Certificate in Somatic Studies


Somatic practices emphasize the unity of mind and body as experienced from within, and complement disciplines of inquiry that primarily study knowledge about the human body and mind. Though relatively new to Western thought, somatic practices are recognized in numerous ancient and contemporary cultures not only as beneficial to physical health, but also as methods for cultivation of mind and discovery of knowledge. Such experience may inform knowledge in such areas as biology, neuroscience, physics, psychology, philosophy, anthropology, and religious studies. Somatic practices also have applied value in professions such as education, performing arts, athletics, medicine, and physical therapy.

The Certificate in Somatic Studies offers a diverse spectrum of movement experiences and techniques aimed at self-awareness and self-knowledge, rather than artistic public performance. With the coordinator’s approval a maximum of 3 units of course work from other disciplines may be applied to the Certificate in Somatic Studies.

Undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs offered by University College are offered through Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. Business-related programs in University College are not accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International).

required course work

Required Courses: 17 units

The program is composed of a minimum of 17 credit units of course work, including the required 2-unit course, Introduction to Somatic Practices (U31 285), an introductory survey of a variety of practices offered in the program, complemented by lectures on related disciplines such as biology, philosophy, and psychology.

Students choose an additional 15 units from the courses noted below according to individual interests and goals. With the coordinator’s approval a maximum of 3 units of other course work, including courses from other disciplines, may be applied to the Certificate in Somatic Studies.

  • Body Conditioning (U31 104)
  • Intro to Dance as a Contemporary Art Form (U31 106 )
  • Topics in Dance: Alexander Technique (U31 110)
  • Beginning T’ai Chi Ch’uan I (U31 115)
  • Beginning T’ai Chi Ch’uan II (U31 116)
  • Body-Mind Balance (U31 119)
  • Yoga and Relaxation Techniques (U31 120)
  • Dance Workshop (U21 157)
  • Authentic Movement & Body-Mind Integration (U31 176)
  • Languages of Movement Expression (U31 177)
  • Introduction to Pilates (U31 208)
  • Awareness Through Movement: The Feldenkrais Method (U31 209)
  • Contact Improvisation (U31 212)
  • The Experiential Body (U31 217)
  • Intermediate Yoga (U31 220)
  • Mind Body Movement: Yoga and Pilates (U31 221)
  • Introduction to Somatic Practices -- Required (U31 285)
  • Movement for Writers (U31 290)
  • Special Studies in Somatics (U31 385)
  • Teaching Creative Movement to Children (U31 411)
  • Topics in Dance: Dance/Movement Therapy (U31 423)
  • Applied Anatomy for the Performing Artist (U31 430)
  • Somatic Awareness Approaches I: Somatic Psychology (U31 433)
  • Somatic Awareness Approaches II: Methodology (U31 436)

admissions requirements

Transferring Credit

A maximum of six units of transfer credit for required courses may be applied to certificate programs that include nineteen units of credit or more. All other required courses must be taken at Washington University.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

In order to be considered for admission to this certificate program, students must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.7 in at least six units of previous college course work, including at least one college-level English composition course with a grade of B or better.

Policies & Procedures
  • Courses may be taken on a stand-alone basis.
  • Courses taken in the certificate program at Washington University must be completed with a minimum overall GPA of 3.0.
  • Courses taken toward a University College undergraduate certificate program may be applied to a University College bachelor of science degree as distribution or general elective courses.

application requirements

Completed application form

The online application is available online on our Apply page. Applications are ready for review when all fields on the application form are completed, required documents have been received, and the application fee is paid.

Official transcripts from all previous college work

Contact the registrar at each previous college or university attended to request an official transcript. Official transcripts must be sent directly from the registrar to University College.

Personal statement

Tell us about yourself in a brief essay (about 250 words). Why are you applying to University College? What are your goals, both academic and professional? What do we need to know when considering your application?

TOEFL scores (if applicable)

If you are not a U.S. citizen, official TOEFL scores must be forwarded to University College.

Graduates of a U.S. university or college or Canada, Australia, and U.K. residents are exempt if they have earned a bachelor’s degree or a graduate degree from such college or university.

$35 application fee

You may pay by credit card online, or via check or money order payable to Washington University in St. Louis. You may also pay the fee by cash at the University College office. 

This fee is waived for all WashU staff.

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Still have questions?

Administrative Assistant for Academic Programs: Holly Schroeder | (314) 935-6759 | cschroed@wustl.edu

Director of Advising and Student Services: Elizabeth Fogt | (314) 935-6778 | efogt@wustl.edu