Ph.D. Program in Youth Development and Family Sciences

Earn your Ph.D. in Youth Development and Family Sciences from one of the top 10 public universities in the United States. Our interdisciplinary faculty use prevention science theory and methods to enhance the quality of life for youth, their families, and the communities in which they grow and live. The doctoral program is designed to teach students to be scholars and researchers, engaging students through coursework and practical experience to develop their research, teaching, and leadership skills. This Ph.D. will prepare you to be competitive for tenure-track faculty positions in academic departments specializing in human development and family science, prevention science, youth development, and family and consumer sciences, as well as elite post-doctoral experiences, or careers in the government, nonprofit, or private sectors.

Students receive advanced training in human growth and development, interpersonal and family processes, and the communities that influence the well-being of children, adolescents, and emerging adults. Specific emphasis is placed on examining prevention and promotion programs as contexts for positive growth and development, especially among vulnerable populations. Taught by exceptional faculty at this Research I, AAU University, the program curriculum offers a robust foundation built on advanced research methods, developmental and ecological theories, and electives that allow you to pursue your own specialty research areas.

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 Ph.D. Requirements.

Admissions Requirements

The University of Florida requires a

  • A recognized baccalaureate, graduate or professional degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or a comparable degree from an international institution with a minimum grade point average of B (3.0), calculated from all grades and credits after the semester where the applicant reached 60 semester hours or 90 quarter hours.
  • The University of Florida requires submission of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. These scores are used in the context of a holistic credential review process. Please contact the Department Coordinator of Academic Programs if you have questions about this requirement.
  • Satisfactory conduct record.
  • Proof of medical immunization. Click here
Application Deadline

The priority deadline for your application and all supporting documents is December 15, 2018. Applicants who apply by the December 15 deadline will be given priority in funding decisions for graduate assistantships and fellowships. A second wave of applications will be accepted from December 16, 2018 to March 15, 2019.

Note that in order to meet the application deadline, your complete application and all supporting documents must be received by the due date.

How to Apply

1. Schedule a meeting with the FYCS Coordinator of Academic Programs.

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

2. Review and complete the Ph.D. Application Checklist.

3. Apply through UF’s Office of Admissions.

International Students

International students must have a minimum score of 6 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), a minimum score of 77 on the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB), and a minimum of 80 on the Internet version or a minimum of 550 on the paper version of the Test of English as a Foreign Language. Applicants must submit these test scores also need to have verbal GRE scores of at least 320 (scores before August 1, 2011) or 140 (scores from August 1, 2011 onward). For more details see the International Student Section of the Office of Admission

Assistantships and Other Funding

Students who indicate their interest in a graduate assistantship on their UF Graduate School Application will automatically be considered for assistantships, 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.

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 a stipend (student fees are not covered). 

  1. Candidates for the assistantship are expected to be actively engaged in scholarly activities at multiple levels, including assistance with grant projects and outreach activities. Graduate assistants can expect to be involved in some of the following, teaching undergraduate courses; assisting in peer-reviewed manuscript preparation and papers for conference presentations; coordinating research projects; assisting with writing literature reviews; collecting and analyzing research data; and assisting with outreach activities of the Department. 
  2. The successful candidate must be a full-time student 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.
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 (if applicable) of at least 3.3. A combined verbal and quantitative score of at least 300 on the GRE is considered competitive.

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.