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Master’s Program Requirements

Master's in Child and Family Studies

CFS Foundation Courses……………………………………………13 credits

Computation-Based Statistics…………………………………….3 credits

CFS Specialization Electives……………………………………….9 credits

General Electives……………………………………………………….6 credits

Thesis OR Practicum………………………………………………….6 credits

TOTAL…………………………………………………………………..37 credits

CFS Foundation Courses–Theory and Research Literature (13 credits)

  • CFS 510 (3): Theory in Human Development
  • CFS 550 (3): Theory and Research in Family Studies
  • CFS 552 (3): Diversity in Children and Families
  • CFS 570 (3): Research Methods
  • CFS 572 (1): Professional Seminar I

Computation-based Statistics (3 credits)

  • STAT 531 (Survey of Statistical Methods) OR
  • STAT 537 (Statistics for Research) OR
  • SW 605 (Analysis of Social Work Data I)

CFS Specialization Electives (9 credits)

  • CFS-prefix courses in student’s area of specialization to be approved by the student’s committee with the concurrence of the director of graduate studies.

General Electives (6 credits)

  • Courses inside or outside the CFS department that support the student’s area of specialization to be approved by the student’s committee with concurrence by the director of graduate studies.

Thesis Research OR Non-Thesis Practicum

  • Students may opt to do a thesis (CFS 500) or graduate practicum (CFS 564 and 565) during their final semesters. In either circumstance, a master’s committee must be chosen from CFS faculty by the middle of the student’s second semester.

By the second semester of the MS program, students are responsible for choosing their master’s committee. In doing so, students should choose three faculty members from the CFS discipline whose research interests are in line with theirs. One of the committee members will serve as the student’s major professor.

By the middle of the second semester, students should begin forming their committee. This can be done successfully by:
(1) learning about each faculty member’s research interests and academic endeavors;
(2) meeting with faculty members individually to discuss thesis or practicum site ideas; and
(3) discussing the potential for certain faculty members to serve on one’s committee.

1. MS en route to PhD option

  • Because many of the core requirements for the MS program overlap with the PhD program, CFS students who complete the MS in CFS and are admitted into the doctoral program will likely finish their PhD coursework more quickly than those who did their MS elsewhere.
  • See the PhD program in CFS.

2. Thesis information

  • Students may choose to do a qualitative or quantitative thesis.
  • Students who are considering pursuing the MS and PhD in CFS are encouraged to choose the thesis option rather than the non-thesis practicum as the MS thesis will fulfill the predoctoral research requirement for the doctoral career.

3. Non-Thesis Graduate Practicum

4. Application Information and Links

  • Please click here for application procedures.
  • The priority application deadline is January 1. Applicants who submit their applications by that time will be given priority consideration for assistantships and campus visit invitations. We will make every effort to consider applications after this date. However, late applicants may miss funding opportunities.

5. Please direct any general MS inquiries to

  • Sonja Spell (865-974-1713)
  • Any specific questions about the new doctoral program should be e-mailed to the director of graduate studies.



Master's in Child and Family Studies


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