Human Development and Family Science Master of Science

About us

The Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) program focuses on enhancing the lives of individuals, couples and families through a multidisciplinary approach to intimate and familial relationships.

Faculty and students study human development and adaptation, especially interrelated factors such as family relationships, schooling and society. They also develop prevention and intervention strategies for risky behaviors and address violence in homes, communities and schools.

The purpose of the HDFS graduate program is to nurture independent scholars who approach the study of development and behavior of human beings within social contexts from multiple disciplinary perspectives. The training of HDFS graduate students thus encompasses many approaches and paradigms, but is integrated through instruction in systems and bioecological perspectives, which emphasize that individuals are embedded in social contexts and cannot be fully understood out of context; and that human development and adaptation influence, and are influenced, by multiple interconnected sets of factors (e.g., genes, family relationships, school, community, society).

The HDFS program affirms the importance and value of diversity. Our research programs and curricula reflect our multicultural society and global economy.

Graduates of the HDFS program not only receive training in these general content areas, but also intensive training in research methods and statistics, and in areas specifically connected to their individual research interests under the direction of their advisors and other HDFS faculty.

Students in the Couples and Family Therapy (CFT) area of study also receive training in clinical work with couples and families, and in specific approaches to evaluating the effectiveness of interventions through research.

Graduate students also receive training and experience in teaching and mentoring.  As such, graduates are well prepared to enter careers focused on research and teaching – whether in academic or other settings.

Students interested in applying are encouraged to review the research profiles of HDFS faculty and initiate contact with professors with research interests similar to their own. For much more information, including application instructions, tips and our graduate handbook, please see our graduate programs website.