Ph.D. Program in Youth Development and Family Sciences

Designed to prepare you to conduct high-impact research addressing the problems, issues, and needs relevant to developing youth, their families, and the communities in which they live. This PhD is appropriate whether you plan to pursue a tenure-track faculty position or a career in the government, nonprofit, or private sectors.

Research in this field answers questions related to how human growth and development, interpersonal and family processes and systems, and community contexts influence the behavioral, psychosocial, and socio-emotional well-being of children, adolescents, and emerging adults.

Taught by exceptional faculty at a Research I, AAU University, the program curriculum offers a robust foundation built on advanced research methods and techniques, youth and family theories, and electives that allow you to pursue your own specialty areas.

We encourage you to apply for assistantships and fellowships, and you can transfer up to 30 credits of relevant coursework from a master’s program from a regionally accredited institution or equivalent.

Please check back often for updated information.

Degree Requirements

The PhD will require a minimum of 90, post-baccalaureate credit hours. With approval from the Graduate School, up to 30 credits may be transferred from an M.S. or other master’s program from a regionally accredited institution or equivalent. The remaining course work will include the following:

PhD Degree Requirements

How to Apply

1. Contact the FYCS Coordinator of Academic Programs to schedule a time to discuss the program.

Gregg A. Henderschiedt
Coordinator of Academic Programs
Department of Family Youth and Community Sciences
(352) 273-3514

2. Discuss your research interests with program faculty.

Our program works from a faculty mentor model and it is expected that students will identify one or more preferred faculty mentors in their statement of purpose. Prospective students should become familiar with department faculty and their areas of interest.  The best way to do this is to read their CVs on our Department Faculty Page.  You should discuss your specific research interests with one or more of our faculty members as you work on your application.  Please contact YDFS faculty members to set up a phone or teleconference call.  

3. Make note of the application deadline.

The priority deadline for your application and related materials is January 15, 2018. Decisions will be made in approximately 30 days.  A second wave of applications will be accepted between January 15-March 15, however, graduate assistantships and fellowships will be awarded with a priority to those who have applied by January 15, 2018Please note that in order to meet the application deadline, your complete application and all supporting documents must be received by the due date.

4. Begin your online application for admission.

Review the University of Florida Graduate School admissions process information prior to completing your application. Fill out and submit your online applicationIf you are interested in applying for a Graduate Assistant fellowship, check the box on the UF application and indicate this in your personal statement.

5. Collect and submit your supporting documentation.

Once your application is submitted, your statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation, professional resume, and writing sample may be submitted via the online application system.  See below for details.

A. Statement of Purpose. 

This document should be submitted through the online application system.  It should focus equally on the following and be no longer than 800 words:

  • What are your long-term goals, and how can this program help you reach them?
  • What previous research, educational, or professional experience do you have that will contribute to your ability to achieve an advanced research-based degree in FYCS?
  • What research topic will you likely focus on? (Keep in mind FYCS faculty member research areas, and that the YDFS coursework is focused on advanced research.) What makes you a good fit for the program? And, based on your interests, what faculty member(s) research area best aligns with yours?

B. Letters of Recommendation.

A minimum of three letters of recommendation are required.  These should be from faculty members who are familiar with your past performance as a student, or professional references familiar with your performance (we prefer professional references come from a person who held a supervisory role over your work).  Letters of recommendation should be submitted via the online application process.  If the recommender cannot submit online, you can provide them with the online Recommendation Letter Form, and the letter should be sent directly to Gregg Henderschiedt, Coordinator of Academic Programs.  Letters of recommendation need to be received by the application deadline, so follow up with recommenders to ensure that the deadline is met.  Please note that blind letters of recommendation (letters that are not read by the student prior to submission) are strongly preferred.

C. Curriculum Vita or Resume. 

Your curriculum vita or resume should reflect both your relevant academic and professional accomplishments, and be no longer than four pages.  Submit your CV or resume via the online system. 

D. GRE Scores. 

GRE scores should be sent to UF using ETS test score code 5812 at least two weeks before the application deadline.  A minimum combined quantitative and verbal reasoning score of 300 is considered competitive.  Test scores need to be received by the application deadline to ensure that the application is completed.  We cannot accept test scores older than five years.  

E. Transcripts.

Applicants should submit TWO copies of transcripts: an official copy directly to the UF Office of Admissions, and a copy (either official or unofficial) directly to Gregg Henderschiedt in the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences.  Failure to provide transcripts to both offices can result in your application being delayed.  Request both transcripts at least three weeks prior to the deadline (check with prior institutions as some require a longer period of time to process requests).  If you currently attend UF or have in the past, you do not need to submit transcripts for the coursework completed here. 

F. Writing Sample. 

Your writing sample should be an example of your academic or professional writing such as a publication or journal article, a chapter of your master’s thesis, or a research paper that you submitted for a course requirement.  Suggested maximum length is 10 pages. Submit your writing sample as a .pdf document through the online application system.

International Students

In addition to the above, international students should consult the UF Prospective International website for specific information pertaining to them. 


1. What are the requirements for admission and how do I apply?

To be admitted, students must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0, and a minimum graduate GPA of at least 3.3. A combined verbal and quantitative score of at least 300 on the GRE is considered competitive.

Prior completion of a master’s degree is desirable, preferably in a field of study that provides the student with a solid grounding in the social sciences. Students with a Bachelor’s degree may apply to the Ph.D. program and be admitted; however, they must complete the Master’s degree along the way before they complete the requirements for the Ph.D. We will also consider students with degrees in related fields or post-baccalaureate professional degrees.

2. What funding opportunities are available?

The department offers funding for doctoral students in the form of fellowships, graduate assistantships (includes a part-time salary, benefits, and a tuition waiver), and conference travel support.  Graduate students are responsible for student fees, textbooks, and living expenses.  Additionally, students can apply for other funding, including minority fellowships through the Graduate School. 


3. What is a Graduate Assistantship and How do I apply?

Graduate assistantships are opportunities for experience and financial support that are awarded to the most competitive applicants. They may be teaching, research, or extension appointments that are awarded annually, usually funded for three years, and renewed based on funding and acceptable student evaluations.  Applicants are generally notified of awards shortly after the admissions decisions are made; however, there may be some delays due to approval of the budget.

Students receiving Teaching Assistantships will be assigned an undergraduate course to teach or assist a faculty member with related instructional duties.  Research assistantships may be assigned to grant-funded projects or to assist faculty with their particular area of research. Extension assistantships will be assigned to faculty members with an extension appointment and assigned duties in this area.

Application Procedures: 

To be considered for a Graduate Assistantship, interested individuals must complete the application for admission to the University of Florida. A letter of application and resume should be submitted to:

Gregg A. Henderschiedt
Coordinator of Academic Programs
Department of Family Youth and Community Sciences University of Florida
3041 McCarty Hall D
P.O. Box 110310
Gainesville, Florida 32611-0310

4. How long does it usually take to complete the degree program?

For students entering with a master’s degree (or equivalent) and are able to transfer credits into the program, program completion will generally take about three years.  For students entering with a bachelor’s degree, the program may take up to four to five years to complete. As noted, bachelor students must complete the master’s degree along the way. The actual program length will vary based on the needs, resources, and proficiency of the student.

5. How do I select my graduate faculty advisor?

Before applying to the doctoral program, you should become familiar with the research interests of our faculty. Our program works on a faculty mentor model and it is expected that students will identify one or more preferred faculty mentors in their statement of purpose. The faculty webpage has current curriculum vitae, which outline the academic background, publications, and areas of specialization of faculty members.  Applicants are encouraged to discuss their research interests with specific faculty members.

6. How much does it cost to attend UF?

The UF Office of Student Financial Affairs maintains a website with the current cost of attendance.  This amount can vary from year to year, and there are different tuition rates for in- and out-of-state students. 

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Assistantships and Other Funding

Assistantships and Fellowships are available through the Graduate School and other organizations and colleges on campus. To view available opportunities please visit:

Graduate School:

Assistantship information maintained by the College of Education :

Prospective students can also apply for several available graduate assistantships and fellowships through the Department, which will be granted on a competitive basis. Graduate assistants will support the Department in a variety of ways, including teaching and research.  By working closely with faculty, graduate assistants will gain the professional experience and academic skills needed to successfully pursue a research career in academic, governmental and NGO settings.

More details about available graduate assistantship are listed below:

General Position Summary: 

These positions are twelve month, half-time appointments, renewable for up to three years, subject to satisfactory performance and degree program progress. Funding will cover a full, 12 month tuition waiver plus stipend.  Successful candidates will be responsible for teaching undergraduate courses, developing curriculum, and research assistance.  Candidates for the assistantship are expected to be actively engaged in scholarly activities at multiple levels, including assistance with grant projects and outreach activities. 


The successful candidate must be admitted to our doctoral program in Youth Development and Family Science.  A Master’s degree in Human Development/Family Science (or a similar field) is preferred. The successful candidate should be highly motivated, exhibit strong oral and written communication skills, and be able to collaborate with graduate students and faculty on grants and other funded projects. Responsibilities:  Teach undergraduate courses; assist with preparing manuscripts for peer-reviewed journals and papers for conference presentations; coordinate research projects; assist with writing literature reviews; collect and analyze research data; assist with outreach activities of the Department.  Application Procedures:  To be considered, interested individuals must complete the application for admission to the University of Florida at 

A letter of application and resume should be submitted to:

Gregg A. Henderschiedt
Coordinator of Academic Programs
Department of Family Youth and Community Sciences
(352) 273-3514

For additional information regarding this assistantship, please contact Dr. David Diehl (352) 273-3526 or