About the Program

About the PhD in Human Sexuality

This accredited program is unique in providing a comprehensive doctorate in the interdisciplinary field of human sexuality, with concentrations in human sexuality and clinical practice, and in human sexuality and policy leadership. Bringing together clinicians and policy leaders creates a dynamic learning environment that expands holistic sexual literacy knowledge and skills to create individual and societal change. This program is committed to clinical and policy exploration of all human beings in the most diverse and fluid spectrum of sexual and gender variations across the life course, including desires and orientations, identities, behaviors and expressions. This includes psychosexual development and functioning, intimate relationships, families, spirituality, and well-being, as reflected in sexual, gender and reproductive health, rights, and policies. This program aims to shape the inter-professional dialogue between clinical practitioners and sexuality policy leaders in the 21st century.

Clinical Concentration
The Clinical Practice concentration includes a deep training in clinical theory and methodology as applied to human sexuality and a supervised two-semester proseminar to provide critically reflective supervision and case mentoring. Cases come from the students' own practices. Our program emphasizes the diversity of clinical experience including: adolescents and adults; midlife and ageing; love, sex, and relationships; sexual function and dysfunction, complementary forms of healing and treatment including spirituality as a component of wellbeing; in addition to addressing particular areas of psychological wellbeing such as sexual coercion, reproductive decision-making, trauma and resilience.

Sexuality Policy Leadership Concentration
The Sexuality Policy Leadership concentration includes a deep submersion through two traineeships in diverse populations: LGBTQ sexuality, health, and rights; women's sexual and reproductive lives, health, rights, and policy formation, and men's sexuality, reproductive and social lives. Policy traineeships may be at centers for LGBTQ community, women's sexual and reproductive health, national or global human rights organizations, providers such as sexual health and support centers, or other advocacy and policy organizations that focus on these issues. The Program offers long-term partnerships for community engagement and advocacy that will facilitate students' choices and careers. This concentration provides the next generation of culturally competent thought leaders and sexuality policy leaders with critical knowledge, skills, methodology, and reflection in making policy and interventions to support social and sexual justice in the USA and globally.

This PhD has 2 years of coursework, exams, and a dissertation (totaling 4-years). This is a hybrid-format (online/in-person). There is a yearly retreat in August, and then subsequent weekend retreats throughout the year in San Francisco, with online coursework in-between. This program accepts students for the Fall of each year, and expects students to continue coursework with their cohort throughout the two-years.

Formation of the National Advisory Committee for the HSX PhD Program at CIIS
To enrich and extend the professional opportunities for students and community alike, we have formed a National Advisory Committee that includes 23 outstanding professionals in the area of human sexuality, clinical practice, and policy leadership. Dr. Pepper Schwartz, an internationally prominent sexuality studies research scholar, Professor of Sociology at the University of Washington, and advocate on behalf of AARP, will chair the advisory committee for the first three years (2013-2015). The Advisory Committee has two "working groups," one focused on clinical practice and the other on policy. The Advisory Committee extends and enriches faculty expertise in this complex interdisciplinary field, mentors students when they undertake their clinical praxis and/or policy traineeships, and are available to consult on doctoral dissertation design, sampling, and networking.  The Advisory Committee convenes regularly in the context of an annual research conference, described below, with quarterly check-in conference calls.