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Human Development and Family Sciences

  • Master of Arts
  • Doctor of Philosophy

Facilities for Graduate Work

The Department of Human Development and Family Sciences is housed in the Sarah M. and Charles E. Seay Building, which provides excellent resources for teaching and research. Computer facilities are extensive. In addition to the facilities of Information Technology Services, students have access to the department’s computer laboratory, a state-of-the-art facility equipped with advanced computers and statistical software. These resources are supplemented by extensive computer equipment in individual faculty laboratories.

The HDFS Reference Room houses a noncirculating collection of more than five hundred volumes and twenty journals.

The half-day preschool and infant/toddler programs of the University Child and Family Laboratory provide a setting for research by faculty members and graduate students, a facility for student observation and training, and a model program for children and their families. They also provide opportunities for family involvement in the classroom, parent education programs, parent conferences, and family research. Because the laboratory has served Austin families for over eighty years, the opportunities for multigenerational and longitudinal research are significant.

The department has extensive facilities for observing and recording social interaction. The Marital and Family Interaction Laboratory is available for recording husband-wife and family interaction in a comfortable setting. The laboratory consists of a naturalistic living room connected to well-equipped control rooms that enable interactions to be recorded unobtrusively. The facility is augmented by numerous other one-way observation and coding rooms that enable recorded data to be analyzed using state-of-the-art computer-video analysis systems.

The department also has excellent facilities for conducting survey research. These include a series of individual interview rooms and a telephone research center.

Several rich sets of data, many of which include longitudinal data from families, are housed in the department and available to graduate students for research. These sets of data focus on a wide range of topics, including the impact of courtship experiences on marriage; the prediction of divorce and remarriage and their impact on children; parent-child interaction; the connection between family and peer relationships; the connection between work roles and family relationships; and the impact on children of poverty, television, child care policy, and adoption policy.

Areas of Study

The graduate program in human development and family sciences is designed to prepare students for research, teaching, and administrative positions in colleges and universities and for positions in government, policy-related research organizations, and other public and private settings. The program emphasizes research and theory on the interplay among individual development, family relationships, and institutions outside the family. Development of the individual is considered within the contexts of the family, peer group, community, and culture. The family is studied as a system of relationships, with attention to roles, communication, conflict resolution and negotiation, and family members’ perceptions of each other and of their family. Public policies and care settings outside the family are among the community influences considered in relation to the development of individuals and families. The program emphasizes the investigation of the family and other social processes that contribute to competence and optimal development in individuals from birth to maturity and how such competence is reflected in interpersonal relationships and family interactions.

Graduate Studies Committee

The following faculty members served on the Graduate Studies Committee in the spring semester 2008–2009.

  • Edward Anderson
  • Robert Crosnoe
  • John Daly
  • Theodore H. Dix
  • Norval D. Glenn
  • Sue A. Greninger
  • Nancy Hazen-Swann
  • Aletha C. Huston
  • Ted L. Huston
  • Deborah B. Jacobvitz
  • Su Yeong Kim
  • Karrol Ann Kitt
  • Judith H. Langlois
  • Timothy J. Loving
  • Lisa A. Neff
  • Catherine A. Surra
  • Anita L. Vangelisti

Degree Requirements

Master of Arts. The master’s degree requires completion of at least thirty-six semester hours of coursework: a core course sequence of fifteen semester hours, consisting of theoretical and methodological foundations courses; twelve hours in research and thesis; and nine hours of electives. The graduate program in human development and family sciences is designed primarily to lead to the Doctor of Philosophy degree. Students normally earn the Master of Arts degree only in the course of work leading to the doctoral degree. Further information is available from the graduate adviser.

Doctor of Philosophy. Detailed descriptions of admission procedures and program requirements are available from the graduate adviser. Work leading to the Doctor of Philosophy includes (1) the substantive major, which consists of a cohesive sequence of courses in human development and family sciences and related disciplines; (2) coursework in research design and statistics; (3) the supporting program, which consists of work complementary to the substantive major; (4) ongoing supervised research experience; (5) a predoctoral research project (the equivalent of a master’s thesis); (6) a comprehensive paper that reviews the student’s area of specialization; and (7) the dissertation.

For More Information

Campus address: Sarah M. and Charles E. Seay Building (SEA) 1.432A, phone (512) 475-8800, fax (512) 475-8662

Mailing address: The University of Texas at Austin, Graduate Program in Human Development and Family Sciences, School of Human Ecology, 1 University Station A2702, Austin TX 78712

E-mail: maria@austin.utexas.edu

URL: http://www.he.utexas.edu/hdfs/index.php

Graduate Catalog, 2009-2011

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