What is the focus of the Ph.D. program?

This program provides interdisciplinary training in research, practice, and policy relevant to health problems and services for women, infants, children, adolescents, and their families (including men).

Why would you choose a Ph.D. at UMCP?

Our MCH program prepares students to advance research, policy, and practice to improve the health, safety, and well-being of these groups, with a particular emphasis on low income and ethnic minority populations. The program equips students to address MCH issues at both the family and population levels. It is unique in its focus on the whole family system and family health policy.

What are the primary areas of faculty research?

Our outstanding faculty work on a diverse range of projects including: mental health, obesity, health disparities, parenting, maternal and child health, adoption, domestic violence, childhood injury, poverty, rural families, family finance, and family/health policy. Click here to view faculty research projects.

How does the location of your program influence student’s experiences and opportunities?

The Department of Family Science at the University of Maryland has an unparalleled location only 9 miles from the heart of Washington, DC, and a short drive to Baltimore and the state’s capitol in Annapolis. Click here for more information on nearby national centers and institutes.

What professional experiences are offered at UMCP that make the Ph.D. program stand out from other schools?

The Department is committed to preparing students for their desired careers as educators, researchers, policy analysts, and professionals in other settings. The Department sponsors the Preparing Future Faculty and Professionals (PFFP) program, an initiative modeled after the national Preparing Future Faculty Program of the Council of Graduate Schools and the American Association of Colleges and Universities. This program provides doctoral students with teaching and research mentors; seminars and workshops; site visits to different types of academic institutions, government agencies, and think tanks; information about nonacademic careers; career mapping; preparation for the job search; and negotiating your first professional contract.

The Family Science Department also offers challenging internships at national institutes and advocacy organizations, exciting research opportunities with department faculty, and funded student travel to professional conferences (e.g., National Council on Family Relations, American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy).

What careers do Maternal and Child Health Ph.D. graduates pursue? What are some typical jobs that graduates obtain?

There is currently a strong demand for graduates with doctoral degrees in Maternal and Child Health. Graduates of the MCH PhD program are prepared for academic and research positions in colleges and universities; high level administrative or research positions in city/county/state/national health and human service agencies; and leadership positions in nongovernmental and advocacy organizations. MCH graduates are also increasingly hired by private health care organizations such as hospitals, HMOs, and health insurers. The American Public Health Association predicts that 50% of the federal public health workforce and 25% of the state public health workforce will retire in the next five years, further demonstrating a growing demand for MCH professionals.

What are the minimum requirements for entry to the program?

Applicants to the doctoral program in Maternal and Child Health must have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in public health, family studies, or a related discipline; an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0; and a graduate GPA of at least 3.3. Ph.D. students are required to have a GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores of at least 1000 on the quantitative and verbal sections combined.

Are there any print or online resources that can help me in writing my dissertation?

Yes. The Department has compiled an extensive list of print resources, online resources, and PowerPoint presentations designed specifically to assist you in completing your dissertation in a timely manner. Access the resources here.

Can I enter the program without a Master’s degree?

No. Applicants to the MCH Ph.D. program must have completed all of the requirements for a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree or a social/behavioral science master's degree that focuses on family, maternal, and/or child health issues (including mental health) prior to their acceptance into the program. Some students enter the program with a Master's degree in Couple and Family Therapy from our department.

How long does it take to complete the program?

The program requires 51 graduate credit hours beyond the master’s degree. The typical full-time doctoral student, who enters the program with a master’s degree, completes the Ph.D. degree in 3-4 years (2 years of coursework and 1-2 years of dissertation work). A full-time doctoral student, who enters the program without a master’s degree, typically completes the Ph.D. degree in 5 years; the student obtains a master’s degree en route to the Ph.D.

Can I do the program part-time?

The vast majority of students admitted to the program are full-time.

Can students hold outside jobs while attending the Ph.D. program?

The Department provides a fellowship or assistantship to almost every Ph.D. student. Students who receive University fellowships can work a maximum of 10 hours per week. Students with Graduate Assistantships can work up to 20 hours per week. It is recommended that full-time Ph.D. students work no more than 20 hours per week (on campus or outside employment).

How do I apply for funding?

When you complete the Graduate School application, check the box indicating that you wish to be considered for a Graduate Assistantship. There is no additional form to complete; all students accepted into the program are considered for Graduate Fellowship and/or Assistantship support.

What financial aid is available?

A limited amount of financial aid is available in the form of fellowships, graduate assistantships, and loans from federal, state, and private sources. Details regarding loan eligibility can be obtained from the Student Financial Aid Office.

How many students are enrolled in the program?

We are currently admitting approximately 2-3 students per year to the MCH doctoral program. Our Family Science Ph.D. program has approximately 25 students.

Is the University of Maryland a good place for ethnic minority students?

The Department is proud of the rich ethnic and gender diversity of its students, faculty, and staff. Over a third of our graduate students and a quarter of our tenure-track faculty are members of ethnic minority groups. Family Science has been named "Outstanding Academic Unit" three times by the University of Maryland President’s Commission on Ethnic Minority Issues because of our sensitivity to gender/sexual orientation, class, religious and cultural issues. The Department provides a welcoming environment for students from diverse backgrounds, promoting learning, collaboration, and high student morale.

When is the application deadline?

All Department and graduate school application materials for the Ph.D. program are due December 15th. This includes GRE scores, which must be received by that date.

Do you accept students for the spring semester?

No, the Maternal and Child Health doctoral program accepts students for fall admission only.

Do I have to take the GRE’s?

Yes. The GRE General Test is required for all applicants… no exceptions. If you need information on taking the exam, please visit the GRE's website. This link will provide information on test registration, preparation, and score reporting.

A printable version of this information can be found here.