Four students sit in the graduate student lounge working on classwork and talking with one another.
A Consumer Behavior & Family Economics graduate student gestures toward her poster as she explains her research to several onlooking prospective students.
A panel of four current graduate students answers questions during a Q&A session with prospective graduate students.

2023 PhD graduates Trisha Chanda (CBFE), Endang Fourianalistyawati (HDFS), Lucretia Fairchild (HDFS), and Saliha Sellman (HDFS) pose with their peers

2023 Graduation recap »
A graduate student from Human Development and Family Studies explains her research to other interested students.

Human Ecology PhD

Human ecology is the study of the complex relationships between human beings and their environments. The school offers a doctorate of philosophy within four named options/specializations:

Civil Society & Community Research

Consumer Behavior & Family Economics

Design Studies

Human Development & Family Studies

Human Ecology MS

The Master of Science in Human Ecology offers multi-disciplinary course work that focuses on current theories and strategies for creating, managing and evaluating settings that promote human and community development. Students are exposed to current research and practice that integrates: (a) the promotion of human and family development with (b) perspectives on building effective organizations and sustainable communities. Students create their own “master’s specialization” through elective courses and the completion of a real-world capstone project.

Several prospective graduate students stand facing the 100 women wall, a stained glass art piece featuring 100 women who have been influential in the field of human ecology
A Design Studies MFA student holds a piece of ivory hand-made paper as she attaches it to a larger hand-made paper display

Human Ecology MFA

The focus of the MFA degree is on creative performance in design. Its goals are to promote strong and creative conceptual thinking, exploration, interpretation, innovation, and overall excellence in design execution.

Graduate Assistantships

There are three types of graduate assistantships: teaching, project, and research assistantships. All incoming Human Ecology PhD and MFA students are guaranteed funding at the 50% level for 3-5 years, depending on their program and academic background.


The School of Human Ecology offers approximately $200,000 of scholarships to our graduate students annually. These fund student professional and academic development at every stage of a graduate career, from guaranteed funding to attend a conference in the first year to support through the final stages of a dissertation.


Fellowships are administered at the Graduate School level and vary in availability from year to year. These prestigious opportunities create protected time to allow students to focus wholly on their academic progress.

Our Community

The journey to a PhD: Four graduates of the Consumer Behavior & Family Economics program reflect on their experiences

"Earning a PhD is a long journey. You will encounter difficulties in both research and life. However, you will also meet smart & fantastic people, and you can learn so much from them. Not everyone has the opportunity to experience this, so enjoy it!"

Improving early childhood classrooms fuels PhD student Rudy Dieudonne

“This research provides...the power to help our government revise classroom design standards across this country, and the power to defend students with autism, as well as their constitutional rights to education.”

Community and art making: Three graduating MFA students examine and celebrate the human experience

“We happen to have personalities and sensibilities that really work well together. We have become a family for sure; heart sisters.”

Meet “Those Media Moms”: Human Ecology alumni Drs. Roxanne Etta and Elizabeth Horgan make their national debut on Good Morning America

“Good Morning America finding our website and social media platforms and reaching out to us, barely four months into our business — it was an incredible proof of concept."

Dó-ing the work of heritage preservation: MFA student Veronica Pham spotlights Vietnamese papermaking

"I’m finding these connections between the history of papermaking and then the history of my own culture and heritage."

Persevering through sisterhood: Meet PhD student Prudence Yokonia

Growing up in Zimbabwe, Prudence's journey to joining the School of Human Ecology as a Human Development & Family Studies PhD student has been up and down, and even cosmically aligned at times.