Thank you for your interest in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) graduate program. For a general overview of all of our HDFS programs, we would like to encourage you to become familiar with our website, familystudies.uconn.edu. Here you will find many useful resources, including frequently asked questions, faculty research interests and contact information, and graduate application guidelines.

The Graduate School at the University of Connecticut

The HDFS graduate programs are part of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. Each Department throughout the University has its own guidelines and specific requirements. It must be noted that all graduate programs fall within the Graduate School at the University of Connecticut, which has basic overarching requirements for all graduate students, regardless of specific program. If you are considering a graduate degree at UConn, please be sure to familiarize yourself with the Graduate School website, grad.uconn.edu in addition to your Department of interest.


Admissions Decision Criteria

What is considered when choosing applicants for your program?

For our MA program, a cumulative GPA of 3.0 for your entire undergraduate record, or a GPA of at least 3.0 for the third year and outstanding work in your final undergraduate year (3.5 or better), or graduate work with a minimum GPA of 3.0 or better (9-12 credits). Students who have degrees, or coursework and experiences in a related field generally standout as more prepared for graduate work in human development and family studies.

Students are admitted into the Ph.D. program based on clear evidence of their scholarly potential. How is scholarly potential demonstrated?

Admittance may be attained via one of three routes:

  1. The traditional way to demonstrate scholarly potential is for the applicant to submit the research thesis from their master’s degree within HDFS or a related field of study.
  2. It is possible, as well, for an applicant who has completed a master’s program in HDFS or a related field without having conducted a thesis to be admitted to the doctoral program if they can present work that the HDFS Graduate Admissions Committee considers the equivalent of a research thesis. An example of work that might serve as the equivalent of a research thesis is (co-) authorship of a published article with letters from mentors attesting to the quality of the applicant’s contribution to the work.
  3. Students may also be admitted directly from a bachelor’s degree if they show substantial scholarly potential in the form of work that the HDFS Graduate Admissions Committee considers the equivalent of a research thesis. Examples of work that might demonstrate this potential include evidence of high-level research-focused courses, national conference presentation(s) of undergraduate research project, letters from faculty with whom the student did undergraduate research, an undergraduate Honor’s thesis that was research-based, employment (post BA) as a research assistant involved in multiple aspects of significant research investigations that resulted in (co-) authorship of a published article with letters from mentors attesting to the quality of the applicant’s contribution to the work.

Regardless of route, the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required as part of the application process as it, too, reflects aspects of scholarly potential. In rare instances, an applicant may request a waiver of the GRE; such requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. A formal written request for waiver with a detailed explanation of the reason for the request must accompany the application for admission.

Does the HDFS graduate program require a minimum GRE score or minimum GPA for admission?

There is no formal metric or rubric for admission decisions. However, MA students typically exceed a score of 140 and doctoral students a score of 150. Writing scores are taken into consideration as well, with higher scores expected for doctoral candidates.

Faculty Interests

I am interested in a particular subject area for my graduate studies. Which faculty member(s) in your Department are focused on these types of issues?

Faculty in the HDFS Department come from a variety of backgrounds and have a wide range of expertise and research interests. Applicants with questions about specific faculty interests are encouraged to view our areas of research specialization linking to faculty web sites for more information: familystudies.uconn.edu/faculty


Does your program provide financial support to graduate students?

Most students admitted to the doctoral program for full-time studies are financially supported by the Department. This support generally covers up to 4 years and includes an assistantship, tuition waiver, and an option of health insurance benefits.

What about Master’s students?

Some funding may be available at the MA level, contingent on Department and/or individual faculty needs and opportunities. For further details concerning Departmental and UConn funding sources, please refer to the most current version of the HDFS Graduate Handbook at: familystudies.uconn.edu/graduatehandbook

International Students

What application materials are needed if I am an international student?

The application materials needed are the same as stated above, however if you are not a native speaker of English, you must submit evidence of your proficiency in the English language. You may use the results from either one of two standardized tests for this purpose, not more than two years old. If you submit results from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), you need a minimum overall score of 550 for the paper-based test, 213 for the computer-based test, or 80 for the Internet-based test. If you submit results from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), you need an average overall band score of at least 6.5. Only the scores from the Academic Please visit the Graduate School website for more specific information.

Policies and Procedures

Where can I find information about policies and procedures specific to the graduate program in the HDFS Department?

One place to look for Department guidelines is the current version of HDFS Graduate Handbook, located at the following link: (familystudies.uconn.edu/graduatehandbook). The Handbook provides extensive detail on the structuring of the HDFS graduate program, and is a useful resource for both prospective and continuing HDFS graduate students.

Where can I find additional information on University graduate school policies, course descriptions, and/or graduate courses outside of the HDFS Department?

Students can refer to the University of Connecticut Graduate School Catalog, available online at catalog.grad.uconn.edu, for University-wide requirements for all UConn graduate students, as well as descriptions of all of UConn’s currently offered graduate courses.