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Feeling Lost? Looking for Good Doctoral Programs in Family Science

Today, I presented a webinar for the National Council on Family Relations. One of the questions I was asked was how do you find a good doctoral program in family science. I am posting the spirit of my answer here (I can't recall what I said exactly) in case it is helpful for you!

1. Check out Dr. Claire Kamp Dush's ranking list for Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) doctoral programs in North America. Currently, it is available at this link:

If you read this later, and that link is no longer functioning, simply Google "Claire Kamp Dush," and I am willing to bet you can find her rankings. As I type, this is the only HDFS doctoral ranking system of which I am aware.

2. Be aware that some non-HDFS programs might be right for you. My own Ph.D. is in Psychology (with a specialization in Developmental Science). There are many doctoral programs that go by many different names, so be sure to check out all of your options.

3. Be aware that the "best" doctoral program for you might not be the "best" doctoral program for someone else. The faculty at the top-ranked program might be doing research that you are not interested in at all. Committing 4 to 7 years to that program might eventually feel like a prison sentence! The most important thing to consider is your own specific interest. What type of research do you want to learn more about? Who is doing that type of research? You need to be where they are and determine if they would be willing to work with you. When researching doctoral programs, look at who is currently publishing in your specific area of interest and find out where they work. Then, begin exploring those programs to find the best options for you.


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