School of Health and Human Sciences

The Doctor of Philosophy program focuses less on issues of an applied nature and more on the development of theory and research knowledge. This program of study is multidisciplinary, calling for a synthesis of knowledge from the social and behavioral sciences and for an examination of the influence of social context and policy on individual and family behavior and development. Course work focuses on the contributions of family, peer, school, and other cultural contexts to the social, emotional, and cognitive development of children, adolescents, and adults; the changing nature of the family constellation; local and national policies affecting families; and issues related to the elderly. Doctoral students have considerable flexibility in tailoring their areas of specialization to special interests and career goals that also reflect the interests and areas of expertise of the faculty.

The PhD Degree program requires a minimum of 89 semester hours beyond the Baccalaureate degree (i.e., for students entering our program in the MS/PhD track) or a minimum of 48 hours beyond the MS. Required and elective course work and research are listed below. Entering doctoral students who have completed a master’s degree program in another institution in an HDFS department that included a thesis requirement are given credit for their entire degree requirements, and no pre-requisite course work is required. Students who completed a master’s degree in a department other than HDFS must fulfill (or have comparable substitutions for) all of the requirements indicated by an asterisk (*).

Degree Requirements

Area of Specialization (18)

The PhD program requires the completion of 18 hours of elective course work (selected jointly by the student and the faculty advisory committee) beyond the minimum of 9 hours of specialization course work taken for the MS. Of the 18 hours to be taken for the PhD, 9 hours must be fulfilled through structured electives. One course in each of the following areas is required: Development Area (HDF 665, HDF 666, HDF 667, HDF 668), Family Studies Area (HDF 660, HDF 671, HDF 672, HDF 674, HDF 721), and Sociocultural Context Area (HDF 610, HDF 634, HDF 673). Specific offerings of HDF 602 and HDF 711 will be eligible for inclusion in target areas specified by the department.

Professional Development (1 hour)/Teaching Practicum (5)

All doctoral students will complete a two-semester teaching practicum supervised by the student’s advisor, or the advisor’s designee. The practicum requires the student to serve as an assistant, then as a co-instructor of a course (or courses) at the 200, 300, or 400 level.

HDF 745 College Teaching in Human Development and Family Studies I (2)
HDF 750 Professional Seminar III (1)
HDF 765 College Teaching Practicum in Human Development and Family Studies II (3)

Statistics and Methodology (15)

STA 671 Multivariate Analysis (3)
HDF 756 Advanced Research Design in Human Development and Family Studies (3)
One additional content course in statistical analysis
One additional content course in research methodology
One additional content course in either statistical analysis or research methodology

Preliminary Examination

Written and oral preliminary examinations of the student’s knowledge of the specialization area and of research methods, design, and statistical analyses, must be passed prior to commencing the dissertation research.

Research (12)

HDF 799 Dissertation Problem (1-12)
Requirements for the MS and PhD program of study are specified further in departmental curriculum guides.