About UPR

About UPR


All of UPR's degree programs are online. We are a public benefit, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, organized and operated exclusively for educational purposes.

Degree Programs

The University currently offers two graduate degree programs:

And a newly approved undergraduate program:


Learning Tradition

UPR grows from the tradition of great philosophers of history who perceived an intelligible world with progressive, dynamic and emergent properties of consciousness.  Our tradition is shaped by such seminal thinkers as Pythagoras, Plato, Socrates, Manly P. Hall, Sri Aurobindo, and Lao Tzu.

Towards this end UPR has developed its graduate programs, presented through distance learning curricula by a world-class faculty of gifted teachers, who draw freely upon the entire cultural, spiritual and scientific heritage of humanity with a view towards synthesis and integration.

Making a Life

The emphasis is not solely upon objective acquisition of information, as important as it is, but upon participation in the process of learning that leads to knowledge. It is in conscious participation that understanding and meaning emerge and are translated into wisdom. Many institutions of higher learning today are focused upon the acquisition of information which leads to skills development and hence to “making a living.” The University of Philosophical Research aims towards “making a life” and becoming more fully human and “making a world” or providing the inner tools for consciously shaping civilization’s future.

Background of the University

The University of Philosophical Research emerged from, and is a DBA of, the Philosophical Research Society, a nonprofit organization founded in 1934 by Manly Palmer Hall for the purpose of providing thoughtful persons rare access to the depth and breadth of the world’s wisdom literature.

Its mission was to provide education related to the study of human consciousness, and it did so for many years through the context of the disciplines of:

  • Philosophy
  • Religion
  • Psychology
  • Science

In 1998, President Dr. Obadiah Harris began formalizing the Society’s many educational offerings into an accredited formal University.  He began selecting a faculty and building an academic program with them suitable for graduate level studies in Consciousness Studies.

In July of 2000, the State of California approved the University of Philosophical Research to issue a Master of Arts Degree in Consciousness Studies.  Since that time the Philosophical Research Society has been doing business as The University of Philosophical Research.

In January 2003, the State of California approved the university’s second Master of Arts Degree Program, in Transformational Psychology.

Both programs have been offered in distance learning formats, which include recorded lecture, related reading and e-mail exchanges with course professors and teleconference discussion classrooms.

The University is now nationally accredited by the DEAC and is dedicated to creating the best possible distance learning experience so that it can serve a diverse global student body as it grows.