Handbook for Graduate Students & Advisors

Faculty and students at graduate luncheon

The HDFS Graduate Handbook details our departmental policies regarding student admissions, advising, degree requirements, employment, and evaluation of progress. We encourage students and advisers to consult this handbook for answers to common questions, when preparing to take qualifying and preliminary exams, and when preparing to submit theses or dissertations.

In addition to the below HDFS Handbook, students and advisers are encouraged to consult the Graduate College Handbook, which describes University policy and procedures that apply to all graduate students, including those that govern assistantships. Also, the department has elected to use the Graduate College policy for formal grievances (informal grievances should be brought to the attention of the Graduate Program Director).



Evaluation of Graduate Student Progress

If you are an instructor or a TA your performance in that role will be evaluated at the end of the semester in which you performed this job. Here is the evaluation form that will be used: TA Evaluation Form


HDFS Curriculum

HDFS Course Requirements

(* will be counted toward M.S. if entering without one)

It is uncommon for a course to be waived; all students are expected to meet all requirements. However if a student enters with compelling proof that a given course would be redundant then they may request a waiver from the Director of Graduate Programs. This waiver would not reduce the number of required hours, rather it would allow the student to meet their waived course hours with a more appropriate class.

If for some reason a substantive course is not offered, then graduate students have permission to do the course content as an independent study with a relevant faculty member. However, this does not mean that a faculty member is obligated to enter into such an agreement. (January 29, 2016 HDFS meeting minutes)

Year 1


  • HDFS 590: Advanced Research Methods (4) *
  • HDFS 500: Professional Development (1)
  • HDFS 501: Human Development Theories (4) *
  • HDFS 533: Community in American Society (4) *


  • HDFS 594: Intermediate Statistics (4) *
  • HDFS 591: Qualitative Methods (Ethnography or Grounded Theory) (4) *
  • HDFS 521: Family Theories (4) *

Year 2


  • HDFS 597: Advanced Statistics (4)
  • Substantive Courses (see list)
  • Elective Courses (open)


  • HDFS 591: Qualitative Methods (Ethnography or Grounded Theory) (4)
  • Substantive Courses (see list)
  • Elective Courses (open)

Subsequent years

Take any remaining substantive courses (see list) and electives plus one more hour of HDFS 500 (Professional Development)

HDFS 599: Thesis Credits (8 are required for the M.S.)
Take before completing the master's thesis

HDFS 599: Dissertation Credits (22 are required for the Ph.D.)
Take before completing the dissertation

List of Substantive Courses (choose 4 courses from the following):

Please note that some of the below courses are 2-hour and some are 4-hour. What matters is the number of substantive courses rather than the number of hours.

Substantive courses are typically offered on an "every other year" rotation.

  • HDFS 503: Social-Emotional Development (2)
  • HDFS 505: Advanced Adolescence (2)
  • HDFS 534: Neighborhood Effects on Human Development (4)
  • HDFS 539: Youth, Culture, and Society (4)
  • HDFS 523: Ethnic Families (4)
  • HDFS 526: Intimate Partner Violence (2)
  • HDFS 527: Family Resiliency (4)
  • HDFS 528: Parenting (2)
  • HDFS 540: Gender and Sexuality (2)
  • HDFS 543: Ethnography of Urban Communities (4)
  • HDFS 570: Gender Roles in International Development (4)
  • HDFS 595: Substantive Seminars (e.g. "Families in Flux") (2-4)

MD/PhD Students: You are allowed to count one medical school course towards your HDFS substantive course requirement.


Doctoral students who entered the program before Fall 2011 must complete the HCD core plus the HDFS concentration requirements: Click here for the "old" HDFS degree checklist.

If you have any additional questions, please contact the Graduate Secretary or the Director of Graduate Programs.