The HDFS Report: Claire Kamp Dush’s Ranking of HDFS Programs in North America

This is, to my knowledge, the first publicly available ranking of Human Development and Family Science-type programs. You might wonder – what is Human Development and Family Science, what those of us in the field affectionately call HDFS? My colleague Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan wrote that “The purpose of HDFS is to nurture independent scholars who approach the study of development and behavior of human beings within social contexts from multiple disciplinary perspectives. The training of HDFS graduate students thus encompasses many approaches and paradigms, but is integrated through instruction in systems and bioecological perspectives, which emphasize that individuals are embedded in social contexts and cannot be fully understood out of context, and that human development and adaptation influence and are influenced by multiple interconnected sets of factors (e.g., genes, family relationships, school, community, society).” Below, you will see a ranking of 52-HDFS doctoral programs. These programs have a variety of names, but what they all hold in common is the study of human development in context. I will rank programs again in 2017, and until then, browse these programs, and consider continuing your graduate training in one of these programs that will give you a broad perspective on human development and family relationships across multiple contexts and from multiple disciplinary perspectives. Often the most innovative advances in the study of human development and the family come from scholars who generate ideas after being exposed to a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Study HDFS, and you may be surprised at what you learn, and the knowledge that you generate!

The methodology of these rankings can be accessed here.

I also want to note that the University of Maryland PhD Program in the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology was mistakenly left off of the ranking survey so the program was not ranked. It is a great department with excellent faculty. So, prospective students – don’t forget to check them out! You can find out more about their program here.

There are new PhD programs at the University of Florida’s Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences in Youth Development and Family Science and at Montclair State University in Family Studies. Check them out!

2014 Overall Rankings

Rank

University

Mean

Program

1 Penn State University 4.5 Department of Human Development & Family Studies
2 University of Illinois 4.1 Department of Human & Community Development
3 Arizona State University 4.0 School of Social & Family Dynamics
3 Cornell University 4.0 Department of Human Development
3 Auburn University 4.0 Department of Human Development & Family Studies
6 University of Minnesota 3.9 Department of Family Social Science
7 Virginia Tech 3.8 Department of Human Development
7 University of North Carolina–Greensboro 3.8 Department of Human Development & Family Studies
7 Ohio State University 3.8 Program in Human Development and Family Science
7 University of California – Davis 3.8 Program in Human Development and Family Studies
11 University of Missouri 3.6 Department of Human Development & Family Studies
11 University of Wisconsin 3.6 Department of Human Development & Family Studies
11 Oregon State University 3.6 Program in Human Development & Family Studies
11 Michigan State University 3.6 Department of Human Development & Family Studies
11 Purdue University 3.6 Department of Human Development & Family Studies
16 Northwestern University 3.5 Program in Human Development and Social Policy
16 University of Arizona 3.5 Division of Family Studies & Human Development
16 University of Georgia 3.5 Department of Human Development and Family Science
16 University of Texas 3.5 Department of Human Development & Family Sciences
20 Florida State University 3.4 Department of Family & Child Sciences
20 Brigham Young University 3.4 School of Family Life
20 Tufts University 3.4 Department of Child Study and Human Development
20 University of Connecticut 3.4 Department of Human Development & Family Studies
24 University of Maryland 3.3 Department of Family Science
24 Oklahoma State University 3.3 Department of Human Development & Family Science
26 Colorado State University 3.2 Department of Human Development & Family Studies
27 Iowa State University 3.1 Department of Human Development & Family Studies
27 Utah State University 3.1 Department of Family, Consumer, & Human Development
29 Kansas State University 3.0 School of Family Studies & Human Services
30 University of Tennessee 2.8 Department of Child & Family Studies
30 University of Delaware 2.8 Department of Human Development & Family Studies
32 North Dakota State University 2.7 Department of Human Development and Family Science
32 Texas Tech University 2.7 Department of Human Development & Family Studies
34 Syracuse University 2.6 Department of Child & Family Studies
34 University of Manitoba 2.6 Department of Family Social Sciences
34 East Carolina University It  came to my attention in 11/2014 that ECU does not have a PhD in HDFS, but rather, a PhD in  Medical Family Therapy. Thus, this program should not have been ranked. 2.6 Department of Child Development & Family Relations
37 University of Nebraska – Lincoln 2.5 Department of Child, Youth & Family Studies
37 University of Kentucky 2.5 Department of Family Sciences
37 University of Alberta 2.5 Program in Human Development and Family Studies
37 University of Guelph 2.5 Department of Family Relations & Applied Nutrition
37 West Virginia University 2.5 Program in Education – Emphasis in Human Development and Family Studies
37 University of Pennsylvania 2.5 Program in Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Development
43 University of Rochester 2.4 Program in Human Development
44 Montclair State University 2.3 Department of Family & Child Studies
45 Texas Woman’s University 2.2 Department of Family Sciences
45 Brandeis University 2.2 Heller School for Social Policy & Management (Institute for Child, Youth & Family Policy)
45 University of North Texas 2.2 Department of Educational Psychology, specialization in Human Development and Family Studies
45 Louisiana State University 2.2 Division of Child and Family Studies
49 University of Alabama 2.1 Department of Human Development & Family Studies
49 Loma Linda University 2.1 Department of Counseling & Family Sciences
51 University of New Mexico Rank not published Department of Individual, Family & Community Education
52 Mississippi State University* Rank not published School of Human Sciences
photo credit: ▲ ►▼ ◄ via photopin cc

photo credit: ▲ ►▼ ◄ via photopin cc

*The PhD program at Mississippi State University only began in 2013, one year before this ranking.

Top 5 Programs in Family Science 2014

Rank

University

Program

1 Penn State University Department of Human Development & Family Studies
2 Auburn University Department of Human Development & Family Studies
3 University of Missouri Department of Human Development & Family Studies
4 Brigham Young University School of Family Life
4 University of Illinois Department of Human & Community Development
photo credit: Cilia Schubert via photopin cc

photo credit: Cilia Schubert via photopin cc

Top 5 Programs in Child Development 2014

Rank

University

Program

1 Penn State University Department of Human Development & Family Studies
2 Arizona State University School of Social & Family Dynamics
3 University of California – Davis Program in Human Development and Family Studies
4 Auburn University Department of Human Development & Family Studies
4 University of North Carolina–Greensboro Department of Human Development & Family Studies
4 Tufts University Department of Child Study and Human Development
photo credit: 55Laney69 via photopin cc

photo credit: 55Laney69 via photopin cc

Top 5 Programs in Adolescent Development and Emerging Adulthood 2014

Rank

University

Program

1 Arizona State University School of Social & Family Dynamics
1 Penn State University Department of Human Development & Family Studies
1 University of Arizona Division of Family Studies & Human Development
4 Tufts University Department of Child Study and Human Development
5 Auburn University Department of Human Development & Family Studies
5 University of Illinois Department of Human & Community Development
photo credit: Photoflurry via photopin cc

photo credit: Photoflurry via photopin cc

Top 5 Programs in Adult Development and Aging 2014

Rank

University

Program

1 Penn State University Department of Human Development & Family Studies
2 Virginia Tech Department of Human Development
3 University of Texas Department of Human Development & Family Sciences
4 Colorado State University Department of Human Development & Family Studies
4 Oregon State University Program in Human Development & Family Studies

10 thoughts on “The HDFS Report: Claire Kamp Dush’s Ranking of HDFS Programs in North America

  1. Claire, I appreciate you doing this and posting the rankings. We need something like this for our field, and this is a good first step. I’m curious what type of response it has (and will) generate. Do you plan to share this through some public outlet (e.g., NCFR report) or journal?

    It’s nice to see how some of our peers view our program relative to other
    programs. UGA has 3 years to make a more impactful impression on future raters so we can move up in the rankings.

    It would be interesting to see what a more objective assessment would yield based on metrics commonly used to evaluate faculty. Imagine gathering data from each of the 52 departments on the following information for a given academic year:

    A. Number of blind, peer-reviewed journal publications
    B. Number of times faculty work has been cited
    C. Number of new externally funded grants
    D. Number of continuation externally funded grants
    E. Total amount of funding from external funding sources.
    F. Number of national professional affiliation awards and recognitions
    G. Other????

    This information could be collected in a spreadsheet and include totals (for “overall rankings”) and a break-down by discipline/subject matter (Family Science vs. Child Development vs. Adolescent Dev/Emerging Adulthood vs. Adult Development/Aging) for each metric (e.g., publications in FS-focused journals; citations in child development journals; funding focused on adolescent development projects). Seems like department heads gather this information annually to summarize in end-of-year reports (though, it’s typically not broken down by discipline/subject matter).

    Then, one would likely want to weigh this data in some way based on the number of faculty and PhD students in the department (e.g., departments with more people more likely to yield a higher total). And, one may want to control for whether the department is at a land grant university or not since those in land grant universities (which seem to be currently ranked higher) tend to generate more funding for both research and outreach projects.

    I have no interest in doing any of this, but it sure was fun to think about it on a Friday afternoon :-)

    I look forward to seeing the next ranking in 2017.

    Ted Futris, HDFS – UGA

    PS., see you at NCFR?

    • Hi Ted,
      Yep, I will definitely see you at NCFR. First, I have been getting suggestions that I should publish this somewhere. But where? I would love some ideas.

      Second, I wanted to respond to your suggestion. My initial idea was to rank according to the following:
      Peer assessment (.50)
      Peer assessment score (0.50): Rate programs on a scale of 1 (marginal) to 5 (outstanding). Those individuals who did not know enough about a school to evaluate it fairly were asked to mark “don’t know.”
      A school’s score is the average of all the respondents who rated it. Responses of “don’t know” counted neither for nor against a school. About 36 percent of those surveyed responded.
      Student selectivity (weighted by 0.18)
      Mean GRE verbal scores (0.06): This is the mean verbal score of the GRE for doctoral students entering in the 2013-2014 academic year. Where mean GRE verbal scores were not available for entering doctoral students, mean GRE verbal scores for all entering graduate students were substituted, if available, in the ranking calculations.
      Mean GRE quantitative scores (0.06): This is the mean quantitative score of the GRE for doctoral students entering in the 2013-2014 academic year. Where mean GRE quantitative scores were not available for entering doctoral students, mean GRE quantitative scores for all entering graduate students were substituted, if available, in the ranking calculations.
      Acceptance rate (0.06): This is the proportion of applicants to the doctoral program who were offered admission for the 2013-2014 academic year.
      Student resources (weighted by 0.12)
      Travel: Amount of money provided to students for travel annually.
      Stipend level (adjusted by cost of living): Stipend level of first year students, in terms of dollars per month.
      % of students with a stipend
      % of students with a tuition waiver
      National fellowships: % of students with competitive national fellowships
      Summer funding: % of students with summer funding
      Research activity (weighted by 0.30)
      Total research expenditures (0.15): This is the total research expenditures averaged over fiscal years 2012 and 2013. Expenditures refer to separately funded research, public and private, conducted by the school.
      Average expenditures per faculty member (0.15): This is the average research expenditures per full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty member averaged over fiscal years 2012 and 2013. Expenditures refer to separately funded research, public and private, conducted by the school.

      But, then I met with an expert in institutional data, and I found out that reputation rankings are very highly correlated with data-driven rankings. The US News & World Report rankings of the social sciences including Psychology, Sociology, Economics, and Criminology are based solely on program reputation. The Philosophical Gourmet Report is based solely on faculty reputation. I decided to a combination of these two, because there were positives about each. Also, I thought I would have a really hard time getting the institutional/program-level data. So, yep, I thought a ranking like you suggest would have been interesting, but the good news is that reputational rankings are highly correlated with institutional data rankings, at least according to my expert. See you in a few weeks!

  2. Very interesting and good to see good programs. As other factors are also considered I’m sure that will be equally interesting.

  3. A team of HDFS faculty and grad students at Texas Tech has started compiling data on faculty “h” statistics in all HDFS programs. The h statistic takes into account a person’s number of publications and how often they’re cited (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H-index) and will allow us to rank HDFS programs by median faculty h. We hope to have results ready to submit for the next NCFR conference.

  4. Hello,
    Thank you so much for this ranking! It is very informative. I was wondering if, of this list, anyone knew which PhD programs allow you to graduate with COAMFTE lisensure to practice marriage and family therapy in addition to conducting research and teaching? This would be very helpful to me as I begin my journey into becoming a family/relationship researcher, professor, and MFT.
    Thanks!
    Tasha Seiter

  5. This is a very interesting ranking system approach to analyze the current PhD programs in Human Development. But, I remember reading from an article, that the Society for Research in Adult development reported that the two largest graduate programs in adult development in the country are Fielding Graduate University and Harvard. Both universities are actively engaged in adult human development research. Why any of these two reputable schools are not included in the study or rankings? I’m just wondering, thank you in advance for your response.

  6. I find the ranking helpful in terms of choosing PhD programs to apply. Hopefully I’ll be in one of these programs next year!
    Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *