Prospective Graduate Students


The best way to learn more about our program (and for us to learn more about you) is to plan a campus visit. To make the most of your visit, contact us well in advance. Come with questions you would like answered. Graduate student and faculty representatives from our program will meet with you and answer questions about study, recreation and living in the Ames community.

Before your visit: Please submit your answers to eight questions on the supplemental information sheet to

 Admission criteria

Generally, master’s students have undergraduate GPAs above 3.0, and doctoral students have GPAs above 3.5. Successful students have a strong undergraduate preparation in social sciences (at least 15 semester hours in human development, family studies, sociology, psychology, or economics) in addition to work experience or internships or practica in areas closely related to human development and family studies.


 All applicants must take the GRE.


 If your primary language is not English, you must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

This requirement is waived for non-native English speakers if you have earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a country where English is the only official language, such as the United States. 

You may register for the TOEFL at  When requesting official test scores be sent to Iowa State by the Educational Testing Service, use School Code 6306.  IELTS registration information is also available online at

The ISU Graduate College has a minimum English proficiency requirement:

  • Internet-based TOEFL (IBT) 71 with a minimum score of 17 in both the Writing and Speaking sections
  • Paper-based TOEFL (PBT) 530
  • IELTS 6.0 with no subscore below 5.5

Summer coursework

Some summer coursework is offered, but not all courses. Our courses and when they are offered are listed in the ISU Catalog.


In recent years we have been fortunate to be able to offer assistantships to nearly 100% of qualified students requesting them. Qualified means that your academic, career, teaching, or research experiences fit with the current needs of the department.

Dissertation/thesis titles

Thesis titles 2008-2012 (PDF)

Faculty research

 Go to our faculty list  and click on the name for the faculty member’s website with research interests.