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Master of Child and Family Studies


The Child and Family Studies (MS6351) 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. Students will learn about 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 cores in the Child and Family studies program, students in this concentration are required to take courses child life foundations and theory, psychology, and early childhood and special education.

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.

(All graduate students in Child and Family Studies take the following)

CFS 626 CFS Graduate Seminar (2)
CFS 674 Advanced Family Development (5)
CFS 670 Qualitative Methods for Children, Adults, and Families (4)
CFS 692 Research (1-5)
CFS 695 Thesis (1-5)
EDEC 675 Advanced Child Development (5)
EDRE 501, EDRE 720 Research Methods (4)
or PSY 520

Based on their area of focus or designated concentration, the following courses will be selected from to build a graduate program:

Child and Family Studies Graduate Courses:
CFS 560 Human Sexualities (4)
CFS 580 Death and Dying (4)
CFS 562A Diversity in Families (4)
CFS 562B Parenting (4)
CFS 562C Middle Childhood (4)
CFS 562E Youth Identity Crisis (4)
CFS 562F Family Ties and Aging (4)
CFS 564 Children, Families, & Poverty (4)

Child Life Concentration Required Graduate Courses:
CFS 576 Children & Families in Healthcare Settings (4)
CFS 577 Professional Practices in Child Life (4)
CFS 628 Foundations & Theory in Child Life (4)

Child Life Concentration Related Requirements:
EDSP 570 Nature & Needs of Exceptional Children & Adults (4)
PSY 580 Health Psychology (4)

The Child and Family Studies faculty expect graduate students to perform at the highest level of scholarly achievement. Therefore, only students who can demonstrate scholarly potential, through undergraduate GPA, GRE scores, letter of intent, and recommendation letters will be accepted into the program.


Full Time Faculty
Dr. Jenny Chabot, Associate Professor, Family Studies. Dr. Chabot currently focuses her research on children and families in health care settings. She is a certified Child Life Specialist and is conducting research with families negotiating their lives from a child’s hospital room and working on a collaborative book project that addresses the child life profession and its interface with children and families. She also has published work regarding children of divorce, lesbian parenting experiences, and service learning and teaching pedagogy. She has received both University and Presidential Teaching Awards.

Dr. Joan Jurich, Associate Professor, Family Studies is new to the department. Her research interests center on rural adolescent sexuality, parent-child relationships (including parent-adolescent communication about sexuality), and rural women’s reproductive health. Prior to joining our faculty, Dr. Jurich published articles and conducted research in sexuality. She is the recipient of the Osborne Award, our national profession’s prestigious teaching award.

Dr. Margaret Manoogian, Associate Professor, Family Studies, is a family gerontologist, and investigates well-being in vulnerable families with particular focus on intergenerational ties and transfers. Her scholarship has included work with a 17 state multi-method national project (1998-present) focusing on rural family well-being in the context of welfare reform and an interdisciplinary project at Ohio University that addresses family well being when a member is diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes. Additionally, she co-created the Human and Consumer Sciences Honors Program and has served as its Coordinator since its inception.

Dr. Greg Janson, Associate Professor, Family Studies will begin a new position as Director of Counseling and Psychological Services at Ohio University on July 1, 2009. This next year, he will teach one course for the Family Studies program. His research stream focuses on trauma and emotional abuse and he is a clinical mental health counselor.

Affiliated Faculty
Dr. Randy Leite, dean of the College of Health Sciences and Professions, is also tenured in Family Studies and teaches one class for our unit annually. His areas of expertise include the impact of social policy on family functioning, family policy processes, and nonresidential father involvement.

The following materials are required for admission to the program:

  • Minimum of 20 quarter hours or 13 semester hours of undergraduate preparation in the specific or closely related program to the graduate major
  • Completed Graduate Admissions Application and non refundable application fee
  • Official academic transcripts (2 copies)
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores
  • Letter of intent and statement of goals
  • Resume/vitae
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation
  • Application for Graduate Assistantship (if desired)
  • Evidence of English proficiency, international students

To apply for admission to the Child and Family Studies graduate program, the following information is required:

  • Bachelor of Science or Arts in Child and Family Studies, Child Development, or a related program of study from an accredited college or university
  • Minimum of 20 quarter hours or 13 semester hours of undergraduate preparation in a specific or closely related program to the graduate major
  • Two (2) copies of complete, official academic transcripts from every college or university attended. Transcripts may be mailed directly from a university or sent by the student in a sealed envelope prepared by a university
  • Minimum overall GPA of 2.7 with a 3.0 on the final 90 hours (4.0 scale) is recommended
  • Graduate Admissions Application (apply online here) and fee
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score of 1000 or greater
  • Letter of intent and statement of goals that includes: 1) requested date of entry; 2) completion of undergraduate work and any prior experiences that are pertinent to graduate study; 3) goals for graduate study; 4) how your goals for graduate study relate to what you plan to do following completion of the degree; 5) why you want to study at Ohio University; 6) and any the information you feel is necessary for full consideration of your application. Document should be a maximum of 5 double-spaced pages and will be reviewed by the Graduate Committee to determine the appropriateness of your background and goals as they relate to the specified graduate program
  • Resume/vitae that details your work; education; volunteer, practicum or field experiences; and leadership experience
  • Three (3) letters of reference from individuals qualified to evaluate your capacity for graduate study Letters may be solicited from supervisors, volunteer supervisors, coworkers, professors, or others who can speak to your qualifications. Personal references are not an appropriate selection for professional references. Letters should be mailed directly to the program coordinator by the person writing the reference. If the graduate student is mailing his or her letters of reference along with other required materials, letters of recommendation must be in a signed and sealed envelope from the person providing the reference. Mail to: Dr. Jenny Chabot, Child and Family Studies, Ohio University, Department of Social and Public Health, Grover Center W324, Athens, Ohio, 45701
  • Application for graduate assistantship, if interested (graduate assistantships are awarded once a year during spring quarter)

Conditional Admission/Further English Language Study
The Department of Social and Public Health will grant conditional admission if your proficiency score is less than the university minimum. If granted conditional admission based on English proficiency, you will be required to enroll in either full or part-time English study through the Ohio Program of Intensive English (OPIE) until the desired proficiency is reached. Part-time English study allows you to take English and a limited number of academic classes at the same time. If you are required to enroll in full-time English study, you will be financially responsible for all associated tuition and fees. University financial aid in the form of a graduate appointment cannot be used to cover full-time English study expenses.

For a complete description of financial assistance available to graduate students at Ohio University, go online to the OU Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.

Graduate Assistantships provide a tuition scholarship and a stipend for services, such as research or teaching. These awards are based on scholarly merit. To be considered for a Graduate Assistantship, an application must be submitted to the Department of Social and Public Health (to Dr. Jenny Chabot) by Feb. 15 for full consideration for the next academic year. All graduate applications are due by March 1 if candidate is not seeking a graduate assistantship.

A graduate assistant is required to do the following maintain a 3.0 minimum grade point average and enroll in a minimum of 15 credit hours per quarter. Because of the demand for assistantship support and the expectation that students complete their degree programs in a timely fashion, students in the master’s degree programs who are awarded assistantships typically will be supported for a maximum of two years. Assistantships are awarded for the academic year and continuation is dependent on satisfactory performance and availability of funds.