Child Development and Family Relationships
Facilities for Graduate Work
Microcomputers are an integral component of faculty and student scholarship in child development and family relationships. They are used for quantitative statistical analysis, discourse analysis, formation of databases, and processing of qualitative data. Networking capability allows faculty members and students to share databases and software programs while maintaining constant communication.
The CDFR Reference Room houses a noncirculating collection of more than five hundred volumes and twenty journals. The Reference Room is supported by departmental funds and donations. Some faculty members house their personal journals there to make them available to students and colleagues.
The half-day preschool and infant/toddler program 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. The opportunities for multigenerational and longitudinal research are significant, because the laboratory has served Austin families for over sixty years. It houses a soundproofed observation/research area, with one-way mirrors, microphones, computers, and video equipment, and an area suitable for interviews with adults and families.
A Marital and Family Interaction Laboratory is available to videotape husband-wife and family interaction in a comfortable setting. The laboratory includes a living/family room, a control room with color video cameras and recording equipment suitable for split-screen videotaping, and a data processing laboratory.
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, the impact of poverty on children, the effects of television on children, child care policy, and adoption policy.
Programs of Study
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.
Graduate Studies Committee
The following faculty members served on the Graduate Studies Committee in the spring semester 1998-1999.
Master of Arts. The master's degree requires completion of at least forty-one semester hours of coursework: a core course sequence of sixteen semester hours; twelve hours in research and thesis; nine hours of electives, six of which must be taken in related disciplines; and four hours in Child Development 194. Students must take Child Development 194 on the credit/no credit basis each semester. 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 four components: (1) the substantive major, which consists of a cohesive sequence of courses in child development and family relationships 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) the dissertation. Other program requirements include ongoing supervised research experience; a predoctoral research project (the equivalent of a master's thesis); and written comprehensive examinations.
For More Information
Campus address: Mary E. Gearing Hall, phone (512) 471-0337, fax (512) 471-5844
Mailing address: Graduate Program in Child Development and Family Relationships, Department of Human Ecology, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712-1097
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