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Penn State’s innovative doctoral program in Human Development and Family Studies takes a true lifespan approach to examining the complex intersection of human development and societal relationships, offering choices in core research areas, along with a rich variety of dynamic cross-cutting research themes.

Throughout your doctoral training, you’ll take a broad and deep personalized selection of courses offered by some of the world’s best developmental and family scientists — and have the opportunity to participate in hands-on research and assistantships that will further develop vital critical thinking, writing, and teaching skills. As a graduate, you’ll be well positioned to become a leader in developmental and/or family science, the emerging field of social data analytics, academia, government, or applied and policy-related research institutes, and a wide variety of other careers focused on helping others lead more productive and gratifying lives.

Students admitted to the doctoral program in HDFS have the option of pursuing a dual-title doctoral degree in 4 possible domains of specialization


Rated the #1 HDFS graduate program in the world.