FAQs for Graduate School Applicants

We will be not be accepting a new graduate student to the FJ Co-Lab for next year. Much of our ongoing work currently focuses on four projects. These studies reflect our interests in (a) contexts that contribute to the development of depression-related substance use, (b) methodological advancements relevant to conducting developmental studies, and (c) parent socialization of gratitude in children.

The REAL-U and Millinneal Friendship studies are part of the Cross Study project.  These studies were designed to develop optimal scoring procedures for creating commiserate measures from different instruments in order to pool data across different studies for Integrative Data Analysis.  However, the study also presents an opportunity to examine novel issues in college student drinking and drug use, with emphasis on the roles of peers, social media, parents, and symptomatology in the development of substance-related problems (PI: Dan Bauer and Co-Is: Patrick Curran and Andrea Hussong).

We are also engaged in a secondary data analysis of the Context Study (originally conducted by PIs: Susan Ennett and Vangie Foshee) with the goal of examining how features of peer social networks both mediate and moderate the relation between emotional distress and substance use in teens, with a focus on the high school years.

We are continuing to follow families from the Raising Grateful Children study in which we examine how parents attempt to foster gratitude in their children aged 6-12. This work includes collaborations with the Character Lab to examine gratitude in more diverse middle school populations.

Finally, we are exploring novel avenues for parent-based interventions to support children of drug involved parents. Currently, we are exploring whether new technologies can support parents’ emotion regulation during challenging encounters with their children.


We encourage you to visit the UNC website for more information about our graduate training program and admissions as well as this website for more information about our research and Co-Lab.  We will be accepting a graduate student to work with us for next year in either the clinical or developmental graduate programs.  Note that we are a research intensive program that receives many applications from highly competitive students.  Fit to the graduate program and mentor is a key aspect of the admissions process and your own satisfaction with whatever program you attend.  We are also very interested in fostering diversity in the Co-Lab, and especially encourage students of color to apply. 

If you are interested in our lab, here is some information for you.  First, we are ending several research grants and submitting new ones in the year ahead which means it is difficult to know what projects will be funded in 2020-2021.  However, the work we are pursuing is in the area of parenting in families with addiction and young children (basic science and prevention) and in parenting intervention and gratitude in adolescence.  Second, we also have loads of data from recent studies of college students’ substance use and these will be available for students to make a quick entry.  

Most, but not all, of Co-Lab students complete a TA in their first year as they are acquiring research skills and acclimating to the lab and graduate school and then RAs or fellowships thereafter.  At this point, former clinical students are about equally split between research and clinical careers, with more recent students being more research active.  Because the UNC program has changed a lot in the last 20 years, the trajectories of our students have also changed.  If you are invited to interview, we will happily put you in touch with current and former students.  

Along with my colleagues, Dr. Hussong will review applications to the program shortly after our deadline and strive to make invitations in early January.  

We hope this information is useful to you.  Good luck with your search!