based on the number of students. Learners from low income areas of the world are encouraged to contact us to discuss discounted tuition and payment options.

There are no refunds on program fees that have been paid.

What is included in the program?

The tuition includes:

  • One-on-one discussions with the Taos Advisor via email, call, or video-conference on a regular basis negotiated with your advisor. Most students and advisors meet monthly. Students and advisors engage in a deep dialogue and reflection to promote learning and personal growth. The advisor provides guidance and comprehensive feedback on the student’s work. 
  • Reading materials and video lectures available on the Taos Institute website (www.taosinstitute.net/resources) and other sources made available at little or no cost from Taos Associates around the world.
  • Participation in Taos Institute online courses or workshops (1 per semester or 4 total while in the program)
  • After the 4 workshops mentioned above, there may be reduced fees available for participation in additional Taos conferences, online webinars, or online courses.
  • Access to the global Taos Institute Online Learning Community.
  • Access to the Relational Research Network.

Are there scholarships, grants or financial aid available?

There are no scholarships, grants, or financial aid available. However, we encourage you to contact us if the tuition rate presents a financial hardship that would prevent you from applying to the program. 

What material is required with my application?

The application form requires an up-to-date CV or resume, including a summary of your professional experience, a description of your proposed Diploma project (1 page min), and a statement on how the project fits within the ideas, practices, and values shared within the Taos Institute through a social constructionist theory (1-2 paragraphs). In addition, we require contact information for two references, as well as two letters of recommendation. Transcripts of previous academic achievements are not required. 

When is the application deadline?

  • For the Spring semester (March 1 – August 31), complete applications must be submitted by February 1. 
  • For the Fall semester (September 1 – February 28), complete applications must be submitted by August 1.

How do I apply?

Click here to start your application. 

Can I speak with someone to learn more?

We would welcome a conversation with you to determine if the Diploma program is a good fit for your personal and professional aspirations. Please contact Dr. Duane Bidwell at diploma@taosinstitute.net

For information about the application process, please write to: info@taosinstitute.net.