The term Parapsychology dates back to the late 19th century and originates from the words para (meaning alongside) Psychology. Parapsychology is the study of a paranormal phenomena including (but not exclusively) telepathy, clairvoyance, near-death experience, apparition experience and reincarnation.
The official body of Parapsychology is the Parapsychological Association based in Columbus , OH. As with many of the experimental sciences the study of Parapsychology is not without its critics and the study of Parapsychology as a science has been vigorously disputed. Paraspychology is considered marginal by mainstream psychology and as such it is not easy to find opportunities within academic and professional psychology. Proponents of Parapsychology see it as a "frontier science of the mind". Scientific Parapsychology is a very small field with only a handful of academic institutions offering courses and very few people in the world working in it.
This article looks at the Parapsychology qualification and which Universities are offering degrees in the study.
Generally speaking to become a professional parapsychologist one would first need to have an undergraduate qualification in psychology. This is because due to the highly specialised and limited support for the field parapsychology positions are normally persued within an academic department at a University.
At this time there are no Universities offering undergraduate degree's in Parapsychology however there are several Universities throughout the world that offer courses and specialisation in the field. The following Universities offer some courses in Parapsychology.
University of Edinburgh: The Koestler Parapsychology Unit, which is part of the Psychology Department at the University of Edinburgh also grants a PhD in psychology specializing in parapsychology. For more information please refer to the Koestler Unit's website.
University of Bristol: At the University of Bristol UK there is the scope to study anomalous experience and parapsychology in third year modules on The Psychology of Consciousness and The Psychology of Religion. Additionally there is provision to specialize in parapsychology or anomalous experiences as a topic of research in the final
year dissertation module.
University of Northampton: The University of Northampton UK, Psychology Division, offers fully undergraduate degrees in psychology with an emphasis in the parapsychological including an Honours module.
San Francisco: Saybrook Graduate School allows students to design their own degree in psychology as part of the nonâresidential, accredited Masters and PhD programs.
Georgia: It is now possible to study parapsychology at the University of West Georgia alongside a number of other topics related to humanistic and transpersonal psychology. Courses exploring parapsychology are offered at the undergraduate and graduate (masters
levels). Please see the Universities website for more details.
Virginia: Online and distance accredited Masters Degree in Transpersonal Studies are offered at Atlantic University. These includes several courses relevant to parapsychology.
For more information on which Universities offer courses in Parapsychology refer to the Parapsychological Association Website. The website has current information on Universities and Institutions worldwide which provide educational opportunities in Parapsychology.