Jun 13, 2024  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog [FINAL EDITION]

Human Sexuality, PhD

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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) students bring previous graduate study in a wide variety of fields, primarily in the social sciences, social work, marriage and family therapy, or counseling psychology. Many are mid-career professionals who are already practicing as sexuality educators, counselors, or therapists.

The PhD Program in Human Sexuality Studies involves completing the MEd in human sexuality studies as part of doctoral curriculum.

Doctoral students can pursue one of four tracks for the MEd portion of their coursework: sex therapy, sex education, non-profit management, and public policy. Students must hold a licensable mental health degree to pursue the sex therapy track.

This program is ideal for those interested in conducting empirical research and contributing to sexuality scholarship. The PhD in human sexuality places emphasis on research design and methodology.

Transfer Credit

Transfer credit will be considered on an individual basis. This decision will be made after the time of admission, by a student’s academic advisor. A decision to award transfer credit will be based on the recency and similarity of courses required by a program of study. A grade of A, B, or Pass is required for transfer credit. All decisions regarding transfer credit rest with the Center for Human Sexuality Studies faculty. Courses can only be approved for transfer credit by a faculty member who teaches that course following a syllabus review. The maximum amount of transfer credits is 12.


Upon successful completion of all coursework with a grade of B or better, students can enroll in HSED 901 , the first of the dissertation courses. The sequence of subsequent courses should be as follows: HSED 902  (3 credits), HSED 910  (3 credits), HSED 920  (3 credits). If a student has not defended the dissertation proposal in HSED 902 , then the student must register for HSED 903  each semester until the proposal has been accepted. Doctoral candidacy occurs upon successful defense of the dissertation proposal. After proposal defense, candidates register for HSED 910 , then HSED 920 . If the dissertation has not been completed at the end of HSED 920, then the candidate must register for 3 credit hours of HSED 930  each succeeding semester. Candidates may register for HSED 903  and HSED 930  a maximum of two semesters each. Students who have not successfully defended their proposal or dissertation must petition the PhD program director to register for additional semesters of either course. Students must complete their doctoral dissertations within five years of completing doctoral coursework.

The scope of the dissertation project must be such that it will contribute to improved practice or theoretical understanding within the field. 

Degree Requirements

The minimum requirements for the doctoral degree are the completion of 81-84 semester hours of graduate credit (depending on track), which includes completion of the doctoral dissertation. After passing all required coursework, the student may begin the doctoral dissertation. The doctoral dissertation phase includes a minimum of 18 credit hours of dissertation seminar and dissertation research related to the dissertation activity. Please note that a waiver of any requirement for the degree must be approved in writing by the student’s academic advisor and the director of the Center for Human Sexuality Studies. All degree requirements must be completed within ten years of the start date. Dissertation work must be completed within five years of completing all coursework.


Electives (9 Credits)

Electives can be taken from courses offered across the university. Electives taken that do not have the HSED prefix must be approved by the student’s advisor

Practicum (3-6 Credits)

Students must meet with the coordinator of field experience to determine the appropriate practicum depending on their needs, interests, and goals.

Total Credits: 81-84 (depending on track)

* Required courses for the sexuality education track.

Required courses for the sex therapy track

^Required courses for the public policy and non-profit management tracks

The program of study that appears here applies to students who were admitted for the summer session of this catalog year and later.  Students admitted prior to that term should select the appropriate catalog year of their admission.  Choose previous catalogs from the Home, Graduate, or Undergraduate Catalog Page at http://Catalog.widener.edu.

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