FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

If you have questions about the program or want to talk more about whether it’s a good fit for you, please contact Margo Gray (graym@umn.edu), academic advisor for the HSEX program.

The HSEX courses are nonclinical, designed to be accessible for students interested in health, wellness, social science, education, and culture. Nurses, pharmacists, therapists, educators, advocates, and many others have taken these courses. The final project in each course is flexible in order to allow students to focus on their own area of professional interest.

Our online courses are delivered through an online system called Canvas. Once you’re admitted to the HSEX program, you are invited to attend a virtual orientation that includes an introduction to using Canvas. There are also extensive resources within the course to introduce new users to classroom tools such as discussion boards, online readings, and video recordings. The University of Minnesota IT Help Desk is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for immediate technology help. There will be a learning curve as you begin your first online course, but once you’ve mastered the tools, you’ll use those same skills on all of your future courses. 

HSEX courses are asynchronous, which means you’re not required to be present online at specific times each week. You'll interact with your instructor and classmates through recorded videos, discussion boards, and peer review of written work. You’ll also receive written or recorded feedback from the instructor on your assignments. Your instructors are available by email and phone, and you will schedule a one-on-one virtual meeting with them at least once during each course.

Our students are a diverse group, ranging in age from those recently graduated from a bachelor’s program to those who’ve been in the workforce for many years. Some folks are new to the field of human sexuality, while others already have experience. The courses are structured so that you can approach the material from where you are and focus your work on areas that apply to your career interests. People from very different backgrounds have been successful in these courses.

HSEX classes are fast paced and require an independent work ethic. The 7-week course format means that a semester’s worth of class is compressed into a shorter time period. Assignments are structured so they're due on different days rather than all at once. There is also flexibility to work ahead, which some students do to accommodate other personal or professional responsibilities. Our students report spending 7−9 hours each week on their courses.

The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) is a not-for-profit, interdisciplinary professional organization devoted to the promotion of sexual health by the development and advancement of the fields of sexual therapy, counseling, and education. AASECT's mission is the advancement of the highest standards of professional practice for educators, counselors and therapists. The University of Minnesota’s HSEX Certificate fulfills some of the requirements for AASECT certification. 

The HSEX program partially fulfills requirements for becoming an AASECT Certified Sexuality Educator or Sexuality Counselor. Both require 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 eLearning. Your HSEX courses can fulfill select requirements in those Core Knowledge areas. 

Visit the AASECT website to learn more. 

Yes! We have had several students use the certificate as a supplement to their other graduate work. For example, if your home university does not offer courses in human sexuality, the HSEX Certificate may be a good solution for earning an additional credential remotely. University of Minnesota students in various programs have also taken the Human Sexuality Certificate courses as an alternative to a graduate minor. 

The Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy (MBBHT) is the final authority on what fulfills these requirements. However, in the past we have had students use three of the four HSEX courses (9 credits) towards these requirements. We’ve also allowed students to substitute their fourth HSEX course (3 credits) with an approved alternative that satisfies MBBHT criteria and is relevant to the human sexuality field. If you’re interested in using the HSEX Certificate to fulfill LPC or LPCC requirements, please contact an advisor for more information. 

Anyone pursuing a career in education, health care, health care administration, wellness, or direct service would benefit from a deeper understanding of human sexuality. Some examples of jobs you might pursue include teaching adults or youth; providing outreach and education in community-based, health care, corporate, and faith-based settings; or providing coaching or one-on-one client education sessions.

This certificate can also complement your existing work in health care (pharmacists, physicians, nursing home administrators, nurses, physician assistants, etc.); education (K−12 teachers, school counselors, faith-based education providers, etc.); wellness (coaches, consultants, etc.); mental health (therapists, crisis counselors, psychiatric nurses, etc.); direct service (social workers, youth outreach workers, etc.); policy (activists, lobbyists, lawmakers, etc.), and so on.

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. 

Yes! If you’d like to try out a course to see what it’s like or want to get started before the next admissions cycle, you can enroll as a nondegree student for graduate credit. That course may then be applied to your HSEX Certificate requirements. However, we cannot retroactively confer a certificate to students who take all the courses without applying to the certificate. To enroll in a course as a nondegree student, contact an advisor.

You won’t be able to address all or even most of the questions below, but hopefully they will get you thinking about what you want to say. The admission committee is looking for a sense of who you are, how you would benefit from this program, and if you seem likely to be successful in your courses.

  • Why are you interested in getting the certificate?
  • Why are you interested in studying human sexuality?
  • What are your professional goals? What will these courses allow you to do that you can’t do now? 
  • What knowledge are you lacking now that you particularly want to gain?
  • Did you or are you considering other career paths, and if so, what made you decide on this one?
  • Is this a career change for you, and if so, what brought you to the decision to change paths?

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 leadership 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.

Letters of recommendation are always optional. They’re an additional way to share your story with the admission panel, but not submitting letters of recommendation will not decrease your chances of admission.