Applied Family Science

Program Purpose

Program Purpose

This Master’s degree was designed for those wanting to gain a greater understanding of children, youth, and families to provide family-centered and strengths-based education and intervention services in applied settings. The Master’s is a practice application-oriented degree especially suitable for individuals already working in the family or human service sectors, early childhood education or secondary education, religious settings, or corrections as well as those wishing to enter those fields. This degree emphasizes training in both the generation of research-based knowledge and its translation into effective programs and policies that positively impact the well-being of children, youth, elderly, special populations, and families. Courses will emphasize programmatic efforts that work to prevent the development of problematic outcomes and to promote optimal functioning in individuals or groups across the life course. 

This degree will provide excellent preparation for those wanting to work in a variety of family life education positions including, but not limited to, Educational Activity Specialist, Presenter – Family Life Education, Family Life & Sex Education Specialist, Sexuality Educator, and Parenting Education Specialist those who provide family medical services such as Midwifery, Doulas, Childbirth Education, Infant Massage Instructors, Lactation specialists and others who desire to have a deeper understanding of Family Dynamics and Relationship connections. Unlike some fields where graduates focus their job search activities on specific settings such as schools, hospitals, prison systems, or corporations, employment opportunities for family science graduates exist in almost all sectors of society where families are receiving services. This program is open for students who have completed any undergraduate program. Graduates from the Applied Family Science Master’s degree program will be able to seek certification as a family life educator though the National Council on Family Relations after completing the program.

Program Design

This program has been recognized by the National Council on Family Relations as a CFLE (Certified Family Life Educator) approved program. Individuals successfully completing this degree will have demonstrated knowledge and experience in ten areas of family science expertise as outlined by the National Council on Family Relations and be eligible for certification. (NCFR. 2014) Courses have been carefully crafted to allow students to complete the competencies within the 33 credit experience. Throughout the course work students can complete assessments and design projects that fit their specific areas of interest. The personalized guided practical or individual capstone project also allow the student flexibility and choices.

Courses are offered online in a 7 week block format except for the practicums/capstone courses which are semester courses. This program is designed to be completed in two years of continuous study but may be accelerated by some students.

Applied Family Science Competencies

  1. Families and Individuals in Societal Context: An understanding of families and their relationships to other institutions, such as the educational, governmental, religious, and occupational institutions in society.
  2. Internal Dynamics of Families: An understanding of family strengths and weaknesses and how family members relate to each other.
  3. Human Development across the Life Span: An understanding of the developmental changes of individuals in families throughout the lifespan. Based on knowledge of physical, emotional, cognitive, social, moral, and personality aspects.
  4. Human Sexuality: An understanding of the physiological, psychological, & social aspects of sexual development throughout the lifespan, so as to achieve healthy sexual adjustment.
  5. Interpersonal Relationships: An understanding of the development and maintenance of interpersonal relationships.
  6. Family Resource Management: An understanding of the decisions individuals and families make about developing and allocating resources including time, money, material assets, energy, friends, neighbors, and space, to meet their goals.
  7. Parenting Education and Guidance: An understanding of how parents teach, guide and influence children and adolescents as well as the changing nature, dynamics and needs of the parent/child relationship across the lifespan.
  8. Family Law and Public Policy: An understanding of the legal issues, policies, and law influencing the well-being of families.
  9. Professional Ethics and Practice: An understanding of the character and quality of human social conduct, and the ability to critically examine ethical questions and issues as they relate to professional practice.
  10. Family Life Education Methodology: An understanding of the general philosophy and broad principles of family life education in conjunction with the ability to plan, implement, and evaluate such educational  programs.

Program Requirements

To qualify for the Master of Science in Applied Family Science degree, a student must satisfy the fully admitted requirements and complete a minimum of 33 credit hours, maintaining a cumulative grade of 3.0.  All students must complete the nine core courses and two 120-hour guided practicum courses.


Course Requirements

This Master’s degree is a 33 credit degree. The focus of the degree is to study healthy family functioning within a family and community-cultural systems perspective. The degree will have an emphasis on family life education, an applied field of Family Science with a conceptual foundation drawn from Family Science, psychology, education, family health, home management, sociology.

Required Courses

Students must satisfactorily complete all courses.

AFM 6610 Human Development Across the Lifespan

AFM 6620 Research in Practice

AFM 6630 Family Dynamics

AFM 6640 Families and Crisis

AFM 6650 Family Resource Management

AFM 6660 Sexuality Education

AFM 6670 Parent Education

AFM 6680 Legal, Ethical, and Policy Issues in Family Science

AFM 6690 Family Life Education

AFM 8100 Practicum 1

AFM 8110 Practicum II

AFM 8200 Capstone Project in Family Life Education

Students must complete AFM 8100 and AFM 8110 or AFM 8200. Faculty Approval required.

This information applies to students who enter this degree program during the 2023-2024 Academic Year. If you entered this degree program before the Fall 2022 semester, please refer to the academic catalog for the year you began your degree program.