Graduate Programs

Graduate Programs

The Department of Human Development and Family Science offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Science Degree with options in Child Life, Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) and Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT), as well as the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Human Development and Family Science . The Department provides an integrated program of study of individual and family relationships over the lifespan.

The major focus of faculty and graduate students in the Department of Human Development and Family Science is the study of interpersonal competence and relationship dynamics in the context of the family. We approach interpersonal competence issues by examining both functional and dysfunctional aspects of relationships.

The Department of Human Development and Family Science offers three degree curricula:

Master of Science (M.S.)
There are three M.S. options, HDFS and MFT require a thesis, Child Life does not require a thesis:

Human Development and Family Science

A flexible program that emphasizes knowledge of the dynamics of human development and family interaction that prepares students for careers in applied family services in industrial, educational, or governmental settings.


Marriage and Family Therapy

A clinical training program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education. Students learn about developmental processes in the family and receive extensive training and supervision in evidence-based interventions for individuals, relationships and families.


Child Life

This program is focused on the creating students who are prepared to sit for certification with the Association of Child Life Professionals and practice in the field of Child Life. Through coursework and clinical work under the supervision of a Child Life Specialist, students will be prepared to support the socio-emotional needs of children and families in a healthcare setting.


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Jessica Norton pointing to a graph on her graduate research poster.

The Doctor of Philosophy in HDFS is a comprehensive program with special emphasis in five domains of interpersonal competence across the lifespan: (a) relationships in adulthood, (b) relationships in childhood and adolescence, (c) social, cognitive and emotional health, (d) biological and psychophysiological foundations for healthy development, and (e) intervention and prevention research and application. Students develop strong research and teaching competence so they may seek careers in academic settings or as leaders in the application of research to enhance quality of life.




Jessica Norton pointing to a graph on her graduate research poster.

Advanced Research Methods for Human Sciences Graduate students in HDFS can apply to this optional certificate to recognize the completion of additional training in research methods and statistics, beyond core course requirements.



Graduate Resources