human development and family studies

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Master of Science in HDF

Developmental Science


Please note: This program only admits for the Fall. The application deadline is February 15.

How to apply

Applications to the program are submitted though the URI Graduate School.

Admission Requirements

  • A current resume
  • Official transcripts: Applicants must have a undergraduate GPA of 3.2 and 18 undergraduate credits from at least one of the following areas: human development, family studies, psychology, and sociology. Majors in related fields (e.g. nursing, political science, education) may be admitted with permission of the director of graduate studies.
  • Letters of recommendation: Two letters of recommendation are required with at least one (preferably both) from an academic reference. If it has been five years since the applicant graduated from his or her undergraduate institution and has been in the workforce for more than 5 years, one letter of reference may be from a supervisor.
  • Personal Statement: A personal statement is required which should explain why you are interested in obtaining a Masters of Science in Human Development and why you believe you are a strong fit with the program. As an addendum to the personal statement, please indicate whether you plan to complete the program as a full or part-time student and whether your attendance will be contingent on receiving financial aid. Guidelines for personal statements can be found below.
  • 3.2 GPA
  • Statistics: Students who have not completed an undergraduate statistics course, will be required to complete the course in either the summer before or the first semester of the program.


The application deadline for fall admission is February 15. Applications received after this date will be reviewed on a space-available basis.

When to apply

Please refer to the Graduate School description of the application process for information on the University’s application deadlines. Applicants who intend to seek funding from the department should note that preference will be given to applicants who apply prior to February 15th (departmental funding is only available for students commencing their program in the fall). The Graduate School is responsible for sending out official notifications of acceptance; however, we will endeavor to contact you personally once a decision on your application has been made.

Financial Aid

Financial support opportunities include graduate assistantships, work-study opportunities, tuition scholarships, and graduate student loans. A limited number of graduate assistantships (GA) are available on a competitive basis. To be considered for a GA position, please apply by January 15th.

What to do once you’re accepted

After you receive e-mail notification from the Graduate School that you have been accepted into the program, you should visit the Graduate School website (e-campus at and indicate your acceptance. In the summer, you will receive a letter from the HDF department notifying you of your advisor. Once you receive your advisor contact information, please make arrangements to meet and to plan your first semester of study. Most students in their first semester do not register for courses until shortly before classes begin.

Guidelines for Personal Statement

The Department of Human Development and Family Studies hopes to assess the strength of fit between your interests and abilities with the goals and curricular design of the Masters of Science program. To help aid in this assessment, we require that you create a personal narrative that is 750 words in length and discusses the topics that are listed below. Feel free to add additional information that you believe would assist the admissions committee in understanding your potential to succeed in our program. As part of our assessment, we will be looking for evidence of the following:

  • Ability to think analytically and conceptually
  • Clarity in written and oral communication
  • Ability to engage in professional self-reflection
  • Commitment to improving the lives of individuals and families
  • Ability to function responsibly and independently

In your answer (750 word maximum), please discuss the following:

  1. Tell us how your life experiences, including your work with individuals and families, have influenced your decision to pursue graduate education.
  2. Explain how this degree will assist in developing your professional career/choices.
  3. Describe your personal strengths and challenges, both as a graduate student and as a professional in the field of human and family development.
  4. Graduate education requires sophisticated writing and critical thinking skills. Discuss the reasons why you believe you will be able to meet the academic requirements of a rigorous program and provide evidence that you will be able to successfully meet the challenges of the graduate program. As part of this, please discuss how well your undergraduate GPA reflects your academic abilities.
  5. Describe one or two areas/topics that might serve as the focal point for your thesis research, and indicate 1 or 2 faculty members with whom you might want to work.

All materials should be submitted online through the URI Graduate School.

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