Human Development & Family Science

M.S. in Human Development & Family Science

The Department of Human Development & Family Science (HDFS) offers a Master’s in Human Development & Family Science.  The degree advances students for careers in higher education, government agencies, and businesses in the private sector.

Many students continue their education into a doctoral program. Others pursue careers in postsecondary education, public policy, and other organizations providing services to children and families.

Our faculty specialize in several areas and work collaboratively with those in other disciplines. Thesis and non-thesis tracks are available; however, all students are admitted to the non-thesis track. After the first semester of study, you can request to switch to the thesis track. Students must be in good academic standing and consult with their major professor for final approval. The non-thesis student is required to complete a 3 credit hour capstone (a special project experience) in their last semester.

The M.S. degree can be accomplished in as little as 4 semesters.

M.S. / Ph.D. Option

Students have the option to enroll in the M.S. to Ph.D. program immediately following the completion of a bachelor’s degree. Students will earn their M.S. in Human Development & Family Science as they progress on a ‘fast-track’ toward a Ph.D. degree in Human Sciences with a concentration in Human Development and Family Science.

(Please note that the deadline to apply to the M.S. to Ph.D. program is December 1.)


Fall Semester (for early review) December 1
Fall Semester
April 1

This program admits only in the fall semester. All application materials must be received by the deadline posted and only complete applications will be reviewed.  Applications are not deferred; if you decide to apply for a different term or major, you will need to start a new application.

Admission to the graduate program is term specific. Therefore, if you are unable to attend the term in which you were admitted, you will need to reapply for a future term.

  1. An upper-division undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. The same scale applies for graduate-level work.
  2. A bachelor’s degree or equivalent from an accredited university.
  3. A competitive Graduate Record Examination General Test (GRE) score; recommended score of above the 50th percentile (approximately 150) in both verbal and quantitative sections with a 4.0 or higher on the writing section. Please note that it can take up to ten (10) days after sitting for the GRE for an official score report to be sent to the university. A waiver for the GRE general test requirement for MS Human Development & Family Science applicants has been extended through the fall 2026 admission cycle.
  4. International students: Applicants must submit an official English Proficiency Score Report.  A TOEFL iBT® score of at least 80 (iBT) or 550 (paper-delivered) or an IELTSTM Academic score of at least 6.5 is required. Our department does not accept other English proficiency examinations.
  5. A visit to the department is encouraged. Please contact us at to schedule your visit. Before you submit your online application and pay the application fee, you should directly contact graduate faculty members in your area of interest to determine availability and recommend experiences and qualifications regarding mentorship in internships, practicum, research and other hands-on experiences.

Attainment of these minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to the program. Admission decisions are based on assessments of all aspects of the student’s application materials. The department reserves the right to increase standards if warranted by enrollment limitations and by the number and quality of applicants. Financial aid is a separate process from the admission to a graduate program.

If a related undergraduate degree was not awarded, certain leveling courses may be required. Individuals are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and provided with leveling course information.

All items below must be on file, and the fee paid, before an application is considered complete and ready for review. We encourage you to complete your application early.

  1. Apply Online and pay the application fee.
  2. Once you have submitted your application:
    • Complete the Faculty Preference Form., Please select three faulty members, in order of preference, with whom you would like to work with throughout your graduate program.
    • Upload a Statement of Purpose outlining your research interests and/or career goals. We want to know how your background and prior training make you the right candidate and why Florida State University is a good fit for you.  Please indicate up to three FSU faculty members with whom you would like to work and why. We strongly encourage applicants to familiarize themselves with the research interests of the faculty.
    • Submit contact information for three recommenders. The system will directly contact each recommender individually and provide them with a link to upload their letter. Academic recommendations are preferred, but relevant professional recommendations will be accepted. Recommenders should be professionals you have worked for, are familiar with your academic performance, and can speak directly about your qualifications for this degree. No personal recommendations or letters from peers will be accepted.
  3. Submit official GRE test scores to the FSU Office of Admissions. The school reporting code for test scores is 5219; no department code is required. A waiver for the GRE general test requirement for MS Human Development & Family Science applicants has been extended through the fall 2026 admission cycle.
  4. International Students: Submit an official English Proficiency Score Report:
    • TOEFL test scores electronically from to the FSU Office of Graduate Admissions. The university’s reporting code for test scores is 5219; no department code is required.
    • IELTS Academic test scores in physical (paper) form directly from to the FSU Office of Graduate Admissions at:

    Florida State University
    Office of Graduate Admissions
    222 S. Copeland Street, 314 Westcott Bldg.
    Tallahassee, FL 32306-1410

  5. Submit official transcripts (with translations if not in English) to the FSU Office of Admissions. Even if courses are posted to another institution’s transcripts, we require transcripts from EVERY post-secondary institution you attended. Please have official transcripts sent directly to the Office of Admissions.
  • Send electronic transcripts to:
  • Send paper transcripts to:
    Florida State University
    Office of Admissions
    A2500 University Center
    282 Champions Way
    Tallahassee FL 32306-2400

Please allow a minimum of ten (10) business days for the Office of Admissions to process your incoming materials.

For questions about the program:

Dr. Ming Cui

For questions about the application process:

CHHS Office of Graduate Studies