Doctoral Degree Program

Read what we are doing to promote diversity, inclusion, and social justice.


The 90-hour Ph.D. program in Human Ecology with a specialization in Applied Family Science provides students with the skills to teach, conduct research, and practice in the field of family science. The doctoral specialization in Applied Family Science at Kansas State University places significant emphasis on family science theory; as well as the development of the qualitative and quantitative skills needed to contribute to the body of knowledge in family science. Graduates will be prepared to conduct high-impact research addressing issues and needs relevant to family and relationship health and well-being.

Required courses:

  • FSHS 801: Grant Development and Management
  • FSHS 808: Topics in Applied Family Science
  • FSHS 850: Family Science
  • FSHS 852: Family Theories
  • FSHS 860: Family Policy
  • FSHS 871: Program Development and Administration
  • FSHS 893: Program Evaluation in Human Services
  • FSHS 950: Theory Construction in Family Science
  • LSHD 820: Theories of Human Development

Research Methods

  • FSHS 809: Qualitative Research Methods in Family Science
  • FSHS 888: Research Methods in FSHS I
  • FSHS 890: Application of Research and Statistics in Family Science


Select one:

  • FSHS 806: Statistical Methods in Family Studies and Human Services I
  • EDCEP 817: Statistical Methods in Education
  • STAT 703: Introduction to Statistical Methods for the Sciences

Select one:

  • FSHS 906: Statistical Methods in Family Studies and Human Services II
  • EDCEP 917: Experimental Design in Educational Research
  • STAT 705: Regression and Analysis of Variance

Select one:

  • CFT 910: Topics in Marriage and Family Therapy: Advanced MFT Research Methods: SEM I
  • STAT 730: Multivariate Statistical Methods

Professional Development

  • EDCI 943: Principles of College Teaching
  • FSHS 981: Applied Practicum in Family Science
  • FSHS 982: College Teaching Practicum in Family Science
  • FSHS 983: Research Practicum in Family Science
  • FSHS 979: Advanced Professional Issues in Family Science


In addition to the required courses above, the curriculum requires a minimum of 15 elective credit hours. These courses should be chosen based on the student's professional goals and approved by the supervisory committee.

If desired, students can choose to pursue graduate certificates to complement or enhance their Doctoral Degree. Elective credits may be counted towards completion of the certificate. Please note that completion of the certificate may require additional credits beyond those required for the Doctoral Degree.

Doctoral Research:
19 credit hours of doctoral research are required, and includes dissertation proposal seminar and PhD research credits.

Culminating Experience

Preliminary Examination
The preliminary examination consists of a written examination followed by an oral examination, both of which are conducted and evaluated by the student's supervisory committee. The examination will include three written questions encompassing research, theory, and application.

All students completing the doctoral degree with a specialization in Applied Family Science will be required to complete a written dissertation and an oral defense of that written product. The dissertation is original scholarship based on the student's research, which is conducted and written under the direction of the student's major professor and supervisory committee. In order to prepare students for successful completion, the dissertation process will include pre-proposal and proposal meetings, in addition to mentoring from a student's supervisory committee throughout the duration.


Graduate Certificates

K-State offers many options for students interested in pursuing graduate certificates. Many of these certificates would complement graduate work in Applied Family Science. In particular, AFS students may be interested in the following graduate certificates:

Adult Learning
Educational Technology
Applied Statistics
Conflict Resolution
Financial Therapy
Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies
Leadership Dynamics for Adult Learners
Personal Financial Planning
Public Administration
Public Health Core Concepts
Qualitative Research
Social Justice Education
Technical Writing and Professional Communication
Youth Development Professional

For a complete list of graduate certificates offered at Kansas State University, please refer to the graduate catalog.

Contact Information

Students interested in this option with questions about program requirements or curriculum should contact:

Dr. Michelle Toews
Chair, Human Development and Family Science
Department of Applied Human Sciences
310 Justin Hall
1324 Lovers Ln.
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506