About the Program

About the PhD in Human Sexuality


The new PhD program in Human Sexuality begins with the inaugural cohort in the Fall semester 2014. This 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 (LGBTQ people, heterosexual women, and heterosexual men), 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 prepares licensed clinicians already in practice to widen their lens. The curriculum enables you to deepen and broaden your knowledge of sexuality theory, research, and best practices in the field. The course offerings present culturally competent, scientific research, including sexual minorities and women's sexual and reproductive issues. This concentration is open to applicants who have completed a master's program in a clinical field (MFT, LPCC, or LCSW) and are licensed or are license-eligible.

The concentration includes a clinical methodology course, and a supervised two-semester proseminar to provide supervision and case mentoring. Cases come from the students' own practice.

Sexuality Policy Leadership Concentration

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.

Sexuality Policy Leadership candidates take comprehensive seminars on knowledge and methods related to policy. Students then begin a two-semester, supervised internship at a major institution. Policy internships can be at centers for the LGBT community or women's sexual and reproductive health, national or global human rights organizations, providers in the area of sexual health and social services, or other organizations that focus on sexual justice or reproductive issues.

Applicants must have a master's degree.

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 focuseFd 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.