Master of Science in Child and Family Studies

Master of Science in Child and Family Studies

The child and family studies graduate program offers a more in-depth study of children, adults and families along the life span. The program prepares individuals who are interested in studying and/or working with families in many settings, including human and social service agencies, and programs for youth, adolescents and elders. The program focuses on family dynamics, how individuals within the family contribute to and are shaped by these dynamics, and how broad societal contexts influence individual and family functioning. In addition to our graduate program in CFS, we offer two concentrations to help graduate students plan an area of focus for their studies: child life and family gerontology.

Child Life Concentration

This concentration prepares students for a career as a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS),as designated by the Child Life Council, the governing organization that oversees this profession. The CCLS helps normalize the hospitalization experience for children and families, and provides specific services that include preparations for medical procedures, coping skills for children during stressful health care experiences, support for siblings and parents, therapeutic medical play, planning and implementing activities to enhance growth and development, and interdisciplinary team involvement. In addition to core courses in the child and family studies program, students in this concentration are required to take courses in child life foundations and theory, psychology, and early childhood and special education. Applicants having volunteer experiences (50 hours minimum) in a child life department within a hospital will be given priority application review, so we highly encourage applicants to begin volunteering before the fall semester for which they are applying.

Family Gerontology Concentration

This concentration focuses on aging within the context of families, more specifically the implications, support needs and outcomes for adults and their family members as they age and the quality of their relationships across the life course. Child and family studies students who choose this concentration also will receive a graduate gerontology certificate to help them better prepare for careers advocating for and helping older adults and their family members. With this concentration, students typically seek employment working with mid to later life adults and their family members or pursue graduate work in such areas as marriage and family therapy, social work, human development and family studies, rehabilitation services, and public/community health.

Child and Family Studies Application Process