Admission Information

Admissions criteria to be considered for the doctoral program include a master’s degree in a related field and a strong record in previous academic work.

Students entering with a family studies master’s degree will complete a minimum of 48 semester hours. Students entering with a "related field" master's degree may be required to complete up to 9 additional credits of prerequisite coursework to provide proper preparation for doctoral study in the field of family studies. The number of extra credits will be determined by the Doctoral Program Director in conjunction with the PhD Admissions Committee based upon each student's master's degree coursework.

Following completion of the 48 semester hours of course work and the successful advancement to doctoral candidacy, students must complete a minimum of 12 semester hours of dissertation research. Upon successful completion and defense of the dissertation, students will be awarded a PhD

Application Requirements:

The application deadline for the Fall 2018 cohort will be February 1st, 2018. To apply online, please visit The Graduate School web site.

Applicants must submit the following by the February 1st, 2018 deadline:

  • Application
  • Transcripts
  • GRE scores (no more than 5 years old)
  • Resume
  • Three letters of reference.  At least one from a former university instructor.
  • Statement of Purpose

Please submit a personal statement of no more than 3 pages (double spaced) that addresses the following: 1) How your prior experiences have prepared you to enter a PhD program; 2) Why you are interested in MSU’s Family Studies PhD program; 3) How your educational/research experiences at MSU will contribute to your professional and career plans; 4) Indicate up to three faculty members in Family and Child Studies with whom you are interested in working and explain why (Faculty Member Bios); and 5) Your long-term professional and career plans.

  • Scholarly Writing Sample

Please submit a document you wrote alone or took the lead in writing. For example: a literature review, an honor’s thesis; or a manuscript published, accepted for publication, or submitted for publication. If you do not have a scientific writing sample, please write a 3-4 page (double spaced) literature review, incorporating citations from the scientific literature, on a topic related to family studies that you are interested in pursuing as part of your graduate studies.