Sofia University (California)

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Sofia University
Former names
Institute of Transpersonal Psychology
Motto Transformative Transpersonal Education Since 1975
Type For-profit college
Established 1975
President Liz Li
Location Palo Alto, California, United States
37°25′51″N 122°06′33″W / 37.43075°N 122.10930°W / 37.43075; -122.10930
Accreditation WASC accredited since 1988

Sofia University, home of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (ITP), is a private university founded by Robert Frager and James Fadiman in 1975.[1] The university is located in Palo Alto, California, United States. As of July 1, 2014, the president is Liz Li.[2]

Institute of Transpersonal Psychology[edit]

During its formative period the institution was known as the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (ITP).[3] According to sources, 410 students were enrolled in the 2002 fall semester at the institute. This included students enrolled in the institute's online program. The institute offered programs in psychology and counseling with an emphasis on both traditional and non-traditional psychological and spiritual models of instruction.[1]

Change of name and academic profile[edit]

In 2012 the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology announced that it was changing its name to Sofia University, a change that included a new profile in the academic landscape with an expanded graduate program and a selection of undergraduate offerings.[4] The word sofia means "wisdom" in Greek.

The re-branding was followed by a period of turmoil that included budget-cuts and the resignation of the president, Neal King, as well as several trustees, in December 2013.[3][5]

Beginning July 2014, according to the about section on the website, the university changed leadership, expanded her degree offering to incorporate fields relevant to the Silicon Valley, such as computer science, business and transformative education and moved to a designation as Sofia University FPC with a non-profit research arm under the name Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. Sofia is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The school has broadened to include studies in computer science, including artificial intelligence, human computer interaction, big data and software design, thereby applying transpersonal principles into real-world disciplines.[6] As of 2015 the university was reaccredited for an additional seven years by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.[7]

Academic program[edit]

The university's academic emphasis is transpersonal psychology.[4][8][9][10][11]Note a The university is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges[10] and comprises four schools - Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, School of Technology and Engineering, School of Business, and School of Transformative Education.[12] The graduate school curricula includes six main areas of inquiry: the intellectual, emotional, spiritual, physical, social, and creative aspects of life.[2][3]


a.^ New York Times correction as of August 17, 2012, states that the original article (Otterman, 2012), in some editions, misidentified Sofia University/Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto (California) with the Institute for Transpersonal Studies in Santa Cruz (California).[13]


  1. ^ a b PR Newswire Staff. Men's Wearhouse Founder George Zimmer to Receive Honorary Doctorate From the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. PR Newswire [New York] 08 May 2003: 1.
  2. ^ a b PRWeb. Sofia University Grads Showcase Entrepreneurial Toolbox Project. Palo Alto, California (PRWEB) December 09, 2014
  3. ^ a b c Kenrick, Chris. Questions follow surprise resignation of Sofia University head. Palo Alto Online, uploaded Dec 18, 2013, 9:
  4. ^ a b Press release: "Institute of Transpersonal Psychology Becomes Sofia University. New Name Brings Broader Mission, Expanded Campus and New Programs". Palo Alto, CA (PRWEB), published online July 16, 2012.
  5. ^ Kenrick, Chris. "Sofia names new president amid student protest." Palo Alto Weekly, December 19, 2013.
  6. ^ Kadvany, Elena. With new president and programs, Sofia University enters new era. Palo Alto Online/Palo Alto Weekly. Uploaded: Sat, Apr 25, 2015
  7. ^
  8. ^ Otterman, Sharon. "Merging Spirituality and Clinical Psychology at Columbia". New York Times, published online August 9, 2012
  9. ^ PRWeb. "Sofia University to Offer Bachelor of Arts Degree Completion Programs". Palo Alto, Calif. (PRWEB) January 28, 2013
  10. ^ a b PRWeb. "Founder Bob Frager Returns to Sofia University". San Francisco Chronicle, published online July 15, 2014.
  11. ^ McCutchan. News and Notes. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 39 (2012) 465–470
  12. ^ "Sofia University  » One University – 4 Schools of Learning". Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  13. ^ New York Times staff. Corrections. New York Times, Published online August 17, 2012.

External links[edit]