Degree Programs

Graduate Program

M.S. in Human Development and Family Studies

The deadline for admission for Fall each year is January 2. The Department of Human Development and Family Studies offers a course of study leading to the Master of Science degree. The focus of the department is the development of the individual and the family throughout the lifespan. The graduate program provides students with an advanced understanding of human behavior and development, as well as with skills enabling them to contribute to scholarship and professional practice.

Requirements include five core courses, a thesis, and concentrated work in one of the two program specializations:

  1. Prevention Science
  2. Marriage and Family Therapy

Master's students must choose one of these program specializations. The Prevention Science specialization focuses on the integration of (1) basic and applied research on individual and family development from birth through old age with (2) theories and skills to help optimize that development. It prepares students for careers ranging from research and program evaluation, to teaching at the community college level, to the creation and evaluation of preventive intervention programs. For students who are interested in prevention-oriented research careers, this specialization, which is pending final approval by CSU, articulates well with the Applied Developmental Science doctoral program. The Marriage & Family Therapy program, which is accredited by the Commission of Accreditation of Marriage & Family Therapy Education, provides a specific professional curriculum that prepares graduates for licensure as Couple and Family Therapists. Students in the Prevention Science program design their curriculum, under their adviser's guidance, that supports their career goals. Curricula in both programs include core courses in theories, issues in HDFS, and research methods as well as a research thesis.

Applicants come from a variety of backgrounds including the behavioral sciences, education, and the health professions. Opportunities exist in each specialization to focus on particular age ranges, such as early childhood, adolescence, or adulthood and aging. Graduates are expected to demonstrate strong research skills, and must complete a thesis.