The Human Development and Family Studies discipline emphasizes diverse ways that persons develop within their social and familial contexts. Graduate study includes examinations of theory, research, and intervention/practice, and their interplay across the full lifespan of individual development and within the context of family and social systems.

Sarah Kennedy

Graduate Program

Research interests of the Department's

faculty and graduate students currently

cluster in six overlapping areas of specialization

Couple Relationships
* Marriage and Family Therapy
Parenthood and Parent-child Relationships
Health and Well-being
Prevention and Early Intervention

*Marriage and Family Therapy Program is no longer accepting applications

Core Curriculum

There is a core curriculum designed to provide all students with this foundation. All areas of specialization within the graduate program involve an emphasis on:

  • Lifespan Human Development (in ecological context)
  • Diversity & Culture
  • Promoting Healthy Individuals and Families (prevention, intervention, and policy)
  • Basic and Applied Research
  • Doctoral Studies

Doctoral Studies

The HDFS program at UConn is one of a very select number of programs in the U.S. that offers Doctoral studies in Human Development and Family Studies. Qualified applicants to the Ph.D. program may enter with either a BA/BS or MA/MS degree in a related profession or discipline including but not limited to:

 Parent education
 Social work
 Marriage and family therapy
 Public health and health psychology
 Early intervention services
 Positive youth development

Students design programs of study that will advance their skills in intervention /clinical practice as well as program evaluation, policy studies, and research methods.  All students accepted for doctoral studies receive support (including tuition waivers, stipends, and access to health insurance) through fellowships or graduate assistantships.

Upon completion of the Ph.D. program, many graduates enter post-doctoral fellowships or traditional academic positions. Others are employed by non-profit agencies, state and federal government agencies, health/hospital research, and human services research or policy positions.

Master's Studies

The HDFS program also offers graduate study leading to a Masters’ degree in Human Development and Family Studies. Individuals interested in advancing their professional skills in parent education, prevention and health promotion, or program evaluation may apply for a Master’s degree to pursue study in one of the areas of specialization listed above.  M.A. applicants should contact faculty in their interest-area to learn about opportunities. M.A.-only students are not guaranteed support through departmental assistantships but are offered these opportunities whenever possible.

Graduate Certificates

The Graduate School offers a number of Certificate Programs in related disciplines to supplement both Master's and Doctoral degrees. Popular certificate programs in HDFS include:

For Master’s and Ph.D. students:

For Ph.D. students:

Additional credentials that M.A. and Ph.D. students may pursue within the Department include:

The Graduate School website has a full list of available Certificate Programs for Master's and Doctoral students.