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Graduate Application


We are delighted that you are preparing to pursue graduate opportunities with CFS. Please read through the application procedures and follow the appropriate links to application materials. The procedures detailed on this page are for students interested in the general MS (non-ECE) and PhD concentrations.

Application Procedure & Review

Graduate admissions applications are due by January 1 of your intended year of entry to be considered for priority application. Students usually enter in August, with the start of the academic year.

Your application will be reviewed once we have received an online application to the Office of Graduate Admissions that contains both the Graduate School and Child and Family Studies-specific requirements:

Official academic transcripts. Submit official transcripts from all academic institutions you have attended. The graduate school requires a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.7. However, our students generally have GPAs above 3.0.

3 References/Recommendation letters. Ideally all three (but at minimum two of the three) rating sheets or letters of recommendation should be academic references (e.g., professors, research lab managers) who speak to your academic performance and ability to be successful in a graduate program.

Curriculum vitae (CV). We created this template CV for you to consider using if you have not created a CV before. The CV is similar to a resume but is more detailed to include your achievements, awards and honors, publications and presentations, along with research, leadership, work, and other professional experiences.

Letter of intent. A high-quality letter of intent will discuss:

  1. how an applicant’s current career plans align with graduate study in CFS,
  2. how their education and other experiences (e.g., research, clinical, employment, volunteering) have prepared them for graduate study in CFS, and
  3. how their current research interests (essential for MS-PhD and PhD program applicants) and/or professional goals align with the faculty in the department. Identify and name at least one faculty member with whom you would want to work, explaining how their work fits with your interests.

There is no page limit but high-quality letters of intent are typically 3-4, double spaced pages.

Please refer to our Faculty page to learn about each faculty member and their areas of research. We encourage applicants to contact Dr. Spencer Olmstead, the CFS Interim Director of Graduate Studies, or any faculty member you are interested in working with ahead of submitting your application to discuss the program and your interests. We recommend that applicants receive feedback on their letter of intent (and CV) from academic references prior to submitting.

Official TOEFL scores (international students only). A demonstration of English proficiency is essential for admission to our program. English proficiency must be sufficient to allow a student to succeed in thesis and dissertation work, and actively contribute to seminar discussions. Preference in admission will be given to applicants whose individual component TOEFL scores are greater than or equal to 24; alternative forms of the TOEFL test should show similar levels of proficiency.

Non-refundable application fee. The Graduate School requires an application fee of $60. This fee is paid online at the end of the graduate school application process. The application fee for readmission is $30 (including “change of program”).

Please note: In the section of the graduate application form labeled “Type of Admission,” you will be asked to identify a major and the degree you seek. Enter “Child and Family Studies” as the major and either “MS,” “PhD,” or “MS-PhD” as the degree.


Graduate Contacts

Interim Director of Graduate Studies
Spencer Olmstead, PhD

Graduate Secretary
Sonja Spell