Human Sexuality Studies

Widener Video

 Betsy Crane

Shaping 'Pracademics'

Graduates of our doctoral program in human sexuality are practitioner-scholars, who can educate, conduct research, consult, or provide counseling and sex therapy.

Widener Video


Working with Veterans

Dual degree doctoral student Becky Dewar said she'd like to work with combat veterans on issues surrounding sexuality and disability.

Widener Video


Impacting the Community

Associate Professor Don Dyson explains how HSED graduate students benefit community partners.

Program Highlight


Degree Conversion

In March 2011, the Board of Trustees approved the conversion of the EdD in Human Sexuality Education to a PhD in Human Sexuality, which was determined to be the appropriate terminal degree for this program of interdisciplinary study.

We have been producing leaders in the field of human sexuality for more than a generation.

Widener University's Center for Human Sexuality Studies (CHSS) houses the only doctoral program in Human Sexuality Studies at a fully accredited university in the United States. Our graduates are pioneering sexologists who play leadership roles as clinicians, educators, and sexuality researchers.

Since 1999, when the human sexuality program moved to Widener from the University of Pennsylvania, we have thrived, grown in national recognition, increased the quantity and diversity of students, and expanded the type of degree programs offered.

CHSS prepares future and current professionals to teach, consult, provide counseling and therapy, and conduct research in a variety of settings on complex issues related to human sexuality. Students utilize a bio-psycho-social model to gain a comprehensive understanding of the development and practice of human sexuality through the lifespan, within specific social, cultural, and political contexts.

The curriculum at the Center for Human Sexuality Studies is designed based upon best practices in training sexologists. As a result, students who complete our degrees are well prepared should they choose to apply for certification as a Sexuality Educator or Sex Therapist through the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT). While students may still have requirements in practice hours or supervision to complete post-graduation, the curriculum is designed to provide the foundation for all categories of certification through the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT).

Applicants who do not hold a licensable degree in a mental health field and would like to train to be sex therapists should consider our interdisciplinary programs. The interdisciplinary programs allow students to earn a licensable, clinical degree concurrently with the Master of Education (MEd) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Human Sexuality Studies.

CHSS is accredited under the auspices of Widener University's accreditation by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

Is this program for you?

Whether you are a teacher, social worker, psychologist, nurse, counselor, clergy person, physician, or a recent college graduate seeking graduate studies, the Center for Human Sexuality Studies is for you if you want to:

  • Provide community education and training programs related to sexuality and sexual health
  • Teach sexuality education at the college level or in community settings
  • Offer counseling or therapy with a sexuality specialization
  • Engage in sex research and scholarship
  • Work within communities of faith regarding sexuality issues
  • Incorporate sexuality education in your current work in K-12 school settings and/or pursue PA certification in school counseling
  • Advise policymakers on issues such as HIV/AIDS, adolescent pregnancies, sexual orientation, gender, and power from a multicultural perspective
  • Become a certified sexuality educator or sex therapist through the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT)

Flexibility to meet your needs

  • Reasonable tuition costs
  • Classes offered on weekends and weeknights for working professionals and commuters from across the country
  • Full or part-time options
  • Supervised field experience during practicum placement
  • Use of current educational philosophies and methodologies appropriate for adults with varied learning styles
  • Emphasis on affective learning and cutting edge strategies in training sexologists

Graduates, depending on degree and specialization, are prepared to:

  • Communicate, plan, implement and evaluate human sexuality curricula using a variety of methods in a range of settings
  • Access accurate, current knowledge published in the literature in the many fields that study human sexuality
  • Demonstrate knowledge and proficiency as it relates to excellence in research
  • Identify their own values on sexuality issues and assess their effect on their practice
  • Use interviewing and therapeutic skills in human sexuality with individuals, couples, and families
  • Acknowledge and accept the diversity of age, gender, identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race and religion that must be considered by sexologists in their work and research
  • Be aware that professionals serve as role models and accept this responsibility

Weekend and Weeknight Classes

The majority of our classes are offered on weekends, providing access to study for people who work during the week and/or commute from a distance. Many of our students drive from within the Philadelphia metropolitan region, or fly into the nearby Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) to take classes on Widener's Main Campus in Chester, PA. In addition, a few of our courses are offered in an online format, allowing students to participate in the learning from their home or office.

As a full-time student in one of the human sexuality programs, you would register for three courses (nine graduate credits, total) each term. Each course requires that you attend two weekends of class, requiring a full-time student to attend six weekends of class each term. As a part-time student, you would register for two courses (six graduate credits, total), equaling four weekends of class each term.

Some weeknight classes are offered to provide students who live locally the option of having a class that meets for three hours each week throughout the 15-week term.

Classes meet during Fall, Spring, and Summer terms.

How do I apply?

Submit an online application and mail your supporting documents to Graduate Admissions by the application deadline.

See our Admissions Information page for more information about the admissions process and criteria.

Contact our graduate assistants at 610-499-1378 or humansexualityprogram@mail.widener.edu with any questions about our program, and Graduate Admissions at 610-499-4129 or gradprograms@widener.edu with any questions about the admissions process.