We promote the integration of knowledge and professional practice in child development and family studies.

Your Training

You are enabled to gain and to demonstrate competence in acquiring, integrating, and applying:

  1. Substantive and theoretical knowledge of both child and family development.
  2. Knowledge of and skills for conducting research on individual and family development and behavior.
  3. Skills for engaging with individuals, families and other professionals in processes that prevent or solve problems and promote competence and well-being.

To accomplish these goals, both formal course work and practicum experiences in research, teaching, and service are required. These are described in the doctoral handbook.


Students with a master's degree in HDFS or related area can apply for admission to our doctoral program. Most students who enter the Ph.D. program with a master's degree complete the doctoral program in 3-4 years.

We also offer admission to our doctoral program to excellent applicants who have a B.S. in HDFS or related area.  Students who apply for the Accelerated MS to PhD program have excellent GPA and GRE scores, stellar letters of recommendation, some research experience at the undergraduate level, and a clearly articulated goal to obtain a Ph.D. These students are required to complete the master's degree within two years of admission.  Most students entering the Ph.D. program with a bachelor's degree complete the doctorate in 5 years.