Human Development and Family Science is the scientific study of human growth and development across the lifespan in diverse social and cultural settings. The Ph.D. program in Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) is a 72-credit degree program that provides students with an in-depth understanding of the familial, societal, and cultural factors that shape human development and family relationships. A primary focus is on scientific inquiry and research methodology employed in the field of Human Development and Family Science and in related disciplines such as education, psychology, social sciences, and women’s studies. The program trains professionals for careers in academia, research, education, health, advocacy and non-profits among others. Courses and training emphasize multicultural perspectives in child and family relationships, diverse research methodologies, and scholarship. In addition, doctoral students have the opportunity to obtain university teaching instruction and experience through participation in Syracuse University’s Future Professoriate Program.
Why this degree makes a difference in society today…tomorrow…
Research professionals in the field of Human Development and Family Science employ their knowledge and training to conduct scientific research that promotes healthy development at every stage of the lifespan. Ph.D. graduates conduct studies on a wide range of subjects. Some examples include – factors influencing academic success in childhood and adolescence, intimate partner violence in teen dating relationships, coping with changes that occur in the later stages of life, social and cultural factors that influence developmental outcomes across the lifespan.
Courses and training emphasize multicultural perspectives in child and family relationships, diverse research methodologies and scholarship. All Ph.D. students must complete the core course and elective course requirements. Courses and training emphasize multicultural perspectives in child and family relationships and the use of diverse research methodologies. Elective coursework may be selected from the HDFS course catalog. Courses may also be selected from other University departments such as anthropology, psychology, education, sociology, gerontology, social science, nutrition, special education, or women’s studies. In addition, doctoral students have the opportunity to obtain university teaching instruction through participation in Syracuse University’s Future Professorate Program.
- Research Methods
- Child Development Theory and Application
- Family Development Theory and Application
- Child and Family in Cross-Cultural Perspectives
- Seminar on Child and Family Issues
What Our Students Are Saying
The Department of Human Development and Family Science is located on the first floor of the Falk Complex. The Complex includes both MacNaughton and White Halls, is located on the western portion of the Syracuse University campus. The renovated complex includes a centralized Falk Admissions center that offers prospective students the chance to see Falk College in action on a daily basis, and an expanded Student Services space conducive to providing programming that helps students be successful. In addition to administrative and academic program offices and classrooms, the Falk Complex also offers students dedicated study/collaborative space, computer labs and comforts like a café and student lounge. The Bernice M. Wright (BMW) Child Development Laboratory School is located on Syracuse University’s South Campus. The Bernice M. Wright School and its programs embrace inclusion, celebrating cultural and developmental diversity and recognizing the similarities and differences that make the world an exciting place. A collaboration led by Syracuse University’s Office of Human Resources and community-based service providers, the school enrolls children with varying developmental abilities, adding greatly to the overall classroom experience. The site serves as a teacher and student training facility and supports research in early childhood education and development.
Syracuse University students have access to one of the highest-quality international study programs in the country. The “South Asian Cultures: Family, Food, and Health Care Systems” course takes place on campus in the fall, followed by a cultural immersion trip to India. Students and faculty visit New Delhi (Qutub Minar) and Agra (Taj Mahal) in North India, Anand/Ahmedabad (AMUL, Gandhi’s house, step wells, Ayurvedic College) in Western India and Coimbatore (elephant corridor and tea estates) in Southern India. During the visit to India, students stay in a family home, visit schools, community program sites, nongovernment organizations, educational institutions (Indian Institute of Management, M.S. University of Baroda), traditional and modern healthcare facilities, go on food walks, and learn about the South Asian culture by interacting with families and communities in both rural and urban areas. Abroad programs are subject to scheduling changes. For a precise schedule of when these programs offered, please contact the department directly. For more information, visit suabroad.syr.edu.
Graduates of the Ph.D. program are well-suited for careers in academia, research, education, health, advocacy and non-profits among others. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), “the number of employed college-level professors in a wide variety of academic and technical subjects is projected to grow 15% between 2016 and 2026, which is much faster than average in comparison to other fields. The median annual wage for college level professors was $78,470 in May 2018.” Human development is a broad discipline that prepares students for a variety of lucrative and exciting career options. Career options vary and can include:
- Assistant Professor, Human Development
- Director, Health and Human Services
- Director, Mental Health Program
- Director, Early Childhood Education Center
- Senior Research Analyst
- Program Director
- Scientific Advisor
Falk College offer a limited number of graduate assistantships and tuition scholarships. Graduate teaching or research assistantships for the academic year are awarded on a competitive basis based on applications received by February 1. Additional information regarding graduate financial aid can be found at Syracuse University’s Graduate Student Aid page. Graduate teaching assistants are required to assist with undergraduate instruction and sometimes with graduate instruction. Teaching assistants at the Bernice M. Wright Child Development Laboratory School are expected to work closely with preschool teachers at the laboratory school on various aspects of classroom instruction. Recipients of graduate assistantships receive a stipend in addition to tuition credits. Research assistantships may also be available from sponsoring faculty. Research assistants are required to assist faculty with research. Students receiving tuition scholarships only receive tuition credits and no stipend.
Students seeking admission to the Department of Human Development and Family Science must meet the general admissions requirements of the Graduate School. Although no single factor determines entry to the program, competitive applicants typically have a minimum of: 1) GPA of 3.00 or higher (undergraduate and/or graduate work); 2) GRE scores of 144 Quantitative, 153 Verbal (please note, the GRE exam must be taken within the last five years). For international students whose primary language is not English, TOEFL scores of 577 (paper test) or 100 for the internet based (IBT) test are desirable.
Subject to departmental approval, a maximum of up to 30 credits of master’s level coursework (in Human Development and Family Science or related disciplines at Syracuse University or other universities) may be applied to the Ph.D. program. Courses in substantive areas of study within Human Development and Family Science or related disciplines are eligible to be considered. The final decision about the number of credits that can be transferred into the Ph.D. program is made by the graduate faculty. Student must have earned a B or better grade on courses that they would like to transfer. Students transferring courses from another institution must file a program of study prior to completing 12 credits at Syracuse University. If you are a current Syracuse University graduate student interested in an HDFS degree, contact our department.
For additional admissions information, contact the Office of Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out our online form: