The Department of Family Science prepares students to describe, explain, and improve the quality of family life through applied research, education, therapy, human services, policy analysis, and advocacy. The approach is interdisciplinary, emphasizing individual, interpersonal, and social change. The program of study is based on a systems or ecological paradigm, combining the perspectives of interrelated professional fields including family science, couple and family therapy, maternal and child health, family policy, behavioral science, and human services. Graduates are prepared for careers in the public, non-profit and private sectors, including university teaching, research, family policy analysis, and administrative positions in human service and public health programs.
The Department offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Science (M.S.) in Couple and Family Therapy, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Family Science, and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Maternal and Child Health (MCH) degrees. Students applying to the PhD program in Family Science should have a Master's degree in Family Science or a related behavioral or social science. It is possible for a limited number of students to be accepted into the Family Science Ph.D. program with only a Bachelor's degree, but they must complete a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Couple and Family Therapy en route to the Ph.D. Most Maternal and Child Health Ph.D. applicants have a Masters Degree in Public Health (MPH), or an applied behavioral or biological science. MCH students must complete missing MPH core courses (biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health sciences, health services administration, and health behavior) within one academic year of program entry.
The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program in Family Science provides and interdisciplinary, research-oriented approach to the discovery and application of knowledge about families. This exciting program examines both internal family processes and the dynamic interaction of families with the biological, psychological, social, political, and economic aspects of their environment. Graduates are prepared for a number of careers in the public, non-profit, and private sectors, including university teaching, research, family policy analysis, and administrative positions in human service programs.
The Ph.D. program adopts an ecological or systems approach to the study of families and the problems they face in today’s society. The program of study provides doctoral students with a broad knowledge of family theory, research methodology, family policy, family programs, ethnic families, and major issues confronting contemporary families. Students also learn to design, implement, and evaluate culturally-sensitive interventions addressing family needs and to analyze the consequences of public/private policies on family well-being.
The Department seeks students who are imaginative, intelligent, and highly motivated men and women with a desire for challenge, a commitment to excellence, and a well-developed sense of social responsibility. Most applicants have degrees in the applied behavioral or social sciences. However, the Department invites application from those in non-allied fields who have a proven record of occupational and/or volunteer experience in the family field. Computer literacy is essential. We are fortunate to attract gifted students who are concerned about social and ethical issues and who view their future profession in a broad context. The Department encourages applications from members of racial/ethnic minority groups.
Students are selected on the basis of:
- performance in previous undergraduate and/or graduate coursework
- the strength of GRE scores taken within the last five years
- letters of recommendation
- quality of the empirical Master's Thesis (for those with a Master's degree)
- relevant work experience
- professional goals congruent with those of the program
Type of Applicant Fall Spring
Domestic Applicants; US Citizens and Permanent Residents
Deadline: December 15
Preferred: December 15
International Applicants seeking admission under F (student) or J (exchange visitor) visas, as well as those seeking admissions under A,E,G,H,I and L visas and immigrants.
Deadline: December 15
Preferred: December 15
The Family Science Ph.D. program considers applications from students with a Master’s or Bachelor’s degree in family science, public health, or a related discipline. Students admitted to the Ph.D. program in Family Science with a baccalaureate degree must complete the M.S. in Couple and Family Therapy with a thesis en route to the Ph.D.
The Ph.D. program in Family Science admits students for fall semester only. All application materials are due December 15. Students who wish to apply for the Ph.D. program must complete the University of Maryland Graduate School Application, which includes 3 letters of recommendation, the statement of goals and research interests, and official transcripts from all institutions attended.
- Go to http://www.gradschool.umd.edu/gss/admission.html
- Complete the online application (a $75 fee will be processed with your application)
- Mail all transcripts reflecting all undergraduate and graduate work completed or in progress to:
University of Maryland at College Park
Enrollment Services Operations
Application for Graduate Admission
0130 Mitchell Building
College Park, MD 20742
- Standardized test scores (GREs) are to be sent directly from Educational Testing Service (if no category exists on ETS form, please fill in “other” and write FMSC, code 5814).
- GREs must be taken in time to reach our department before the December 15th deadline. - Allow 2 weeks to receive your scores.
- Letters of recommendation are to be submitted online with your graduate application or mailed directly to Graduate Admissions.
- All information provided in this application will be directly sent by Graduate Admissions to the Department of Family Science for review (you do not need to mail additional hard copies of the graduate school application to the department).
Master of Science (M.S.)
The CFT curriculum has three parts: didactic coursework, clinical practica, and supervised client contact. The minimum total credits required are 48 for the non-thesis option and 51 for the thesis option. Didactic coursework is taken in conjunction with 15 credits of clinical practicum seminars and 9 credits of supervision of clinical work. In the clinical practicum, theory is applied to specific case material, with faculty supervision providing support and oversight of assigned cases.
Supervised client contact begins in the student’s first semester. Clinical students are required to gain 400 hours of face-to-face client contact, and 250 of these hours must be relational (with couples or families). The Center for Healthy Families, the couple and family therapy clinic operated by the Department, offers the opportunity to gain these hours. Clinical students receive 100 hours of supervision, both individual and group, for their client contact hours. Supervision in the Department’s clinic is provided through a range of techniques including case discussion, one-way mirror observation, video review, co-therapy, and telephone consultation during live sessions. Students may choose to do some of their clinical work in a variety of available externship sites in the local area.
Couple and Family Therapy students may pursue the thesis or non-thesis option. For thesis option students, 6 semester hours are thesis research credits taken as FMSC 799. The thesis must be approved and then defended in an oral examination. Non-thesis option students take the 3 credit FMSC 789. Non-thesis students must complete a written and oral therapy case presentation.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
The Family Science Ph.D. program requires 51 graduate credit hours beyond the master's degree, including 30 core credits (theory, issues, research methodology, statistics), 6 elective credits, 3 research internship credits, and 12 dissertation credits. All Ph.D. students must complete foundation coursework required for a master's degree in Family Science. At the discretion of the Department's Graduate Committee, students entering the Ph.D. program with a master's degree in a related discipline may make up deficiencies in coursework through classes taken at the beginning of the program. Ph.D. students must also pass a qualifying examination and complete a dissertation and oral defense.
Students admitted full-time to the Ph.D. program post-master's can complete this program within three years. Students admitted to the Ph.D. program with only a baccalaureate degree must complete either a master's degree in Family Science (available only to Ph.D. students) or a Master’s degree in Couple and Family Therapy en route to the Ph.D.
The University's close proximity to the nation's capital, the state capital in Annapolis, federal executive departments, and headquarters of national professional and public interest associations provide research and internship placements for studying family policy unmatched by any other graduate program in the discipline. The Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area offers rich opportunities for research on culturally and socioeconomically diverse families. The campus and department have excellent computer facilities. Students have ready access to the University's extensive library systems, as well as holdings from the Library of Congress, the National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, National Archives, and many other library collections.
Center for Healthy Families: This Center is the training and research arm of the Couple and Family Therapy Program in the Department of Family Science. Departmental graduate students and faculty provide clinical and educational services to families from surrounding communities in this state-of-the-art facility. Master's and doctoral students use data collected at the Center for research projects.
Fellowships and Graduate Assistantships are available to students admitted into the Family Science Ph.D. program.
For additional information, please contact: Dr. Kevin Roy (Program Director of the Family Science Ph.D. program & Graduate Director).
Family Science Ph.D. Program
Department of Family Science
1142 School of Public Health, Bldg. 255
College Park, MD 20742
Program Director of the Family Science Ph.D. Program, Director of Graduate Studies
Kevin Roy, Ph.D.
1142 School of Public Health, Bldg. 255
Telephone: (301) 405-3672
Fax: (301) 314-9161