skip to main content skip to navigation

Graduate Programs

The student’s course of study is guided by a graduate committee comprised of three faculty members. The student’s major adviser, another faculty member from the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, and a third member is selected from faculty outside the department.

  1. Five courses designed to expose the student to fundamental concepts of lifespan development and family functioning and to develop research skills:
    • HDFS 500 Issues in Human Development & Family Studies
    • HDFS 524 Family Theory
    • HDFS 501 Readings in the Discipline
    • HDFS 549 Research Methods I
    • HDFS 550 Research Methods II
  2. Thesis
    The thesis is a scholarly, empirical paper. The student tests specific hypotheses by collecting and analyzing qualitative or quantitative data or by analyzing an existing data set. To register for thesis credit, one must complete the HD699 Thesis form and return it to one’s thesis adviser.
  3. Program Emphasis Courses
    Students in Prevention Science complete a program emphasis of at least 26 credits that focus on a chosen academic or career area. These credits include skill-based courses in Prevention Program Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation, and grant writing. Students in Marriage and Family Therapy complete credits in core courses, thesis, and professional studies (practicum and internship).
Family Studies
HDFS524 Family Theory3
HDFS534 Marriage and Family Therapy3
Select 1 or more of the following:
692A (Advanced Studies-Intimacy and Human Sexuality), or3
692B (Advanced Study-Parenting)3
9 credits
Marriage (Couple) and Family Therapy
HDFS624 Skills & Techniques in Family Therapy3
HDFS644 Foundations in Family Therapy3
HDFS676 Professional Skills Development3
HDFS520 Family Therapy Theory & Practice: Common Factors3
HDFS521 Family Therapy Theory & Practice: Treatment Planning3
HDFS620 Family Therapy Theory & Practice: Addictions3
HDFS621 Family Therapy Theory & Practice: Special Topics3
HDFS687C Internship-Marriage and Family Therapy5
26 credits
Human Development
HDFS500 Issues in HDFS3
EDCO693 Seminar-Guidance and Counseling (Psychopathology)3
Developmental elective (1 or more): HDFS611 (Early Development)3
or HDFS612 (Adolescent Development) or HDFS613 (Adult Development and Aging)3
or HDFS792A (Lifespan Socioemotional Development)3
or HDFS 792B (Lifespan Cognitive Development)3
minimum of 9 credits
Professional Studies
HDFS677 Ethical and Legal Issues3
HDFS549 Research Methods I3
HDFS550 Research Methods II3
HDFS501 Readings in the Discipline1
HDFS699 Thesis6
13 credits
TotalMinimum of 60 credits

Please note: One course cannot satisfy multiple requirements

MFT students: You are welcome to take additional courses as an overload such as HDFS650 advanced methods, and any other HDFS or campus graduate courses.

Check out our complete ADS plan of study.

Students can enter the Applied Developmental Science program with a completed Master’s degree or with a completed Bachelor’s degree. Students entering with a Bachelor’s will be required to complete a Master’s in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS), with a specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy or Prevention Science. Those who have completed a Master’s degree, but who have majored in a subject area other than Applied Developmental Science (ADS), HDFS, or a closely related field, will need to complete the Master’s coursework in HDFS; however if they did a thesis in the prior program on a topic that would be appropriate for the ADS program, then that thesis can be reviewed for acceptance in partial fulfillment of the Master’s degree, using the process detailed shortly. Students who have completed a Master’s in ADS, HDFS, or a closely related field, but have not completed a thesis as part of that program, will need to complete a first-year project that is comparable to a thesis project as a part of their Ph.D. requirements. Those who have completed a thesis from a previous program in ADS, HDFS, or closely related field, or who completed a thesis on a topic that would be appropriate for the ADS program, even if the department was not closely related, will need to have that thesis reviewed by a committee comprised of the ADS director, the Assistant Department Head, and the student’s adviser or co-advisers for acceptance or not. If the thesis is not accepted, then the student will need to complete a first-year project that is comparable to a thesis project as part of the ADS Ph.D. program requirements. The first year project involves a publication-worthy research project in the student’s area of research in HDFS that involves the student taking a leadership role in devising the research question(s) to be addressed, executing the study and analyses, and writing a journal article manuscript based on the study. The student may satisfy the requirement (see below) of collecting his/her own data in this project or in another research project. Secondary data may be used if the student collects data in connection with a different research project.

The Ph.D. is a 76 credit-hour degree, designed to be completed in a 4-year time frame (18-21 credits per year). All ADS students must take 22 credits in ADS-program-wide core courses; in addition, 24 credits are earned in elective courses that are selected in consultation with the student’s adviser and committee so as to prepare the student for the career trajectory that he or she has planned. These electives must include at least 2 lifespan development electives, 1 statistics elective (3 credits) and 1 general elective outside of HDFS (3 credits).

Applied Developmental Science core courses include all of the following:

HDFS 500 Issues in Human Development and Family Studies3
HDFS 501 Readings in the Discipline1
HDFS 524 Family Theory3
HDFS 610 Risk and Resilience3
HDFS 710 Theories of Applied Developmental Science3
HDFS Research Methods/Statistics core courses
HDFS 549 Research Methods I3
HDFS 550 Research Methods II3
HDFS 650 Multivariate Research Methods I3
HDFS 750 Multivariate Research Methods II3

Applied Developmental Science electives include 24 credits selected from the following, but including at least 2 lifespan electives, 1 methodology/statistics elective, and 1 open elective outside of the department, selected in consultation with the student’s adviser and committee members:

Lifespan Development electives:
HDFS 611 Early Development3
HDFS 612 Adolescent Development3
HDFS 613 Adult Development and Aging3
HDFS 792A Lifespan Socioemotional Development3
HDFS 792B Lifespan Cognitive Development3
Applied Science electives:
HDFS 592 Grant Writing–Human Services and Research3
HDFS 607 Prevention Science across the Lifespan3
HDFS 608 Program Planning and Implementation3
HDFS 609 Prevention Program Evaluation3
HDFS 692C Family Policy and Programming3
Additional electives:
HDFS 692A Advanced Studies – Intimacy and Human Sexuality3
HDFS 692B Advanced Studies – Parenting3
Methodology/Statistics elective3
Open elective from another department3

In addition, the Graduate School requirement of a Preliminary Exam will be met by completing HDFS550, HDFS650, HDFS500, HDFS524, and 6 credit hours selected from HDFS792A, HDFS792B, HDFS 611 HDFS612, or HDFS613. A grade of B or A is required in each course.

Competency Projects and Examination

Purpose. The competency projects and examination are designed to fulfill several purposes: (1) To allow students to demonstrate the breadth and depth of their knowledge gained from their coursework in the ADS program and from reading in depth in the specific area on which they plan to focus their research efforts; (2) to challenge students to think critically about and to apply, utilize, and integrate that knowledge in ways that foster their own professional development; and (3) to independently develop a research plan that potentially will sustain their investigative efforts past their doctoral dissertation and into the early years of their career. There are two projects involved in the Competency Examination: The research competency project and the professional presentation/teaching competency.

Research/Research Writing Competency Project.

Competency 1: Original data collection in one’s area of research. It is the philosophy of the HDFS department at CSU that all doctoral students should be involved in original data collection efforts as part of their doctoral studies (including Master’s studies). This data collection does not have to take place in connection with the dissertation research, but it does need to take place at some time during the program and/or during the process of completing a Master’s thesis that has been accepted by the ADS program as fulfilling the Master’s thesis/first year project requirement for the ADS program. The student will need to specify when this data collection has taken place or will take place, as well as the student’s role in the data collection effort, as part of the research competency examination, and, as for other parts of the examination, the student’s committee members will need to view the student as having passed this requirement, based on the student’s experience, including his/her role in the project in which data collection took place.

Competency 2: In-depth analysis of the literature and scholarly writing. There are three format options for the exam demonstrating the student’s ability to do an in-depth analysis of the literature in his/her area of research: students select either (a) grant application or (b) Developmental Review article or (c) an essay/paper in response to specific examination questions that have been prepared and approved by the student’s committee and have been approved by the ADS program director(or their delegate(s) if one or both of them are on the student’s committee).

Professional Presentation/Teaching Competency

Purpose. The goal of the professional presentation/teaching competency is to afford the student increased experience and skill in doing professional presentations and/or teaching, by teaching or co-teaching a college-level course or professional workshop series, under the supervision of a faculty mentor. Typically, the professional presentation/ competency project occurs only after the student has received the Master’s degree. There are two different options for the Professional presentation/Teaching Competency: 1. Teaching a series of workshops or 2. Working on two specific teaching-related skills while teaching at least ½ of an undergraduate course. The student should work with his/her advisor to select the option that is most appropriate for his/her planned career path.

Option 1: Workshop Series. If the student believes that teaching a series of workshops is more relevant to his/her planned career path, then s/he may prepare and deliver a series of professional workshops, contingent upon approval of the student’s doctoral committee and ADS Program Director. Usually more than one workshop will be needed to be deemed comparable to teaching at least ½ of a semester-long course.

Option 2. Teaching an undergraduate course. Typically, the student begins by being a teaching assistant for an undergraduate course one semester, and then teaching or co-teaching that same course during a later semester. The teaching assistantship can be paid, but it must include preparation of course materials (tests, assignments, and/or activities), grading of papers and/or essays, and preparing and giving at least one class lecture. The instructorship or co-instructorship must involve preparing at least ½ of the course materials, leading the class for at least ½ of the class meetings, and grading at least ½ of the papers and essays for the class. Students with prior teaching experience or with especially strong background in the subject area might teach a class without assisting in a prior semester, but this should involve mentored teaching, with close supervision by a faculty member.

The Doctoral Dissertation in Applied Developmental Science

Students in the Applied Developmental Science (ADS) Ph.D. program are required to write a Doctoral Dissertation and to conduct the research approved by the Doctoral Committee during the proposal meeting. The dissertation represents the culmination of students’ ADS education. Therefore, the faculty of the ADS program and the members of students’ Doctoral Committees expect that students who reach the point of preparing a dissertation proposal will have the conceptual and methodological sophistication necessary to plan and execute an independent research project.

The dissertation should be seen as a process rather than a product, although the final product will consist of either a formal thesis or multiple manuscripts for publication. If the thesis format is chosen, it is expected that the thesis provides the foundation for subsequent manuscripts of publishable quality. Regardless of whether a student chooses the thesis or the multiple-manuscript option, the process of the dissertation includes (a) the conceptualization of the study, including a concise presentation of the scientific rationale and the study methodology; (b) the data analyses and presentation of the results; and (c) the discussion of the results and their implications for the extant literature, future research, and potential applications in the field. Although the dissertation is designed as a proof that the doctoral student has the conceptual and methodological skills necessary to undertake an independent research project, it also requires the active and continued consultation with and involvement by students’ advisors and Doctoral Committee at all stages. The consultation with and involvement of the advisors and the members of the doctoral committee represents an important element of students’ continued scholarly development and education.

CourseCredit HoursCourse Name
HDFS 5003 creditsIssues in Human Development and Family Studies
HDFS 5011 creditReadings in the Discipline
HDFS 5203 creditsFamily Therapy Theory & Practice: Common Factors
HDFS 5213 creditsFamily Therapy Theory & Practice: Treatment Planning
HDFS 5243 creditsFamily Theory
HDFS 5343 creditsMarriage and Family Therapy
HDFS 5503 creditsResaerch Methods I
HDFS 5503 creditsResearch Methods II
HDFS 5923 creditsGrant Writing- Human Service and Research
HDFS 6073 creditsPrevention Science Across the Lifespan
HDFS 6083 creditsProgram Planning and Implementation
HDFS 6093 creditsPrevention Program Evaluation
HDFS 6103 creditsRisk and Resilience in Development
HDFS 6113 creditsEarly Development
HDFS 6123 creditsAdolescent Development
HDFS 6133 creditsAdult Development and Aging
HDFS 6203 creditsFamily Therapy Theory and Practice: Addictions
HDFS 6213 creditsFamily Therapy Theory & Practice: Special Topics
HDFS 6243 creditsSkills and Techniques in Family Therapy
HDFS 6363 creditsAging and the Family
HDFS 6443 creditsFoundations in Family Therapy
HDFS 6503 creditsMultivariate Research Methods I
HDFS 6763 creditsProfessional Skills Development
HDFS 6773 creditsEthical and Legal Issues
HDFS 684variableSupervised College Teaching
HDFS 686variablePracticum
HDFS 687variableInternship
HDFS 692A3 creditsAdvanced Studies – Intimacy and Human Sexuality
HDFS 692B3 creditsAdvanced Studies – Parenting
HDFS 698variableResearch
HDFS 699variableThesis
HDFS 7503 creditsMultivariate Research Methods II
HDFS 792A3 creditsLifespan Socioemotional Development
HDFS 792B3 creditsLifespan Cognitive Development
HDFS 799variableDissertation

*The Graduate and Professional Bulletin, supplied by the Graduate School, contains information on University degree requirements which also must be met.

Graduate Internship Supervisors
Stephanie Seng,
(970) 491-5207
MFT Internship and
Practicum Supervisor
David MacPhee,
(970) 491-5503
Child Life
Internship Coordinator
Zeynep Biringen,
(970) 491-5514
Other Prevention Science