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Degree Fall Enrollment Spring Enrollment Summer Enrollment
Ph.D. – all concentrations Dec 1 - Dec 1
M.S. Plan A (research track) in Child Development or Human Development and Family Studies Dec 1 - Dec 1
M.S. Plan B (professional track) in Child Development or Human Development and Family Studies  Feb 1 Oct 1 Feb 1
M.S. Plan B (professional track) in Child Development Dual Enrollment 4+1 Program - Oct 1 -
Online Master’s Degrees and Graduate Certificates June 1 Oct 1 Feb 1

Applying to a graduate program in HDFS is a two-step process:

1. Submit a Graduate School Application

  • In the application, indicate the program you are applying to:
    • 7692: Doctorate in Human Development and Family Studies
    • 7693: Youth Program Management and Evaluation-Graduate Certificate
    • 7694: Youth Development Specialist-Graduate Certificate
    • 7645: Youth Development-MA
    • 7722: Family Community Services-MA
    • 7691: Human Development and Family Studies-MS; also indicate Plan A (thesis) or Plan B (project) 
    • 7702: Child Development-MS; also indicate Plan A (thesis) or Plan B (project) 
  • All applicants must clearly indicate the faculty member(s) from whom they wish to receive research mentorship.
  • Ph.D. applicants must clearly indicate the desired concentration area of study, i.e., Child Development, Couple and Family Therapy, or Lifespan Human Development and Family Diversity. (The concentration in Lifespan Human Development and Family Studies (LHDFD) is changing its name to Diversity, Youth, and Family Development (DYAD); if you are applying for graduate study with the DYAD concentration, select the LHDFD concentration in the application system).
  • Applicants must submit an Academic Statement and a Personal Statement within the application system:
    • The Academic Statement should be about your plans for graduate study, your research interests, career goals, and how MSU's graduate program will help you meet your educational and career. Describe how your research interests and goals fit with HDFS program and faculty.
    • The Personal Statement is about how your background and life experiences (including social, economic, cultural, familial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges) that motivate your research interests and your decision to pursue a graduate degree. Describe any obstacles that you have overcome to pursue your educational goals.
  • Upload your Resume/Curriculum Vitae that includes the following:
    • Employment history
    • Education, degrees
    • Honors and leadership
    • Student organizations, professional organizations, and honor societies
    • Honors, special awards, research and other creative work
    • Other material related to your professional background and experience
  • Provide Test Scores
    • The HDFS Department does not require GRE test scores for any graduate applications. Applicants who take the GRE may submit scores if they wish to.
      • If applicants have taken the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) “General Test” within the last 5 years, they are encouraged to submit their scores if applying: (1) to the Ph.D. program, (2) to the Master’s Plan A (research track) program, or (3) as an international student. The code for Michigan State University is 1465.
    • All international applicants and applicants whose native language is not English must be able to provide evidence of English language proficiency. Please see the MSU Policy on English Language Competency for accepted tests and acceptable scores. 
  • References - Within the MSU portal system, indicate your recommenders 
    • In your MSU application, you need to identify your recommenders and provide their contact information. Your list of recommenders will be sent an email from the University that provides them instructions on how to upload their reference letter into your portal. Ask them to complete the form and write a letter assessing your ability to successfully complete the graduate program. Reference letters sent directly to the department from an applicant or a recommender will not be included in an application. All applications should include at least one academic reference. Please ask former professors, work supervisors, or others who can best assess your academic experience and potential. Family members and friends are not appropriate recommenders. 

2. Transcripts

  • Students can upload unofficial transcripts as part of the application. However, all students must provide official transcripts before admissions can be completed.
    • Domestic students have the option to send e-Transcripts as the official transcripts to the department via ( or to send hard copy transcripts to: 

      Michigan State University
      Graduate Admissions
      426 Auditorium Road, Room 250
      East Lansing, MI  48824-2604
    • International students must send a hard copy of official transcripts to: 

      Michigan State University
      Graduate Admissions
      426 Auditorium Road, Room 250
      East Lansing, MI  48824-2604 

If you have any problems uploading documents to the application form or this site please send an e-mail to Phillip Reid

Application Review Criteria:
Once an application is complete, each application will be reviewed using the following criteria: 

  • Prior educational and professional achievements
  • Societal impact of academic and career goals as stated in the academic and personal statements
  • Fit with program goals and research interests of faculty in the department
  • Alignment with a faculty advisor who is available to mentor the candidate

Interview & Recruitment Dates 
       a.  For applicants to the PhD and Plan A (research track) Master’s programs, interviews will be held online the week of January 8-12, 2024. 
       b.  Applicants who are admitted to the PhD or Plan A Master’s will be invited for an on-campus visit February 22 and 23, 2024. 

For questions or additional information about the admissions process, please contact:

  • Dr. Claire Vallotton ( for the PhD in Human Development and Family Studies or the Master’s Degree (Child Development or Human Development and Family Studies)
  • Dr. Yuya Kiuchi ( for the Master’s Degree programs in Youth Development and Community and Family Services and the Certificate programs for Youth Development.