Family Science and Human Development PhD Montclair State

Family Science and Human Development (PhD)

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Family Science and Human Development (PhD)

Family Science and Human Development is a multidisciplinary field, drawing on a range of social science disciplines including sociology, social work, education, gerontology, and community and developmental psychology. The PhD in Family Science and Human Development program considers family life within larger socio-cultural contexts and explores how issues of power, privilege and social justice interact to differentially impact family configurations.

Due to the multi and interdisciplinary nature of the program, our students come from a variety of fields, including family studies, human development, education, social work, human services, psychology, disability and rehabilitation services, gerontology, and sociology. Family Science and Human Development professionals focus on the strengths and challenges of the family unit, examining a diverse range of family issues and seeking solutions to family problems. The applied, multidisciplinary focus of the discipline makes PhD graduates very attractive to employers in higher education, government, and nonprofit and private sectors. Graduates of the program will be prepared to pursue a wide range of professional opportunities as faculty members in colleges and universities, as program administrators, researchers and evaluators, and policymakers, and in positions in organizations focusing on children, youth, adults, older adults and families.

Hear from current students and alumni on their experiences in the Family Science and Human Development (PhD) program at Montclair State University:

“I’m thrilled to be part of this unique, dynamic program, which allows me to pursue my research interests and passions at full speed! The faculty is topnotch and extremely supportive, while also providing great teaching and networking opportunities. It’s the ultimate research and teaching environment for pursuing a PhD in our field.”
Maya Autret – Family Science and Human Development (PhD)

Please refer to our programs of study page for a comprehensive list of all of the graduate programs offered within the university.

Admission Requirements

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.

Application Checklist

In order to make applying for graduate school as seamless as possible for you, we have
created an application checklist. This checklist can be a reference point for you during the
application process to ensure that you have a comprehensive understanding of the steps
needed to apply, as well as all of corresponding supplemental materials for your specific
program of interest.

  • Application Deadline: January 15, 2024 (fall admission only). Please note: Upon offer of admission, you will be asked to submit an enrollment deposit of $200.
  • Submit Online Application: Please create your online account and submit your application by following the general application instructions and pay (or waive) the non-refundable $60 application fee. Once this step has been completed, the online portal will allow you to upload your supplemental materials.

The following is a list of the supplemental materials that will accompany your application for the Family Science and Human Development (PhD) program:

  • Transcript: One from each college attended.
  • Essays/Personal Statement: Two.
    • Statement of Purpose – Please submit a personal statement of no more than 3 pages (double-spaced and using sub-headings for each element) that addresses the following:

      1) Briefly describe your current scholarly interests (i.e., what would you like to develop expertise in during your time in the program) and your likely long-term professional/career goals.

      2) Why you are interested in the discipline of Family Science and Human Development (FSHD), generally, and Montclair State University’s FSHD PhD program, specifically.

      3) How your prior experiences (i.e., life, educational, and/or work) have prepared you to be a doctoral student.

      4) Indicate up to three faculty with whom you are interested in working and explain why they would be a potential good scholarly mentor for you. *Please refer to the following website for a list of faculty in the Family Science and Human Development PhD program.

      5) Please feel free to share anything else that you believe is important for us to know about your application.

    • 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 science that you are interested in pursuing as part of your graduate studies.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Three – at least two from former professors and/or those with a doctoral degree.
  • Resume: Required.
  • Standardized Test Scores: GRE not required.
  • Applicants with non-U.S. degrees, please visit the International Applicants page to review the US degree equivalency information.

Students entering with a family studies master’s degree will complete a minimum of 36 semester hours. Students entering with a “related field” master’s degree may be required to complete up to nine additional credits of prerequisite coursework to provide proper preparation for doctoral study in the field of family science. 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 36 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

For more information, please visit the Family Studies (PhD) program listing in the University Catalog.


If you have any general questions regarding the application process and requirements, please email or call us:
Office of Graduate Admissions
Telephone: 973-655-5147
Fax: 973-655-7869

If you have specific inquiries, please contact the Family Science and Human Development PhD Program at

If you wish to contact the Doctoral Program Director, please find their information below:

Dr. Ashley Ermer

*During the summer months, there will be a rotating department chair available to answer your inquiry. Find the updated summer chair for this program.*