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University Bulletin
Graduate Degree Programs

Human Development and Family Studies (HD FS)

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DOUGLAS M. TETI, Department Head, Human Development and Family Studies

LISA GATZKE-KOPP, Professor in Charge of Graduate Programs in Human Development and Family Studies
119 Health and Health and Human Development Building
Phone: 814-863-8000

 

Degrees Conferred:

Ph.D., M.S. (The program does not admit applicants for the terminal master's degree.)
Dual-Title M.S. and Ph.D. in HDFS and Demography
Dual-Title Ph.D. in HDFS and Social Data Analytics

 

The Graduate Faculty

 

The Program

This interdisciplinary program is one of the graduate programs of the College of Health and Human Development. It is administered through the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. The Human Development and Family Studies graduate program is designed to educate students about research, theory, and methodology related to the study of individuals and families across diverse populations and diverse settings. There is a strong interest in the ways in which social institutions and settings such as day care facilities, schools, neighborhoods, and social policy institutions facilitate (or inhibit) opportunities for development and change for individuals and families. Understanding the characteristics and conditions that place individuals or families at risk for developing problems, designing effective prevention programs to address those risks, and mounting rigorous evaluations of such programs is a growing emphasis in the program. All students, regardless of substantive area, are encouraged to develop strong skills in research methods, a hallmark of our graduate training. Through course work and apprenticeship experiences, students develop an understanding of the program's multidisciplinary life span/life course, and applied orientation. As students progress through the program, they are expected to develop specialized expertise in two or more of the department's areas of concentration: individual development, family studies, intervention research, and research methods.

Admission Requirements

Requirements listed here are in addition to general Graduate School requirements stated in the GENERAL INFORMATION section of the Graduate Bulletin. Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission.

Scores from the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) are required for admission. Entering students should have some course work in social sciences, such as developmental and family science courses from psychology or sociology programs; and foundational courses in research methods and statistics. At the discretion of the program, students not meeting these requirements may be provisionally admitted with limited deficiencies to be made up concurrently with their graduate work.

Students with appropriate backgrounds will be considered for admission for fall semester only. The best-qualified applicants will be accepted up to the number of spaces that are available for new students.

Degree Requirements

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements stated in the DEGREE REQUIREMENTS section of the Graduate Bulletin.

Students who enter the graduate program without a master’s degree must complete a master’s degree en route to the Ph.D. For the Master of Science degree, a minimum of 30 credits at the 400, 500, or 800 level is required, with at least 18 credits in the 500 and 600 series combined. Students are required to complete three 3-credit substantive core courses: HDFS 501, HDFS 503, and HDFS 525. Students are also required to complete two 3-credit courses in research methods: HDFS 516 and HDFS 519. In addition to the required courses, students take a minimum of 9 credits of course work (400 and 500 level) in their substantive field, 6 of which must be in HD FS (excluding independent study), and 6 credits of thesis research (HDFS 600 or 610). The thesis must be accepted by the advisers and/or committee members, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School, and the student must pass a thesis defense. Course work completed for the HD FS master’s degree at Penn State can be applied to satisfy the degree requirements for the HD FS Ph.D.

For the Ph.D., a minimum of 40.5 credits at the 400, 500, or 800 level is required. Students are required to complete three 3-credit substantive core courses: HDFS 501, HDFS 503, and HDFS 525. Students are also required to complete four 3-credit courses in research methods: HDFS 516, HDFS 519, HDFS 523, and HDFS 526. In addition to the required courses, students must take a minimum of 6 additional credits in methodology, for a total of 18 credits in methodology. Students will also take a minimum of 12 credits of elective course work (400 and 500 level) in their substantive field, 9 of which must be in HD FS seminars. These 12 credits must be in addition to the 6 additional credits in methodology and cannot be double-counted towards that requirement. Students must also take HDFS 596: Professional Development Orientation (1 credit) in their first year and HDFS 515 (1.5 credits) by the end of their second year in the program.

All doctoral students must pass a candidacy examination, a comprehensive written and oral examination, and a final oral examination (the dissertation defense). To earn the Ph.D. degree, doctoral students must also write a dissertation that is accepted by the doctoral committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Dual-Title Doctoral Degree in HDFS and Demography

This program is designed for students who want to integrate Population Studies (including such foci as fertility, marriage, cohabitation, labor force participation, mortality) with the study of human development and family studies. Details can be obtained from the HDFS graduate officer or director of the graduate program in Demography. Please see the Demography website for more information.

Admission Requirements

Students must apply and be admitted to the graduate program in HDFS and the Graduate School before they can be admitted to a dual-title degree program. Applicants interested in the dual-title degree program may note their interest in their applications to HDFS. Students admitted to the HDFS program will be admitted to the dual-title program in Demography upon the recommendation of a Demography Program faculty member in HDFS. Ph.D. students must apply and be admitted to the dual-title degree program in Demography prior to taking the candidacy exam.
Additional admissions requirements are listed in the Admissions Requirements section of the Demography Bulletin page.


Degree Requirements

To qualify for the dual-title degree, students must satisfy the requirements of the Ph.D. in HDFS, listed above. In addition, students pursuing the dual-title Ph.D. in HDFS and Demography must complete the degree requirements for the dual-title Demography Ph.D., listed on the Demography Bulletin page.

The Candidacy Examination committee for the dual-title degree will be composed of Graduate Faculty from HDFS and must include at least one Graduate Faculty member from Demography. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. There will be a single candidacy examination, containing elements of both HDFS and Demography. Dual-title graduate degree students may require an additional semester to fulfill requirements for both areas of study and, therefore, the candidacy examination may be delayed one semester beyond the normal period allowable.

The chair and at least one additional member of the student’s doctoral committee must be members of the Graduate Faculty in Demography. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. The Demography faculty members on the student's committee are responsible for administering an examination in demography that constitutes a portion of the comprehensive examination of the doctoral student in the dual-title.

Ph.D. candidates must complete a dissertation on a topic that reflects their original research and education in both HDFS and Demography. In order to earn the dual-title Ph.D. degree, the dissertation must be accepted by the doctoral committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School, and the student must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense).

Dual-Title Doctoral Degree in HDFS and Social Data Analytics

HDFS doctoral students interested in having a degree that reflects interdisciplinary training in an array of tools, techniques, and methodologies for social data analytics, while maintaining a close association with HDFS, may apply to pursue a dual-title Ph.D. in HDFS and Social Data Analytics.

Social data analytics is the integration of social scientific, computational, informational, statistical, and visual analytic approaches to the analysis of large or complex data that arise from human interaction. The dual-title Ph.D. program provides additional training with the aim of providing scientists with the skills required to expand the field of social data analytics, creatively answer important social scientific questions, and communicate effectively with both academic and nonacademic audiences.

Admission Requirements

Students must apply and be admitted to the graduate program in HDFS and the Graduate School before they can be admitted to a dual-title degree program. Applicants interested in the dual-title degree program may note their interest in their applications to HDFS. Students admitted to the HDFS program will be admitted to the dual-title program in Social Data Analytics upon the recommendation of a Social Data Analytics Program faculty member in HDFS. Students must apply and be admitted to the dual-title degree program in Social Data Analytics prior to taking the candidacy exam.

Additional admissions requirements are listed in the Admissions Requirements section of the Social Data Analytics Bulletin page.

Degree Requirements

To qualify for the dual-title degree, students must satisfy the requirements of the Ph.D. in HDFS, listed above. In addition, students pursuing the dual-title Ph.D. in HDFS and Social Data Analytics must complete the degree requirements for the dual-title Social Data Analytics Ph.D., listed on the Social Data Analytics Bulletin page.

The Candidacy Examination committee for the dual-title degree will be composed of Graduate Faculty from HDFS and must include at least one Graduate Faculty member from Social Data Analytics. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. There will be a single candidacy examination, containing elements of both HDFS and Social Data Analytics. Dual-title graduate degree students may require an additional semester to fulfill requirements for both areas of study and, therefore, the candidacy examination may be delayed one semester beyond the normal period allowable.

The doctoral committee of a dual-title doctoral degree student must include at least one member of the Social Data Analytics Graduate Faculty. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. If the chair of the committee representing HDFS is not also a member of the Graduate Faculty in Social Data Analytics, the member of the committee representing Social Data Analytics must be appointed as co-chair. The Social Data Analytics representative on the student’s doctoral committee will develop questions for and participate in the evaluation of the comprehensive examination.

Ph.D. candidates must complete a dissertation on a topic that reflects their original research and education in both HDFS and Social Data Analytics. In order to earn the dual-title Ph.D. degree, the dissertation must be accepted by the doctoral committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School, and the student must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense).

 

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships available to students in this program and other forms of student aid are described in the STUDENT AID section of the Graduate Bulletin. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load limits set forth in the Graduate Bulletin.

Courses

Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AND FAMILY STUDIES (HD FS) course list

 

Last Revised by the Department: Spring Semester 2017

Blue Sheet Item #: 45-06

Review Date: 4/4/2017

Faculty linked: 6/20/14; Department head updated 7/30/14

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