Skip to main content

MFHD Doctoral Program

PhD Curriculum

The Ph.D. Program in MFHD is designed to address the theories, research, and practices that strengthen marriages enhance the development of children and unfold the characteristics of quality nurturing relationships across generations. Students are prepared for a career in academia through a research based curriculum that focuses on statistical competence and research methodology. It is a 72 credit hour program. Fifty-four credit hours consist of course work and 18 consist of dissertation hours.

During the first four semesters students participate in a core curriculum that provides a foundation on which they can build their research. The elective courses of the program can be focused on specific research interests. Students are to work with their advisor and committee to design a “program of study” that best meets their needs.

At the beginning of the third year students prepare and defend their qualifying exam. The qualifying exam is an opportunity for students to focus on generating publishable articles.

The last two semesters of a student’s study are focused on performing research and writing the dissertation. Their topic of focus is typically closely related to, though somewhat independent of, their faculty advisor’s research endeavors. It is therefore important to be well informed when selecting an advisor. The advisor, in many cases, directs the research focus.

The Marriage Family and Human Development Doctoral Program is focused on preparing students for a career in academia. Students are encouraged to develop skills that will help them become effective educators and scholars.

Prerequisites for a Doctorate:

A master’s degree in MFHD or a related field is required to apply to the PhD program. Students with a bachelor's degree should first apply to the Master's program. Upon completion of their Master's degree they may apply to the PhD program. Admittance to the Master's program does not ensure admission to the PhD program.

Those applying from a program other than MFHD may have to take some additional graduate courses within the program. The admissions committee identifies the courses that are required, taking into account the professional goals of the applicant. The determined graduate coursework requirements will count towards the 72 credit hour requirement for a PhD.

Credits taken at other accredited universities where no degree was awarded are transferred on a course by course basis. A maximum of 6 transfer credits can be applied to a PhD in MFHD. Students who have completed a master’s degree at another university may apply up to 36 credits towards their doctoral degree, with approval from their graduate committee.

PhD Curriculum

Required Courses (48 credit hours):

Human Development:
MFHD 611 (3 hrs) Advances in Human Development
One Human Development content course (3 hrs)
Family Science:
MFHD 612 (3 hrs) Introduction to Research and Theory in Family Science
One Family Studies content course (3 hrs)
MFHD 514 (3 hrs) Theories of Human Development
Methods & Statistics:
MFHD 691 (3 hrs) Graduate Research Methods
MFHD 600 (3 hrs) Multiple Regression
MFHD 605 (3 hrs) Structural Equation Modeling in Social Sciences
MFHD 706R (3 hrs) Advanced Statistics
One Methods & Statistics course (3 hrs)
MFHD 799R (18 hrs) Doctoral Dissertation

Elective Courses (24 credit hours):

In addition to the required core, students complete at least 24 credits of committee-approved, elective course work. Transfer credits from a previous Masters or coursework done at another university will most frequently be applied to this elective requirement.