International Humor Studies Program

Contact us at: [email protected]


Thank you for your interest in the Humor Academy. It is hoped this information will help answer your questions about the Academy. We encourage you to contact us with additional questions about this amazing program. We do hope you'll join us! 

What do I need to know about the Humor Academy program?

Program Overview

The Humor Academy was founded in 2010 by AATH (Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor) in collaboration with Humor Quest. The Humor Academy (HA) is a benefit open to AATH members who wish to 1) pursue a deeper understanding of therapeutic humor, 2) work toward a personal goal for further research or for therapeutic humor’s effective application, and 3) exhibit leadership in the field . Participants in the 3-year program are exposed to many of the best human and multi-media resources available, and enjoy the tremendous camaraderie and insights of others in this carefully planned, non-traditional, interdisciplinary group learning experience.

Humor Academy Purpose

The Humor Academy is a unique, engaging and enjoyable way to deepen one’s knowledge of Therapeutic Humor. The HA serves as a dynamic resource for the AATH community interested in the theory and scientific research that defines Therapeutic Humor and its applications in occupationally diverse fields. HA is an AATH member benefit created to further the mission of AATH in the study (Level I), practice (Level II) and promotion (Level III) of healthy humor and laughter.

Guiding Principles

  • Collaborative Learning Environment - AATH members bring valued perspectives to the class. Participants clarify, study and discuss issues related to humor therapy and its possible applications.
  • Research Based Instruction - Access to current humor/ laughter research and resources are shared in a variety of formats. Information is studied and discussed.
  • Inquiry Based Format - Participants gain knowledge and build the skills required to use what they have learned in theory and consider how to apply these skills in their respective fields.
  • Interdisciplinary Focus - Professional development is enhanced by learning about theoretical applications in a variety of occupations including, but not limited to medicine, health and wellness, business, education, mental health, spiritual leadership, performing arts, writing, speaking, and professional training.

Humor Academy Goals

  • Provide opportunities for networking and dialogue among those interested in healthy humor/laughter theory
  • Gather and share information on scientific research and applications
  • Promote positive and healthy humor
  • Encourage like-minded people, groups and organizations to join in promoting healthy humor
  • To discern between truth and fiction regarding the benefits of humor and laughter
  • Support AATH in its mission to be the recognized worldwide authority and primary membership organization or people with a common interest in applied and therapeutic humor

Humor Academy Structure

For all students, the Humor Academy study begins with a pre-conference day of classes and required attendance at the conference itself. Each level is a year-long program that culminates at the next conference.

Level I: Humor Studies Foundation: overview of the theory and research of humor practice
Level II: Application and Humor Practice: continued learning and culminating in a project demonstrating new research or research-based humor application
Level III: Leadership both in AATH and in the participant’s field: active demonstration of humor practice 
CHP Designation: Offered upon successful completion of all three levels of the Academy

Optional Continuing Education Units

AATH offers Continuing Education units for a minimal fee.  Those members who participate in the Academy program, who choose to pay this minimal fee, receive additional units beyond those offered to conference-only attendees.

Certification of Completion

Humor Academy participants will earn a Certificate upon successful completion at each Level. These certificates will be awarded at the AATH Annual Conference following the year of enrollment.

Graduation Requirements

  • All paperwork will be sent to an Academy Advisor and one of the Directors to be sure that requirements are met for graduation. If there are questions regarding completion, determination of eligibility for graduation will be made jointly by the study group advisor and program directors.
  • It is expected that participants attend the graduation ceremony. If a conflict arises special arrangements may be made to receive their certificate and receive recognition at a future conference.
  • If a person has an illness or an accepted reason for not completing the program, an option to re-enroll the following year may be granted by the Directors in order to complete the requirements.

What can I expect to learn?

Participant Outcomes

Participants will:

  • Develop a detailed knowledge of therapeutic humor’s definition (as well as definitions for related terminology), models, benefits, and ethical practices to their own growth and development and improve their own humor practice.
  • Learn about humor therapy applications in occupationally diverse fields.
  • Belong to a study group with occupationally diverse professionals who are interested in supporting each other and sharing experiences as they improve their humor practice and where they will discuss wide-ranging issues in the field.
  • Learn about current humor/laughter research via social media, journals and the AATH Humor Connection.
  • Review information about the emerging field of positive psychology and brain research.
  • Work with an advisor who will mentor and coach them in their plan for humor practice and skill development.
  • Become more involved in an AATH leadership role as they progress through the Humor Academy.

What does it cost?

Academy Enrollment fees are set yearly and are available on our website at  At this site, you will find rates for: Conference attendance, AATH Membership options, Humor Academy options, and Continuing Education units (CE).

Information about Enrollment Fees

  • Participants must pay the following fees: membership for AATH, registration fees for the Humor Academy, and registration for the AATH Conference
  • Participants are responsible for all travel expenses and meals not covered by the Academy or included for Conference attendees.
  • Participants must purchase a required text at each level.

(Note: Scholarships are offered each year. Information can be found at:

H.A. Registration Fees Include

  • Cost of pre-and post-Conference course sessions at the AATH Annual Conference.
  • Program advisement for the entire year.
  • Conference call - study group opportunities - minimum of eight per year
  • Webinars/teleconferences and social media programs
  • Networking lunch at the Annual Conference
  • Graduation ceremony/celebration upon completion of the year-long program
  • Acknowledgement of program completion in the AATH membership directory
  • Opportunities to meet new friends, network, and share in the FUN!
  • Humor Academy binder and updates

Specialized Conference Sessions

Humor Academy conference sessions are designed to meet the comprehensive goals of the Humor Academy and although most are found on the intensive Academy day prior to the start of the Conference, additional sessions are woven within the Conference activities that uniquely support each level. Humor Academy participants have paid for the coursework and have exclusive attendance rights for attendance at these sessions.

  • All HA participants, advisors and instructors will receive a ribbon to place on their name tag at the conference. This will entitle them to the luncheon, the Humor Academy exclusive education seminars.
  • Only Humor Academy participants will be allowed to attend the Academy's educational sessions with the exception of the Project Showcase and Poster Session. We encourage all conference attendees to attend and benefit from the knowledge shared by each Level II student, as a result of their humor-focused projects.
  • Humor Academy 3-year graduates may attend select sessions and the Thursday luncheon for an additional fee.
  • The Academy Graduation is a time of celebration that we open to all conference attendees so they can join the fun and help us celebrate and congratulate our Academy graduates.

What are the Humor Academy program requirements?

The Academy is all about you and what you want to accomplish - We focus on your goals and in turn, expect you to share and support AATH. We encourage you to seek, share and reap the benefits of humor as you explore it in your daily life and profession.

Basic Requirements - Levels I, II, & III

  • Maintain membership in AATH
  • Work with the advisor and instructors
  • Read text and supplemental materials
  • Attend/contribute to required number of study group conference call sessions. (Special arrangements can be made for international students.)
  • Share humor articles and knowledge
  • Submit a brief article, information, or media production for possible publication by AATH.
  • Post to an AATH or Humor Academy social media sites
  • Serve on one AATH committee
  • Provide feedback at the end of the course
  • Follow the AATH Code of Ethics

Additional Requirements

Level I

Attend the wrap-up session prior to the end of the conference to meet with study-team members, advisors and instructor to review the highlights of the conference, set the first monthly study-team call and design personal goals for the year.

  • Submit a monthly Journal to the advisor and directors.
  • Participate in at least 8 monthly group conference calls.

Level II

Attend the wrap-up session prior to the end of the conference to meet with study-team members, advisors, and directors to set the first study-team meeting and review ideas from the Academy and conference presentations that might develop into a Level II project.

  • Prior to the conference, follow the Instructor's direction to complete a Strengths Survey.
  • Throughout the year of study, follow the guidelines/timelines for submitting Level II project description, PowerPoint and poster information for presentation at the next annual Conference.
  • Maintain a supportive working relationship with a project mentor.
  • Locate resources related to your project: summarize interviews, current research or programs related to your project. 
  • Participate in at least 8 monthly group conference calls

Level III

Attend the wrap-up session prior to the end of the conference to meet with instructor and directors to review the highlights of the conference and set the first monthly study-team call.  Teamwork and leadership development are a key component of Level III.  Consideration of the following should be given for personal growth and leadership development.

  • Study the use of humor strategies in leadership
  • Assume a leadership role in AATH during the year
  • Participate in at least 8 monthly group conference calls
  • Participate in Webinars and career growth discussions

How does the Humor Academy support each participant?

During the Thursday session, all Level I students complete an application. It is here that they define their broad goals of learning - What they are interested in, what their aspirations for using humor might be, and in general, why they chose to attend - what they hope to achieve.

This begins the process of helping students discover how they might wish to develop humor into practice. It is designed to help identify how they might wish to target their learning and utilize humor strategies within leadership opportunities. The Level II Project serves to promotes the development of projects that are unique to the individual.

Throughout the Academy day, during the Conferences and the year that follows in their coursework, the students will be exposed to instructors, speakers and research that will build a background of humor. When they read, they will focus on how the research will support their personal goals. Humor will begin to be at the forefront of their thinking. Real life experiences will support their own application of humor.

Participants will have ongoing opportunities to demonstrate learning:

  • Submit a proposal for a breakout or poster session
  • Write an article for the Humor Connection or Voice
  • Take notes at a conference call study group session
  • Email their advisor about their humor practice
  • Serve as a Volunteer for AATH

What is a Certified Humor Professional?

Once Level III is completed, each graduate will be recognized as an honored Humor Academy Graduate. Our graduates will always hold a special place in the collective AATH “heart” for their invaluable contributions to our professional organization. It is a great accomplishment to have completed the three-year course of study and as such, their continued service is appreciated.

Certified Humor Professional - Designation

Successful graduates of the Humor Academy may apply for the distinguished Certified Humor Professional designation. This designation is offered to those graduates who wish to demonstrate their Academy experience through professional service. Continued learning, service and membership in AATH will be required for renewal of this honored title.

CHP Designation Process


What do participants say about the program?

The following paragraphs were submitted by Level I participants within their monthly journals. The journals are reflective of the individual and how the Academy humor studies support their personal growth and goals.

I continue to keep my humor conscience alive and well via AATH and the Humor Academy - Level 1. My interactions with fellow participants help me practice the positive power of humor and creativity. Thank goodness there is so much research available on the positive power of therapeutic humor. The positive benefits of humor apply to the giver as well as the receiver. I find that when I work with our dynamic HA Level 1 students and listen to their goals and enthusiasm I am exhilarated and re-enthused. It’s such a thrill to be in on the ground floor of a field that has been steadily evolving for over 25 years! - B.L.

As I learned about the Theories of Laughter, some laugh because they have a sense of superiority over others; like through the use of sarcasm, or when one person out of the group doesn’t get the joke.  Suddenly that’s funnier than the joke itself!  Incongruity theory suggests that we laugh because we find the situation or punch-line (of the joke) to be incongruent with what we expected. Whatever the cause or root of laughter, I certainly know that I enjoy it even more, thanks to the Humor Academy. - C.C.

Humor is a Practice - A doctor’s business is called a 'practice'. Those who meditate call it a 'practice'. Kids 'practice' sports after school. Humor, too, is a 'practice'. It is something I must work on because things get in the way and try to distract me... I’ve learned that I've got to 'practice' finding the humor. I’ll be able to contribute more to this world trying to focus on the positive side of life rather than being pulled down by the negative side. Staying present and writing down the funny things that happen helps me 'practice'. To recap - Negativity is out there, humor can be used as a way to counteract the negative, and humor is a practice that I must focus on daily. Writing my Level I Journal helps me keep this focus. - K.C.

Following the AATH Conference, I connected with one of the Keynote speakers and she invited me to meet with her...We talked a lot about many things, including my business and how to grow it. I also attended her talk at an opening session for teachers at a nearby school district. She agreed to be my mentor and she takes that job seriously! She gave me homework, challenged me to gain more focus and quit speaking on fluff! No nonsense, personalized help! I'm grateful. - G.O.