Child, Youth and Family Studies

Graduate Degree Program Summary

Graduate degrees offered


  • M.S. in Child, Youth and Family Studies
  • Ph.D. in Human Sciences


A specialization is a well-defined area of study that will appear on your transcript with your degree and major. Specializations are optional in most UNL programs.

M.S. Specializations
  • Child Development and Early Childhood Education
  • Family Financial Planning (online only)
  • Family and Community Services (online only)
  • Family and Consumer Sciences Education (online only)
  • Human and Family Services Administration (online only)
  • International Family Studies (online only)
  • Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Youth Development (online only)
Ph.D. Specializations
  • Child, Youth and Family Studies
  • Gerontology
  • Global Family Health and Wellbeing
Graduate Certificates

Distance Education Opportunities

M.S. with these specializations only:
  • Family Financial Planning
  • Family and Community Services
  • Family and Consumer Sciences Education
  • Human and Family Services Administration
  • International Family Studies
  • Youth Development
Promo image for Child, Youth and Family Studies

Contacts for Child, Youth and Family Studies

Department Chair

Dr. Richard Bischoff

Graduate Chair

Dr. Yan Ruth Xia


Graduate Secretary

Ms. Lisa King


Campus Address

135 Mabel Lee Hall

Lincoln NE 68588-0236

Application checklist and deadlines

Required by the Office of Graduate Studies

See also: steps to admission.

Required by Child, Youth and Family Studies in GAMES

After you apply, allow one business day for us to establish your access to GAMES, where you'll complete these departmental requirements:

  • Entrance exam(s):
    - Ph.D and M.S.:  GRE required for all Ph.D. applicants and M.S. applicants for the Specializations of Marriage and Family Therapy; Child Development and Early Childhood Education; and Human and Family Services Administration; and for study in the area of Family Science
    - PPST Required for Family & Consumer Sciences Education:  
    - No entrance exam required for Specializations in Family Financial Planning; Family and Community Services; International Family Studies; and Youth Development:  
  • Minimum English proficiency: Paper TOEFL 550, Internet TOEFL 80, IELTS 6.5
  • Three recommendation letters
  • Sample of writing or research (Ph.D. only)
  • Professional goals statement
  • Resume or vitae

When sending GRE or TOEFL scores, UNL's institution code is 6877 and a department code is not needed.

The College of Education and Human Sciences requires all students admitted into a campus program to complete a background check before the start of their first semester.

Application Deadlines for Child, Youth and Family Studies
Ph.D. All SpecializationsFall: January 10
M.S. Specialization in Marriage and Family TherapyFall: January 10
M.S. in Child Development and Early Childhood EducationFall: April 15 Spring: October 15 Summer: January 15
Other M.S.Some master's specializations have rolling admissions; contact department for information.
Priority Deadline for FundingContact the department for more information.


The Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies offers graduate programs leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. The Department is a founding participant of the Great Plains IDEA and offers several graduate programs online through the consortium of universities that make up the Great Plains IDEA.

Students have access to the Family Resource Center (FRC) and the Ruth Staples Child Development Laboratory (CDL). Through the FRC, students in the Marriage and Family Therapy program offer psychotherapy to couples, families and individuals on site and remotely through telemental health to rural communities throughout Nebraska. The FRC is also a research laboratory, giving students valuable research experience with couples, families, individuals, and intervention. Through the CDL, students in child development and early childhood education engage in experiential learning and gain teaching experience working with children and families. The CDL is also a research laboratory, giving students valuable research experience with children and their families and curriculum. The DCL's programs are among the 9% in the nation accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and have been in operation since 1925.

Faculty and research

Richard Bischoff
Mental Health Services for Underserved Populations; Collaborative Health Care
Rochelle Dalla
Marginalized Populations; Prostituted Women; Rural and Immigrant Populations
Maria de Guzman
Children's Social Behaviors in Diverse Cultures
Dipti Dev
Children's Long-Term Healthful Eating Behaviors and Prevention of Childhood Obesity; Developing low Cost and Easily Implemented Strategies Using Behavioral Economics Principles to Encourage Healthier Meal Choices in Preschoolers
Tonia Durden
How Educators and Families can Support the Socio-Cultural and Identity Development and Awareness of Young Children
Carolyn Edwards
International Early Childhood Education; Social and Moral Development in Cultural Context
Cody Hollist
Latino Adolescent Mental Health Issues; Latino Family Dynamics
Soo-Young Hong
Early Childhood Education; Academic and Social Competence; Attitude Development
Yolanda Mitchell
Global Family Health and Wellbeing
Victoria Molfese
Childrens Learning; Brain Behavior Indicators of Cognitive Development; Emergent Literacy
Helen Raikes
Intervention Programs for Vulnerable Children; Language and Literacy Development
Allison Reisbig
Family Therapy; Impact of Chronic Stressors; LGBT Families
Michelle Rupiper
Early Childhood Development
Susan Sarver
Children's Play; Well-Being of Rural Families; Home and Childcare Connections
Paul Springer
Collaborative Healthcare
Julia Torquati
Child Development; Early Childhood Education; Environmental Education
Natalie Williams
Promoting Physical and Psychosocial Wellbeing in Vulnerable Child Populations and Their Families
Yan Ruth Xia
Immigrant Youth Behavioral and Mental Health; Adolescent Substance Abuse

Departments: Have an update for this page? Contact Stacy Dam.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln does not discriminate based on gender, age, disability, race, color, religion, marital status, veteran's status, national or ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.