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Graduate Application Tips and Requirements, Human Development and Family Science

Thank you for your interest in the Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) graduate program! To be admitted to our graduate program, you must have a minimum score of 152 on the verbal section and 153 on the quantitative section of the GRE, and a minimum of 4.5 on the analytical writing section. You also must have earned at least a 3.0/4.0 undergraduate GPA and a 3.5/4.0 graduate GPA (if you have already completed graduate work). You must also have research interests that overlap with at least one faculty member.

Students interested in applying are encouraged to review the research profiles of HDFS faculty and initiate contact with professors with research interests similar to their own.

Applications to the HDFS Doctor of Philosophy can be submitted as early as September 1.

The deadline to apply is December 1.

Application tips

  1. Be yourself. Tell us about yourself, and why you are interested in graduate school. Graduate school is an adventure, and being yourself will help you find the best fitting program for you.
  2. Clearly outline your research interests. Before you apply, take a moment to consider why you want to go to graduate school. Because our graduate program is research-intensive, your central motivation to apply for our program should be that you are passionate about an area of research related to child development, adolescent development, family science, prevention science, family demography, couple and family therapy, or some other area that our faculty members study. While many students narrow, expand, or change their research area after some experience in graduate school, it is important to at least identify an initial topic that you want to explore and to make sure that at least one of our faculty members is currently conducting research on that topic.
  3. Proofread! Before you submit your application, be sure that you proofread each document. If you have a faculty mentor, ask that individual to read and provide feedback on your application documents. Also, try reading your writing sample and statement of purpose out loud. Does it make sense? Does it flow? Have a few friends read it. Can they understand your main points? After doing these activities, revise your documents. Typically, the best applications we receive were revised several times before submission.
  4. Communicate with your reference letter writers. When you ask your references for letters, be sure to give them the information they need to write you a strong letter. This typically includes a resume, a draft of your statement of purpose, unofficial transcripts, and details regarding deadlines and instructions for letter submission. Ask them if they would like you to remind them of your letter deadlines, and don't forget to remind them. The best reference letters come from faculty members who know you well. Thus, it is important to cultivate strong relationships with professors who can serve as references for your application.
  5. List the other universities/graduate programs you are applying to. We are not trying to be nosy by asking this! Ohio State is most likely to award fellowships to students who are actively considering other programs, because part of the purpose of these awards is to recruit top students away from other programs they are considering.

Please read all instructions carefully before applying:

If you have never applied and/or enrolled in graduate program at The Ohio State University

  • Submit a completed online application.
    • Select your program/plan (Human Development and Family Science Ph.D.).
    • Select Autumn Term.
    • Applications can be submitted as early as September 1st. The deadline to apply is December 1st.
  • Submit a nonrefundable application fee:
    • Domestic applicants: $60 USD.
    • International applicants: $70 USD.
  • Upload one copy of an official transcript per each college or university level school ever attended. (Ohio State University Transcripts exempt).
    Graduate Admissions Office
    The Ohio State University
    105 SAS Building
    281 W. Lane Ave.
    Columbus, OH 43210-1132
  • Submit official GRE scores to The Ohio State University (institution code 1592)
    • Only the general/revised GRE is accepted. The GMAT is not accepted.
    • Scores may not be older than five years at the time of application.
    • Test and registration information is available online.
  • Upload the following documents in PDF format:
  • Statement of Intent (up to three pages).
  • Curriculum Vitae or Resume.
  • Writing sample.
  • Submit three (3) letters of recommendation:
    • Please select three individuals to serve as your references. We encourage you to choose faculty members who can attest to your scholarship, professional development, leadership potential, and personal character. We suggest that you ask these individuals to use our online recommendation system. In the "references" section on page 5 of the online application, please request to have the letters submitted electronically by choosing "yes" for the "use online reference form" option for each recommender. Each recommender will then receive an e-mail with instructions once you complete and submit the application. Each recommender's electronic letter submission will include the graduate school reference form.
  • Submit official TOEFL scores if you are an applicant whose native language is not English.
    • If you have earned a bachelor's degree or equivalent in a country where English is the native language you do not need to take TOEFL.
    • Test information can be found online.

If you are currently enrolled in a graduate program at The Ohio State University or have graduated from one of the university's graduate programs

  • Apply as an intra-university transfer or a dual degree seeking student.
  • Submit three letters of recommendation. All letters of recommendation must be accompanied by the Ohio State Graduate School reference form. You may use previous letters of recommendation already in your graduate file. However, it will beneficial to you to obtain letters that reference your ability to do well the Human Development and Family Science program. If you choose to submit new letters of recommendation, they must be received in signed, sealed envelopes.
  • Submit statement of intent.
  • Submit Curriculum Vitae or Resume.
  • Submit official GRE scores to The Ohio State University (institution code 1592)
  • In addition, please have your current or former department send us a copy of your admissions file. If you discover that this file no longer exists you are required to submit copies of transcripts for all schools attended, (Ohio State University Transcripts exempt. Instead, please submit a copy of your Ohio State Advising Report located at