Viridis Graduate Institute

Ecopsychology and Environmental Humanities

VGI programs create a new narrative

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VGI programs connect you to self, others and the natural world

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VGI programs develop depth psychological insights

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VGI programs cultivate critical thinking and imagination

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VGI programs raise ecological awareness

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VGI brings together the most applicable ideas and foundations from Ecology, Biology, Archetypal Psychology, and Mythology to further develop our graduate student’s existing skills, knowledge, and psychological capacities necessary to navigate a changing ecological world.

VGI’s Ecopsychology and Environmental Humanities programs develop adaptive, creative thinkers who can approach situations with flexibility and tolerance for ambiguity. Students become competent leaders, innovators, communicators, and global citizens.

We educate students who want to shape their lives, their professions and their societies.

KGNU Interview with Dr. Lori Pye, President VGI


Arts & Humanities

The arts and humanities have a long rich history in helping to resolve complex problems in our world.

At VGI, we place Archetypal psychology within the humanities. Archetypal psychology examines the myths or narratives operating in the background of every human behavior and practice as the basis for our psychological explorations. This inquiry and examination defines the process of becoming conscious.

Studying arts and humanities teaches you to approach situations from multiple perspectives, widening your world view, deepening your understanding of who you are. This allows you to develop a sense of personal ethics, social conscience, psychological flexibility, and the capacity to hold various tensions.

The arts and humanities apply the best of human creativity, reason, and expression to understanding complicated issues, practices and policies. Arts and humanities have always held insight into the intricacies of human relationships. They promote deep appreciation for diversity in ideas, cultures, and the natural world; and they develop an aesthetic value for all of life.

Topics of focus: Archetypal psychology, depth and Jungian psychology, mythology, music, art & image

Natural Sciences

The natural sciences provides the foundations for understanding the natural world and for using that knowledge to solve practical problems.

Ecology is the scientific study of interactions of organisms with one another and with the physical and chemical environment. Ecology is a core subject in VGI programs, as it addresses the full scale of life, from microscopic bacteria to large scale processes that span the entire planet.

Ecology, from the Greek oikos – meaning home or dwelling; logos meaning the study of. Ecology then is the study of home. The roots of ecology as a broader discipline can be traced to the Greeks in the development of natural history and science. An understanding of ecological principles is essential for the survival of the human species.

Human Ecology

Ecology as a human science has many important applications in understanding human social interaction. Human ecology aims to understand how systems of production, distribution, and consumption might be redesigned.

Human ecology, an aspect of the social sciences as well, is an interdisciplinary study of the relationship between humans and their natural, social, and built environments.

The natural sciences have provided research and ideas for developing new technologies, which have improved the lives of millions of people around the world. The natural world has sparked the imagination for many of our technological innovations. Effective decision making requires a comprehensive understanding of the natural sciences.

Topic of focus: ecology, biology, geography, human ecology

Social Sciences

Social science is a branch of science concerned with relationships – the relationships between individuals within a culture or society, and the way biology and the environment interact shaping much of who we are. Methods of science are applied to understand why we think and act the way that we do as an individual, in groups and in larger societies.

Social sciences include: economics, political science, human geography, demography and sociology. It is also related to the Humanities in its inclusion of anthropology, archaeology, history, law and linguistics.

Social science research has informed public policies on a variety of issues: developing economic policies, business practices, social policies (crime reduction, working with addiction problems, addressing poverty and violence), influencing regulations to conserve resources, providing behavioral data for the design of political campaigns.

Social science offers ways to enrich communities and societies.

Topics of focus: economics, human geography, anthropology, history, archeology



Online Learning Experience

All classes are taught as small discussion-based seminars, using a WebEx technology platform. Professors conduct each session via live audio and video, where you and your fellow students are active participants in the discourse. Each seminar engages you in the lively exchange of ideas at the center of active learning.

Advanced interactive features let you move flexibly from group discussion into other instruction modes. Every class is both intellectually stimulating and academically rigorous. Our intimate online atmosphere allow professors to provide frequent, detailed feedback.

In addition to online classes, VGI’s eLearning course management system, OCEANS assist you in directing your graduate studies. OCEANS provides tools to augment your studies outside of class: audio and video lectures, course syllabus, readings, assignments, the VGI Watering Hole – a gathering place for discussion with other students, and VGI’s eLibrary, where you’ll find a diverse assortment of information for your research.

We have found that our online classes enhance your intellectual growth by providing tools and enabling experiences not possible in a traditional academic setting.


  • Openness to inquiry, experiential learning, and diversity in learning.
  • Depth of materials that cultivate psychological reflection, critical analysis, creative thinking, imagination, and connection to daily life.
  • Balanced scope and accuracy in presenting issues, challenges, and global problems.
  • A curriculum that emphasizes development and application of thinking and feeling, skill and ethics in order to promote personal, ecological and social responsibility, problem solving and self-efficacy.

Ecopsychology and Environmental Humanities examines diverse fields of knowledge:

  • Natural science, natural history, earth science, social science, research in neuroscience
  • Depth and archetypal psychologies
  • Mythology / cross-cultural studies
  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Indigenous Traditions
  • The arts: literature, music, visual arts
  • Industrial ecology
  • Human health, disease and environment
  • Economics/business/statistics (green practices)

Program Goals

Our Unique Approach

The astonishing story of how whales keep the oceans alive – and alter the composition of the atmosphere.

Written and narrated by George Monbiot. Produced and directed by SustainableHuman.

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is the United Nations platform on economic and social issues.  

ECOSOC has granted to Viridis Graduate Institute special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council since 2015.

ECOSOC is one of the 6 principal organs of the United Nations System established by the UN Charter in 1945. It consists of 54 Members of the United Nations elected by the General Assembly.  It is responsible for:

  • promoting higher standards of living, full employment, and economic and social progress;
  • identifying solutions to international economic, social and health problems;
  • facilitating international cultural and educational cooperation; and
  • encouraging universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Functional commissions of ECOSOC include:  Commission for Social Development,  Commission on the Status of Women, Commission for Population and Development, Commission on Sustainable Development,  UN Forum on Forests, and the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues


Viridis, Latin for “green, to sprout” or the notion of “green life,” promises to be one of the most important and visionary movements in this day of profound change. If you are a conscious, awake and participatory citizen today, you must be engaged in the preservation of our planet and its beautiful natural world. Viridis Graduate Institute stands out as an educational organization that appreciates both the ecological and the psychological dimensions involved in this effort. –Thomas Moore, Author, Care of the Soul



Viridis Graduate Institute’s ecopsychology program participates in the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) under the auspices of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote awareness and activities pertaining to education for sustainability.


Earth Charter

VGI endorses the Earth Charter. We embrace the spirit and aims of the document. We pledge to join the global partnership for a just, sustainable, and peaceful world and to work for the realization of the values and principles of the Earth Charter.