Human Development and Family Science

Degree: Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Important Documents


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

Admission Requirements

  1. An upper-division undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. The same scale applies for graduate-level work.
  2. A competitive Graduate Record Examination revised General Test (GRE) score; recommended score of above the 50th percentile in both verbal and quantitative sections with a 4.0 or higher on the writing section.
  3. International students must have a TOEFL score of at least 550 (paper-based) or 80 (internet-based).
  4. Selected applicants are invited to on-campus interviews during February to determine the fit.

Attainment of these minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to the program. Admission decisions are based on assessments of all aspects of the student’s application materials. The department reserves the right to increase standards if warranted by enrollment limitations and by the number and quality of applicants. Financial aid is a separate process from the admission to a graduate program.

M.S. / Ph.D. Option

You may apply directly to the Human Development and Family Science Doctoral Program following a related bachelor’s program and earn your Master’s on your way to the Ph.D. For those students accepted into the in-flight master’s 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 will consist 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.

View In-Flight Curriculum

Application Process and Deadlines

Fall enrollment only. This program does not admit in the spring or summer semesters. All application materials must be received by December 1st.

  1. Apply Online and pay the application fee.
    • Upload a personal statement outlining your research interests, career goals, and why Florida State University is a good fit for you. We strongly encourage applicants to familiarize themselves with the research interests of the faculty in their area so the statement can specifically address those faculty members. The statement should include how your background and prior training make you a good candidate and should include your top three (3) choices of faculty members with whom you would like to work. (If you are applying to the Human Development and Family Science Doctoral Program directly following a related bachelor’s program, you must clearly state that you are also interested in the Family and Child Sciences in-flight master’s degree.)
    • Upload a resume or vita (information should be current).
    • Upload contact information for three recommenders. The recommenders should be professionals you have worked with who are familiar with your academic performance and can speak directly about your qualification for this degree. Academic recommendations are preferred, but relevant professional recommendations will be accepted. No personal recommendations or letters from peers will be accepted.
    • Upload a writing sample. Please submit a writing sample that represents your best scholarly work. Examples include a thesis, a research-based paper, published article, or a paper submitted as a course assignment.
  2. Submit official test scores (GRE and, if required, TOEFL) and official transcripts to the FSU Office of Admissions. The school reporting code for test scores is 5219; no department code is required. We require transcripts from EVERY post-secondary institution you attended (even if those courses are posted to another institution’s transcript).

Anticipated Timeline

This path requires a minimum of 56 semester hours of coursework plus 24 semester hours of dissertation research (minimum total = 80).  Students are expected to have the necessary content background as part of their master’s degree program prior to entering the doctoral program.  Students lacking content will be required to complete leveling courses. The suggested curriculum is listed above.

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.

When the student has completed coursework, he or she then must complete a preliminary examination with an oral defense. Upon successful completion of the exam, the student enters into “candidacy,” where original research is undertaken, culminating in a dissertation and an oral defense. 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.