This accredited program is unique in providing a doctorate in the interdisciplinary field of human sexuality. Bringing together students from interdisciplinary fields creates a dynamic learning environment that expands holistic sexual literacy knowledge and skills to create individual and societal change. Two years of coursework and a year of comprehensive exams prepare students to develop their dissertation. The curriculum is designed to prepare students to be the next generation of thought leaders with critical content knowledge in human sexuality, research and analysis skills, and policy creation and interventions to support social and sexual justice initiatives. Drawing on gender studies, critical theory, sex therapy, public health, education, sexology, queer theory, anthropology, feminist criticism and public policy, students are poised to address a wide range of topics in this dynamic field from a holistic and integrated perspective. The goal of the program is to create and support individual, group, and societal change within the realm of human sexuality.

The PhD program in Human Sexuality (HSX) draws a variety of professionals interested in studying varying aspects of sexualities from the lenses of desire, intimacy, identity, gender, cultural influences, power and stigma, sexual response and reproduction. As a prerequisite for applying to the program, applicants need to have achieved a Master's degree from an accredited institution in the US or equivalent. Two years of coursework are coupled with dissertation research and writing for an estimated completion in four years.

Academic Residency Dates for 2017-2018

Spring 2017: 
January 20th - 22nd 
March 17th - 19th 
April 28th - 30th

Fall 2017:
August 24th - 27th
October 27th - 29th
December 1st - 3rd 

Spring 2018: 
January 26th - 28th 
March 9th - 11th 
April 27th - 29th

General Questions and Answers
Program Structure and Overview

Q: What does "Hybrid" mean?

A: This is a Hybrid PhD Program which means that the curriculum is taught both online and in face-to-face academic residencies. Each semester the students are expected to be active in online dialogue, completing papers and projects, and doing reading at their home location. Three times a semester (for the two years of coursework) the students will meet together with the faculty for Academic Residencies (generally from Friday until Sunday) that are held at CIIS in San Francisco. 

This hybrid format enables people to study from their home location most of the semester. It makes this program more accessible, as well as enriches the student dialogue to explore various human sexuality policies, cultures, and perspectives from different regions around the U.S and the world.

Q: Why isn't the program just offered online?

A: We have found great value in personal and academic development through face-to-face dialogue, workshops, lectures, and panel discussions. Also, we have found this helpful for students who learn and synthesize material in different ways. Importantly, meeting face-to-face helps build rapport among students and faculty, which facilitates a more in-depth and meaningful discussion around sexuality. This has also helped build a sense of community and develop a solid platform for networking with peers.

Q: What online platform do you use for courses?

A: CIIS uses CANVAS for online coursework.

Q: What are Academic Residencies like?

A: Academic residencies last three days and are hosted in CIIS classrooms and meeting rooms in San Francisco. Generally, the residencies last from Noon-9pm on Friday and 8am-5pm on the weekend. During breaks, students may enjoy CIIS' on-site meditation room, library, rooftop garden, and café.

The residencies are comprised of lectures, workshops, panel discussions, local guest speakers, CIIS events, and networking and community building opportunities. We also offer some opportunities to visit local sites focused on sexuality, gender, and San Francisco History (for example, during one of our residencies, we visited the Center for Sex and Culture to talk with sexologist Carol Queen).

Q: What is a "cohort" model?"

A: The students who enroll the HSX PhD program during the same year become a cohort; together, you maintain contact and engage in academic discourse until you complete your dissertation. We chose to use this model to help build community, develop mutual support, and create strong future professional and academic networks.

Q: What is the estimated timeline for completion?

A: There are two years of coursework, one year of comprehensive exams and dissertation preparation. Once the coursework and comprehensive exams are complete, you are able to dive into your dissertation with support from faculty, and it then depends on your timeline to complete dissertation work and submit it. Therefore, this program can be completed in as little as 4 years to  9 years.

Q: So, I can attend this program part-time?

A: Yes, some students may decide to do this program part-time. This is not advised as you will not stay with your cohort throughout the two years of coursework and some core classes may not be offered every semester. Still, we understand that part-time may be preferable or the only option for some, and we work with students personally, financially, and academically so that they may have they may be afforded the same opportunity of obtaining a PhD.

Q: What can I do when I graduate from this program?

A: This program is the second accredited Human Sexuality PhD Program in the United States, and is groundbreaking for the world of Human Sexuality. This program is developed to support student interests, careers, and personal development to shape competent, sexually literate, and diverse human sexuality thought leaders. Some students may work in fields of public policy, research, clinical settings, the arts, education, for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, and start up independent consulting practices. Students will be able to enhance their current practice (therapy, coaching, family medicine, etc.), develop best practices for the field, improve their academic and professional writing and research, increase their sexual literacy, develop policy briefs, and create change!

Q: Who are the faculty and staff?

A: Please visit the current faculty bios

Q: Who are some of the current students, and what are their interests?

A: Please visit the bios of the current students

Here are some more in-depth interviews

For more HSX Program information, please contact:.

Alejandra Hurtado 

Program Coordinator

Human Sexuality PhD Program

California Institute of Integral Studies

office: 415.575.3422

1453 Mission Street room 416a

San Francisco, California 94103

Financial Planning and Time Management

Q: I work full-time, is this program for me?

A: We schedule the Academic Residencies on long weekends so it does not cut into the standard work week extensively which can support students who wish to work. However,  full-time students can expect roughly 20-30 hours of school work/week contributing to online dialogue, writing, reading. This is a very personal choice. Many students have a variety of job, practicums, and projects. We would be happy to put you in touch with current students to get a better idea of what their schedule looks like. Please contact Alejandra Hurtado, Program Coordinator, for more information: alhurtado@ciis.edu

Q: Are there any scholarships?

A: CIIS offers various types of scholarships throughout the year. Please visit the CIIS Financial Aid page for more information

Q: Can I get loans?

A: Yes, if you are eligible for loans through FAFSA you can apply for them. Please contact the Financial Aid office for more information on financial planning

Q: What is the estimated cost for this program?

A: Please visit the Financial Aid webpage to see cost of tuition

For more Financial Aid info, please contact:
Financial Aid Office

California Institute of Integral Studies

1453 Mission Street - 4th Floor

San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 575-6122

Fax: (415) 575-1268

Hours: 9:00am - 5:00pm Monday - Friday


Q: How do I apply?

A: Please visit the application page on the Human Sexuality PhD website for more information

Q: I have not completed my MA Program, can I still apply for the Fall?

A: Yes, you can! As long as you are able to submit your final transcript when you graduate, and before you begin the program, you may apply at anytime. If you are accepted, we will notify you, and you will be conditionally accepted until your final transcripts are received.

Q: Do I need to do an interview?

A: Yes. Once all of your application materials are processed through the Admissions Office, your application will be forwarded on for departmental review. Once it is reviewed and if it meets requirements, you will be asked to schedule an appointment for either an in-person or a Skype interview with a faculty member.

This interview is casual, as it is also an opportunity for you to interview us to make sure this is a good fit. We want all of our students to graduate and complete their dissertation, and find the interview to be an important piece in the decision.

For more Admissions info contact:
Ebrahim Nasher, M.A.

Senior Admissions Counselor
California Institute of Integral Studies
1453 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Office: 415-575-6291
Email: Enasher@ciis.edu


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