Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about our program.

What does it mean to be an online hybrid program?

Our curriculum is taught both in face-to-face academic residencies and online. For full-time students, the first two years of coursework are held asynchronously online via our Canvas learning management platform and also via in person long weekends (Friday morning through Sunday night) called Academic Residencies with three of these weekends per semester during coursework only. Students are expected to be active participants online, using Canvas for dialogue, submission of assignment, and following course curriculum with daily interaction. The benefit of a hybrid program means that students need not relocate to San Francisco to pursue this degree but instead it may be completed from their home location. Being an online hybrid makes our program available to more people, and enriches the student dialogue in human sexuality by integrating student perspectives from different places around the U.S. and internationally. At the same time, by coming together for academic residencies, students build rapport with each other and faculty, which facilitates a more in-depth and meaningful discussion around sexuality, as well as a sense of community for supporting and networking with peers through coursework, dissertation, and as alumni.

What are academic residencies like?

Academic residencies last three days and are hosted in CIIS classrooms. Generally, the residencies meet all day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. During breaks, students may enjoy CIIS' on-site meditation room, library, and rooftop garden. There are restaurants and cafes nearby.

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.

Students who begin the program at the same time become a cohort through the academic residencies. Together, they maintain contact and support, and engage in academic discourse together through the dissertation process.

What are the dates for the academic residencies?

Academic residencies are long weekends that are mandatory for students to attend and through which faculty provide in-person teaching. During the COVID pandemic, these academic residencies have been shifted to synchronous, online Zoom videoconference classes led by professors. The weekend schedule changes each semester and entails a long-weekend format of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday three times per semester. These three long weekends are generally paced within the first two weeks of the semester, around the middle of the semester, and two weeks before the end of the semester. Incoming cohorts will also attend a one-day synchronous online orientation around the first day of classes for their first semester to introduce them to the program, faculty, and curriculum.

Academic residency schedules for a given semester are communicated to all students at least a week before a semester begins and comport with course times listed in the course registration portal under each course.

View the most current, upcoming Academic Residency dates. All dates listed are subject to change, enrolled students will be informed as described above. 

How long will it take to complete the degree?

For full-time study, there are two years of coursework, one semester of comprehensive exams (if passed on the first try) and dissertation preparation/research. Once the coursework and comprehensive exams are complete, students dive into the dissertation process with support from their dissertation committee. Full-time students can expect to complete the degree within 5-6 years with some taking less time and some more time dependent on the dissertation project. The U.S. Department of Education sets a maximum of 10 years from the date of enrollment to complete the program but once a student becomes a dissertation candidate, CIIS faculty have set the timeline of four years to complete the dissertation project and graduate.

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

We schedule academic residencies for three long weekends each semester, with the intention of not cutting too deeply into the standard workweek. However, full-time students can expect roughly 20-30 hours of schoolwork each week as they participate in online discussion forums, and complete reading and writing assignments. Many students do work full time during coursework and balance this load by setting up flexible work arrangements or using time off when needed during the semester. We would be happy to put you in touch with current students to get a better idea of what their schedules look like.

Can I attend this program part-time?

It is possible to attend our program part time, though students who do so miss out on participating in the cohort model.

I have not completed my MA; may I still apply for the fall?

Yes, you can. You will be provisionally accepted to our program until you submit the final transcript from your MA.

What can I do when I graduate from this program?

Our program is the second accredited human sexuality PhD program in the US. It supports student interests, careers, and personal development, to shape competent, sexually literate, and diverse human sexuality thought leaders. Some students may work in public policy, research, clinical settings, the arts, education, or at for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, and start-up independent consulting practices. Students may 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.

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Questions about Admissions or the Human Sexuality program?

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

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