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Family and Human Development: MFHD, PhD

Family and Human Development

The Department of Family, Consumer, and Human Development is housed in the College of Education and Human Services, which is in the top 2% of all graduate colleges of education in the nation and is ranked third in total research dollars received.


The master of family and human development (MFHD) is designed to prepare professionals to provide cutting-edge education and services to individuals and families. Students receive advanced training in individual development and family processes, examining the interplay between them within the larger contexts of social institutions and policies. The MFHD is a practice-oriented, non-thesis degree especially suitable for individuals already working in family or social service sectors, education, and corrections who are seeking employment in fields where greater understanding of individual development and family process would be an asset.


The PhD is for students wishing to pursue careers in the academic realm of family and human development. The program allows students to pursue research in current issues affecting families and human development.

Recent graduates have found employment as teachers and counselors in the following areas:

  • Public schools
  • Academic departments at colleges and universities
  • Research centers
  • Hospitals
  • Head Start
  • Child care programs
  • Social services agencies
  • Mental health agencies
  • Private and clinical practice settings
  • Extension services
  • Financial institutions and agencies
  • Any related agencies that teach about, study, or serve individuals, families, and consumers

Admissions Requirements

It is preferred that applicants have the equivalent of at least a minor in family, consumer, or child studies. However, competent students have been admitted from a variety of backgrounds. If a student does not have a family, consumer, or child studies background, they may be required to take prerequisite courses depending on their experience.

Application Requirements:

  • Complete the online application
  • Pay the $55 application fee
  • Score at or above the 40th percentile on the GRE or MAT
  • Have a 3.0 or higher GPA on your last 60 semester or 90 quarter credits
  • Provide transcripts of all college/university credits
  • Provide three contacts for letters of recommendation

International students have additional admissions requirements.

Admissions Deadlines

The department has the following deadline:

  • Fall semester – January 15

Master's Degree Plan Option(s)

Students can receive the MFHD by pursuing the following option:

  • The Plan B option requires the production of a paper or creative work of art and is expected to reflect equivalent scholarship standards as a thesis.

Financial Assistance

The department has a variety of scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships available for students. The department tries to arrange funding for all first-year students. After the student’s first year, they must find their own funding, but various funding opportunities are still available.

A variety of additional funding opportunities are available, including tuition awards and travel support. Additionally, students may be eligible for subsidized health insurance through qualifying assistantships.

Scot Allgood, PhD, Brigham Young University
Area: Family therapy process, marital assessment and enrichment, family strengths, marriage and family therapy
Office: FL 203 B
Phone: (435) 797-1551

Troy Beckert, PhD, Arizona State University
Associate Professor
Area: Life-span development, adolescence, research methods
Office: FL 220
Phone: (435) 797-1570

Lisa Boyce, PhD, Utah State University
Assistant Professor, Executive Director - Dolores Dore Eccles Center for Early Care and Education
Area: Early language development, emergent literacy, program evaluation, early childhood professional development, early intervention
Office: DDECECE 314
Phone: (435) 797-3724

Kay Bradford, PhD, Brigham Young University
Associate Professor
Area: Interparental conflict, couple dynamics, parenting, adolescent well-being
Office: FCHDW 108
Phone: (435) 797-5454

Lucy Delgadillo, PhD, Utah State University
Associate Professor
Area: Future care among older Hispanics, developing marketing strategies to outreach Hispanics, foreclosure and defaults, predatory lending, diversity and minority issues
Office: FL 308 A
Phone: (435) 797-7204

Elizabeth Fauth, PhD, Pennsylvania State University
Associate Professor, Coordinator of the Gerontology Certificate Program
Area: Adult development and aging, behavior problems of people with dementia, stress and well-being of caregivers of people with dementia, evaluating intervention programs for dementia caregivers
Office: FL 222
Phone: (435) 797-1989

Brian Higginbotham, PhD, Auburn University
Associate Professor
Area: Healthy relationships over the course of life, factors influencing remarriage quality, stepfamily functioning, program evaluation
Office: FCHDW 105
Phone: (435) 797-7276

Randall Jones, PhD, University of Arizona
Area: Adolescent development, identity, problem behavior, prevention, research methods
Office: FL 221
Phone: (435) 797-1553

David Law, PhD, Brigham Young University
Associate Professor
Area: Parenting practices and the development of the child’s attachment, self-regulation, marriage and family therapy, health-care utilization
Office: USU Uintah Basin campus
Phone: (435) 722-1716

Yoon Lee, PhD, University of Missouri – Colombia
Associate Professor
Area: Household consumption patterns, human capital investments in children, living arrangements of the elderly, financial security of single older women, women in family-owned businesses, cash flow problems in business-owning families, economic well-being of female-headed households
Office: FL 218
Phone: (435) 797-1555

Shelley Lindauer, PhD, Oregon State University
Area: Alternative child care, gender role development, early childhood education, curriculum administration, socialization, development in infancy and early childhood
Office: FL 106A
Phone: (435) 797-1532

Jean Lown, PhD, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Area: Women and financial planning attitudes and practices, retirement planning, credit overuse, consumer bankruptcy
Office: FL 308 C
Phone: (435) 797-1569

Brent Miller, PhD, University of Minnesota
Area: Marriage and family relationships, adolescent pregnancy, adoption, research methods
Office: FL 215
Phone: (435) 797-2527

Thorana Nelson, PhD, University of Iowa
Area: Marriage and family therapy, gender, family therapy training and supervision
Office: FLC 104
Phone: (435) 797-7431

Maria Norton, PhD, Utah State University
Area: Gerontology, adult development, epidemiology of aging disorders
Office: SER 129, FL 111B
Phone: (435) 797-1599

Kim Openshaw, PhD, Brigham Young University
Associate Professor
Area: marriage and family therapy, research and application, theoretical conceptualization of self-esteem, physical attractiveness, early intervention
Office: FCHDW 120
Phone: (435) 797-7434

Kathleen Piercy, PhD, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Associate Professor
Area: Midlife, older adults and family caregiving, family policy, qualitative methodology
Office: FL 219
Phone: (435) 797-2387

Lori Roggman, PhD, University of Texas
Area: Infant social development, attachment, parenting stress, play across the life span, physical attractiveness, early intervention
Office: FL 129
Phone: (435) 797-1545

Linda Skogrand, PhD, University of Minnesota – Minneapolis
Area: Transcending a traumatic childhood, family crises, diversity, identifying components of strong marriages in diverse cultures
Office: FCHDW 104
Phone: (435) 797-8183

Susan Talley, PhD, University of Toledo
Associate Professor
Area: Pre-adolescents, prosocial behavior, attachment behavioral systems, socially constructed behavior, evaluation, culture, identity and diversity, school configuration
Office: USU Ephraim Education Center (Snow College)
Phone: (435) 283-7419

Professional Organizations, Honor Societies, and Clubs

National Council on Family Relations: NCFR is the oldest, multi-disciplinary, non-partisan professional organization focused solely on family research, practice, and education. It is an association of professionals dedicated to understanding and strengthening families.

Society for Research in Child Development: SRCD is a multidisciplinary, not-for-profit, professional association with a membership of researchers, practitioners, and human development professionals from more than 50 countries. The purposes of SRCD are to promote multidisciplinary research in the field of human development, to foster the exchange of information among scientists and other professionals of various disciplines, and to encourage applications of research findings.

Society for Research on Adolescence: SRA is a rapidly growing, dynamic society focused on the theoretical, empirical, and policy research issues of adolescence. Through its biennial meetings and publishing efforts, SRA promotes the dissemination of research on adolescents and serves as a network and forum for its members. SRA publishes the Journal of Research on Adolescence.

Labs, Centers, Research

Adele and Dale Young Child Development Laboratory: This laboratory provides a variety of programs for children birth to 12 years old. Faculty members, graduate students, and undergraduate students conduct research to better understand individual development and family relationships across the life span. They use the information gained through research to better aid the development of social competency skills in the children they serve. Each program in the laboratory is designed to provide children with a wide variety of developmentally appropriate divergent activities, a stimulating multisensory environment, and opportunities for discovery and making choices, interpersonal interactions, and independence-promoting situations.

Center for Persons with Disabilities: The CPD is a nationally recognized research center that joins the expertise of researchers and faculty with community partners to address the most difficult challenges facing persons with disabilities and their families. Research addresses issues that cross fields ranging from biomedicine to education. In clinical experiences, learners join teams of professionals, family members, and individuals with disabilities to deliver services and supports.

Early Intervention Research Institute: The EIRI is an interdisciplinary organization committed to investigating and improving policies and practices that support the well-being of at-risk children as well as those with special needs and their families. The institute conducts research as well as provides training and technical assistance at community, state, national, and international levels.


Randall Jones
Office: FL 221
Phone: (435) 797-1553

- Human Development and Family Studies Department

- Emma Eccles Jones College of Education & Human Services

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