The Human Sexuality doctoral program is situated within the interdisciplinary field of critical sexuality studies. The program draws master’s-level professionals from many disciplines interested in studying varying aspects of sexuality from the lenses of desire, intimacy, identity, gender, intersectionality, cultural influences and discourse, power and stigma, sexual response and practices, and reproduction. The scholar-practitioner model is used to challenge students to create new knowledge while engaging real-world solutions on sexuality and gender issues.

As an interdisciplinary program in critical sexuality studies, it draws on sexuality studies, critical and queer theory, intersectionality, feminism, history, philosophy, biology, social sciences, and clinical and policy studies to foster scholars who: Shape the interprofessional dialogue on sexuality among researchers, clinical practitioners, policy leaders, educators and communities of practice;
Engage research, clinical, educational and policy arenas through the application of their research and optional AASECT certification; and, Expand their holistic sexual literacy knowledge to impact individual and social change initiatives.

The Human Sexuality PhD program (HSX) consists of four semesters of coursework, two comprehensive exams, and a research-based dissertation that contributes new knowledge to the field. The curriculum offers critical content knowledge on sexuality, research and analysis skills, theoretical and philosophical background, and professional skills. Fundamental to the vision of this program is an intersectional and critical view of sexuality that includes attention to salient power differentials, such as ethnicity, race, gender, class, age, ability, national origin, and religion.

Time to completion is five to six years on average, estimated. The program follows a hybrid model meaning that content is delivered online using the Canvas learning management system and at academic residencies (3 long weekends per semester). Select courses integrate several core knowledge areas of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT; see to assist students seeking AASECT certification. The PhD in Human Sexuality by itself does not lead to AASECT certification.

This program accepts students for the Fall semester of each year and expects students to continue coursework with their cohort. After coursework is completed, students take comprehensive examinations leading to an evidence-based dissertation proposal. After the completion of the dissertation, a public dissertation defense is held.

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COVID-19 Update from the Program

The Human Sexuality Department will continue to hold all classes online and virtually through the Spring 2022 semester, which means we will not hold any on-campus meetings. The Human Sexuality Department and CIIS will continue to monitor the situation daily and will follow current medical guidelines to ensure the safety of students, faculty, and staff. In the Human Sexuality Department, we feel especially fortunate to have experienced faculty who work well in the online and virtual modalities, and we look forward to working with you as you join our vibrant community. We will keep everyone apprised of our plans via the CIIS website/Canvas Cafe. If you have any questions, please contact our Program Coordinator, Margey DeCuir, at, or Michelle Marzullo, Professor/Chair, at    

Questions about Admissions or the Human Sexuality program?

Admissions Counselor: Skylar Hall
(415) 575-6155 |

Department Chair: Michelle Marzullo
(415) 575-3406 |

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