Doctor of Philosophy Comprehensive Exam


The purpose of the comprehensive exam is to ensure that Ph.D graduates are capable of integrating perspectives on family relations, human development, and research methods. We expect graduates from our Ph.D. program to possess a comprehensive understanding of the theories that guide research on contemporary issues in family relations and human development, as well as the research tools that are used to investigate these issues.

What Successful Completion Provides

Successful completion of the comprehensive exam provides assurance that our PhD graduates have a level of understanding that will qualify them for teaching introductory courses in human development and family relations, and enable them to use this knowledge in integrative, intelligent, and creative ways. Additionally, the comprehensive exam process (preparation, written responses, and oral performance) is designed to provide optimal preparation for professional situations, such as employment interviews, where participants are required to think quickly and respond to questions with a working knowledge of family relations and human development.


While much of the material necessary for successful completion of the comprehensive exam process is included in required and elective coursework within the program, we expect that students will find additional reliable resources from scholarly materials outside of curricular requirements (such as preparing a literature review for a research project, finding resources for a class lecture, resource materials for a thesis or dissertation). We also expect students to familiarize themselves with the study guide in the right-hand menu of this page.

Integrative Exam Study Guide