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Doctoral Program

About the PhD Program

Students in the doctoral program pursue in-depth studies of theory and existing empirical knowledge about child development and family relationships. A definitive characteristic of this program is a focus on research and scientific inquiry, which involves learning advanced methodologies and strategies to examine basic developmental phenomena and family relationships.

The CFS doctoral program also seeks to train professionals who can design and empirically evaluate sophisticated intervention and prevention programs for children, youth, and families. The doctoral program in CFS consists of 72 hours of graduate credits—24 of which are devoted to the dissertation.

MS en route to PhD

Typically, applicants to the doctoral program have earned a master’s degree or are currently working on a master’s degree when they apply to the doctoral program. However, applicants with only an undergraduate degree may also be considered for direct admittance to the PhD program if they have undergraduate research experience relevant to child and family studies, focused research interests, and a strong academic record. Students admitted without a master’s degree will complete requirements for the thesis-based master’s degree as part of their program of study. If in good standing after completing the master’s program requirements and under the recommendation of their graduate committee, these students will proceed directly into the PhD program. Applicants without a master’s degree should select the “MS–PhD” option on their application to the department. Applicants with a master’s degree should select the “PhD” option on their application to the department.

Graduate Contacts

Department Head and Professor
Mary Jane Moran

Director of Graduate Studies
Spencer Olmstead, PhD

Graduate Secretary
Sonja Spell