Together we make a profound difference

Education in Freemasonry is meant to be a lifelong process, furthering our understanding of the fraternity and its relevance to today's world.

The Institute for Masonic Studies was founded in 1997 to foster Masonic knowledge and understanding among the Masons of California and the larger world of Freemasonry. The Institute hosts a number of important programs and resources for members and lodges, including the following:

Candidate Learning Center

Candidate Learning Center is the online candidate education tool to help each candidate progress through the degrees. Candidates can now learn from resources including photos, video interviews, interactive games, online articles, and journaling exercises. The final exam for each degree module includes both a multiple choice and essay portion, helping candidates achieve a thoughtful, deep understanding of degree lessons and how to apply them.

Getting Started:

Candidate Coaches

  • Log in to the Member Center in the top right corner of this page and go to Reports & Features > Candidate Learning Center to access all three degree courses.
  • If you do not see the courses in the Candidate Learning Center, ask your secretary to designate you as a coach in iMember and link you to the candidates you are coaching.

Candidates, lodge officers, and other members

  • Log in to the Member Center in the top right corner of this page and go to Reports & Features > Candidate Learning Center
  • Choose a learning module, then click "Add to Cart" and "Proceed to Checkout." Each course is $15.
  • Once you've completed your order, click on the "My Library" tab, then click "Play" to begin your course.
  • To access your course after purchase, or to continue where you left off, simply log into the Member Center and click on the Candidate Learning Center.
  • Lodges may purchase access for candidates.


  • Candidate coaches must be designated in the iMember database in order to get access the Candidate Learning Center. Designated candidate coaches will have complimentary access to the training modules. Locate your candidate coach's Member profile within iMember, and be sure to designate their office as "Candidate Coach."

For questions or further information, please contact Assistant Grand Secretary James Banta.

Masonic Coaches

A Masonic coach - who is a fellow lodge member - is appointed to each degree candidate. The coach acts as his educator and companion, assuring that he is properly instructed in the fundamentals and working of the fraternity. In addition to informing the candidate about his lodge and Masonry in general, the coach instructs the candidate on memory work and ceremonies. To learn more about the fraternity, please contact your local lodge, or review the Discover Masonry section of this site.

UCLA Freemasonry and Civil Society Program

The Freemasonry and Civil Society Program is a collaborative partnership between the University of California, Los Angeles History Department, the Grand Lodge of California, and the Institute for Masonic Studies. The Program, which offers courses investigating the history of Freemasonry within the context of civil society, sponsors a post-doctoral fellow each year.

The Freemasonry and Civil Society Program develops educational seminars to coincide with current research. Open to the public, these events seek to educate and inspire scholars of the craft.

Past topics include American and Latin American Freemasonry and Freemasonry: A Global Perspective, Past and Present and Freemasonry, Aestetics, and Civil Society.

Papers presented at past UCLA conferences.

Annual California Masonic Symposium

The Grand Lodge of California and the California Masonic Foundation sponsor the Annual California Masonic Symposium. Each year this event, which is open to Masons and the public, addresses a topic of historical and philosophical relevance to Masonry.

The 14th Annual California Masonic Symposium: Freemasonry and the Foundation of the American Republic will be held on Sept. 20, 2014 in San Francisco and Sept. 21, 2014 in Pasadena.

Register today! Questions? Contact Kim Hegg, program services manager.

Past Symposia topics have included: Struggles for Control of Freemasonry: Great Britain and America in the Early Grand Lodge Era; Freemasonry in Mexico and Latin America; Freemasonry and Secret Societies; Issues in Contemporary Freemasonry; The Age of Franklin: Freemasonry, the Declaration of Independence, and the American Enlightenment; Freemasonry and the American Frontier; The Morgan Affair: The Kidnapping that Changed American Freemasonry; and Freemasonry and Women's Role.

Archive of papers, from past Symposia

Henry Wilson Coil Library and Museum of Freemasonry

The Grand Lodge of California opened the Henry Wilson Coil Library and Museum of Freemasonry in 1997 at the California Masonic Memorial Temple in San Francisco.

The museum contains over 8,000 titles and includes Masonic art and artifacts from California and around the world.

The Library and Museum seeks to:

  • Tell the story of Freemasonry in California to Masons and to the general public
  • Serve as a research source for both lay and professional Masonic scholars and researchers
  • Assist Masons who seek to increase and develop their personal knowledge of Freemasonry

To volunteer as a library docent, contact Adam Kendall, collections manager, at 415/292-9137 or visit

Research Lodges and Research Organizations

Research Lodges in California conduct research, hold discussions, gather and preserve Masonic information, maintain libraries, supply papers or speakers at the request of other Lodges, and conduct a program of general service in the field of Masonic education and information.

The Research Lodges in California include:
El Camino Research Lodge - San Jose
Northern California Research Lodge - San Francisco
Orange County Research Lodge - Anaheim
Southern California Research Lodge - Anaheim
Golden Compasses Research Lodge - Sacramento

Research organizations around the world include:
The Masonic Society
The Masonic Restoration Foundation
National Masonic Research Society
International Conference of the History of Freemasonry
Masonic Library and Museum Association
Association of Masonic Museums, Libraries, and Archives of Europe

Member Center