Graduate Degree Programs

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HDFS provides cutting-edge graduate education in an inclusive, supportive, and interdisciplinary environment. The expertise of our award-winning faculty spans the areas of child development, couple and family therapy, and lifespan human development and family diversity. Faculty and students generate new knowledge that plays a meaningful role in the lives of children, adolescents, families, and marginalized communities. Graduates are prepared for academic and professional positions and are in high demand following graduation.

The Department offers the following graduate degrees:

Doctoral Degree

HDFS offers a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies. Ph.D. students specialize in one of the following concentrations: Child Development, Couple and Family Therapy, or Lifespan Human Development and Family Diversity. Students may enter the Ph.D. program with or without a master’s degree for the Child Development and Lifespan Human Development and Family Diversity. Those entering the PhD program with or without a master’s degree complete the same number of course credits and research requirements. However, those entering without a master's degree may be required to take one or two background courses as part of their electives, and are strongly encouraged to complete a thesis-like project or paper within their first two years to build skills in independent research.

Master’s Degrees

Students at a Research ConferenceWe offer both research (Plan A) and professional (Plan B) master’s degrees, including an M.S. in Child Development, research or professional focus and M.S. in Human Development and Family Studies, research or professional focus. Research degrees are designed for students interested in pursuing a Ph.D., and professional degrees are for students who plan to seek a professional position following the completion of their degree.

Online Graduate Degrees and Certificates

HDFS offers two online master’s degrees through the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (Great Plains IDEA) Consortium, including an M.A. in Youth Development and M.A. in Family and Community Services. We also offer graduate certificates in Youth Development Specialist and Youth Development Management and Evaluation.