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The Ph.D. in Applied Developmental Science emphasizes how basic research in human development can inform programs designed to prevent problems and enhance well-being across the lifespan. Students gain knowledge in lifespan human development theory, basic and applied research skills, and the translation of science into practices and programs to address a wide range of social and public health problems. Graduates from the applied developmental science program are equipped to work in settings such as academia, for-profit and not-for-profit research and advocacy organizations, governmental and human services agencies, or community agencies that promote the health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities.

Students can enter the applied developmental science program with a completed master’s degree or with a completed bachelor’s degree. Students entering with a bachelor’s degree or a master's degree in a different field are required to complete a master’s in Human Development and Family Studies en route to the Ph.D., with a specialization in Prevention Science or Marriage and Family Therapy.

Learn more about the Ph.D. in Applied Developmental Science on the Department of Human Development and Family Studies website.

Effective Fall 2021

Ph.D. course requirements include a minimum of 80 credits for each of four entry routes:

Entry A: For students who have completed the CSU M.S. degree in Human Development and Family Studies (Prevention Science Specialization) or are enrolled in the continuous Master of Science in Human Development and Family Studies (Prevention Science Specialization)/Applied Developmental Science Ph.D. at CSU, up to 43 credits will apply toward partial fulfillment of the required 80 credits.

Entry B: For students who have completed the CSU M.S. degree in Human Development and Family Studies (Marriage and Family Therapy Specialization) or are enrolled in the continuous Master of Science in Human Development and Family Studies (Marriage and Family Therapy Specialization)/Applied Developmental Science Ph.D. at CSU, up to 30 credits will apply toward partial fulfillment of the required 80 credits

Entry C: For students who submit a previously earned Master’s degree from an institution other than CSU, up to 30 credits may be accepted toward partial fulfillment of the required 80 credits. Credit for a previously completed empirical master’s thesis will also be granted following approval of the Director of the Applied Developmental Science Program. Students who did not complete an empirical thesis will be required to complete a Master’s in HDFS. All credits accepted toward partial fulfillment of the requirements below must be approved by the Director of the Applied Developmental Science Program, the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, and the Graduate School.

Entry D: For students who do not submit a Master’s degree in partial fulfillment of the required 80 credits, up to 10 credits earned after the bachelor’s degree may be accepted for transfer. Only courses taken at a 500-level or higher will be considered. All credits accepted toward partial fulfillment of the requirements below must be approved by the student’s graduate committee, the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, and the Graduate School.

Content Core Courses
HDFS 500Issues in Human Development & Family Studies3
HDFS 524Family Studies3
HDFS 710Theories of Applied Developmental Science3
Select one of the following lifespan area courses:3
Early Child Development
Adolescent Development
Adult Development and Aging
Research Methods/Statistics
HDFS 549Research Methods I3
HDFS 550Research Methods II3
HDFS 650Multivariate Research Methods I3
HDFS 750Multivariate Research Methods II3
Elective 1,23
Professional Development Courses2
Professional Development Seminar
Research/Thesis/Dissertation
HDFS 698AResearch: Human Development12
or HDFS 698B Research: Family Studies
HDFS 699Thesis6
HDFS 799Dissertation12
Elective Courses 1
Select a minimum of 21 credits from the following courses:21
Development/Theory Electives
Choose at least 3 credits of the following:
Risk and Resilience
Aging and the Family
Family Issues: Intimacy and Human Sexuality
Family Issues: Parenting
Family Issues: Family Policy and Programming
Seminar: Lifespan Socioemotional Development
Seminar: Lifespan Cognitive Development
Prevention Science and Intervention Electives
Choose at least 6 credits of the following:
Grant Writing--Research/Program Development
Prevention Science Across the Lifespan
Program Planning and Implementation
Prevention Program Evaluation
Skills and Techniques in Family Therapy 3
Foundations in Family Therapy 3
Teaching and Applied Research Electives
Choose at least 3 credits of the following:
Supervised College Teaching
Internship: Human Development
Internship: Family Studies
Internship: Marriage and Family Therapy 3
Research: Human Development
Research: Family Studies
Program Total Credits:80

A minimum of 80 credits are required to complete this program. 

1

Select courses with approval of advisor and graduate committee.

2

Select statistics or methodology elective from outside the HDFS department from approved departmental list.

3

Admission to Marriage and Family Therapy Program or permission of instructor.