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Family & Consumer Sciences (PHD) - Family Studies and Human Development 
Program Description

The doctoral program includes basic and applied courses, which provide broad exposure to relevant theories and research methods with in-depth specialization in FSHD,  emphasis area, and encourages ongoing student involvement in research, including but not limited to the thesis and dissertation.

In addition to major coursework, a student is required to choose a minor outside of the major to enhance the student's ability to solve problems from an interdisciplinary perspective. Other elements of the doctoral program are the research mentorship program, research methods and statistics courses, and the doctoral dissertation. Through the doctoral program, a student will acquire a firm foundation in theory and research methodologies relevant to their emphasis area and will also become competent in advanced statistical techniques necessary for conducting research.

Research in Family Studies and Human Development is conducted in 5 core areas. These targeted areas constitute our core domains for development of focused excellence in basic and applied research on families and human development.

  1. Adolescent Development and Transition to Adulthood

  2. Family Relationships and Health/Well-being

  3. Social and Emotional Development In Early Childhood

  4. Romantic and Sexual Relationships

  5. Applied Research


For more information on the faculty who specialize in the 5 core areas of research visit:

Department/Academic Unit(s)

School of Family & Consumer Sciences -

Strengthening families, communities, and the marketplace...

The John and Doris Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences provides instructional, research, extension and outreach programs that enable families, individual family members and consumers to achieve an optimum quality of life throughout the life span. Instructional programs prepare professionals for careers serving families and consumers in a culturally diverse and rapidly changing society.

There are two broad areas of study at Norton School, Family Studies and Human Development and Retail and Consumer Sciences. Currently we only offer a Ph.D. program in Family Studies and Human Development.

The FSHD graduate program curriculum is designed to provide broad exposure to developmental and interpersonal and family theories, to develop research skills and expertise, and to build in-depth knowledge in a content area chosen by the student.

Ph.D. Program in FSHD
Students interested in research, consulting, and/or teaching at the college level may pursue a doctoral degree with a concentration in family studies and human development. The program typically takes five years and combines advanced study in human development with family and interpersonal theories, research, and special topics.

Courses required for the Ph.D. include Analysis of Family Studies, Theories of Human Development, Foundations of Family and Interpersonal Theory, Application of Family and Interpersonal Theory, Research Methods, Statistics, and special topics seminars chosen based on student interests. Doctoral students also complete coursework in a chosen minor area.

Recent program graduates have taken positions as research scientists and professors in the fields of human development and family studies, family health, adolescent sexuality, criminal justice, psychology and anthropology.

For more information about our program, please visit our website. You may also contact the Graduate Coordinator, Elissa Montiel for more information at

College of Agriculture & Life Sciences  
Campus where offered
Main Campus - Tucson  
Admissions Contact
Elissa A. Montiel
Graduate Program Coordinator
Elissa A. Montiel
Director of Graduate Studies
Emily A Butler
Graduate College Degree Counselor
Guadalupe Estrella
Tuition and Fees
Please refer to the UA Bursar's Office Tuition and Fees Calculator for up-to-date information about tuition and fees. 
Please refer to the UA Registrar's's Office Special Course Fees for up-to-date information about special course fees. 

Admissions Information

Admissions Requirements

Applicants must include the following in their application:

  • Statement of Purpose
  • Transcripts
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Current GRE scores (Scores must be within the last 5 years)
Standardized Tests

Required test(s):

Minimum GRE Verbal:
Minimum GRE Quantitative:
Minumum GRE Written:
Minimum TOEFL:
Minimum IELTS:

Financial Aid

Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA):

  • To be eligible to apply for an available GRA position, you must be a student in the FSHD graduate program.
  • Open GRA positions will be posted yearly during the spring semester (typically by mid-March).  "Supplemental" postings for GRA positions will be made as they become available.
  • The link below will take you to a page with links to all "open" positions.  Each link will open a position description with details regarding duties, desired qualifications, and application requirements.  You will be able to upload your application materials directly from that page.
    • You are encouraged to peruse all available positions.
  • As a general rule, applications will be due within 3 weeks of position posting (for exceptions see specific position descriptions). 
  • After submitting your application, you will be contacted by the hiring faculty member (or other contact person) regarding the status of your application. 


Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA):

  • To be eligible apply for an available GTA position, you must be a student in the FSHD graduate program.
  • Available GTA positions for AY 2014-15 will be posted each year (typically during mid-March).  "Supplemental" postings for GTA positions will be made if they become available.

Summer Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA):

  • To be eligible apply for an available GTA position, you must be a student in the FSHD graduate program.
  • Applications can be submitted using this form (must be logged in).
  • Applications must be submitted by Monday, January 27, 2014.
Admissions Deadlines

Domestic & International Applicants:

  • Fall: December 15th
International Conditional Admission
International applicants will not be considered for conditional admission by this program.
Other Information
The GRE Institution Code for The University of Arizona is 4832

Completion Requirements

Degree Requirements


FCS requirements for the Ph.D. degree include the completion of:

  • A Master’s degree with an empirical master’s thesis .
  • A pre-candidacy meeting during which faculty considers the student’s suitability for continuation in the Ph.D. program.
  • Written and oral comprehensive examinations covering the major and minor emphasis areas of study.
  • A dissertation.


Additional Graduate College requirements for the Ph.D. degree include:

  • At least 36 units (not including dissertation) in the major area and 9 units in the minor area, including any eligible transfer courses approved by the major or minor department.  At least half of these credit units must be in courses for which ABC grades are given, with a minimum of 12 units of regular grades taken at The University of Arizona (note that this refers to 50% of the total units listed on the Doctoral Plan of Study). Students may take any courses they wish beyond those on the Plan of Study without regard to grading format.
  • 18 units of earned dissertation credit.
  • Required units must be at the 500-level or above at The University of Arizona, with the following exception: The Graduate College will allow up to 6 units of 400-level work toward the Ph.D., but only if those units were not used toward undergraduate degree requirements.
  • A minimum of 30 units must be taken at the University of Arizona (the total includes the 18 required dissertation units); a minimum of 12 units of regularly graded coursework must be taken at the University of Arizona.
Minor Requirements

Students may choose one of three ways to meet the minor area course requirements.

External Minor:

In consultation with their minor area advisor(s), students will take 9-12 graduate units of minor coursework as required/approved by the minor department/program (e.g., Sociology, Communication, Marketing, Psychology, Anthropology, Women’s Studies), all of which may be transfer units from prior graduate study.  The rules governing the external minor are determined by the minor department/program.

FCS Thematic Minor:

In consultation with the minor area advisor(s), students may construct a thematic minor that includes 9-12 graduate units.[1] The FCS Thematic Minor is an appropriate option when the minor is a subarea of the major and will include some FSHD/RCSC classes.  What follows are examples of previous students‘ thematic minors and the coursework they completed to fulfill their thematic minor. These examples are offered as illustrations only:

  • Intervention Programs and Evaluation (1 FSHD course, 2 FSHD independent studies, 1 CPH course)
  • Children and Chronic Illness (1 FSHD independent study, 1 COMM course, 2 transfer courses from prior graduate study in child dev/pediatric psych)
  • Statistics/Research Methods (3 FSHD courses, 1 Ed Psy course)

Multidisciplinary Minor:

The UA now offers a Multidisciplinary Minor for students who want to create a minor from courses outside of their unit ( The Multidisciplinary Minor is an appropriate option when students want to construct an interdisciplinary minor that is not a subarea of their major. The student’s committee approves the selection of the courses that constitute the Multidisciplinary Minor, and at least one of the instructors from the minor coursework serves on the comprehensive exam committee. 

Student Handbook  
Persistent link:
Last revised 23 Jun 2014