Why Earn a Degree in Sexual Health?

Good sexual health is a necessary part of our overall health. And everyone deserves to have access to clinicians, counselors, therapists, and educators who have expertise in human sexuality.

You can become one of those experts with a master’s degree in sexual health. The more health care providers and professionals like you who have up-to-date knowledge, the healthier–and happier–your clients can become.

The University of Minnesota’s sexual health master’s program is:

  • Authoritative. It was developed in partnership with the Institute for Sexual and Gender Health in the University of Minnesota Medical School. 
  • Stackable. You can earn three career-advancing credentials: two stackable graduate certificates and one master's degree.
  • Comprehensive. We look at sexual health from every angle–personal, sociocultural, and biological.
  • Relevant. Coursework counts toward American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) certification.
  • Welcoming. CCAPS is one of the most diverse and inclusive colleges on campus.

Why the Study of Sexual Health Is So Important

Read the video transcript.

Which Program Is Right for Me?

Are you wondering if you should apply for the Sexual Health degree, the Human Sexuality Certificate, the Sex Therapy Certificate, or the Transgender and Gender-Diverse Health Certificate? Here is a convenient table to help you.

  MPS in Sexual Health Human Sexuality Certificate Sex Therapy Certificate Transgender Health Certificate
Licensure requirement No additional licensure needed No additional licensure needed Meant to be paired with licensure (LADC, LPCC, LP, LICSW, etc.) No additional licensure needed

Aspiring and current sex educators, advocates, practitioners, allied health professionals

Aspiring and current sex educators, advocates, practitioners, allied health professionals

Health practitioners, especially therapists, counselors, and social workers

Aspiring and current sex educators, advocates, practitioners, allied health professionals

AASECT certification

Fulfills up to 75 hours of Core Knowledge Areas, may fulfill some training requirements for Sex Educator or Sex Therapy certification based on track

Fulfills up to 75 hours of Core Knowledge Areas, may fulfill some training requirements for Sex Educator certification

Fulfills up to 30 hours of sex therapy certification training requirement, as well as some Core Knowledge Area hours

May fulfill some Core Knowledge Area requirements

Federal financial aid eligibility Yes No No No
Credits 30 12 12 12
Average time to complete (full time/part time) 2 years/4 years 1 year/2 years 1 year/2 years 1 year/2 years


Stack Your Credentials

Our master’s degree in sexuality is unique in that it is actually made up of three credentials in one: two certificates and one master’s degree. You can watch the video to learn more.

Six Elective Credits equals


Six Elective Credits

Graduation Cap and Scroll


Master of Professional Studies in Sexual Health


This degree consists of two stackable graduate-level certificates and six credits of elective coursework that serve to support your professional interests. You can choose to earn the individual certificates and the master’s degree or just the master's degree. In order to earn all three credentials, you must apply to each program.

Core Certificate (12 credits)

Core Certificate – 12 cr

Human Sexuality Certificate

Students choose one of the following tracks:

Track A – 12 cr

Sex Therapy (certificate available)

Track B – 12 cr

Transgender and Gender-Diverse Health (certificate available)

Track C – 12 cr

Self-Designed Track: A personalized selection of courses from available HSEX offerings focused on professional goals

Elective Courses – 6 cr
Students choose six credits of elective coursework in consultation with their advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies.
Total: 30 credits

Career Outlook

  • 146%
    Predicted job growth over the next two years*

* Lightcast™, accessed 08/23/22


AASECT Certification

Each HSex course is approved by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) for 35 CE credits. These CE credits may be applied toward AASECT certification and renewal of certification. Completion of this program does not ensure or guarantee AASECT certification. For further information on AASECT certification, please contact info@aasect.org.


MPS in Sexual Health faculty are experienced professionals working in the fields of sexuality and gender research, therapy, education, and policy.

Meet the Faculty

Admissions Advising

Graduate enrollment advisor Steve Wicks is happy to answer your questions about the Sexual Health program and the application procedure.


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.


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 Steve Wicks.

Read the 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*
  • a commitment to the field of human sexuality through previous education and experience

* If you have a GPA 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 Human Sexuality (HSEX) Certificate, please contact academic advisor Margo Gray (graym@umn.edu). 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

Sexual health refers to a state of physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being in relation to sexuality. It includes a variety of different topics, such as sexual activity, reproductive health, intimacy and pleasure, gender identity, and sexual orientation and expression. Maintaining good sexual health requires knowledge and understanding of these topics.

Sexual health is an important part of overall physical and mental health. It’s a measure of our well-being and how we feel about our bodies, relationships, identities, and sexual experiences. Good sexual health means being able to enjoy our sexuality in a safe, positive, and healthy way. Our sexual health is affected by a variety of factors, including our physical and emotional health, relationships, and access to sexual health care. It’s important to have health care professionals, counselors, and educators who we can trust and who have solid sexual health training and knowledge.

Practitioners interested in AASECT certification or new sexual health professionals would be great candidates for the UMN CCAPS master’s degree in sexual health. The program consists of two certificates (one core and one elective) plus six elective credits. If you’re interested in earning all three credentials (the core certificate, elective certificate, and the master’s), apply to each one separately. Or you can just apply to the master’s degree by itself. To learn more about how this works, watch this short video on stackable credentials.

No. This degree is designed to be useful for professionals and aspiring professionals in many different roles and fields, including counseling, psychology, nursing, public health, and more. If you do not plan to pursue therapy as a career, we recommend choosing a track other than the Sex Therapy track for your required courses. The Sex Therapy certificate is geared toward licensed practitioners (or those currently pursuing licensure); the certificate or MPSSH on their own do not confer licensure.

A degree in sexual health can prepare students for a variety of careers in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. The skills learned in a sexual health program can be used to work in clinical settings, conduct research, develop education and prevention programs, or advocate for policy change. Sexual health experts may also work as consultants to businesses or organizations, providing advice on how to create a safe and healthy workplace for employees. Additionally, many sexual health educators work in schools or community centers, teaching people of all ages about consent, communication, and other key aspects of healthy relationships.

Possible job titles include:

  • Sex Educator
  • Sexual Health Advocate
  • Sexual Health Practitioners
  • Allied Health Professional
  • Sex Therapist or Counselor
  • Social Worker

Read more about what you can do with a degree in sexual health in the general FAQ.

A sexual health course can provide invaluable information that covers a broad range of topics, including cultural, historical, and social aspects of sexuality; transgender health; sexual relationships; sexual trauma; and policies related to sexual health, gender, and sexuality. You could also study sexuality throughout the lifespan and issues related to sex education.

Current and aspiring professionals such as sexual health educators, social workers, and allied health professionals would especially benefit from courses in sexual health. Each course in the UMN CCAPS program is approved by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) for 35 continuing education hours. If you would be able to better help those you serve in your career, these courses would be an excellent fit for you.

Read more about the who might benefit from sexual courses in the general FAQ.

Yes, Sexual Health is a master’s degree program, and therefore admitted students may be eligible for federal financial aid.

You can take any HSEX course that isn’t required for your degree track. With prior approval from the Director of Graduate Studies, you may also be able to take online courses in other programs at the University.

Students in the MPS in Sexual Health must take all the courses in the Human Sexuality Certificate. You will also choose a track in sex therapy or transgender health, or a self-designed track. Earning the actual certificate that corresponds to these courses is optional and requires a separate application. You may want to apply for a certificate in addition to the MPS for some of the following reasons:

  • A professional credential will be useful to you currently in your career.
  • You want a certificate on your resume before you finish the MPS.
  • A certificate may be required in your field.

A certificate cannot be conferred retroactively, after you’ve finished the courses that belong to the certificate. If you think you will want a certificate, you should apply before you begin taking courses for that certificate.

CCAPS Graduate Education programs do not provide living stipends, research assistantships, or teaching assistantships as might be expected in a typical PhD program.

  • US based students: CCAPS offers modest financial need-based scholarships to eligible students, and a limited number of merit-based scholarships. However, in most cases students work while going to school in order to cover living expenses and pay tuition out of pocket, including health insurance. 
  • International students: Are not eligible for federal financial aid or CCAPS scholarships and must show financial evidence showing that they can cover tuition, living expenses, and the Student Health Benefit plan health insurance during their period of study. To learn more about planning for these expenses, visit Plan Your Expenses or make an appointment with International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS).

Request Program Information

Do you want to receive:

  • snapshots of how other students put their education to work on the job?
  • ideas about how to fund your program?
  • career-boosting tips and inspiration?
  • stories about key faculty?
  • highlights on core courses?
  • generally interesting news about the program?

You can sign up for periodic updates here and we'll deliver these and more right to your inbox.