LGBT Human Services and Mental Health Certificate

Offered online to CSPP students, the LGBT Human Services and Mental Health Certificate is designed to meet the growing need for behavioral health professionals to develop competencies in working with lesbian, gay male, bisexual and transgender individuals, couples and families. The certificate focuses on multicultural competencies specific to the intersecting identities of LGBT clients, historical and cultural influences impacting LGBT clients, and best practices for assessing and addressing issues in LGBT mental health.

The certificate provides courses that address competencies recommended by the American Psychological Association’s ethical guidelines for the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations. They are offered online to students in all CSPP programs and on all Alliant campuses, and may be taken individually or as part of the certificate. Required certificate courses are offered annually and electives are offered at least once every two to three years. The certificate offers Alliant students the unique opportunity to take courses from national and international experts on LGBT psychology who may not teach on their campus. Instructors are either Fellows of the Rockway Institute who are Core Faculty in one of Alliant programs, or other national and international experts in LGBT psychology invited to teach for our students. In some courses, 2-4 different instructors work together to guide students through the ever-growing literature on LGBT psychology, and to help them develop the competencies they need to effectively serve LGBT communities.

Students pursuing the certificate are required to take the Foundations of LGBT Mental Health Course. The remaining required units are divided into two Groups: Advanced Study Courses (where issues impacting one group within the LGBT community are explored in more depth) and LGBT Electives (which focus on a specific are of practice and topic within the broader LGBT literature). Students are required to take at least one Advanced Study Course, at least two LGBT Electives, and a two-semester practice sequence involving direct service provision. Additional Courses may be taken from either group to round out the 12-unit requirement. The philosophy behind this distribution is based upon the student’s preference for breadth versus depth. For example, some students may choose to take the Foundations Course (which surveys issues that impact all communities within the LGBT umbrella), the Advanced Study in Transgender Issues Course (which gives them more in-depth knowledge about the transgender community over all others), and two LGBT Electives focusing on issues related to couples and families, and lifespan development. This assures minimal competence with all LGBT groups, while allowing students to tailor the curriculum to their interests.

The certificate is awarded when the student completes 12 units of the coursework during their graduate matriculation.

LGBT Human Services and Mental Health Certificate Curriculum

Required Courses

All students completing the certificate must take the following courses:

  • PSY 8500 Foundations of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Mental Health (3 units)
  • PSY 8515 – Professional Application of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues (2 units required unless waived)

Advanced Study Courses

At least one of these Advanced Study Courses is required:

  • PSY 7630 Advanced Study of Bisexual Issues (2 units)
  • PSY 8500 Advanced Study of Transgender Issues (3 units)
  • PSY 8500 Advanced Study of Lesbian Issues (2 units)
  • PSY 8500 Advanced Study of Gay Male Issues (2 units)

LGBT Electives

At least four units must be taken from the following:

  • PSY 7610-50 LGBT Couples and Families (2 or 3 units*)
  • PSY 7605 LGBT-Affirmative Substance Abuse Treatment (2 or 3 units*)
  • PSY 8600 Intersection of Identities within the LGBT Population (2 or 3 units*)
  • PSY 8500 LGBT Issues in the Workplace (2 or 3 units*)
  • LGBT Lifespan Development (2 or 3 units*)
  • LGBT Affirmative Psychotherapy (2 or 3 units*)
  • LGBT Issues in Education (Pre-K through High School) (2 or 3 units*)
  • LGBT Health and Medical Issues (2 or 3 units*)
  • LGBT Issues in Higher Education (Colleges and Universities) (2 or 3 units*)
  • LGBT Legal and Forensic Issues (2 or 3 units*)
  • LGBT Public Policy/Advocacy (Local, State, National, and International Levels) (2 or 3 units*)

*Electives can be taken as 2-unit or 3-unit courses, depending on the student’s program curriculum and other individual needs.

In order to complete the certificate, students may need to enroll for more than the required number of units for their degree-granting program and this could add time to their matriculation at CSPP/Alliant.

Students interested in the certificate should consult with their Program Director and Academic Advisor about the effect of the certificate on their entire program of study. For inquiries about the certificate, contact Dr. Cristina Magalhaes at

For more information on the prerequisites and courses for this program, please refer to the academic catalog.