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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.


We also offer a Ph.D. with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Recent Employers

Name Graduation Year Position

Current Employer

Liu, Sihong 2020 Postdoctoral Fellow University of Oregon OR
Anderson, Leslie (MFT) 2020 Assistant Professor, School of Child and Family Sciences University of Southern Mississippi MS
Karlsen, Annika  2020

Assistant Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy 

Converse College in South Carolina SC
Duprey, Erinn 2019 Postdoctoral Fellow University of Rochester-Medical School and Mt. Hope Family Center NY
Armes, Stephanie (MFT) 2019 Assistant Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy; Director of Internship Seattle Pacific University WA
Oed, Megan (MFT) 2018 Professor of Human Services Ivy Tech Community College IN
Richardson, Shaquinta (MFT) 2018

Assistant Professor and Clinical Director of Marriage and Family Therapy Program

Converse SC
Ross, Donald (MFT) 2017 Assistant Professor University of Kentucky KY
Spivey Young, Savannah 2016 Ethnographic Researcher Point Forward, Inc CA
Mallette, Jacquelyn 2016 Assistant Professor East Carolina University NC
  1. HDFS Doctoral Timeline

    Advisory Committee: Connect with a temporary advisor, decide on a primary mentor/advisor, and select Advisory Committee

  2. 2nd Year Project Due

  3. Direct to PhD

    Apply for MS graduation (due early Spring), submit MS Program of Study, submit Announcement of MS Thesis Defense two weeks before exam, submit MS portfolio with Portfolio Approval form, submit MS Approval of Thesis and Oral Exam, submit Electronic Dissertation (ETD)

  4. Comprehensive Exam

    Submit Program of Study and Announcement of Doctoral Exam, due two weeks before Oral Comp Exam. Complete Advance to Candidacy form once Comp is passed.

  5. Prospectus

    Decide on Prospectus (at least 4 months before defense) Prospectus/Proposal

  6. Portfolio

    Submit portfolio to Graduate Coordinator Assistant, Portfolio Approval Form

  7. Dissertation Defense

    Submit Format Check. Announcement of Doctoral defense, due two weeks before Defense. Submit PhD Approval form for Doctoral Dissertation and Final Exam in Grad Status. Submit Electronic Dissertation (ETD) in Grad Status

  8. Graduation

    Apply to Graduate in Athena the semester before you plan to graduate

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