The doctoral program in International Family and Community Studies is designed to educate professionals to generate, diffuse, and apply knowledge needed to strengthen communities’ capacity for family support, meaningful participation, and strong relationships, including mutual assistance. The program prepares graduates as (a) scholars in interdisciplinary institutes or academic departments on child and family studies, social policy studies, international studies, or community development or (b) researchers, planners, or administrators in domestic or international governmental or non-governmental agencies concerned with children, families, and/or communities.
The program is based in the Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life and relies on the Institute’s ties with related university programs in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Students also have the opportunity to participate in the Institute’s community development, policy consultation, and empirical research projects in South Carolina, and other states and nations.
With its focus on family and community life, the program touches on the most fundamental aspects of people’s everyday lives. Blending the humanities, the social sciences, and various professional disciplines, the program may be unique in its integration of normative analysis (i.e., philosophical, legal, and religious studies), empirical research, and community development. With a foundation in the study of human rights as applied to children and families around the world, the program builds a comparative understanding of U.S., foreign, and international law and policy on child and family issues and of the significance of democracy for the well-being of individuals, families, and communities. Students acquire an appreciation of the role of civil society (e.g., voluntary associations and nonprofit organizations) and primary community institutions (e.g., schools) in promoting and maintaining democracy. Such studies provide the foundation for an understanding of the principles and practices of community development and transformation, humanitarian assistance, and responsive human services. The important role and features of effective informal mutual assistance mechanisms in community life and their meaning for children and families are also explored.
To provide a richer understanding of human development and family life and to build skills for work in diverse cultures, international study is emphasized, students are required to become proficient in studies of three world regions and encouraged to develop communication skills in a culture and language other than their own.
For assurance of consideration for acceptance in fall, applications must be received by February 1.
Applicants must hold a bachelor’s or a master’s degree from an accredited degree program. In addition to strong academic performance, experience in volunteer and/or professional public service is desirable. Students should submit GRE scores, three letters of recommendation from professionals familiar with the applicant’s academic work and/or community service, and a 500-word essay on the applicant’s career aspirations and goals and their relation to this graduate program. Students for whom English is not the first language are also required to submit TOEFL scores. Both U.S. and international students are welcome, as are both new graduates and experienced professionals.
For additional information, please contact the program coordinator (Mark Small)