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Welcome

The Department of Human Development and Family Science (H.D.F.S.) would like to extend a warm welcome to our incoming and continuing graduate students. Over the past few years, the department has undergone tremendous growth and change in faculty, student body, and scholarship. H.D.F.S. is a community comprised of faculty, students, and staff who are committed to high quality research, teaching, and service. The program is well regarded nationally and internationally, and the faculty has worked hard to offer our students a high quality program by conducting cutting-edge research and scholarship. 

Our graduate degree programs offer students a culturally diverse and educationally challenging environment that explores the lives and experiences of children, youth, and families across varied social, economic, and cultural contexts. We offer both Master of Arts (M.A.) and Master of Science (M.S.) degrees. The Master of Arts program is designed to provide students with advanced training in child and families studies oriented towards individuals who are interested in working in public and private social organizations and agencies. The Master of Science program is research-based, designed to prepare students to work in research settings and doctoral studies. The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program is designed to train students for an academic or a research career. The doctoral curriculum engages students in the highest level of scholarship within their areas of interest. 

Students in all degree programs will investigate the diverse factors that foster and impede the healthy development of children and families. Many of our students are actively involved with faculty on research projects in the United States and across the world including China, Cypress, India, Turkey, Trinidad, and Tobago. This research includes topics such as early child development, early childhood education, school readiness, work-family issues among information technology workers, adolescent adjustment, and many others. 

In addition to training students to become strong researchers, we are also committed to providing them with opportunities for teaching and service. Our commitment stems from our recognition that graduate teaching should be an integral part of the graduate experience. H.D.F.S. is a long-standing participant in the Future Professoriate Program offered by the Syracuse University Graduate School. This opportunity is open to all doctoral students and relevant for those who are interested in a faculty career. 

Syracuse University is replete with opportunities for academic advancement. Students should take advantage of the wide range of courses offered in related disciplines to advance their theoretical, substantive, and research skills. The interdisciplinary focus of the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics also provides opportunities for students to participate in a variety of scholarly endeavors. It is our hope that you will take full advantage of the many opportunities available to you. 

Once again, it is a great pleasure to welcome you to the department and hope that your academic experience will be enriching and fruitful. Best wishes on the upcoming academic year! 

This handbook describes the tasks and deadlines that are necessary for you to earn your graduate degree. The information noted in this version of the H.D.F.S. Graduate Handbook applies to all students admitted fall 2018. Students are held to the program requirements for the year in which they matriculate. All graduate students should refer to the handbook for answers to questions regarding graduate policies and procedures. Throughout this handbook, there will be areas that direct you to various webpages within the Syracuse University website. You should always refer to the Syracuse University Website for current information regarding all areas addressed in this handbook, as websites, webpages, and links may change. 

Admission 

Applications for Human Development and Family Science (H.D.F.S.) graduate programs are typically accepted for the fall semester only. All prospective graduate students are advised to become familiar with and follow the Graduate School admission procedures as outlined by visiting the Graduate School website. International students should also visit the Graduate School website which provides additional information and instructions regarding admissions procedures. All applicants must submit an: 

  • Application 
  • Non-refundable application fee 
  • Official transcripts of earlier academic degrees 
  • GRE scores (may be waived for MA/MS) 
  • TOEFL and financial statement (if applicable) 
  • Three letters of recommendation (preferably from faculty members) 
  • Personal statement reflective of career goals and objectives (including research and teaching interests). 

Students seeking admission to the Department of Human Development and Family Science must meet the general admissions requirements of the Graduate School. While no single factor determines entry to the program, competitive applicants typically have a minimum of: 

  • GPA of 3.00 or higher (undergraduate and/or master’s degree) 
  • GRE score of 144 Quantitative score, 153 Verbal score (exam taken on or after August 1st, 2011). Please note, the GRE exam must be taken within the last five years) 
  • TOEFL scores of 577 (paper test) and 90 for the Internet based (IBT) test (For international students whose primary language is not English) 

Admission decisions are made by the H.D.F.S. faculty and are based on the student’s academic background (i.e., GPA, GRE scores), experience (e.g., research activity, related work experience), letters of recommendation, and areas of interests. It is not uncommon for successful applicants to have well beyond the minimum requirements. 

Internal Application for Admissions 

Current Syracuse University graduate students who wish to apply to a Human Development and Family Science (H.D.F.S.) graduate degree program are eligible to apply through the internal admission process. This includes graduate students who: 

  • Are currently enrolled in another graduate program 
  • Have completed a graduate program and would like to apply the following fall semester 
  • Have completed a H.D.F.S. Master’s degree and would like to apply to the doctoral program 

Graduate students who are in one of the above categories should complete the Application along with obtaining the necessary signatures. Applicants must also provide all official degree transcript/s, a statement of research interests, and three letters of recommendation. Forms must be completed and turned into the department administrative assistant. Internal applicants are subject to the same admission requirements as those applying from outside the university. 

Note: Students who received a graduate degree from Syracuse University more than 12 months prior to their application to the Human Development and Family Science graduate program should go to the Syracuse University Admissions webpage  for instructions. 

Enrollment

Full and Part-Time Enrollment 

Students may pursue their graduate degree on a full or part-time basis. Students must enroll in a minimum of nine credit hours a semester for full-time status. Students enrolled in six credit hours or less a semester are considered part- time. 

Non-Matriculated Enrollment 

Individuals who are not formally admitted into a Human Development and Family Science (H.D.F.S.) graduate degree program, but wish to enroll in H.D.F.S. courses may do so as a non-matriculated student. Non-matriculated students may take up to a maximum of nine credit hours of coursework, beyond which they must apply to be formally admitted into a graduate degree program. Students who have completed coursework on a non-matriculated basis, prior to their admission into the graduate program, may petition to have the courses applied towards their degree requirements. 

Academic Advising

Temporary Faculty Advisor 

To aid new students in their transition into the program, each student is assigned a temporary faculty advisor. The temporary advisor provides initial guidance in course scheduling, departmental procedures, and represents the student in the annual evaluation. The temporary advisor serves for up to two semesters, after which students are expected to have selected a permanent advisor. Students are expected to meet regularly with their advisor. 

Permanent Faculty Advisor 

All students are required to choose a permanent advisor by the end of their second semester. Given that new students will be exposed only to a portion of the H.D.F.S. faculty during their first year, they are expected to meet with each faculty member to discuss research activities, as well as their own research interests and professional goals. Choosing a permanent faculty advisor is an important decision that students should make only after careful consideration. A student’s interests should align with their advisor’s areas of expertise. The selection of a permanent advisor involves a significant commitment on the part of the faculty and therefore requires their explicit agreement. Students should be aware of their permanent advisor’s expectations and approach to graduate training. Students are expected to meet regularly with their advisors. Once a faculty member has agreed to accept a student as a permanent advisee, the student must notify the department administrative assistant in writing, of the change in advisors.  

Transfer Credits 

Graduate courses completed at a previous institution may be petitioned to apply to H.D.F.S. graduate degree requirements. Courses in research methodology, statistics, and H.D.F.S. or related disciplines are eligible for consideration. Courses with a grade of B- or lower, taken Pass/Fail, or completed more than five years prior to the student’s entry into the program will not be considered. Grades from other institutions are not included in the Syracuse University (Grade Point Average) G.P.A. 

Maximum Credits: Master’s and doctoral students are limited to a maximum of 6 and 30 credits respectively. 

Procedure: Admitted students who plan to transfer in credits must consult with the Graduate Director during the spring/summer prior to entering the program to identify CORE courses (please refer to the Student Handbook for list of required courses) for transfer. These CORE courses may be petitioned immediately for transfer to avoid duplication. The petition process requires that students provide a syllabus for each course, which will be reviewed along with the transcript (which should already be on file as part of the graduate school application). It is also possible that students with prior graduate-level statistics can test out of the introductory statistics course (CFS 621); the course must be replaced with another approved statistics course. These requests must be made in collaboration with faculty advisors and the Graduate Director before classes begin in the fall. 

Students have more flexibility in the timing of elective credits. The deadline for submitting the transfer credit forms for elective courses is the second week of February. Transfer credits for electives will only be considered in the spring semesters. Please see the department administrative assistant for all required forms. 

Program of Study 

All students must file a Program of Study Form to the department by the end of the second semester. The program of study is developed in consultation with the student’s advisor, and is a listing of all intended courses to be completed in fulfillment of all degree requirements. The program of study should reflect a coherent body of study that is aligned with a student’s academic and career goals. 

  • A final Program of Study must be submitted to the department and filed with the Graduate School before a final thesis or dissertation defense can be held. 
  • Note: It is ultimately the student’s responsibility to ensure they meet all program and graduation requirements. 

Annual Review 

Each spring semester the department conducts an annual review of all graduate students. The annual review is designed to facilitate students’ progress by providing timely feedback regarding their overall performance. This includes any clarification of program requirements and expectations, as well as early identification of concerns or deficiencies. The Annual Review provides faculty with information regarding the student’s academic progress and accomplishments (career goal, honors and awards, conference presentations, publications, research experience, teaching experience, etc.). 

  • In preparation for the review, all graduate students are required to submit their current Curriculum Vitae (C.V) a template can be found at H.D.F.S Forms. 
  • The deadline for completion is the last Friday of February. Documents are to be submitted electronically to the H.D.F.S. department administrative assistant for review. 

Annual Review Process: 

  • Faculty will review each of their advisee’s information and provide a summary of their progress to the faculty. Department faculty may provide additional information regarding student progress and performance. 
  • Students will meet with their advisors to discuss the outcome of the evaluation. 
  • A summary of the evaluation will be placed in the student’s file. 
  • An email along with an electronic letter and copy of the review will be sent to the student. 

Academic Standards

Minimum Requirements 

To maintain good standing, all H.D.F.S. graduate students are required to: 

  • Maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, including courses taken outside the department (e.g., anthropology, education, psychology, sociology, etc.). 
  • Earn a B or better in all required courses. 

Incompletes 

Students are discouraged from taking an incomplete grade in any course. In the event that a student must file for an “Incomplete,” the Syracuse University Request for Incomplete Grade form must be submitted to the department chair for approval. Students who do not abide by the terms of the Incomplete will receive an “F.” Any graduate student with an incomplete may not be eligible for graduate assistantships. 

Probation 

Students who fail to meet the minimum requirements are subject to academic probation. To return to good standing students who fall below cumulative G.P.A. of 3.0, have one semester to reestablish their G.P.A. Students who earn a B- or lower in a required course must retake the course the next semester it is offered.  

Dismissal 

Students are subject to dismal under the following conditions: 

  • They fail to return to good standing under the condition outlined above. 
  • They do not make satisfactory progress towards their degree (see below). 
  • Unable to successfully complete the comprehensive exam in two attempts. 
  • Found to be in violation of Syracuse University’s Academic Integrity Policy Website (e.g., plagiarism)

Satisfactory progress 

Students are also subject to dismissal if they fail to complete degree requirements in the required timeframe. Students who are dismissed from the program will not be readmitted to the program. 

  • Master’s degree — Full-time students must complete all coursework within three years from the time that they register for the first course applied in their master’s degree program. Part-time students must work with their advisor to complete a course timeline that must be approved by the Graduate Committee to become effective. All students must complete their master’s thesis or project within two years of finishing their coursework. 
  • Doctoral degree — The maximum time allowed to reach candidacy status (the completion of all required coursework and comprehensive exam) is seven years from the term a student matriculates into the doctoral program. Doctoral candidates must complete their dissertations within five years of passing their comprehensive examinations. 

Program Extensions 

In the event that a graduate student cannot complete their degree within the allotted time, they may apply for a one-time 6-month extension. To request an extension, students should consult their advisor and submit a formal request to the graduate director. The request should be in the form of a memorandum stating the reason for the extension and must include a detailed plan with a timeline outlining how the remaining work will be completed within the 6-month extension period. Please note that extensions are granted only under the most extenuating circumstances (e.g., major illness). The department chair in consultation with the graduate committee makes the final decision. Note that students who are granted an extension are required to register for GRD 991 and pay the associated fees (review the following section on Exceeding Time to Degree Requirements). 

Exceeding Time to Degree Requirements (Rules & Regulations, 32.0-Graduate School): 

If the student has exceeded the seven-year limit for achieving all but dissertation (A.B.D.) status, the student must register for GRD 991, which requires a minimum of one credit hour per semester, each fall and spring semester until A.B.D. status is achieved. If the student fails to register for GRD 991, for a given term, the student will be withdrawn from the program. If the student has exceeded the degree completion limit of five years after achieving A.B.D. status, the student must register for GRD 991, which requires a minimum of one credit hour per semester, each fall and spring semester until the completion of the doctoral degree. If the student fails to register for GRD 991, for a given term, the student will be withdrawn from the program. As of this time GRD 991, Doctoral Mentoring, only applies to Ph.D. students. Masters students have 7 years to complete their degree but there are no financial implications if they do not. 

H.D.F.S. Degree Programs 

Master of Arts (M.A.) 

The master’s degree (M.A.) in human development and family science is designed to meet the goals of individuals who seek to work in applied settings (such as service agencies, Non-Governmental Organizations (N.G.O.s)) in which a broad background in human development and family science, administrative skills, and an appreciation for increasingly diverse client communities are important. The hallmark of our M.A. is that it offers broad training in the theory and methodology of lifespan human development and family science, training in skills critical for working in administrative or other roles in service delivery agencies, a specialized focus on topics offered through elective coursework, and the opportunity to work in an applied setting with special populations that represent growing sectors of our communities both in national and international settings. 

The M.A. consists of 30-credit hours, which is comprised of 12 credit hours of required course work, 15 credits of elective courses, and 3 project credits. 

Core Course Requirements (12 credits): 

  • CFS 621 Statistical Concepts I 
  • CFS 653 Child and Family Development Across the Life Cycle 
  • CFS 667 Child and Family in Cross Cultural Perspectives 
  • SWK 775 Program Evaluation 

Elective Course Requirements (15 credits): 

Elective coursework must be selected from the H.D.F.S. Department (graduate level courses are indicated by their course number of 500 or above) or related programs (e.g., Psychology, Education, Policy Studies, Sociology, Anthropology). Students should consult with their faculty advisor prior to selecting courses. Elective courses should be consistent with the student’s academic interests and goals, and form a coherent program of study. For a complete list of available courses, please consult the Syracuse University Course Catalog

There are two possible areas of concentration. The suggested courses for each area are listed below: 

Human Development in Immigrant and Refugee Families (15 credits) 

  • CFS 682 Development in Immigrant/Refugee Families and Children 3 credit(s) 
  • CFS 686 Family Life Education 3 credit(s) 
  • Approved Elective Courses 9 credit(s) 

Youth and Community Development (15 credits) 

  • CFS 652 Mindfulness in Children and Youth 3 credit(s) 
  • CFS 674 Promises and Problems in Youth and Emerging Adulthood 3 credit(s) 
  • Approved Elective Courses 9 credit(s) 

Independent Study:

M.A. students may take up to 3 credits as “Independent Study.” An independent study may include research projects, literature reviews, or other scholarly activities beyond those involved in standard coursework. All independent studies are conducted under the supervision of a faculty member. Students must complete the “Independent Study Form.” The independent study must be completed in the semester when it is undertaken. 

Master’s Project (3 credits – CFS 996):

In addition to their coursework, M.A. students must complete a “master’s project.” Students are expected to work in service or agency settings on projects approved by their faculty committees. Applied work can include assisting an agency to plan and/or implement a program for families/children at a human service agency or related program on the local, national, or international level. Projects have been conducted in agencies such as the Children’s Defense Fund, Head Start, and local childcare programs. 

After completing the necessary coursework, students must complete Program of Study Form.The completed form should be submitted to the department administrative assistant for processing. The final defense of the Master’s project cannot be held until the “Program of Study” has been filed with the Graduate School. 

Master’s Project Committee and Proposal: All projects must be approved by the student’s Master’s project committee. The committee is comprised of your advisor (who will serve as committee chair) and one other faculty member from the Department of Human Development and Family Science. Only H.D.F.S. tenured and tenure track faculty, and Professors of Practice may chair a Master’s project committee. H.D.F.S. Internship Coordinators may serve as a committee member, but they may not serve as committee chair. 

The proposal must be submitted to the committee for evaluation. The committee will determine if the proposal is of sufficient quality to progress to the proposal defense. At the time of the proposal defense, the student will present the proposed project and address any questions or concerns raised by the committee. The committee will determine whether the proposal is coherent, well developed, of sufficient importance, and feasible within a given timeframe. Students whose project proposals are deemed “unsatisfactory” will be required to re-defend their proposal. 

Students must submit their proposal to their committee members no less than 4 weeks prior to the date of the proposal defense. The proposal should include: 

  • A description of the project 
  • Importance of the project 
  • Procedures to be used to conduct the project 
  • Letter from the site supervisor agreeing for the student to complete the project at the site 
  • Timeline for completion 

Master’s Project Defense:

When the project is completed, the student must provide a written report to his/her faculty advisor who will ascertain the quality of the project and provide feedback. After the faculty advisor has given his/her approval of the document, the student should submit a copy of the project to the other members of the committee (3-4 weeks). After all committee members have approved the document, the student can set the final defense date. M.A. students are not required to complete a Request for Examination form. Students should follow the American Psychological Association (A.P.A.) guidelines. 

  • Defenses may be scheduled during the fall and spring semesters only. 

The final oral defense of a project may be waived if any of the following conditions are met. 

  • Student has written up the specific project for a scientific journal and it has been published or is in press (as primary author) 
  • Student has presented on the specific project at a national conference (as primary author) 
  • Student’s grant proposal based on the project has been funded (as primary investigator) 

Following successful completion of the Master’s defense, the faculty advisor will send a memo of completion to the Graduate School. A final copy of the project must be provided to the H.D.F.S. Department. 

Sample Course Schedule M.A. Program: 

Fall Year 1

CFS 621 Statistical Concepts I

CFS Elective

CFS Elective/SWK 775 Program Evaluation

SpringYear 1

CFS 653 Child and Family Development Across Life Cycle

CFS 667 Child and Family in Cross Cultural Perspectives

CFS Elective/SWK 775 Program Evaluation

Fall Year 2

Elective

Elective

Elective

Spring Year 2

CFS 996 Master’s Project

Master of Science (M.S.) 

The Master of Science degree (M.S.) in human development and family science is a 30-credit degree program that aims to promote an understanding of human development across the lifespan. With an emphasis on the importance of social-cultural context, students gain broad knowledge of the study of childhood and family systems across various cultural and societal contexts. 

The M.S. in H.D.F.S. is a 30-credit program consisting of 15 required course credits, 12 elective, and 3 thesis credits. 

Substantive, Research Methodology, and Theory Requirements (15 credits): 

  • CFS 621 Statistical Concepts I 
  • CFS 631 Research Methods for Human Development and Family Science I 
  • CFS 637 Theories, Interpretations, and Applications in Child Development 
  • CFS 648 Family Theories: Interpretation and Application 
  • CFS 667 Child and Family in Cross Cultural Perspectives 

Elective Course Requirements (12 credits): 

At least 12 credits of elective coursework must be selected from the H.D.F.S. Department or related programs (e.g., Psychology, Education, Policy Studies, Sociology, Anthropology). Graduate courses are indicated by their course number (500 or above). Students should consult with their faculty advisor prior to selecting courses. Elective courses should be consistent with the student’s academic interests and goals, and form a coherent program of study. For a complete list of available courses, please consult the Syracuse University Course Catalog

Independent Study:

M.S. students may take up to 3 credits as “Independent Study.” An independent study may include research projects, literature reviews, or other scholarly activities beyond those involved in standard coursework. All independent studies are conducted under the supervision of a faculty member. Students must complete the “Independent Study Form.” The independent study must be completed in the semester when it is undertaken. 

Master’s Thesis (3 credits, CFS 997):

In addition to their coursework, M.S. students must complete a Master’s thesis. The thesis is an empirical study of some aspect of human development and family science that demonstrates a student’s ability to conceptualize and theorize a specific topic, formulate research questions, conduct appropriate analysis, and present the results in a clear, accurate, and logical manner. 

Master’s Thesis Committee and Proposal:

All theses must be approved by the student’s Master’s thesis committee. The committee is comprised of your advisor (who will serve as committee chair) and one other faculty member from the Department of Human Development and Family Science. Only H.D.F.S. tenured and tenure track faculty, and Professors of Practice may chair a Master’s project committee.  

H.D.F.S. Internship Coordinators may serve as a committee member, but they may not serve as committee chair. 

The proposal must be submitted to the committee for evaluation. The committee will determine if the proposal is of sufficient quality to progress to the proposal defense. At the time of the proposal defense the student will present the proposed thesis and address any questions or concerns raised by the committee. The committee will determine whether the proposal is coherent, well developed, of sufficient importance, and feasible within a given timeframe. Students whose thesis proposals are deemed “unsatisfactory” will be required to re-defend their proposal. 

Students must submit their proposal to their committee members no less than 4 weeks prior to the date of the proposal defense. The proposal should include: 

  • Introduction 
  • Importance of the study 
  • Literature review 
  • Research questions and/or hypotheses 
  • Proposed methodology (proposed sample, measures, and analytical techniques) 

Institutional Review Board Approval:

Students must consult the Institutional Review Board (I.R.B.) to determine if their proposal requires I.R.B. approval at the Office of Research Integrity and Protections website

Final Defense of Thesis:

After the faculty advisor has given his/her approval, the thesis is to be submitted to the thesis committee members for their feedback and suggestions. Committee members should be given at least four weeks to provide feedback. At the end of this period, committee members may require students to make changes to the thesis. Only after all committee members have given their approval should a thesis defense date be scheduled. Students should include a faculty member (other than the 3 committee members) to chair the committee. At the Masters level the chair can be from within the Human Development and Family Science Department or from other departments/colleges throughout the University. This person will act as the representative of the Graduate School and will moderate the thesis defense. You will find information on preparing for graduation and preparing your thesis/dissertation by visiting the Graduate School website

Defenses may only be scheduled during the fall and spring semesters. All thesis defenses are open to the public and students are expected to provide the departmental administrative assistant with an abstract of their thesis two weeks prior to the defense. One copy of the thesis should be made available in the departmental office for public reading two weeks prior to the defense. 

Note: All H.D.F.S. faculty are eligible to serve as committee members (tenure, tenure track, professors of practice, full-time instructors), however only tenure track and tenured faculty may chair a thesis committee. 16 

All students must follow the graduate school guidelines for formatting their thesis found at the Graduate School Guidelines for Doctoral Dissertations & Master's Theses. In addition, students should follow the American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines. 

Sample Course Schedule M.S. Program: 

Fall Year 1

CFS 621 Statistical Concepts I

CFS 637 Theories, Interpretations, and Applications

CFS 648 Family Theories: Interpretation and Application

Spring Year 1

CFS 631 Research Methods for Child and Family Studies I

CFS 667 Child and Family in Cross Cultural Perspectives

CFS Elective

Fall Year 2

Elective

Elective

Elective

Spring Year 2

CFS 997 Master’s Thesis

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) 

The Ph.D. program is designed to advance students learning in the theory, literature, and research within the field of Human Development and Family Science. Doctoral students are expected to demonstrate a higher level of scientific analysis of the literature and demonstrate the ability to carry out advanced research. The program is designed to move students learning beyond the basic theoretical and analytical level achieved at the Master’s level towards achieving in-depth learning in an area of specialization. 

Students who have completed a M.S. in H.D.F.S. or related disciplines are eligible to apply to the Ph.D. program. Those who have a M.A. in H.D.F.S. or related disciplines and have not completed a thesis in their program may be required to take additional courses and/or conduct a research project prior to taking their comprehensive examinations. Students in this category must discuss their situation with their faculty advisor and the graduate director. 

Doctoral degree consists of 72 graduate credits (60 course credits and 12 dissertation credits) 

Core Requirements (24 credits)

  • CFS 621 Statistical Concepts I 
  • CFS 622 Statistical Concepts II 
  • CFS 631 Research Methods for Child and Family Studies I 
  • CFS 637 Theories, Interpretations, and Applications in Child Development 
  • CFS 648 Family Theories: Interpretation and Application 
  • CFS 667 Child and Family in Cross Cultural Perspectives 
  • CFS 732 Research Methods for Child and Family Studies II 

Students must also select an additional research methods course (advanced statistics, qualitative research) in preparation for their doctoral research, 3 credit(s) located on the H.D.F.S. website at Approved list of courses

Elective Course Requirements (36 credits)

At least 15 credit hours of content must be selected from within the H.D.F.S. Department. The remaining 21 credits can be completed in H.D.F.S. or in other programs such as Psychology, Education, Policy Studies, Sociology, Anthropology, or African-American Studies. Students should consult with faculty advisors prior to selecting courses both inside and outside of the department. Courses should be selected that match with the students’ academic interests and goals. Students may choose courses at or above the 600 level. All students must complete a two-semester sequence in statistics and research methods. For a complete list of available graduate courses, please consult the 2018-2019 Graduate Course Catalog. In addition to the list of courses in the catalog, faculty members regularly offer courses within their areas of specialization and research interests.

Independent Study (6 credits)

Ph.D. students may take up to 6 credits as “Independent Study”. Activities undertaken may include research projects, internships, reviews of literature, etc. Students should complete the “Independent Study Form” in which they must state in detail how the independent study will be completed. The independent study must be completed in the semester when it is undertaken. As this is a supervised project, the faculty member and student must meet regularly to ascertain student progress.

Sample Course Schedule Ph.D. Program

Fall Year 1

CFS 621 Statistical Concepts I

CFS 637 Theories, Interpretations, and Applications

CFS 648 Family Theories: Interpretation and Application

Spring Year 1

CFS 622 Statistical Concepts II

CFS 631 Research Methods for Child and Family Studies I

CFS 667 Child and Family in Cross Cultural Perspectives

Summer Year 1

Elective/CFS Directed Elective

Elective

Fall Year 2

CFS 732 Research Methods for Child and Family Studies II

Elective/ Methods or Stats Course

Elective

Spring Year 2

Elective/ Methods or Stats Course

CFS Directed Elective

Elective/ CFS Directed Elective

Summer Year 2

Elective/ CFS Directed Elective

Elective

Fall Year 3

Elective/ CFS Directed Elective

Elective/ CFS Directed Elective

Elective

Spring Year 3

Elective

Thesis Credits (6)

Summer Year 3

Thesis Credits (6)

Comprehensive Examination

After completing coursework, students have two years to prepare for, and pass, the comprehensive examination. The exam is intended to assess students’ ability to integrate substantive knowledge within the broad field of Human Development and Family Science. Students are expected to synthesize, critically analyze, and evaluate the literature in the field and articulate this scientific information. Doctoral students must successfully complete the exam before they can advance to candidacy. Students enrolled in the M.S. and who have continued on to the Ph.D. program must have submitted their Master’s thesis prior to sitting for the comprehensive examinations 

Procedures and Guidelines:

Students intending to take the comprehensive exam must submit a letter of intent to the graduate director. Students planning to sit for the exam for a given semester must submit their letter of intent by the end of the preceding semester. Following the letter of intent, students must submit the titles of two research studies; one of which will be randomly selected as the basis for the exam question. These titles should resemble the titles of journal articles from their discipline and should identify a specific area of research. Five keywords must also be provided for each title. The titles/areas should be developed in conjunction with their advisors, who are responsible for assessing whether the nature and scope of the topics are appropriate. Advisor approval is required prior to submitting the materials to the graduate director. Students will be invited to outline a research proposal on the selected topic for the exam. 

Title/keyword examples: 
  • Gender Differences in Child Aggression: Relations With Gender-Differentiated Parenting and Parents’ Gender-Role Stereotypes 
    • Keywords: gender differences, children, aggression, parenting, gender-role stereotypes 
  • Parents' Perceived Discrimination and Adolescent Adjustment in Chinese American Families: Mediating Family Processes 
    • Keywords: adolescence, ethnic minority, parental perceived discrimination, delinquency, depression 
  • Long-Term Predictions From Early Adolescent Attachment State of Mind to Romantic Relationship Behaviors 
    • Keywords: adolescence, attachment state of mind, romantic relationship competence, dyadic conflict, support-seeking 

The comprehensive examination is offered twice during the academic year. Once during fall semester (typically September), and once during spring semester (typically February). Information regarding exact time and dates will be emailed to students who have requested to take the exam. 

All materials should be submitted to the Graduate Director by the end of the 1st week of August (if students are taking the examination in September) or by the end of the 1st week of January (if students are taking the exam in February). 

The question and related materials will be e-mailed to students at 9:00 a.m. on the day of the examination. The completed exam must be submitted (electronic and hard copy) to the department administrative assistant by the end the three-week writing period no later than 9:00 a.m. Late submissions will not be accepted. 

Evaluation and Notification of Results:

Three faculty members will be selected to evaluate each student’s comprehensive examination. These faculty members will judge whether the student’s performance (“pass,” “not pass”). Students who do not successfully complete the examination will be provided written feedback regarding their answer and a second opportunity to pass the exam. Students who receive a not pass, may retake the exam the following semester during the regular examination period. Students who do not pass the exam on their second attempt will be dismissed from the program. 

Doctoral Candidacy

Once a doctoral student has completed all coursework and passed the comprehensive examination, they advance to the status of “doctoral candidate.” This indicates that you have completed all the degree requirements with the exception of the dissertation. Doctoral candidates have five years to complete their dissertation from the date they passed the comprehensive examination. 

Dissertation

Dissertation Committee:

Prior to the dissertation proposal defense (see below), a student must identify a committee that will guide and evaluate their dissertation. The committee consists of a dissertation advisor and two additional faculty members. They will serve as the student’s “core committee.” Members of the core committee must be tenured or tenure-track faculty. Typically the core committee is comprised of department or university faculty. In rare cases, faculty from other peer institutions may serve as a committee member. 

Dissertation Proposal:

The dissertation is the culmination of a program of advanced study leading to the doctoral degree. It should embody the result of original research that constitutes a significant contribution to the body of knowledge in child development or family studies. It is expected to possess a unity of theme, provide evidence of originality and critical judgment, and exhibit credible literary quality worthy of publication. Prior to beginning their dissertation, doctoral candidates must receive approval from their dissertation committee (see below).

The dissertation proposal should be developed in close consultation with the faculty advisor. After the advisor has given his/her approval, the student should convene a dissertation proposal defense. 

Committee members should be given 3-4 weeks to read the document prior to the proposal defense date. Committee members may request additional time if they have suggestions or concerns that the candidate may need to address prior to the defense. At the defense, the student will be expected to present key aspects of the proposed study, as well as respond to committee member questions. The student should be prepared to justify the relevance of the proposed research and the soundness of the methodology. Students whose dissertation proposals are deemed “unsatisfactory” will be asked to address any areas of concern and re-defend their proposal.

Using the format below, the candidate must submit a proposal describing their study: 

Introduction:

The introductory paragraphs of the proposal should provide an orientation to the study. They establish the overall area of concern, arouse interest, and communicate information essential to the readers’ comprehension of the material to follow. The section includes a description of the problem to be investigated, a statement of the purpose of the study, and an indication of the research question(s) and/or hypotheses to be addressed. 

Review of Literature:

This section of the proposal establishes the foundation for the study by providing the link between existing knowledge, previous investigations or contemporary practice. It answers two questions: (1) what is already known and (2) how is this particular study designed to move beyond the extant research in the field. The literature review contains only those studies that provide a framework and foundation for the proposed investigation. These studies are discussed in sufficient detail to make their relevance clear. Pay particular attention to: 

  1. Substantive knowledge in the area and critical analysis of the literature 
  2. Issues of methodology and interpretations 
  3. Conceptual and theoretical formulations 

If appropriate, include a description of how the project is related to the theoretical models in the field or how it contributes to the formation of new theory. If this section is lengthy, consideration should be given to having a separate section under the heading “Theoretical Model”, in the proposal. The use of subheadings is encouraged. It is also recommended that the review section conclude with a brief summary of the literature reviewed and provide an overview of the important points that lend credence to the rationale of the proposed study. 

Methodology:

The method section includes a detailed discussion of the research design and the procedures used to accomplish the study. The section should include: 

1. Identification and description of the target population and the sampling method 

2. Presentation of instruments and techniques for measurement 

3. Explanation of design for the collection of data 

4. Presentation of procedures for data collection 

5. Description of the pilot study (if appropriate) 

6. Presentation of plans for the analysis of data 

Appendices:

Appendices are optional. Students may want to include copies of survey documents or other original materials in appendices. It is recommended that the student consult with their faculty advisor about what documents to include.  

Institutional Review Board Approval:

The University and the faculty are ethically and legally responsible for the well-being and protection of all human subjects involved in research, classroom activities, or demonstrations (as required by Public law 93-348). Thus, approval by the Institutional Review Board (I.R.B.) is mandatory before any research involving human subjects may be conducted (see I.R.B. website for exceptions). Therefore any dissertation that involves human subjects must obtain I.R.B. approval. Application forms and instructions can be found at the Office of Research Integrity and Protections website

Dissertation Defense:

Once a preliminary draft of the dissertation is completed, it must be submitted to the faculty advisor who will provide feedback and suggestions for improvement. After the advisor has given his/her approval, the dissertation should be submitted to the entire core committee. The committee members must be given 3-4 weeks to provide feedback (additional time may be required). Students are expected to revise their manuscript based on the committee’s suggestions and concerns. Once completed, students are expected to submit a memo to the committee detailing where and how the concerns have been addressed in the document. Committee members may take 3-4 weeks to review the revised manuscript. Only after all committee members have given their approval should the dissertation defense be scheduled. 

Prior to the defense, the candidate must select two additional faculty members to serve as “readers.” Readers can be faculty members from the department or university. In addition, the student must identify a faculty member who will chair the defense. This person will act as the representative of the graduate school and will moderate the defense. The chair must be a faculty member (tenure track or tenured) who is not a member of the H.D.F.S. faculty. 

All Ph.D. students must complete a Request for Examination form found at the Graduate School website and pay attention to the deadlines for filing this form. The Request for Examination requires the signature of the student’s dissertation advisor and department chair. In addition, the form lists the names of committee members (dissertation committee and two readers), the time, place, and date of the defense. The Graduate Director will only sign the form after receiving approval from the committee members. The Graduate School will send confirmation of the defense to all committee members. Candidates should be familiar with the procedures for defending the dissertation, information can be found by visiting the Graduate School website

Dissertation defenses can only be scheduled in the fall and spring semesters. All defenses are open to the public. Students are expected to provide the department administrative assistant with an abstract of their thesis two weeks prior to the defense. A copy of the dissertation should be submitted to the department one week prior to the defense. 

At the time of the defense, the candidate typically presents an overview of the study indicating the importance, the key findings, and implications future research and/or policy (20-25 minutes). A question and answer period directly follows (approximately 60-90 minutes). 

Upon completion of the oral examination, the committee will vote on the quality and the originality of the dissertation, and the student’s performance at the examination. The outcome of the committee deliberations will be one of the following results: 

  • Pass (no revisions) 
  • Pass with minor revisions (generally editorial) 
  • Pass with major revisions (additional analyses, reorganization of manuscript) 
  • Not Pass

Certificates of Advanced Study

Students have the opportunity to take courses in other departments based on their academic and professional interests. Syracuse University offers a number of advanced post baccalaureate certificates across the various colleges that can be taken in conjunction with their H.D.F.S. degree. 

Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) 

The Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) in Human Development and Family Science is an intermediate degree between the master’s and the doctor of philosophy and is awarded by the Graduate School upon the recommendation of the academic unit. A M.Phil. may be conferred upon a student who has satisfactorily completed all Ph.D. requirements with the exception of the dissertation. The following requirements apply:

  1. The student must be enrolled in the Ph.D. program of Human Development and Family Science;
  2. The student must have reached all but dissertation (A.B.D.) status in Human Development and Family Science, in accordance with program requirements, and such designation must appear on the student's advising transcript;
  3. The student must complete a diploma request to receive an M.Phil. Degree. For further information and documentation required, please contact the H.D.F.S. Graduate Director. 

Departmental Rules and Regulations

Degree in Progress 

Students are required to enroll every semester (fall and spring) from the time of matriculation into the program until degree conferral, failure to do so will result in the loss of their “full-time status,” university-related privileges, and being dropped from the H.D.F.S. program. Students who have completed their graduate coursework are expected to register for GRD 998 (0 credits) and complete the Certification of Full-Time Status Form (every semester they enroll in GRD 998). In addition, students must complete the H.D.F.S. Department Form “Continuing Credits” indicating their progress towards their thesis or dissertation. An email reminder along with the forms will be sent to those students who meet this criteria. 

Petitions 

Students who wish to claim an exemption to a standing policy and/or procedure may file a petition with the department stating their request and rationale. All petitions will be reviewed by the department chair, and/or the graduate committee for approval. You can access a downloadable PDF Petition to Faculty form by visiting Answers.syr.edu. 

Leave of Absence 

Students requesting a leave from the University for personal or health reasons prior to completing their degree requirements must file an Official Leave of Absence which can be obtained from the department administrative assistant. The form must be submitted whether or not they intend to return. 

To take a leave of absence: 

  1. A graduate student must complete the official withdrawal/leave of absence form. 
  2. The department chair of the student’s primary program must sign the form. 
  3. The student must hand deliver the form to the Office of Student Assistance, 306 Steel Hall. (In the case where a student is unable to do so, the department chair may send the form to the Office of Student Assistance.) 

To return from the leave of absence: 

  1. A graduate student must complete a petition to be readmitted to their program. 
  2. The department chair must sign the petition. 
  3. The student must send the petition to the Office of Student Assistance, 306 Steele Hall. 

Grievance 

If a student believes s/he has been treated unfairly or inappropriately by the faculty, s/he should state this in writing to the department Chair or Director and request to meet with the faculty. For more information on Grievance Procedures Policy visit Syracuse University Policies website

Assistantships, Fellowships and Awards

Graduate Assistantships 

A limited number of graduate assistantships are available for new and continuing students. New students requesting an assistantship should indicate their request on the graduate school application for admission, and do not need to file a separate application for an assistantship. 

Two types of graduate assistantships are available: 

  • Teaching Assistantships (TA). TAs are assigned to a faculty supervisor and assist the faculty member with their classes. This includes teaching assistantships at the Bernice M. Wright Child Development Laboratory School. 
  • Research Assistantships (RA). RAs are awarded by individual professors based on their available research funding. The positions may be full or part-time. 

Students may be awarded full-time or part-time assistantships. Students receiving a full-time assistantship work 20 hours per week, and receive a stipend and tuition scholarships of 24 (9/9/6) credits every year (fall, spring, summer). Students receiving a full-time assistantship cannot be employed elsewhere. Students who receive a part- time assistantship work 10 hours per week and receive a reduced stipend. They also receive 12 (6/6) tuition scholarships credits every year (fall, spring). 

All teaching assistants (T.A.s.) are required to participate in the All-University T.A. Orientation Program, information can be found by visiting the Graduate School website and viewing the All-University T.A. Orientation Program web page. The orientation is held two weeks prior to the start of the fall semester. Students will be informed by email from the Graduate School regarding dates and times they are required to attend orientation. In addition to teaching and research assistantships, the department has scholarship credits available to cover tuition credits (number of tuition credits awarded may vary). 

University Fellowship

The department may nominate graduate students with exceptional credentials for the University Fellowship. The awardee may receive a one-year, two-year or a three-year fellowship, which will include a stipend and tuition credits. 

Dean Edith Smith Endowed Dissertation Grant

The Dean Edith Smith Dissertation Grant has been established to provide financial support to facilitate the scholarship of doctoral students in the Department of Human Development and Family Science. The grant is designed to increase the flow of talented graduate students into academic careers and support H.D.F.S. students who show potential for excellence. 

Graduate Travel Awards

Funds for travel and other related expenses are available for students presenting their work at national conferences from the Graduate Student Organization (G.S.O.), for more information and guidelines visit the G.S.O. travel grant web page. A copy of any documentation and required forms submitted to the G.S.O. should be provided to the H.D.F.S. Department. The H.D.F.S. department may also have travel funds available for graduate students presenting their work at national conferences. For more information contact the department administrative assistant. 

Financial Assistance

Please visit the Syracuse University Financial Aid website. Financial Aid is located in 200 Bowne Hall, Syracuse, NY 13244 (315) 443-1513. 

Professional Development

The opportunity to participate in various professional development programs is available to graduate students to enrich their educational experience at Syracuse University. Become familiar with the various educational programs available by visiting the Graduate School website. All doctoral students who have been G.T.A.'s. for at least a semester are eligible to participate in the program. Participating in the Future Professoriate Program (F.P.P.) prepares students to teach at the collegiate level as well as prepare for a career in academia, more information can be found at the Future Professoriate Program web page

Students participating in the Future Professoriate Program are required to produce a portfolio at the end of their FPP experience that addresses the areas of research, teaching, and service. Participating in the Future Professoriate Program allows students to become eligible to independently teach classes as an instructor. Independent teaching by a graduate student participating in the Future Professoriate Program is done in close supervision of a faculty mentor (usually the student’s advisor) who will provide feedback and support. If students are interested in participating in the Future Professoriate Program, they should contact the department administrative assistant. The University also requires that F.P.P. participants to attend additional seminars/events related to teaching research, and service. Information concerning federal grants available to doctoral candidates can be obtained through the Office of Sponsored Programs, 211 Lyman Hall, more information can be found at the Office of Sponsored Programs website

Facilities 

Bernice M. Wright Child Development and Laboratory School

The Department of Human Development and Family Science operates the Bernice M. Wright Child Development Laboratory School (B.M.W.), more information is available on the B.M.W. Lab School website. The Child Development Laboratory is accredited by The National Association for the Education of Young Children and is New York State Licensed and provides opportunities for faculty research, teacher training, and community service. Founded as a model of the parent cooperative movement in early childhood education, parent involvement continues to be a valued and important part of the nursery school program. The program is staffed by both graduate and undergraduate students from the Department of Human Development and Family Science and the School of Education and others and offers a strong inclusive component that enhances developmental and cultural perspectives of its children and families. 

Computer Resources

Among the first things you will want to do when you arrive at Syracuse University is get your personal computer and other devices up and running on the University’s high-speed wireless (AirOrangeX) and wired (Ethernet) networks. Information about preparing your computer and connecting it to the Syracuse University network can be found on the Syracuse University Information Technology Services (I.T.S.) website. The site also includes a handy checklist of computing things you should do before you get here, and information about computer requirements and purchasing recommendations, managing your NetID and password, public computer labs, campus online services and resources, and more. 

If you need help with your computer or University online services 

You can get assistance from I.T.S. in several ways: 

Library

The mission of the Syracuse University Library is to assist the educational and research efforts of faculty, students, and staff of Syracuse University by acquiring, organizing, providing access to, preserving and providing assistance in using the materials they require for scholarship and research. The Library offers its collections and services to users in an environment that actively supports learning, teaching, and research. 

The Library also serves as a major academic resource in the region, state, and nation. Within its available resources, and through cooperative resource sharing agreements, the Library has a responsibility to make available selected materials needed by the external scholarly, professional, and business communities.

Students in the Department of Human Development and Family Science may use any of the libraries located on the Syracuse University campus as well as the Environmental Science and Forestry (E.S.F.) library. A valid Syracuse University Identification (S.U.I.D.) card is needed to gain access to the library and to check out books from the circulation desk. H.D.F.S. students may find that they will predominantly use the E.S. Bird Library on Waverly Avenue and the Science and Technology Library located in Carnegie Hall on the main academic quad. 

The Human Development and Family Science Department works closely with librarian, Anita Kuiken who assists in developing library resources for the Department. She can assist both students and faculty in need of specific research materials. Ms. Kuiken can be reached at 315-443-9766 or akuiken@syr.edu

Visit the Syracuse University Libraries website for more information about available library resources. 

Graduate Student Organization

Students in the Department of Human Development and Family Science are eligible to participate in the university Graduate Student Organization. The Graduate Student Organization (G.S.O.) is open to all graduate students at Syracuse University. Students are automatically billed for G.S.O. membership as part of their mandatory fees. The G.S.O. office is located in Room 303 Lyman Hall or visit the G.S.O. website for more information. 

H.D.F.S. Faculty and Professional Staff

The list of H.D.F.S. faculty members and professional staff, a brief description of their academic backgrounds, research interests, and contact information are presented below. Further information about their academic careers is available on the departmental website.

View a listing of H.D.F.S. faculty and professional staff

View a listing of administrative staff

H.D.F.S. Emeritus Faculty

George Bodine, Ph.D. 

Alice Honig, Ph.D. 

Harlan London, Ph.D. Robert Pickett, Ph.D. 

Constance Timberlake, Ph.D. 

Ruth Wynn, Ph.D. 



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