The goal of our graduate program is to promote the integration of knowledge and professional practice in human development and family science through rigorous training and class work.

Your Training

You are enabled to gain and to demonstrate competence in acquiring, integrating, and applying:

  1. Substantive and theoretical knowledge of both child and family development.
  2. Knowledge of and skills for conducting research on individual and family development and behavior.
  3. Skills for engaging with individuals, families and other professionals in processes that prevent or solve problems and promote competence and well-being.

To accomplish these goals, both formal course work and practicum experiences in research, teaching, and service are required. These are described in the doctoral handbook.


Students with a master's degree in HDFS or related area can apply for admission to our doctoral program. Most students who enter the Ph.D. program with a master's degree complete the doctoral program in 3-4 years.

We also offer admission to our doctoral program to excellent applicants who have a B.S. in HDFS or related area. Students who apply for the Accelerated MS to PhD program have excellent GPA and GRE scores, stellar letters of recommendation, some research experience at the undergraduate level, and a clearly articulated goal to obtain a Ph.D. These students are required to complete the master's degree within two years of admission. Most students entering the Ph.D. program with a bachelor's degree complete the doctorate in 5 years.


We also offer a Ph.D. with an emphasis in Couple and Family Therapy.


The goal of our graduate program is to promote the integration of knowledge and professional practice in human development and family science through rigorous training and classwork. To accomplish this goal, students achieve the following three objectives: (a) develop expertise in integrating, and applying substantive and theoretical knowledge in human development across the life course and family relationships; (b) learn advanced analytic skills and methodologies for conducting and disseminating research on individuals and families; and (c) develop the skills necessary to translate basic research into application through outreach, clinical practice, or preventative interventions. Accordingly, the curriculum includes courses in the following areas:

  • Advanced Human Development
  • Diversity
  • Applied Statistics
  • Theories in family relationships
  • Advanced Research methods – Quantitative and Qualitative
  • Area of Specialization

Sample Program of Study

Career Opportunities

Graduates of this program have obtained positions within various universities as professors and researchers.

Recent Employers

Name Graduation Year Position

Current Employer

Cui, Zehua 2022 Postdoctoral Research Associate University of Maryland College Park MD
Wilson, Alyssa 2022 Tech Staffing Specialist TeamUP Staffing TX
Farnsworth, Meredith 2022 Research Analyst Consultant National Military Family Association VA
Osborne, Kimberly 2022 Postdoctoral Research Associate  REACH Institute at Arizona State University AZ
Augustine, Danielle 2021 Postdoctoral Research Associate Carl Vinson Institute of Government GA

Boe, Joshua (CFT)

2021 Assistant Professor Nova Southeastern University FL
Liu, Sihong 2020 Postdoctoral Fellow University of Oregon OR
Anderson, Leslie (CFT) 2020 Assistant Professor, School of Child and Family Sciences University of Southern Mississippi MS
Karlsen, Annika  2020

Assistant Professor of Couple and Family Therapy 

Converse College in South Carolina SC
Duprey, Erinn 2019 Postdoctoral Fellow University of Rochester-Medical School and Mt. Hope Family Center NY
Armes, Stephanie (CFT) 2019 Assistant Professor of Couple and Family Therapy; Director of Internship Seattle Pacific University WA
Oed, Megan (CFT) 2018 Professor of Human Services Ivy Tech Community College IN
Richardson, Shaquinta (CFT) 2018

Assistant Professor and Clinical Director of Couple and Family Therapy Program

Converse SC
Ross, Donald (CFT) 2017 Assistant Professor University of Kentucky KY
Spivey Young, Savannah 2016 Ethnographic Researcher Point Forward, Inc CA
Mallette, Jacquelyn 2016 Assistant Professor East Carolina University NC

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I complete the program online?
  2. Which faculty is accepting new students?
  3. Do you offer funding or assistantships? 
  4. How do I apply to the UGA HDFS Doctoral program?
  5. What is the application deadline? 
Can I complete the program online?

No, this is a face-to-face graduate program. The required coursework must be taken in person at our Athens campus.

Which faculty is accepting new students?

Reach out to graduate faculty members with similar interests to find out if they are accepting new students.

Do you offer funding or assistantships? 

It is expected that students with positive annual evaluations on both scholarly work and assistantship work may receive assistantships funded by the department for up to four years at the doctoral level.  

How do I apply to the UGA HDFS Doctoral program?

Follow the instructions on the How to Apply page to complete your application. Be sure to submit all required materials. Incomplete applications will not be considered. 

What is the application deadline? 

Applications are accepted in the fall of each year for admission the following fall. The application deadline is December 1st. We do not accept students for spring or summer admission. 

  1. HDFS Doctoral Timeline

    Advisory Committee: Connect with a temporary advisor, decide on a primary mentor/advisor, and select Advisory Committee

  2. 2nd Year Project Due

  3. Direct to PhD

    Apply for MS graduation (due early Spring), submit MS Program of Study, submit Announcement of MS Thesis Defense two weeks before exam, submit MS portfolio with Portfolio Approval form, submit MS Approval of Thesis and Oral Exam, submit Electronic Dissertation (ETD)

  4. Comprehensive Exam

    Submit Program of Study and Announcement of Doctoral Exam, due two weeks before Oral Comp Exam. Complete Advance to Candidacy form once Comp is passed.

  5. Prospectus

    Decide on Prospectus (at least 4 months before defense) Prospectus/Proposal

  6. Portfolio

    Submit portfolio to Graduate Coordinator Assistant, Portfolio Approval Form

  7. Dissertation Defense

    Submit Format Check. Announcement of Doctoral defense, due two weeks before Defense. Submit PhD Approval form for Doctoral Dissertation and Final Exam in Grad Status. Submit Electronic Dissertation (ETD) in Grad Status

  8. Graduation

    Apply to Graduate in Athena the semester before you plan to graduate

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