Human Development and Family Sciences
The program in human development and family sciences is housed in the Sarah M. and Charles E. Seay Building, which provides excellent resources for teaching and research. Computer facilities are extensive. In addition to the facilities of Information Technology Services, students have access to the program's computer laboratory, a state-of-the-art facility equipped with advanced computers and statistical software. These resources are supplemented by extensive computer equipment in individual faculty laboratories.
The HDFS Reference Room houses a noncirculating collection of more than five hundred volumes and twenty journals.
The half-day preschool and infant/toddler programs of the University Child and Family Laboratory provide a setting for research by faculty members and graduate students, a facility for student observation and training, and a model program for children and their families. They also provide opportunities for family involvement in the classroom, parent education programs, parent conferences, and family research. Because the laboratory has served Austin families for over sixty years, the opportunities for multigenerational and longitudinal research are significant.
The program has extensive facilities for observing and recording social interaction. The Marital and Family Interaction Laboratory is available for recording husband-wife and family interaction in a comfortable setting. The laboratory consists of a naturalistic living room connected to well-equipped control rooms that enable interactions to be recorded unobtrusively. The facility is augmented by numerous other one-way observation and coding rooms that enable recorded data to be analyzed using state-of-the-art computer-video analysis systems.
The program also has excellent facilities for conducting survey research. These include a series of individual interview rooms and a telephone research center.
A laboratory for research on the impact of television on children and families is housed in the department. The video production and postproduction laboratory allows students and faculty members to produce professional-quality experimental video segments and to code videotapes of children's behavior directly to a computer database. The laboratory also contains a library of more than one thousand hours of children's television programs and educational videotapes for children.
Several rich sets of data, many of which include longitudinal data from families, are housed in the department and available to graduate students for research. These sets of data focus on a wide range of topics, including the impact of courtship experiences on marriage, the prediction of divorce, parent-child interaction, the connection between family and peer relationships, the connection between work roles and family relationships, and the impact on children of poverty, television, child care policy, and adoption policy.
The master's degree program examines normal development within the contexts of the family, peer group, community, and culture and develops the student's skill in generating new knowledge in the field through research.
The doctoral degree program is designed to prepare students for research, teaching, and administrative positions in colleges and universities and for positions in government, policy-related research organizations, and other public and private settings. The program emphasizes research and theory on the interplay among individual development, family relationships, and institutions outside the family. Development of the individual is considered within the contexts of the family, peer group, community, and culture. The family is studied as a system of relationships, with attention to roles, communication, conflict resolution and negotiation, and family members' perceptions of each other and of their family. Public policies, mass media, and care settings outside the family are among the community influences considered in relation to the development of individuals and families. The program emphasizes the investigation of the family and other social processes that contribute to competence and optimal development in individuals from birth to maturity and how such competence is reflected in interpersonal relationships and family interactions.
The following faculty members served on the Graduate Studies Committee in the spring semester 2002-2003.
Master of Arts. The master's degree requires completion of at least forty-one semester hours of coursework: a core course sequence of fifteen semester hours; twelve hours in research and thesis; nine hours of electives, six of which must be taken in related disciplines; and two hours in Human Development and Family Sciences 194. Students must take Human Development and Family Sciences 194 on the credit/no credit basis. Further information is available from the graduate adviser.
Doctor of Philosophy. Detailed descriptions of admission procedures and program requirements are available from the graduate adviser. Work leading to the Doctor of Philosophy includes (1) the substantive major, which consists of a cohesive sequence of courses in human development and family sciences and related disciplines; (2) coursework in research design and statistics; (3) the supporting program, which consists of work complementary to the substantive major; and (4) ongoing supervised research experience; (5) a predoctoral research project (the equivalent of a master's thesis); (6) comprehensive paper that reviews the student's area of specialization; and (7) the dissertation.
Campus address: Mary E. Gearing Hall (GEA), phone (512) 471-0337, fax (512) 471-5844
Mailing address: The University of Texas at Austin, Graduate Program in Human Development and Family Sciences, Department of Human Ecology, 1 University Station 92200, Austin TX 78712-0547
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12 August 2003. Office of the Registrar
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