Academic Programs Catalog

College of Social Science

Department of Human Development and Family Studies

Graduate Study
Human Development and Family Studies - Doctor of Philosophy

Faculty mentors work closely with doctoral students in experiences related to professional development, theory and conceptual model development, and translational research. Each student completes a professional portfolio during the course of the doctoral program in addition to comprehensive exams and the dissertation.

The Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Human Development and Family Studies offers four concentrations from which students may choose. They include:

Child Development: focus on behavioral, psychological, biological and contextual processes that promote positive developmental outcomes in infants and young children.

Family Diversity: focus on families in sociocultural context to include attention to gender, ethnicity, racial socialization, immigration, poverty, disability, sexual orientation and aging.

Lifespan Human Development: focus on developmental processes across the life course in the context of family, community, schools and other environments. Study may focus on one life stage (youth, emerging or older adults) or examine an issue (attachment, chronic illness) across the entire life course.

Couple and Family Therapy: focus on the application of research and theory to individual, group, couple and family therapy. Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Social Science, students must meet the requirements specified below.

Admission

Admission to the doctoral program in human development and family studies is based on evidence of academic ability, research potential, achievement, and maturity. Admission to the program assumes a background in the behavioral sciences; collateral course work that does not count toward the doctoral degree may be required where background is inadequate. A prospective doctoral student is required to take the general sections of the Graduate Record Examination and include the results with the application.

To be admitted to the doctoral program in human development and family studies with couple and family therapy as the area of concentration, an applicant must have completed a master's degree program with a major in marriage and family therapy or its equivalent. Students who select the couple and family therapy concentration must participate in a personal interview with a selected faculty committee. Students who select the couple and family therapy concentration are admitted to the degree program in fall semester only.

Requirements for the Degree

Students in the doctoral program in human development and family studies who select the couple and family therapy concentration are required to complete a supervised clinical internship. The Couple and Family Therapy Program at Michigan State University has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. The re-accreditation period is effective through January 2013.

The inclusion of a foreign language in the doctoral program is at the discretion of the candidate and the guidance committee.