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Family Studies (M.S. to Ph.D.)

Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus

Residential/On Campus

Concentration Overview

The Family Studies (FS) content area of the Human Development program provides a systematic approach to observing, understanding, and analyzing close relationships and families within their individual, social, and historical contexts. A major goal of the program is to prepare students for careers in the family field in teaching, research, and direct service.

  • Minimum GPA 3.0 (4 Scale)
  • GRE Required
  • TOEFL/ IELTS score Required  (If Applicable)

Learn more 

We are currently able to provide assistantship funding to all graduate students who make timely and satisfactory progress. All Ph.D. students that maintain full-time status and maintain a 3.0 GPA will be offered an assistantship (20 hours of work per week). Assistantships may include research obligations, teaching undergraduate level courses, or other administrative tasks. Students on assistantships receive a monthly stipend, tuition waivers/remission, and health benefits.

Find out what loans are available as a graduate student and other opportunities.

Domestic Application

*Fall: January 5

International Application

*Fall: January 5

*Deadline for admission with full consideration for funding:  January 5

Joyce Ardittio, Family Studies Area Coordinator
295 West Campus Dr.
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Cindy Smith, Director of Graduate Studies
303 Wallace Hall
295 West Campus Dr.
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Anna Nicole Weaver, Graduate Program Coordinator
366 Wallace Hall
295 West Campus Dr
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Our Graduate Students

Why choose this program?

  • The Family Studies focus area of the Human Development program provides a systematic approach to observing, understanding, and analyzing close relationships and families within their individual, social, and historical contexts.
  • The department provides students with a plethora of research opportunities, including experimental and observational research in laboratory settings, field research in the surrounding communities, and secondary data analysis.
  • Graduate students are also encouraged to lead research projects and publish in scholarly journals.
  • Our small program enables students to get individualized attention with award-winning and research active faculty. 
  • Numerous rewarding career opportunities are available for graduate students in the Human Development program. In academe, career options for graduates include teaching, research, and extension service. A wide range of career options also exists outside academe: program development and evaluation, policy analysis and advocacy work, and administration and supervision in private and public human services agencies are just a few examples.

What You'll Study

Student scholarship takes place not only in the classroom, but also through mentorship and research. Students may participate in wide-ranging faculty research projects using diverse methodologies and dealing with issues such as intimate relationships, work and family issues, divorce and remarriage, incarceration, intergenerational relationships, family diversity over the life course, human sexuality, feminist analysis of families and intersectionality, families and technology, family approaches to prevention of substance abuse, and family policy. Programs of study are individualized, permitting inclusion of significant coursework in specific subjects related to marriage and family relationships across the life course. Examples of courses that students may take include:

  • Human Sexuality
  • Marriage and Family Relationships
  • Family Processes
  • Theories of Human Development and Family Science
  • Sequence of statistics classes

Faculty Experts In Family Studies

Family Therapy Center

Since 1979, therapists at the Family Therapy Center of Virginia Tech have provided low-cost, high quality marriage and family therapy and mental health services to individuals, couples, and families in the New River Valley and surrounding areas.  The Family Therapy Center is the clinical and research training facility for doctoral students in Virginia Tech’s marriage and family therapy program.

Family Studies Research Focus

Family Studies faculty employ theoretically rich research questions with rigorous analytic techniques, resulting in publications in top-tier academic journals and other academic sources including Family Relations, Journal of Marriage and Family, Family Process, Journal of Family Issues, as well as the Sourcebook of Family Theory and Research. Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) faculty across the focus areas of Adult Development and Aging, Child and Adolescent Development, Family Studies, and Marriage and Family Therapy often collaborate on research and service projects. Graduate students are often a part of research projects and subsequent publications through collaborations with HDFS faculty and faculty in other departments such as Sociology.