Ph.D. in Applied Developmental Science About the Program
The Applied Developmental Science Ph.D. program at Colorado State University offers graduate training in research and its applications to issues that affect the quality of life of individuals, families, and communities.
Students can enter the Applied Developmental Science program with a completed Master’s degree or with a completed Bachelor’s degree. Students entering with a Bachelor’s will be required to complete a master’s in Human Development and Family Studies, with a specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy or Prevention Science.
- Graduate students receive state-of-the-art training in human development theory and family sciences from a lifespan and ecological perspective, and develop the research skills to conduct both basic and applied research on human development.
- Graduate students are given the opportunity to apply knowledge to real-world issues. Faculty and students are committed to translating research into evidence-based practice and finding solutions to current challenges facing individuals, families, and communities.
- Students benefit from the perspectives of multiple disciplines and an understanding of the social and cultural contexts in which people develop. Collaborative and cross-disciplinary research is strongly valued.
- Students work closely with faculty mentors to pursue programs of research that are tailored to their individual interests and aspirations. Students become productive scholars in their own right and they are supported by our faculty to accomplish this goal. Scholarship is nurtured through intensive mentoring, seminars and colloquia, active research labs, and participation in professional meetings.
The majority of Ph.D. students are supported by teaching and research assistantships that cover tuition and provide a monthly stipend during the academic year.
Ph.D. in Applied Developmental Science Program Details
Research Thematic Areas
Research in Human Development and Family Studies covers the lifespan, from infancy and early childhood through older adulthood
Faculty Research Areas
The Applied Developmental Science program is served by full-time graduate faculty members in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. Faculty research interests and expertise encompass the entire lifespan and embrace a range of interests at the intersection of basic and applied research. Students are encouraged to identify faculty mentors as part of the application process.
Course of Study
The Ph.D. is a 76 credit-hour degree, designed to be completed in a 4-year time frame (18-21 credits per year). All ADS students must take 22 credits in ADS-program-wide core courses; in addition 24 credits are earned in elective courses that are selected in consultation with the student’s adviser and committee so as to prepare the student for the career trajectory that he or she has planned. These electives must include at least two lifespan development electives, One statistics elective (3 credits) and one general elective outside of Human Development and Family Studies (3 credits).
The competency projects and examination are designed to fulfill several purposes:
- To allow students to demonstrate the breadth and depth of their knowledge gained from their coursework in the ADS program and from reading in depth in the specific area on which they plan to focus their research efforts.
- To challenge students to think critically about and to apply, utilize, and integrate that knowledge in ways that foster their own professional development.
- To independently develop a research plan that potentially will sustain their investigative efforts past their doctoral dissertation and into the early years of their career.
There are two projects involved in the Competency Examination: the research competency project and the professional presentation/teaching competency.
Research/Research Writing Competency Project
Competency 1: Original data collection in one’s area of research.
It is the philosophy of the HDFS department at CSU that all doctoral students should be involved in original data collection efforts as part of their doctoral studies (including Master’s studies). This data collection does not have to take place in connection with the dissertation research, but it does need to take place at some time during the program and/or during the process of completing a master’s thesis that has been accepted by the ADS program as fulfilling the master’s thesis/first year project requirement for the ADS program. The student will need to specify when this data collection has taken place or will take place, as well as the student’s role in the data collection effort, as part of the research competency examination, and, as for other parts of the examination, the student’s committee members will need to view the student as having passed this requirement, based on the student’s experience, including his/her role in the project in which data collection took place.
Competency 2: In-depth analysis of the literature and scholarly writing.
There are three format options for the exam demonstrating the student’s ability to do an in-depth analysis of the literature in his/her area of research: students select either (a) grant application or (b) Developmental Review article or (c) an essay/paper in response to specific examination questions that have been prepared and approved by the student’s committee and have been approved by the ADS program director(or their delegate(s) if one or both of them are on the student’s committee)
Professional Presentation/Teaching Competency
The goal of the professional presentation/teaching competency is to afford the student increased experience and skill in doing professional presentations and/or teaching, by teaching or co-teaching a college-level course or professional workshop series, under the supervision of a faculty mentor. Typically, the professional presentation/ competency project occurs only after the student has received the master’s degree. There are two different options for the Professional presentation/Teaching Competency: 1. Teaching a series of workshops or 2. Working on two specific teaching-related skills while teaching at least ½ of an undergraduate course. The student should work with his/her adviser to select the option that is most appropriate for his/her planned career path.
Option 1: Workshop Series.
If the student believes that teaching a series of workshops is more relevant to his/her planned career path, then s/he may prepare and deliver a series of professional workshops, contingent upon approval of the student’s doctoral committee and ADS Program Director. Usually more than one workshop will be needed to be deemed comparable to teaching at least ½ of a semester-long course.
Option 2. Teaching an undergraduate course.
Typically, the student begins by being a teaching assistant for an undergraduate course one semester, and then teaching or co-teaching that same course during a later semester. The teaching assistantship can be paid, but it must include preparation of course materials (tests, assignments, and/or activities), grading of papers and/or essays, and preparing and giving at least one class lecture. The instructorship or co-instructorship must involve preparing at least ½ of the course materials, leading the class for at least ½ of the class meetings, and grading at least ½ of the papers and essays for the class. Students with prior teaching experience or with especially strong background in the subject area might teach a class without assisting in a prior semester, but this should involve mentored teaching, with close supervision by a faculty member.
Doctoral Dissertation in Applied Developmental Science
Students in the Applied Developmental Science (ADS) Ph.D. program are required to write a doctoral dissertation and to conduct the research approved by the Doctoral Committee during the proposal meeting. The dissertation represents the culmination of students’ ADS education. Therefore, the faculty of the ADS program and the members of students’ Doctoral Committees expect that students who reach the point of preparing a dissertation proposal will have the conceptual and methodological sophistication necessary to plan and execute an independent research project.
The dissertation should be seen as a process rather than a product, although the final product will consist of either a formal thesis or multiple manuscripts for publication. If the thesis format is chosen, it is expected that the thesis provides the foundation for subsequent manuscripts of publishable quality. Regardless of whether a student chooses the thesis or the multiple-manuscript option, the process of the dissertation includes (a) the conceptualization of the study, including a concise presentation of the scientific rationale and the study methodology; (b) the data analyses and presentation of the results; and (c) the discussion of the results and their implications for the extant literature, future research, and potential applications in the field. Although the dissertation is designed as a proof that the doctoral student has the conceptual and methodological skills necessary to undertake an independent research project, it also requires the active and continued consultation with and involvement by students’ advisors and Doctoral Committee at all stages. The consultation with and involvement of the advisors and the members of the doctoral committee represents an important element of students’ continued scholarly development and education.