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UK FAMILY STUDIES DOCTORAL PROGRAM HAS OVERFLOW OF STUDENTS IN FIRST YEAR

By Selena Stevens

 

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Gladys Hildreth, chairperson of the department, said she believes the increase in applicants can be attributed to a growing awareness among professionals and the public of how family issues, concerns and problems impact society as a whole.

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May 9 , 2002– (Lexington, Ky.) – After just one year on the register at the University of Kentucky, the new Family Studies Doctoral Program is bursting at the seams.

While increases in both the masters and the doctorate programs were expected, the actual increases have gone far beyond what administrators hoped for a one-year increase.

Graduate enrollment in family studies has jumped from 46 to more than 70 for fall 2002. In the doctoral program, four students were accepted to the program's first semester, and another was added this semester. Of the fall 2002 applications, eight have been accepted.

"We thought it would take three to five years before we saw this level of application to the program," said Stephan Wilson, family studies professor and director of graduate studies for the College of Human Environmental Sciences Department of Family Studies. "We're also getting a much larger number of inquires about the program than we expected."

With such a large applicant pool, the program has been able to select the top students from Kentucky and other states and bring diversity to the program. Students ethnicities include Chinese, Kenyan, Native American and African-American, and their academic backgrounds range from family studies to economics to nursing.

Students are selected for the program by a two-tier process. They must meet requirements including grades and letters of recommendation, then selection committee members interview them. After students are selected, the director of graduate studies assists them in finding fellowships, scholarships and assistantships to aid their studies.

Gladys Hildreth, chairperson of the department, said she believes the increase in applicants can be attributed to a growing awareness among professionals and the public of how family issues, concerns and problems impact society as a whole.

"Many people are beginning to recognize the importance of research in the area of the family, as well as the importance of quality training for future family life educators and professionals who serve our families in need," she said.

The UK doctoral program in family studies provides advanced training in family research with particular emphasis in prevention and promoting the well-being of families and children. The family studies arena includes financial planning, child development, elder care, marriage and relationship therapy, educational development and assessment, and public policy impacts. Students supplement their coursework with research, professional-skills development and leadership activities. Graduates will be prepared for faculty, program evaluation and administration positions in both public and private settings.


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