The DIY PhD is a deeper and higher education where the Universe is our University.

In 2014, Sarita Dougherty and David Whitaker began creating their DIY PhDs and culminated in Spring 2020. Learn more about their journey and the 13-step program that got them to graduation at

What would your dream degree be in?

What is your dream vision for our planet?

Our School offers an 8-month guided course to support planetary change-makers in visioning, clarifying and activating their DIY PhD.

DIY PhD Cohort Members Gain:

  • Trust in themselves and the Universe

  • Clarity in their purpose, paths of learning, creating, and receiving

  • Connection to rhythms and knowledge held in their bodies and our Earth body

  • Structure for organizing and reaching their goals

  • Creative play

  • Supportive community

  • Tutorials in liberatory research methodologies

  • Activation of abundant ecological and liberatory economies

Read testimonies from past cohort members here!

Want to add twice monthly 1:1 coaching to your DIY PhD Program?

Sarita has limited space available to work with DIY PhD Cohort members in additional 90-minute individual sessions, meeting twice a month.

Folks who sign up for 1:1 Coaching are invited to participate in this Spring 2021 DIY PhD cohort at no extra charge.

We offer our DIY PhD Program on a sliding-scale based on participant's income level. Read more below.

For the first 4 months, the DIY PhD Spring 2021 cohort connects with Sarita Dougherty and the TAs (Transformational Alchemists) in a weekly Zoom class to release what no longer serves them, clarify their dream-life visions, and map out their ideal careers and projects. We honor time for rooting, rest and relaxation with a week-long Spring break and a two-month Summer break.

For the last four months, participants have biweekly self-guided mini-cohort meetings and biweekly guided class, beginning mid-July and ending mid-November. In the second half of this program, DIY PhD candidates hone in on the structure and methodologies that support a creative project, research assignment, income-generating work, and anything else they dream up.


Program Details:

Spring Semester Dates: January 23rd – May 14th

Class Meetings: Saturdays from 10 am – 12 noon PST via Zoom

Spring Break: Week of March 27th

Summer Break: May 15th – July 15th

Completion: Saturday, November 13th, 2021

By the end of the 8 month DIY PhD program, participants are in tune with their unique and fulfilling paths for planetary abundance & can continue creating their DIY PhD dream degrees in self-guided mini-cohorts for however long they would like. (Sarita’s DIY PhD was 6 years)


Do I need a previous degree or any prerequisites to begin my DIY PhD?

No previous institutional degrees are required!

Do I need to know what I will study, or what I will create as part of my DIY PhD?

You can come knowing exactly what you know at the time our program begins. We honor cycles of not-knowing as much as cycles of knowing. We support participants in mapping all of their passions, pursuits, and areas of potential study and learning what common threads emerge as especially resonant for their DIY PhD. These paths will also change and shift throughout the program.

Will this PhD degree be recognized by other institutions? Is it legit?

We are a self-accrediting degree program, and currently not guaranteed recognition by any governmental or formal institution. We are reclaiming our own agency and autonomy in deeper and higher educations! 

How much does the program cost?

We offer our tuition at a sliding scale based on income. Learn about our income-based Tuition Levels at We also have Black Lives Matter scholarships available for our Black community members interested in this program.

What does your curricula include?

Our curricula moves through monthly themes based on the movements and cycles in our planet and solar system: seed, rooting, water, fire, green, air, connection, cosmos. We tune into trusting the rhythm and pace of our dream lives with our bodies, seasons, cyclical unlearning, relearning and healing. In general, each class includes a check-in, a movement practice, incantation, meditation, and a guided mapping activity. The roots of our learning connect to ancestral lineages based in knowledge we hold in our bodies, ecosystem medicine, Ayurvedic teachings, Earth-based spirituality, critical pedagogy, liberatory frameworks like reparations, unsettling, decolonization and more.  

How many students are in the cohort?

Our Spring 2021 cohort will take 18 participants, and we will update the website once we reach capacity. We accept participants on an on-going basis, so please reach out or apply now if you are feeling a call to pursue your DIY PhD in a supportive environment!

Thank you for your interest!

Questions? Please write and allow up to 72 hours response time.