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PhD Program

PhD in Human Environmental Sciences, emphasis in Human Development and Family Science

The PhD program is designed with student individuality in mind. You have unique career goals and research interests, and we’ll help you reach your goals through individualized learning plans and built-in opportunities for research and teaching. A PhD from Mizzou allows you to pursue careers in research, college or university teaching, or leadership positions in public and private institutions.


Many academic backgrounds are compatible with HDFS, a multidisciplinary approach to understanding development and relationships in context.


Collaborate with faculty mentors who have expertise in lifespan development, family science, health, and multiculturalism.


Engage in curriculum that provides immediate, hands-on opportunities for research, teaching,
engagement, and service.


Connect with faculty and peers across research labs, present at national and international conferences, and tap into our alumni network.

As a PhD student, you will complete coursework, a comprehensive exam, and a dissertation. Although you will develop an individualized course plan, all coursework covers a core of theory, research methods, statistics, HDFS content, and a collateral area of your choosing. Please review the current list of graduate courses. The student handbook provides more details about requirements of the comprehensive exam and dissertation processes.

Each student’s degree program will include individualized opportunities to grow skills beyond academic work.

  • Research practica with multiple faculty mentors build expertise in methods and analysis
  • Teaching practica enhance skills in the classroom through co-teaching with a faculty member
  • Assistantships provide funding and critical real-world training
  • Student and professional organizations provide opportunities to network and serve
  • Seminars develop professional skills
  • Research centers provide opportunities for engagement

23/24 Funding Levels:

  • Stipend paid over 10 months for a 20 hour/week assistantship: $19,020
  • Tuition waiver: $12,305 (based on Tier 2 tuition, 23 credits/year)
  • Health insurance subsidy: ~$4000
  • Total annual financial package worth $35,325
  • Renewable for up to 5 years, for an all-in financial package worth $176,625

There is no special application process for assistantships for PhD students; the application for admission serves as your assistantship application. Summer assistantships are limited and not guaranteed.

Graduates of our PhD program work in fields including academia, government, research and evaluation, non-profits, and human services.

  • Professor (all levels)
  • Executive Director
  • Senior Research Associate
  • Research Director
  • Extension/Community Education Specialist

Apply Now

Why Mizzou HDFS?

  • Mizzou HDFS ranked #6 nationally in value by Great Value Colleges of all family and consumer sciences departments
  • Excellent national reputation and ranking among HDFS doctoral programs
  • Collegial and supportive culture
  • Over $100,000 awarded annually from departmentcollege, and university fellowships
  • Financial packages worth approximately $55,000 annually (including stipend, tuition waiver, and health insurance subsidy)
  • Exceptional post-graduation employment rate in the graduate’s chosen field
  • Award-winning mentorship from nationally-recognized faculty
  • Curated plan of study prepares you for the career you want
  • Built-in opportunities to conduct research, publish, and present at conferences
  • Face-to-face and online teaching opportunities
  • Free professional development workshops

PhD Flyer PDF
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Chang Su-Russell“Mizzou HDFS has offered me many opportunities to work with children, to teach independently with effective mentorship, to enhance my research skills by involving me in research projects led by faculty members and by supporting me in conducting my own research”

Associate Professor
Department of Family & Consumer Sciences, Illinois State University

Richard Feistman“Mizzou HDFS did an excellent job providing me experience in designing and running evaluations for several Mizzou Extension [outreach] programs. The chance to work with these programs allowed me to enter the job market with years of real world dataset experience.”

Director of Education and Workforce Development at AFFOA

Anthony James“Both the faculty and my graduate colleagues were brilliant and the learning environment was competitive in that it challenged each of us in a manner that allowed us to reach our various potentials. I am proud to call Mizzou HDFS home.”

Department of Family Science and Social Work, Miami University