Why Earn a Human Sexuality Certificate?

For working counselors and clinicians, the Human Sexuality (HSEX) certificate provides the latest research and insights to your practice. For educators and advocates, this program will add specialized knowledge to your toolkit.

We’re bringing much needed human sexuality education to a wider professional audience. Our HSEX certificate is:

  • Applicable. You’ll learn from experts who are currently working at the cutting edge of this field.
  • Accessible. You can take the human sexuality certificate online over one academic year. Take courses that may not be offered at your home university or in your country. 
  • In-demand. Human sexuality courses are often left out of standard training for many related jobs.
  • A career booster. You can earn a promotion or specialize your practice with expertise in this area.

What Is a Stackable Credential?

This certificate, stacked with either the Sex Therapy Certificate or Transgender and Gender-Diverse Health Certificate, can be applied toward the Master of Professional Studies in Sexual Health degree. Watch the video to learn more.

Careers in Human Sexuality

Some jobs our graduates may hold include:*

  • Health Educators
  • Social Services Specialists
  • Registered Nurse
  • Counselors
  • Community Health Specialist
  • Community Managers
  • Program Manager
  • Youth Services Coordinator

* Burning Glass Technologies: Labor Insights™, accessed 8/13/21

AASECT Certification

The Human Sexuality certificate was developed in partnership with the Institute for Sexual and Gender Health in the University of Minnesota Medical School. Each HSEX course is approved by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) for up to 35 CE credits. These CE credits may be applied toward AASECT certification and renewal of certification. Completion of this program does not guarantee AASECT certification. For more information, contact [email protected].

Please note that certificate students are not eligible for federal financial aid. Students pursuing AASECT certification should plan to finance AASECT requirements on their own.

HSEX Courses

The Human Sexuality certificate consists of 12 credits of online coursework. Maintain a 2.8 cumulative GPA for all degree coursework to remain in good standing.

Required Courses (12 credits)


Human Sexuality faculty are experienced professionals working in the fields of sexuality and gender research, therapy, education, and policy.

Meet the Faculty


Fall Application Deadline: March 15
Spring Application Deadline: October 1

We strive to be fair in the admissions process. Our program thrives when we have students from different backgrounds and cultural experiences. The admissions committee completes a holistic review of all required application materials to ensure that you will be successful in the program. We do not require standardized test scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).

You will receive an admission decision four to six weeks after the application deadline. Learn more about the application process in the video below. If you have questions about admission requirements, or would like advice on how to gather your application materials, please contact admissions advisor Steve Wicks.

Read video transcript here.

Admission Requirements

We welcome applications from students who have:

  • a bachelor's degree from an accredited post-secondary US institution or its international equivalent
  • an undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.00*

* If your GPA is lower than 3.00, please provide an explanation in the extenuating circumstances part of your professional statement.

Important Note
If you have finished or are currently admitted to the MPS in Sexual Health, or one or more of the sexual and gender health certificates, please contact academic advisor Margo Gray ([email protected]). It may be possible to reuse some of your application materials.

If you're ready to take the next step, visit the Sexual Health Programs Application Instructions page for details on how to submit each piece of your application.

Admissions Advising

Program advisor Steve Wicks is happy to answer your questions about the Human Sexuality program and the application process.


Or you can give Steve a call at 612-301-6127.

Do you have a more detailed question or want to tell us a little bit about yourself before the meeting? Fill out this brief questionnaire.

Frequently Asked Questions

Find out more in our sexual and gender health programs general FAQs.

Human sexuality refers to the ways in which people express and experience intimacy and attraction to others. It includes sexual behaviors, thoughts, and feelings, as well as physical, emotional, and sexual attraction. Human sexuality has multiple aspects or dimensions, including sociocultural, biological, spiritual, relational, ethical, and psychological. While human sexuality is personal for everyone, there are common aspects of it that students can learn about in order to gain a better understanding of human nature.

Human sexuality plays an important role in our lives and in our society. Sexuality can affect how people treat each other and how they maintain their own intimate personal space. A deeper understanding of human sexuality can help people make informed decisions in their personal lives and careers. Earning a credential in human sexuality helps professionals learn how it can affect people’s physical and mental health and well-being. When applied in the health care field, this can lead to better outcomes for those with physical conditions or mental health problems related to sexual health.

See also our short video with Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Kristen Mark.

As part of the Human Sexuality certificate program at the University of Minnesota, students will complete courses covering the foundations of human sexuality, such as sexuality across the lifespan, history, cultures, biology, and more. Other required courses in this certificate program include sexual pleasure and intimacy, policy in human sexuality, and perspectives and practices in sexual health education. Policy in human sexuality covers national and international policies related to sexuality and gender, while the perspectives and practices in a sexual health education course teach about the history of, and issues related to, sexual education in the United States.

Human sexuality classes teach those working in related fields how to help people connect with themselves and with others. Kiana Hernandez, a Human Sexuality certificate student, says, "my passion is helping people know themselves and find this love within so they can share their energy with their partner(s)."

Therapists can use this training when working in marriage or couples counseling. Physicians can use this knowledge when creating a treatment plan for certain medical conditions. Sergei Lenskii, MD and PhD, sees this certificate program as “an opportunity to gain a comprehensive understanding of human sexuality on a modern scientific basis, without medical, religious, cultural, political, and other biases.”

CCAPS offer a master's degree in sexual health, a sex therapy certificate, and a transgender health certificate. Consult this table to find out which one matches your career goals.

The HSEX program partially fulfills requirements for becoming an AASECT Certified Sexuality Educator, Counselor, or Therapist. Each of these three certifications requires a minimum of 90 clock hours of academic coursework in sexuality education, covering specific core knowledge areas. Of the 90 clock hours of Core Knowledge, 75 hours may be earned through asynchronous online learning, and 15 must be taken in-person or through synchronous online learning. Your HSEX courses can fulfill select requirements in those Core Knowledge areas. Completion of this program does not guarantee AASECT certification. Visit the AASECT website to learn more.

Certificate students are not eligible for federal financial aid but may have other options for funding. For example, SELF loans are low-interest, long-term student loans available exclusively to students taking courses online or in person at Minnesota institutions. In addition, the University recommends FASTChoice as a tool to explore private loan possibilities. You may also look into the University’s payment plan options to spread payments throughout the semester. Most domestic students are eligible to apply for need-based scholarships specific to the College. Also see the main financial aid page and select “Graduate Certificate Students” for more information.

Students pursuing AASECT certification should plan to finance AASECT requirements on their own.

Note: If you’re considering applying for the MPS in Sexual Health in addition to the certificate, keep in mind that only master’s degree students are eligible for federal financial aid.

Letters of recommendation are an additional way to share your story with the admission panel, but not submitting letters of recommendation will not decrease your chances of admission. If you’re concerned that some areas of your application are not particularly strong, you may want to include a letter of recommendation that supports that area of your application. For example, if you feel that your resume doesn’t show the extent of your professional experience, you might ask a supervisor of a recent volunteer position to write a letter of recommendation about the impact you’ve made in their organization.

If your grades are below the 3.0 requirement, you will need to submit an extenuating circumstances statement describing why you feel you can succeed in the program. In addition, you may want to include a letter of recommendation from someone, such as a former professor, who can speak to your writing and research abilities and potential for academic success. Read more about graduate admission to CCAPS.

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