School of Health and Human Sciences

Thank you for your interest in the Human Development and Family Studies Graduate Program at UNCG. Our program has been consistently ranked as the top HDFS Graduate program in North Carolina, the Southeast, and among the top 5 (out of 50 HDFS doctoral programs) in the United States.

Rankings are based on the quantity and quality of faculty research, federal grants to support faculty research, and job placement of PhD graduates—all important features of a successful doctoral program. Please take a moment to scroll and click through the photos above to learn more about the graduate faculty who are accepting students for the MS and PhD program. We hope you consider applying!

Human Development and Family Studies at UNCG focuses on the intersection of human development, family processes, and socio-cultural context.  A defining focus of our program is an emphasis on understanding development and family relationships in socio-cultural context and the application of strength-based approaches to the study of diverse children and families.

Most faculty and graduate students focus their teaching and research in one or more of the following core areas:

  1. Early Childhood Development, Care, and Education,
  2. Parent-child Relationships,
  3. Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood,
  4. Close Relationships, Marriage, and Divorce, and
  5. Human Development and Family Diversity in Socio-cultural Context.

PhD students are trained in cutting-edge research methods in HDFS to support their substantive research interests across one or more specialization areas including:

  • Human Development,
  • Family Science,
  • Early Care and Education, and
  • Socio-cultural Context.

PhD students also complete an HDFS Teaching Practicum series that provides professional training and skill development in college instruction that supports a competitive application post-graduation.  The HDFS doctoral program has a consistent 100% job placement rate for PhD graduates, and our alumni go on to do impactful work across the country and globe.

For more information, please contact Michael Kerley the HDFS Graduate Program Administrative Assistant at (336) 334-5307 or email

Dr. Heather Helms, the HDFS Graduate Program Director, can be reached by email

Learn more about our HDFS Graduate Program options that include the MS and PhD degree programs in HDFS, the on-line Birth through Kindergarten MED degree and certificate programs, and our Doctoral Minor in HDFS.