Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Sciences

We train students to become the next generation of scholars and have successfully placed students in positions of their choice. 

Our expertise addresses relational and family process in contemporary families, such as cohabiting couples, families of divorce and remarriage, military families, and foster families.  Faculty are noted for their study of children’s friendships, couple dynamics, intimate partner violence, parenting practices, racial socialization, among other topics (see Faculty Research).

Students are encouraged to include a cognate or minor area of study to reflect their professional goals. A Program of Study is developed in consultation with and approved by the Supervisory Committee; these must be filed in the program. Course loads usually range between 9 and 12 hours per semester.

Application Process & Deadline

For requirements on applying to the program, deadlines and more information, please visit the Admission Information page.

M.S. / Ph.D. Option

Undergraduate students may apply directly to the Human Development and Family Science doctoral program following the a related bachelor’s program and earn the master’s in Family and Child Sciences on his/her way to the Ph.D. This is direct access Ph.D. program is referred to the “in-flight” Ph.D. track. For those students accepted into the in-flight degree program, the master’s degree must be completed within 3 years of enrollment in the doctoral program.

The in-flight (non-thesis) master’s degree consists of 33 semester hours taken within the first three years of admittance. The doctoral degree will consist of a minimum of 37 semester hours of coursework and 24 semester hours of dissertation (minimum total = 61). In this path, the total number of semester hours for both the master’s and doctoral degrees is 94. More information can be found on the Admission Information page.

Post-Master's Ph.D. Option

The Ph.D. degree program in Human Sciences with a concentration in Human Development and Family Science doctoral requires a minimum of 56 semester hours in coursework plus 24 semester hours in dissertation beyond the master’s degree (minimum total = 80). At least 30 semester hours of graduate courses are selected within the Department.Students are encouraged to include a cognate or minor area of study to reflect their professional goals. A Program of Study is developed in consultation with and approved by the Supervisory Committee; these must be filed within the first two semesters of enrollment in the program.

Research Training 

Doctoral students have access to the entire departmental faculty as part of their education and professional development. Students select their major professor and supervisory committee based on areas of scholarly interest and expertise. The doctoral supervisory committee provides mentorship throughout the doctoral experience. Doctoral students have access to computer laboratories, statistical software, and on-campus and remote access library resources.

Degree Completion

For students admitted to a Doctoral program after completing a Master’s degree, a preliminary examination is usually completed within 3 years but no longer than 5 years from beginning coursework. For students admitted to the In-Flight Doctoral program, a preliminary examination is usually completed within 6 years of beginning course work.

When students complete coursework, they then complete a preliminary examination. Upon successful completion of the exam, the student enters into “candidacy,” where original research is undertaken, culminating in a dissertation. Although some students complete their dissertation within a year, others take longer. The period of candidacy is limited to 5 years. We make every attempt to provide financial support to full-time enrolled students through Teaching Assistantships and Research Assistantships.  Students typically provide 20 hours of service to the department through these assignments.

Tallahassee Living

Tallahassee is a beautiful and exciting place to live. Tallahassee is the largest city in the Big Bend Region and one of the fastest growing cities in Florida. The area is surrounded by national forests, natural springs, and wildlife preserves. The Gulf of Mexico is only a 45 minute drive from campus and within 2 hours, you can be on some of the most pristine beaches of the Emerald Coast. The area is famous for its abundance of live oak trees that extend over roadways to form picturesque canopy roads. There are cultural and recreational activities for everyone: ACC sports and nationally recognized music, theatre, dance and film events.