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FAQs, Doctor of Philosophy, Human Sexuality Studies

Find answers to frequently asked questions about the doctor of philosophy in human sexuality studies at Widener.

If you have additional questions, please contact us by phone or e-mail (see contact information on left) or schedule a visit.

What is your acceptance rate into the doctor of philosophy program in human sexuality studies?

The percentage of students accepted into the program varies each year. Our program continues to grow, so the exact number of students that we are able to admit is subject to change. While the acceptance rate may differ for each applicant pool, the admissions process is nonetheless competitive. 

When are classes held?

All on-campus courses are held on the weekends, each class meeting on two separate occasions from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. This means that all in-class time takes place on the weekends, and each class is divided into 2 total weekends of in-class learning. For example, if you are enrolled in 2 courses (6 credits), you are required to be on campus 4 weekends; for 3 classes (9 credits), you will be here 6 weekends of the 15-week term. At times certain courses are offered in an online format, but the vast majority require students to be on campus.

We accommodate distance learners by keeping on-campus time to a minimum and by providing a discounted rate on rooms at the Best Western, which is located across the street from campus. The dates of the weekends will be made known to you as you register for courses, so there is ample time to make flight and lodging plans. 

What constitutes a full-time student?

Enrollment in three graduate courses per semester (at 3 credit hours per course) makes you a full-time student. This means a total of at least 9 credit hours per semester and 18 credit hours total per academic year.

Do you offer a paid fellowship or assistantship? 

The Center for Human Sexuality Studies (CHSS) has one graduate assistantship available. The position is filled when a vacancy becomes available. All students are sent an e-mail when that assistantship is available. At times, CHSS has research assistantships available that are project or grant funded. Interested students should inquire about availability of research assistantships with the CHSS office. Once admitted as a student, graduate assistantships are often available in other departments for partial tuition remission. Many students fund their degree(s) through federal student loans. We also recommend finding external grants to pay for tuition, as well. For more information on federal financial aid, please see the Financial Aid webpage.

How do I decide whether the sexuality education or sex therapy track is best for me?

This decision depends on your career goals and professional experience and education thus far.

Students in both tracks take the same courses, with the exception of a series of practice-oriented courses geared towards sexuality education techniques or sex therapy techniques.

Students in the sexuality education track take educational methods courses, which focus on educational theories/philosophies, lesson planning, and curriculum design. Specifically, courses focus on learning and applying educational methods as well as developing skills and knowledge to adapt these practices sexuality education settings. 

Students in the sex therapy track take sex therapy methods courses, which focus on therapeutic techniques to work with couples, sexual dysfunctions, and tailoring techniques to diverse populations. This track requires that you have or are in the process of obtaining a licensable mental health degree (e.g., MSW, PsyD, or MA in counseling psychology).

If you have questions about which track is right for you, contact the PhD program director.

How do I apply?

Once you have determined the degree program that is right for you, begin the application process by creating a Widener Graduate Application account. Additional information about  the MEd and PhD programs, Financial AidApplication Deadlines, and Application Requirements is available elsewhere on the website. Most information can be found on our Admissions page. You can send an email to or call the CHSS office at (610) 499-1378. We would be more than happy to address any questions or concerns you might have.

How can I make myself a stronger applicant?

We examine applications holistically, considering several components—letters of recommendation, personal and professional goals statements, professional experience, etc.—to assess an applicant’s potential for success at CHSS. Because the PhD program is focused on sexuality research, applicants should discuss research goals and any relevant research experience, as well as demonstrating their potential to effectively communicate in both academic and applied settings.