Skip to main content

This is your Donation message.

2017-2018 Graduate Bulletin

College of Human Sciences

Dean: Michael Delp; Associate Dean: Robert Hickner; Assistant Dean: Gregory J. Harris; Eminent Scholar Chair: Frank Fincham; Deans Emeritae: Hortense Glenn (deceased), Margaret A. Sitton (deceased), Penny A. Ralston, Billie J. Collier

The mission of the College of Human Sciences is to address global challenges and opportunities related to the physical, behavioral, psycho-social, and economic factors influencing the health and development of individuals, families, and communities. Human Sciences is an interdisciplinary unit that prepares scholars who seek new knowledge and innovative solutions to the challenges of contemporary society.

Florida State University is the comprehensive doctoral-granting institution in the human sciences in the state of Florida. The College of Human Sciences is organized into three departments: Family and Child Sciences; Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences; and Retail, Merchandising and Product Development. In keeping with the University’s role as a comprehensive graduate research institution, the college program is based on the belief that sound intellectual development relies on an understanding of the underlying theories, principles, and concepts in each area of study and that research is an integral part of that endeavor. Both faculty and students are provided opportunities to test theories and to generate new knowledge through scholarly contributions to research.

Historically, the college has been a national leader in graduate education and research. Courses in the human sciences have been offered at Florida State University since 1905. In 1926–27 the first Master of Science (MS) in home economics was offered, and in 1941 the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree program in home economics was approved. Over the years, a tradition of excellence has been established to ensure quality graduate study. The school was designated a college in 1976 in recognition of scholarly faculty, outstanding alumni, and nationally recognized programs and research.

Facilities and Fellowships

The College of Human Sciences has a computer laboratory with advanced software application and media equipment for faculty and graduate students to conduct research. The computer laboratory is located in the Sandels Building.

The Department of Family and Child Sciences (FCS) is utilizing two laboratories which house ongoing research projects addressing the parenting needs of at-risk families and mental health needs of special populations, family relationships complicated by divorce and repartnering, and military families. Other laboratories include:

  1. The Center for Couple and Family Therapy (CCFT) is the primary clinical training center for marriage and family therapy doctoral students and serves as a critical interface between the University and the greater Tallahassee community. The CCFT provides mental health services to individuals, couples, and families with a variety of presenting problems, including relationship distress, anxiety, grief and loss, parenting, premarital counseling, and involvement with the Child Welfare System. The CCFT is equipped for both intervention and observational research.
  2. The FSU Family Institute located in the Longmire Building provides a laboratory space for basic and applied research on relational processes and outcomes in couples and families. It is equipped for observational studies, experimental research and the identification of relevant biomarkers, especially cardiovascular functioning. A particular strength of this facility is its extensive data base and ongoing study of romantic relationships in emerging adults.
  3. The Center on Better Health and Life for Underserved Populations engages in both prevention and intervention research in health-related issues within the broader community and partners with agencies throughout the State with a focus on health disparities.

The Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences (NFES) has several laboratories dedicated to research in a variety of areas. The research fields include food microbiology (biological safety level two), food science, nutrition science, and exercise physiology. These facilities are equipped with instruments and technologies to study cell cultures, animals, clinical trials, and athletic performance. The NFES laboratories that enhance and enrich the student’s education include:

  1. Cardiovascular Laboratory, equipped to evaluate the effects of exercise, particularly resistance exercise, and diet on autonomic control of blood pressure, central hemodynamics, and arterial stiffness in individuals with chronic diseases.
  2. Exercise Physiology Laboratories, equipped to evaluate aerobic and anaerobic fitness, strength, and body composition.
  3. The Institute of Sports Sciences and Medicine houses a state of the art Human Performance laboratory. Designed for testing competitive athletes of all ages, the laboratory provides an opportunity for investigators to conduct multidisciplinary research in human and athletic performance, including the prevention and treatment of athletic injuries.
  4. Nutrition and Food Instrument Laboratory provides a setting for chemical, analytical, microbial, and sensory testing.
  5. Food Chemistry Laboratories, equipped with spectrophotometers, various electrophoresis systems, an automated microplate reader and washer, freeze dryers, chromatographic systems, micro DSC, a water purification system, and food-analysis equipment.
  6. Body Composition Laboratory provides a setting for bone and mineral metabolism which utilizes state-of-the art equipment and technology.
  7. Muscle Research Laboratory, equipped to study molecular and cellular adaptations of skeletal muscle in wasting conditions (e.g. sarcopenia, cancer cachexia, etc.) and develop preventive and/or intervention methods for muscle wasting conditions using exercise and/or dietary supplements (or nutrients) with techniques of RT-PCR, Western Blotting, Immunohistochemistry, etc. The long-term goal is to establish a multidisciplinary approach using the most current magnetic resonance technology to the development of translational research across disciplines and levels of biological organization to improve quality of life through proper exercise training and anti-muscle wasting supplements.
  8. The Nutrition, Body Composition and Metabolism Laboratory is dedicated to the study of nutrient intake, energy metabolism, and skeletal muscle and adipose tissue dynamics and its effect on health. The relationship between muscle loss, obesity, and interacting body composition changes among different susceptible groups is a primary focus. The lab uses state-of-the-art nutritional assessment tools such as computerized tomography imaging analysis, DXA, BODPOD and different techniques for the measurement of energy intake and energy expenditure.
  9. The Applied Electrophysiology Exercise Laboratory investigates the underlying mechanisms that affect cardiac and arterial smooth muscle physiology under normal and pathological conditions using animal models. Techniques include PCR, Western blotting, surface biotinylation, calcium imaging, electrophysiology, and pressurized artery myography.

The Center for Advancing Exercise and Nutrition Research on Aging (CAENRA) within NFES focuses on implementing age-related disease and treatment paradigms in animal models and the use of high magnetic field magnetic resonance techniques to detect and monitor treatment efficacy. NFES has partnered with the NSF-supported National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in this effort.

The Department of Retail, Merchandising and Product Development (RMPD) has laboratories that enhance and enrich the student’s education. The RMPD laboratories include:

  1. Chemical and Physical Textile Laboratories with a conditioning room and sensory evaluation laboratory.
  2. Macy’s Merchandising Laboratory allows students to become proficient in merchandising of hard as well as soft lines.
  3. Office Depot Technology Complex provides hands-on laboratory with retail industry adopted software where students use real-world retail reporting and other technology-related skills.
  4. Product Development Laboratory allows for depth in the product development process from concept to consumer.

The Retail Innovation Center creates partnerships between retail businesses and FSU students and faculty to promote education, research, and service. It offers the retail industry and its supporting industries an educated and qualified workforce, sponsored research opportunities in areas of interest, and expertise to help meet targeted needs.

The individual departments of the college describe more fully the various facilities available; refer to them in the “Academic Departments and Programs” chapter of this Graduate Bulletin.

A number of states have made arrangements for their residents to have access to specific programs through the Academic Common Market, which allows their students to pay in-state tuition. Prospective out-of-state students may contact the college to determine their eligibility for the Academic Common Market.

College fellowships as well as graduate teaching and research assistantships are available. Nominations for these fellowships/assistantships are made by the department. See the “Academic Departments and Programs” section of this Graduate Bulletin for other scholarships and fellowships available.

Graduate Programs in Human Sciences

Master’s Degree Programs

Exercise Physiology with a major in:

  • Exercise Physiology
  • Sports Nutrition
  • Sports Sciences

Family and Child Sciences

Food and Nutrition with a major in:

  • Nutrition and Food Science

Retail, Merchandising and Product Development with a major in:

  • Global Merchandising and Product Development

Doctor of Philosophy Degree Programs

Human Sciences with emphasis in one of the following:

  • Human Development and Family Science
  • Nutrition and Food Science

Exercise physiology

Marriage and Family Therapy


Minimum admission requirements include: 1) a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university; and 2) an academic average of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) on all work attempted while registered as an upper-division undergraduate student, or a 3.0 on a master’s degree from an accredited approved institution, and 3) quantitative, verbal, analytical writing test scores on the general Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). All prospective students must take the GRE prior to admission regardless of their grade point average. Applicants for the doctoral and master’s programs must have three letters of recommendation. The PhD program in Marriage and Family Therapy requires personal interviews at the time of application to the program. Attainment of these minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to any program. Admissions decisions are based on assessments of all aspects of the student’s application materials. We reserve the right to increase standards if warranted by enrollment limitations and by the number and quality of applicants.

Master’s Degree Program

There are two types of programs for the master’s degree: the thesis-type and the course-work type. In the college there are three course-work options: special project, practicum, and all coursework. See the “Academic Departments and Programs” section of this Graduate Bulletin for details about the requirements for each of these programs and to determine which options are available in the department.

Program policies have been developed in compliance with University policies for the master’s degree programs. Policies are provided to students the first semester they enroll to guide them throughout their studies.

Doctoral Degree Program

The graduate faculty members in the College of Human Sciences have developed policies for the doctoral degree programs in compliance with the University’s policies. Refer to the “Graduate Degree Requirements” chapter of this Graduate Bulletin for information about scholarly engagement, program of study, preliminary examination, prospectus, admission to candidacy, dissertation, and defense. Policies for doctoral degree programs are given to students the first semester they enroll. They give specific information and procedures to guide students throughout their studies.

There is no college-wide minimum course requirement; individual programs are planned to assist students in gaining sufficient mastery of their field to successfully complete the preliminary examination. All doctoral students in the College of Human Sciences, take HOE 6366, Research Best Practices in Human Sciences (2). There is no college-wide foreign language, statistics, or other research tool requirement for the Doctor of Philosophy degree. Each department prescribes its own requirements.

Certificate Programs

The Graduate Certificate in Retail Merchandising in the Department of Retail, Merchandising and Product Development provides graduate level competency in retail store management and retail buying for academically talented students who are completing an undergraduate degree in Retail, Merchandising and Product Development. The culminating activity of the certificate is an internship with a retail organization.

Joint Degree Program

The joint degree program in Law and Family and Child Sciences permits concurrent completion of a law degree and a master’s degree in Family and Child Sciences. The primary purpose of the joint degree is to provide law students with foundational knowledge about the nature of family life and dynamics as they interact with legal issues and processes. Also, the joint degree program equips law students with knowledge of and skills in relationship dynamics to enrich their interactions with all stakeholders in the legal system.