Astrology Degree Program Experiences
This thread is for anyone who is in, has completed, or is interested in pursuing a degree program in Astrology, and wants to share their experiences, information about their program, and converse with others who are on, or interested in, similar paths.
I started this thread because @alex-zolotov, a student at Kepler College, asked me to elaborate on my experience in the IAA in the “Introduce Yourself” thread in the General Astrology forum. I felt that the topic definitely deserved its own thread, and I am trying to revive these forums after just recently joining and finding tumbleweeds here. Here with the weedwacker! Anyway… I hope Alex doesn’t mind me re-posting his public prompt to me from the other thread:
“I would be very interested in knowing more about your experience with the International Academy of Astrology. I am half-way through the Kepler College for Astrological Education. I love the structure the professional education provides as well as the assistance of the skilled astrologers/teachers who can provide some valuable feedback.
I am curious about the curriculum, the classes needed to obtain their certification/diploma and how difficult/easy it is for you to take the classes.”
Well, first off, I absolutely love my school in so many ways, beginning with very similar reasons like Alex’s about Kepler: the well-developed structure, rooted in tried and true methods, the professionalism of the instructors, the valuable feedback and support that mimics (and IMO far surpasses) the way that “real college and grad school work.” The culture of the school is amazing as well. The classes are VERY small (I just finished my 3rd class and I am pretty sure there have been no more than 3 students per class, and definitely no more than 4, and in some of the classes there have been 2 instructors, and sometimes 1 instructor and a shadow instructor as well). This helps the students to feel really comfortable with each other. The teachers always encourage us to stay on track and not skip semesters, not only for our educational purposes, but for keeping in our group. I have noticed that a number of classes are not even offered any given semester. This leads me to believe that some of the higher level courses are only “as needed” if students are at that level to sign up, and has also led me to assume that if only one student needs that course, then it becomes a 1-on-1 class, but I haven’t had the opportunity to test that, and haven’t asked. Seems likely, though. I also have a feeling that the courses get more rigorous in the second half, the “Diploma Module,” than the first half, the “Natal Module.”
I will say that the smallness of the school does cause a lack of “student center” simulation. There are no forums, or chat rooms, or online gathering places… there just aren’t enough people to facilitate that. I remember last semester I found a document advertising a weekly “student chat,” but when I emailed the secretary, she told me that they stopped doing it because no one showed up. So, there are no social extracurriculars. But, I’m OK with that, because it allows me to be able to pursue that elsewhere, like here, and in the other forums I participate in. So, I get the structure of the school, and can customize my outside influence, so I can have one foot in both worlds and not get too caught up in an isolation.
The organization is a non-profit, which I just learned recently. Also, the personal, friendly, and case-by-case attention from the board is something I did not expect but have been so impressed with and extremely grateful for. I have been going through some pretty brutal transits (Uranus on my MC and Moon opposite my Pluto, and Pluto square my horizon line) during this first year of my schooling, and have had some “hiccups” in my status and my ability to complete things on time, and they have been so accommodating, always supportive and encouraging, never causing me to feel like a bad student or a bad person, and never shaming me in any way, or doubting my intentions or abilities. Honestly their support and huge heart has made me cry at least once, and helps me to want to succeed and work even harder.
In terms of the curriculum, as I mentioned, I have only completed 3 of the 15 classes, but I have been enrolled for a year. The program is meant to be finished in 3 years if taken non-stop.
The lineage of the program is from Lilly, but we aren’t “doused” with Lilly. We have learnt some things, such as that he ascribes Mars to both day and night triplicity in water signs, but actually, in class, we haven’t even used the Lillyian subscriptions as a default. Perhaps the specifics of the lineage will come through as the program continues. In fact, I have found in these beginning courses that we are given the basics of the traditional information, and drilled with memorizing important things like the triplicities and other dignities, but we are not required to read the original texts. If we were, the entire program would have to be restructured and either be doubled or tripled in length (which is ridiculous), or they’d have to create a whole new program only on in-depth classical study. It appears it is up to each individual student to source and study the classical texts on their own if they wish to do so. However, I haven’t yet, and it is not necessary either to succeed in the courses, or to learn the material – only if you want “hyper-geek” status 😉
So, what do we read?
We are given condensed materials that have extracted and re-told the core knowledge that we need to know. The course materials are written VERY well. I was in an MA program for English, Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition back in the day and I am very impressed at what I have invested in. The writing is technical and yet simple to read when necessary, and creative and inspiring when necessary. We also get video lectures for some of the classes, and supplementary articles. The amount of required texts besides the materials written by the school are low. I’ve only had to buy 3 books since the beginning of the program, and they are supreme foundational reference texts that I’ll be using forever: The Heavenly Spheres, The Book of Rulerships, and The Rulership Book. One of those books, and many of the upcoming texts, are written by the founder of the school, Lee Lehman, who although I haven’t learned much about yet, she must be such a prolific author and founder of an international school for a reason.
The way the courses are set up is great for beginning students of many levels – they are rigorous, recursive, and yet they set you up for success. There is a lot of material, and some of it is more challenging than others, and both myself and the other students have admitted to feeling like a dunce at times, but the school has very much mastered their system and I always feel like I am moving forward and never feel overwhelmed where I can’t make sense of the work. I was pretty well versed in much of the basics and also in a lot of intermediate and advanced stuff when I started. Again, my Mercury retrograde tends to go all over the place, and I had a scattered understanding of all sorts of stuff at different levels after self-teaching for almost 20 years. This program forces you to go really focused into the rudimentaries. Some of the other students are much newer to Astrology in general, and yet I have observed that the classes equalize us.
We begin the program with a course that goes over the history of Western Astrology starting all the way back to its origins, through Modern times, and we learn the basic divisions of sect, temperament/element, modality, and dignities. It’s not until the 2nd course where we even talk much about signs and houses specifically. This may seem excessively slow, but I loved it, even having been familiar with the “specifics” for so long. Going back and really going deep with the foundation has done so much for my knowledge base.
So, it’s very Saturnian, the method of the IAA. The 2nd and 3rd courses are a two-parter on the Planets. Nat-2 is where we get to go beyond the temperaments, and study the planets in depth – significations, mythology, and dignity. Not until Nat-3 do we learn how to delineate, and practice delineations. They focus very heavily on astro-grammar – not only learning AND becoming fluent in using the key words associated with each planet, sign, and house, but in putting them together in sentences that correctly connect each factor with the right part of speech (noun, verb, etc). This might seem extremely geeky, but actually it isn’t, because, as I am sure I will come to appreciate even more when I start working with clients, putting these things together in the right order and with the right words for someone that isn’t an astrologer is a LOT harder than it seems right off the bat, and if you get the part of speech wrong, your delineation can be totally off. They drill this in the class, pretty much every class. The 3rd course is basically all delineations at different levels, starting with just planets in signs, then adding houses, then adding angles, then nodes, then Rx, and we learn about synodic cycles and house systems. The house systems class was one I was especially looking forward to, as the whole topic seemed like a huge crazy mystery to me, and I was getting antsy switching between systems to see if there were differences. We go deep into what the differences are in terms of the great circles, and have a practicum where we note the differences, learn about interceptions, etc. We don’t even talk about aspects until the 4th class.
We use our own charts in class, and work charts of people we know, as well as famous people. As such, the courses help us to gain a deeper personal and integrated understanding of what we are learning, with our own lives, and also figures everyone knows. One thing that I noticed in my short research on Kepler College is that they don’t use student charts in class. I’m sure one learns a lot, but I personally really like using the personal natals in class & can’t imagine investing so much in an astrology degree if I weren’t learning first hand micro-reading my own chart. Massage therapists in school give each other massages, and receive them, and have an embodied experience. IMO, astrology school should be the same way, especially in small intimate settings. But, I imagine that in larger classes, this may be difficult to execute.
The program is, again, a combination of classical and modern. So, we learn about and use the “generational”/modern planets, but only after the understanding of the classical.
We have homework almost every week with the exception of practicum weeks. Sometimes it is relatively quick, maybe an hour’s time, and some weeks it can take a couple of hours over a few days. Of course this depends on multiple factors including how fast your brain works, to the specifics of the charts. Weekly reading and/or video watching can take another couple of hours. So, expect to spend, in addition to class itself, a good 5-8 hours a week. Most of the courses are sequential, with a few exceptions. They are intensive, especially if you’re like me and do a crapload of extracurricular study, and honestly, in this day and age of so much being available on the internet and new amazing content being created by living legendary astrologers on so many platforms every day, who doesn’t???
OK, so I have realized I have written a LOT already, so I’m going to try to sum this up.
I did a bit of research before choosing IAA (formerly known as Online College of Astrology, and the school still gives O.C.A. letters upon graduation). Chris Brennan’s podcast on “Choosing a professional school” came out after I enrolled, and I listened to it when I came out – I was not satisfied with his exploration of the topic, as he barely mentioned the IAA until the end of the podcast, and seemed to not really advocate for choosing long term diploma study in general, preferring to suggest apprenticeship programs, and I am pretty sure he actually said that Kepler doesn’t offer their program anymore? TBH I don’t feel like spending another 2 hours listening to that one again (I’d rather listen to one I didn’t hear yet – in general I am a big fan of his podcasts). Well, either way. There isn’t much out there on the public internet about IAA at this point that isn’t on their website. But, there should be. One of the major selling points that helped me to choose them was that students, upon graduating, automatically qualify for NCGR’s Level 4, and bypass the qualification testing and consulting seminar for ISAR, as the school is affiliated. I have not begun to investigate what these tests are actually like, besides the basic information on the websites, but I am sure I will learn more after I approach and finish completion of my program. But, to know that the program prepares me to jump right to Level 4 of NCGR makes me feel like I will be well prepared. From what I can tell, the program prepares students in everything I described earlier, teaches by-hand chart calculations, and requires full courses in astronomy & other bodies, forecasting, timing techniques, relationships, horary/electional, mundane, vedic, classical medical, and professional ethics. The link to the program page is http://www.astrocollege.org/academic/department.cgi?DEPT=CERTIFIC
& They offer “pocket courses” as well, for people who don’t want to enroll with the diploma-track modules at first, or at all. They are shorter and cheaper.
So, that’s all for now. Please share any of your own experiences, inquiries about higher Astro education in general, or if you have more questions about IAA I will do my best to answer them.
Dear @cherylanne-ruebner, thank soo much for starting this thread! I love this topic and it is also dear to my heart so let me chime in on this topic as well!
I will try to stay on topic, comparing my Kepler College studying experience with Chery’s IAA description!
My introduction to astrological education came from various astrology related YouTube videos and podcasts. Kepler College was popping up and here and there so I decided to check it out when I became serious in my astrological studies a few years ago.
For some reason, I was sure that Kepler is the only college in the US that offered a comprehensive diploma in astrology. I called in and talked to Enid N, the president of the Kepler College. She was very nice and patient in letting me know of the school’s program, structure and resources available.
Additionally, she informed me of the scholarship opportunities readily available if needed.
Upon checking I found out about different Certificates offered ( Fundamentals, Calculating Chart by Hand, Counseling and Relationships, Symmetrical) as well as the professional Diploma (total of 14 courses to complete) [https://keplercollege.org/index.php/diploma] .
Each class is 10-weeks long and it includes weekly online meetings, online forums and discussion board on the course page. The materials for each class are primarily available on the course page under each week so the additional materials that need to be purchased for the course are minimal (1-2 books that can be spread out through 2-3 courses).
Along with the course meetings, Kepler College sponsors weekly Practicum for every student of Kepler College who wants to join the open discussion of a natal/event chart to learn from each other as well as the experienced teachers who facilitate this weekly class. It’s really casual and down to earth. Everyone is welcomed to pitch in and say what they think this or that placement means. I love those weekly Friday night meetings (usually no longer than an hour).
Kepler College was very generous with the scholarship. I have received it a few times as I was truly in need at that time. I am super grateful for such an amazing service they do for the community.
Kepler College also offered a large resource library of astrological manuscripts and e-books from different countries going back to Mesopotamia and Babilon ending with a huge selection of Modern astrological literature (articles, books, research, etc) as a part of Marion March Research Library and Alexandria Ibase Project catalogue.
The classes are relatively small. Most classes I attended did not exceed 3-4 students which makes the learning effective and fun. Friendship is easy to develop and it happens that you usually travel from one class to the next one with the people, which is great.
I would totally agree with Cheryl when she states that this professional education is very effective as it is structured and it systematically leads you through almost every concept of astrology introducing more and more techniques and ‘tools’ as you move along your certificate or diploma.
Kepler is also accepting outside-taken courses and certification. For example, they accept my Chris Brenna’s Hellenistic Astrology Certificate and apply it to my diploma as an elective! Same with my Astronomy class that I just took at my University. I love this versatility and flexibility the college provides.
I have completed 7 semesters already and I have taken most of the classes already. I have a few more semesters to go before I will be ready to graduate. I think it has been an amazing experience as not only have I received a well-rounded quality astrological education bit also I got to know my teachers and made some life-long friends (@jillian-clemmons) I regularly Skype with (astro talk, of course)!
More than happy to provide more info if anyone has any questions!
P.S.: by the way, all AYA members are offered a 10% discount any Kepler College purchase – how cool is that?!