Paranormal Degree

by Anita Brown

Fraud in the paranormal community has always been a problem, but recently it has been taken to a whole new level with the International Metaphysical University, an online university offering Associates, Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate degrees in various fields of alternative medicine, “intuitive arts“, and paranormal studies.

The IMU website states: “The faculty at IMU are pre-eminent experts in their fields. We have some of the top authorities in areas of Alternative Healthcare, Consciousness Studies, Intuitive Arts, Shamanism and Paranormal studies to date. These include many of the most celebrated authors and teachers on an international level. All of our teachers have decades of experience and practice behind their works and practices. We are IMU are proud and humbled to bring these masters of metaphysics into our programs as well as into the lives of our students.”

So what is wrong with an online university that educates one in the field of the paranormal? The first problem found here is the most obvious: when one spends a significant amount of money on an education to receive a degree, their goal is usually to get a well-paying job in their field. Folks, this is not going to happen. Contrary to popular opinion, any paranormal investigator that is worth their salt is NOT getting paid a dime. Paranormal research is NOT a career, although many young people are being mislead into thinking it is just that.

Let’s take a look at those in the paranormal field that are getting paid. First, we have the authors. Many people are writing books about spirit activity, cryptozoology, and ufology on local, national, and even international levels. Not one of them needed a degree involving their subject matter. What they needed was the ability to write, possibly a degree in journalism, and the experience to back up what they are writing about. Any degree that they need to accomplish the production, submission, and publishing of a book can be obtained at any university or community college, preferably one that offers English and grammar courses, as this seems to be a necessity for being a successful author…

Next, we have those that are on television. How many of them are there, really, compared to those investigators that are not on television? Yes, they get paid. They get paid to be behind the camera. And again, not one of them have a degree in the subject matter of their television show, and it is a pretty safe bet that not one of them took an online course like IMU offers called How to Get on Television…

Lastly, we have the paranormal investigators that charge people to come and investigate their homes. These are probably the only people that are getting paid to investigate the paranormal. These are also probably the only people that can present to you a degree of some sort to show that they are “certified” to come into one’s home and determine that yes, there are ghosts, or no there are not. These are also, sadly, the people who know nothing about the field, most likely printed up that certificate themselves, and are the only ones not worth one minute of a client’s time.

Thus far, we have established that the common individual can acquire up to a Doctorate degree online at IMU in a variety of fields that do not require a degree to get into and that said degree will never help them to find a job.

The IMU website thinks differently, however. Their site states:

“How can I apply my degree from IMU toward a career?

The possibilities are multifaceted and endless. Some practical application of our courses may include:

  • Inspirational or motivational speaker

  • Metaphysical author or journalist

  • Religious ordination and spiritual counseling such as in pastoral work

  • Creating your own metaphysical or paranormal business. (Such as in starting your own ghost tour, opening a bookstore, starting a metaphysical center or working as an intuitive arts advisor.)

  • Working as a “Life Coach,” helping others to plan and guide their lives.

  • Professional workshop leader, teacher and managing spiritual retreats.

  • Using the Intuitive Arts to become a professional psychic reader.

  • Become trained in Alternative Healing and developing a clientele.

  • Media consulting work, such as for movies, articles and documentaries.

  • Appearances for or in front of the media such as in television, magazine interviews and radio interviews.

  • Individual energy work, through the practical application of Shamanic healing techniques and Energy Medicine.

Certification Programs

These programs give certification to either practice or teach or both. While you are getting your degree at IMU you can also become certified in these particular specialties:

  • Health and Wellness: Touch for Health Kinesiology

  • Vibrational Medicine: Cellular Cleansing

  • Holistic Coaching and Energy Psychology: Holistic Coaching

  • Hypnosis

  • Herbal Medicine: Herbal Medicine

Examining this, IMU leads one to believe that being a psychic, a spiritual leader, a hypnotist, an herbalist, a Reiki healer, a television star, and a motivational speaker can all be learned over the internet. Reiki is a form of hands-on healing. Psychics, if in existence, are just psychics, plain and simple. Shamanic healing techniques are passed down from teacher to student in a much ritualized intense form of training. Not one of these things can be learned over the internet. Even those that appear on reality shows, the news, and answer questions for interviews are not taught how to do it, online or anywhere else. They just do it.

As for the education received at IMU, where can a student go to add to this education if they so wish? The answer to that is IMU. That is it. When the tab Accreditation under the About Us section of the website is clicked, the following explanation is found:


The goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality (US Department of Education). Traditional colleges and universities use accreditation as a measuring stick to compare their individual programs to a set of national standards provided by the professional organizations associated with the degrees being offered.

In the world of metaphysics, our professional associations are not recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE). As a result, metaphysical colleges and universities are not required to be accredited by the U.S. government. Students who complete courses in non-government approved programs are generally not permitted to transfer courses to USDE accredited schools.”

In other words, all credits received at IMU stay at IMU, and are non-transferable.

The price of the courses at IMU for the first three degree programs are $250 each. Amusingly, courses may be paid for by check, money order, or PayPal. Yes, this university uses PayPal. The website states that to receive an Associate’s Degree at IMU, students must complete 20 courses. Each of the specific degree programs will list the courses required to complete the training for that degree. $250 x 20= $5,000. If paid for all at once, a 10% discount is applied, and there are no payment options. An Associate’s Degree takes approximately 40 weeks to complete

A Bachelor’s Degree consists of an additional 24 courses. To move from holding an Associate’s to a Bachelor’s, this will cost the student an additional $6,000. The Bachelors Degree program also offers the 10% discount for all courses to be paid for at once, and will consume approximately 70 additional weeks of the student’s time.

A Master’s Degree requires 12 additional courses, adding another $3,000 to the tuition costs and approximately 40 more weeks of study.

To receive a Doctorate from IMU, students must complete eight courses and pass an oral defense of their capstone project. The capstone project can be action research, a dissertation, or a doctoral portfolio. The capstone project is one of the eight required courses. These courses also cost more than the others, coming to $300 per course, bringing the Doctorate tuition to another $3,000. The timeframe for completing the doctorate depends on certain factors, but no more than 2 years is recommended….

When all of this is taken into consideration, a student entering this university is going to spend a total of $17,000 and 4 to 5 years of time to achieve absolutely nothing, and that is only if the university is in existence long enough for the student to complete their useless education.

A community college or an accredited university is going to cost the same or less for a student to learn something that is actually helpful to them, such as a major in journalism, science, media, etc. The student will have a job when they are finished with their education.

The paranormal community needs to stand up to this institution and others that may spring up like it. People are being ripped off by scams such as this all the time, with the ever-growing popularity of the paranormal field. This leaves those that are serious about their research to be misunderstood and mistrusted. If you know of anyone that is planning on pursuing a “degree” in the paranormal, please make them aware that there is no such thing. If you know anyone that plans to pursue a career in Alternative Medicine or that wants to pursue a purely spiritual path of existence, please encourage them to seek out experienced local experts in their field that can give them the proper hands on training that they need.

International Metaphysical University, according to their website, is based out of Vienna, WV. If you would like to file a Consumer Complaint with the West Virginia Attorney General’s office, you may do so here:

(To view IMU’s website, go to